porn addiction counselor

Porn addiction has become a part of our hyper-sexualized digital era. The internet has made it possible for people to get porn quicker and easier than ever before. Of course, pornography addiction can affect anyone at any age, but the younger generations, especially men, are more susceptible to it.

Many individuals watch porn for fun without any adverse effects. But for others, it might turn into an addiction or compulsive behavior. So, what are the signs of a porn addiction and withdrawal symptoms? Continue reading.

porn addiction signs

What Is Porn Addiction Exactly?

Porn addiction is a behavioral addiction that results in the compulsive need to view porn, no matter the negative consequences. Watching porn excites the brain, making it release more neurotransmitters, hormones, as well as endorphins. This can result in psychological and physical dependency.

As time goes on, porn consumption can change the brain chemistry, thus resulting in tolerance. It makes one view more porn to experience the same high, which is the same case with any addictive substance. The condition is devastating and interferes with one’s entire social life, familial and work obligations, and ability to function.

porn addiction signs

Signs of Porn Addiction

Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with viewing porn. Enjoying porn can start as something harmless but turn into uncontrollable behavior quickly. Recognizing the issue before it gets out of hand is vital. Why? You can easily manage pornography addiction and seek help.

There is a difference between casual enjoyment of pornography and addiction. One way of recognizing the problem is with these common porn addiction signs:

porn addiction signs

1) Preoccupation With Porn

Do you watch pornography multiple times a day? Do you view it during odd hours, like right before dinner or while working (especially when working from home)? If so, that’s an indication that you are developing a porn addiction.

Someone with compulsive porn use spends excessive time thinking about and craving pornography. They may spend multiple hours per day online viewing, masturbating to porn scenes, searching for new material, and planning their following session.

Even when they’re not actively watching, addicts are often preoccupied with sexual thoughts and fantasies triggered by their porn use. Their minds have become so wired to pornographic imagery that it consumes their mental space even when offline.

signs of porn addiction

2) Loss of Interest in Other Activities

As porn addiction progresses, other activities that you used to enjoy, like hobbies, sports, socializing, work, or school, slowly fall by the wayside. You retreat into porn use as your sole or primary source of pleasure and escape.

Previous passions like music, art, or sports no longer provide the same fulfillment they once did. You may stop exercising, reading, or socializing with real people as you spend more time isolated viewing porn.

signs of porn addiction

3) Relationship Problems

Generally, relationships take the greatest blow from a pornography addiction. If you are a porn addict, you may often struggle to connect with your spouses, and you may also withdraw from physical intimacy. You may lose interest in sex with your partner, thus experiencing difficulty getting aroused without porn. Because of this, your partner might feel betrayed or neglected by your actions.

Furthermore, you may start engaging in risky sexual behavior as you try to replicate the many scenes in porn videos. This can cause a sense of guilt, shame, and also depression in your partner if they fail to meet your expectations, thus affecting the relationship even more.

You may get irritable or angry if you can’t access porn, further affecting your relationship. Repairing a broken bond is not an easy task. It requires exceptional devotion and effort from both parties to restore the connection.

signs of porn addiction

 4) Failed Attempts to Quit

You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that having trouble trying to quit viewing pornography is a significant sign of addiction. Sometimes, you might find it even impossible to stop regardless of what you do. You may make a promise to yourself or a loved one that you’ll stop using porn so frequently but then fail to follow through.

Despite harmful consequences to your well-being and relationships, you can’t seem to break free of your compulsion. A porn addict feels powerless to stop even if some part of them wants to change their behavior. Therefore, if you notice you can’t be able to stop no matter what you do, it’s time to talk to a porn addiction counselor.

signs of a porn addiction

 5) Sexual Dysfunction

Are you a man? Aging comes with a loss of sexual functions. However, if you notice that it is difficult for you to get an erection when with your partner but can easily achieve one in front of a porn video, then there is a problem. You need to seek professional assistance.

There are many professional porn addiction therapists with substantial experience working with people suffering from the excessive use of porn. Apart from coming up with strategies and practices that will help you recover, they can also take a look at the underlying factors that may have led to your addiction.

signs of a porn addiction

6) Spending Excessively

Just like gambling and substance addiction, porn addiction can result in financial problems. You can accumulate huge amounts of debt from adult chat sites or subscription services. Spending your money on porn minimizes your disposable income.

Suppose you prefer to spend on the services before taking care of essential needs such as bills, rent, and healthcare. That should raise red flags. You might end up watching subscription videos online mindlessly, making you go broke or even losing your job.

signs of a porn addiction

7) Coping With Life Stressors Using Porn

Do you find yourself using porn as a means of releasing stress? This is a somewhat risky way of dealing with negative emotions. Like any addiction, sometimes you may use some substance or behavior as an escape from stress and other unpleasant feelings. As time passes, you might become addicted to pornography as an unhealthy mechanism of coping and escaping your problems.

porn addiction counselor

8) Escalating to More Extreme Material

An indication of growing porn addiction is when your views escalate from minimal watching to frequent viewing. As a result, your needs become more extreme and disturbing since you’ll need such material to get aroused. Things that used to arouse you no longer work, so you seek out more graphic, violent, risky, degrading, or even illegal content. You may be shocked at first, but then you start rationalizing and defending your use of more hardcore porn.

porn addiction counselor

9) Secrecy and Solitary Use

Out of shame and fear of judgment, porn addicts often go to great lengths to hide their porn consumption from others. They enjoy watching porn alone late at night or during the day when their partner is out. They have secret accounts, encrypted files, and delete their browser histories.

Also, they will lie about the amount of time they spend on the web, hide their laptops or phones, and avoid conversations about porn. So, if you get anxious or jumpy when your partner walks in on you online, that’s a potential red flag. Regular porn use doesn’t require so much secrecy and deception.

porn addiction withdrawal symptoms

10) Physical and Mental Health Problems

The need to watch porn all the time, paired with constant sexual arousal and masturbation, can result in physical and mental health issues over time. These include:

  • Pain in the wrists and hands
  • Back, neck, or shoulder pain from being sedentary
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Disturbed sleep patterns and insomnia
  • Eye strain or blurred vision
  • Depression, anxiety, irritability
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Social isolation

porn addiction withdrawal symptoms

Porn Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

Usually, withdrawal systems are the opposite of what you feel when you are watching porn. For example, if you feel calm, sleepy, and content as you watch pornography and after viewing, withdrawal might make you feel anxious, irritable, and restless. Withdrawal symptoms of porn addiction include:

  • Headache
  • Cravings for more
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Depressed mood
  • Aches and pains

porn addiction withdrawal symptoms

Seeking Help for Porn Addiction

Porn addiction can ruin a great relationship. So, in case you recognize multiple porn addiction symptoms either in yourself or your partner, seek professional help. Many mental health professionals now specialize in treating compulsive sexual behaviors like porn and sex addiction.

Pornography addiction is something that you can overcome. It would help to have compassionate support, counseling, mindfulness practices, and healthier coping skills. Of course, breaking free of this powerful dependency might be difficult, but recovery is possible for those willing to commit to the process.

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