Posted .

Pornography addiction follows many of the same patterns as substance addiction. Becoming aware of those patterns is one of the first steps to healing and long term recovery. As an addict recognizes the stage they are in, they can take steps to reverse the direction. Engaging in pornography is generally referred to as “acting out” or participating in an activity that you have taken conscious steps to avoid.

1-      Vulnerable Time – Vulnerable time refers to a setting or series of events that lead an individual to become more vulnerable to acting out. Stress, boredom, tiredness and loneliness are all common emotions that lead to inappropriate behavior. Recovering addicts must first learn to identify what their vulnerable time is and create a plan to put themselves in a better setting.

2-      Triggers – Triggers are something that the brain interprets at the subconscious level which starts the mind down a particular path. Researchers estimate that around 90% of our daily behavior is motivated by the subconscious and people react directly to that.

3-      Emotion – Triggers most often lead to an emotional response such as excitement, curiosity or heightened awareness. This emotion connects to the trigger to provide an extremely powerful bond.

4-      Thought – An individual will then begin to consider the possibilities, which leads the mind to create only a solution that is connected to the addiction.

5-      Chemical Release – At this point, the individual undergoes a chemical change within the body that furthers the process. Dopamine, which focuses the brain and is the main component of its reward system. This chemical response overrides their cognitive ability to make rational evaluation of both behavior and consequences and sets the stage for a greater need for it in the next episode of acting out.

6-      Physiological Response – The body responds to these chemical changes physically and outwardly. Pupils dilate; heart rate increases and muscles tighten. All of these reactions only serve to reinforce to the body of the addict that changes are occurring.

7-      Rational Thought – Rational thought is the body’s way of giving the addict a last chance out, by essentially triggering feelings of guilt or cognitive awareness of wrongdoing. At this point, an individual can practice breaking the pattern by walking away from the situation.

8-      Hypothesis/Belief – Depending on what an individual does during the rational thought phase, this stage either brings relief or a strong sense of hopelessness. This phase is often impacted by an individual’s personal beliefs about their future.

9-      Response – This phase is also directly related to the phase before it. Based on an individual’s belief and response from previous acting out, they will either continue to act out or get out.

10-  Remorse – After the chemical changes in the body revert back to normal, the individual returns to a rational thought process and often, remorse. When they are in a rational state of mind, an addict may wonder how he let the acting out happen again. This is usually followed by a commitment to change or abstain completely in the future, however, each time it happens; the body’s response becomes stronger and harder to override. Without professional intervention, the cycle will continue to repeat, burying the individual still further.

Desert Solace Treatment Center is a safe place where pornography addicts can address their problems and work on functioning in a healthier way. Our staff and therapists create a warm and supportive environment where you can obtain all the tools you need to recover. If you or someone you love has a problem with pornography or sexual addiction, please contact us at 435-817-1351.