Pornography addiction is defined by an inability to control the impulse to view or participate in sexually explicit material and acts. While many debate the validity of compulsive pornography use as an actual addiction, there is increasing scientific evidence to show that sex addiction can be as damaging to both the body and mind as chemical or substance abuse. Research shows that consistent use of pornography can alter brain patterns, skew judgment and severely affect personal relationships. The ease and convenience of the internet has contributed to a leap in addiction cases and there are more individuals than ever struggling with this ever increasing problem. Fortunately, there are now more resources than ever to help pornography addicts make changes and take their lives back. Individuals on the point of seeking help will find that there are multiple options to choose from, based on the severity of their addiction.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a method often employed by individual therapists to help their clients identify and manage the triggers that lead to pornography use. Through practice and a clearly defined plan that establishes boundaries, pornography addicts will gain the tools they need to lead a healthy life. Recovering from pornography is a life long battle and being able to recognize what might trigger a relapse is essential to success.
Group Therapy and 12 Step Programs
Group therapy can 12 step programs can be extremely useful, particularly for pornography addicts. Because the offending behaviors are ones that thrive on secrecy and isolation, recovering addicts need to maintain a dialogue about their falls and successes in a light giving environment. Group programs allow individuals to support each other and reverse the solitary nature of the addiction. Because sex is normal part of life and cannot be cut out entirely, these step by step programs help addicts learn control through lifestyle changes and accountability.
Inpatient Treatment Therapy
For particularly severe addictions, individuals may benefit from an inpatient treatment facility in order to remove the day to day triggers and life situations, while some perspective is gained. Patients are monitored 24 hours a day for the duration of the program and they have full access to both individual, group and often family therapy. Exercise, proper nutrition and approved healthy daily habits such as reading or sports are highly encouraged at these facilities and participants have the benefit of being surrounded by others who can empathize with the struggle they are going through.
Rebooting refers to an outpatient, yet supervised time-out period, in which an addict can step away from all things sexual. Because consistent pornography use is associated with physical symptoms such as desensitization and erectile dysfunction, rebooting allows the altered and affected circuits and sexual centers of the brain to re-balance. Rebooting is often exercised along with other types of therapy, such as behavioral or cognitive. It should be overseen by a professional and should be undertaken with the support and care of family members.
Psychotherapy and Drug Therapy
Research suggests that pornography addictions are often connected to underlying conditions that have not been resolved. Because of this, psychotherapy can be helpful in determining the root of the problem that leads to compulsive sexual behavior, such as childhood abuse or depression. Drug therapy can help alleviate some of the accompanying conditions such as anxiety or sleeplessness. Marital and family counseling is often also necessary to complete the treatment of a pornography addict.
Pornography is a very difficult addiction to overcome and support is essential when undertaking measures to treat it. It is important for addicts to understand that they will not be able to rid themselves of the compulsion all on their own. Although seeking help may be difficult, it is a crucial step toward becoming healthy again. If you or someone you know has questions about pornography addiction or recovery options, please contact one of our experts here at Desert Solace.