How To Overcome Porn Addiction

How To Overcome Porn Addiction: 7 Steps You Shouldn’t Ignore

Writen By: Sadia Mirza
Reviewed By: Huma Khan
Publish Date: November 16, 2023

Let’s face it- porn addiction is a real struggle that many people are facing in today’s world. It’s a taboo topic that is surrounded by shame and embarrassment; that’s why it is not discussed just like other behavioral issues. But it’s time to break the silence and stigma related to it and have an open conversation about “How to Overcome Porn Addiction”. You will go through difficult emotions while exploring this topic, but to get rid of this addiction, you have to first acknowledge it.

Porn addiction is a sensitive and challenging topic, so it demands more serious awareness among people. It’s a deeply personal struggle that can have a profound impact on mental health, relationships, and overall well-being. Overcoming porn addiction is not an easy journey, but it is a journey worth taking.

Whether you are personally battling this addiction or seeking guidance for a loved one, we’ll delve into the depths of porn addiction with empathy and understanding, providing you with insights, advice, and effective strategies to overcome this addiction. With the right mindset and support, you will be able to break free from the grip of this addiction.  

What is Porn Addiction?

Porn addiction can be described as the inability to control or stop the consumption of pornography. The person addicted to it has an emotional dependency on it. It interferes with an individual’s daily life, affecting their relationships, work, and productivity, and can have negative consequences for their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

How Porn Addiction differs from healthy porn use? 

Now you may be wondering if anyone who watches porn has a pornography addiction. So let me clarify that not everyone who watches porn is an addict and that there is a healthy way to use porn. In contrast to porn addiction, healthy porn use involves a balanced and moderate approach to consuming pornography that does not interfere with one’s daily life and relationships. Healthy porn usage includes setting boundaries and limits, being mindful of your emotional and mental well-being while engaging in such content, and not allowing it to negatively affect your life. 

Signs And Symptoms Of Porn Addiction

Just like any other addiction,  porn addiction also has major signs and symptoms to look out for. 

  • Difficulty in limiting or quitting pornography consumption.
  • Feeling emotionally down and unstable, such as having guilt, shame, and depression related to porn use.
  • Obsession with porn, an increase in demand for watching explicit content, and not being able to fight that urge.
  • Neglecting responsibilities related to personal and professional life due to excessive use of pornography
  • Porn addiction can be shown to increase risky sexual behaviors as a person will seek out more extreme content and engage in unsafe sexual behaviors such as compulsive or excessive masturbation. 
  • Porn addiction can make a person isolate themselves from their family and friends,  choosing to spend time alone and preferring their addiction over socializing. 
  • Porn addiction can also result in disturbed sleep patterns, as an individual addicted to porn will choose their addiction over their sleep. 

The Science Behind Porn Addiction

The topic of porn addiction has received increased attention in recent years. Understanding the science behind this addiction can help us to know why people become frequently addicted to porn.

Our brain’s response to pornography is similar to the response it gives to addiction to video games, gambling, drugs, and alcohol. When an individual engages in viewing pornographic material, the brain releases a chemical called Dopamine that is associated with reward and pleasure. So the more this hormone is released, the more your behavior increases (causing addiction) in order to get pleasure.

This is also indicated by a research study that sex and pornography addictions are associated with changes in the brain’s reward system. These changes can lead to increased cravings for sexual activity or pornography, as well as a decreased ability to control these behaviors.

Moreover, the findings of the 2017 study suggest that Problematic Pornography Use (PPU) may be a behavioral addiction. This is similar to substance addiction, in which people have a compulsive desire to use a substance despite negative consequences. The findings also suggest that interventions that help treat substance addiction may also help treat PPU.

Likewise,  2015 study shows that Internet pornography addiction shares similar basic mechanisms with substance addiction. The findings suggest that Internet pornography addiction should be considered a serious addiction. This information can be used to raise awareness of the condition and encourage people to seek help if they are struggling with it.

All these studies show that watching porn is related to the release of Dopamine in our brain and the triggering of the reward system, so the person addicted to it instantly feels pleasure from watching it. This can result in an obsessional urge to watch porn and not being able to quit it. Moreover, the research also says that it is a serious behavioral addiction and is similar to substance addiction.

Why Porn Addiction is Challenging To Overcome?

Porn addiction is much more challenging to overcome because of its easier access to everyone. With smartphones in our hands and an internet connection, you can watch it anywhere.

Dealing with a porn addiction can be difficult because, with increased exposure to pornography, the brain can become desensitized, and it will require more explicit porn content to achieve the same level of arousal.

As a person dealing with porn addiction experiences the release of dopamine, they will crave it over and over again and repeat the pattern or behavior that has released dopamine, as it makes them feel instantly good, so this becomes like a drug for them, and this dopamine release makes it difficult for a person to stop watching porn. 

How to Overcome Porn Addiction

Porn addiction can be difficult to overcome, but it’s not impossible. In this section of the blog post, we are going to discuss how to get rid of your addiction to porn with effective and practical steps.

1. Accepting the Problem

The first step in coping with porn addiction is to acknowledge it and its negative impacts on your life. Admit the negative effects of porn usage, such as strained relationships, loss of productivity, and emotional disturbance.

2. Know your Triggers

The next step is to identify the triggers, which are the emotions, situations, and thoughts that lead to porn cravings. This is effective in dealing with a porn addiction. 

  • If you watch porn when you feel depressed, then you should seek therapy, meditate, or start journaling instead of watching porn. 
  • If feeling lonely or bored makes you watch porn, then you should engage yourself in other productive activities that you like e.g. reading a book, painting, hanging out with friends, and socializing, to avoid watching it.
  • If you are triggered by any visual stimuli on a phone, then implement a digital detox to limit exposure to explicit content. Use content filters on devices and adjust phone settings to minimize triggering content, disabling notifications from apps or websites that may contain explicit material.

Sometimes knowing your trigger is enough to break the cycle of addiction.

3. Engage in healthy activities and positive habits

The best way to overcome porn addiction is to distract yourself, avoid sitting idle, and engage in hobbies, interests, and activities that you enjoy and love to do. Prioritizing healthy habits such as deep and fulfilled sleep, a balanced diet, and exercising regularly brings more discipline to your life and helps you beat this addiction.

4. Set Realistic And Achievable Goals

Make realistic and achievable goals by breaking them into smaller steps. Don’t go for a big jump directly, but instead focus on baby steps initially. Starting with smaller baby steps includes limiting porn usage to specific times or days and slowly increasing the limit duration. Make yourself accountable every time you watch porn, as this accountability will assist you in decreasing the amount of time you spend watching porn.

5. Be Kind To Yourself

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be kind and practice self-compassion while you are processing this journey to get rid of this addiction. There may be failures along the way, but don’t let these discourage you. Focus on your strengths and positive points and celebrate your achievements to get a motivation boost to do more. 

6. Seek Professional Help

If you are not able to beat porn addiction on your own, then you can seek professional help. Professional therapists can help you break free from this addiction. They can support you in addressing the underlying issues behind this addiction to completely overcome it.

7. Stay grounded

Reflect on the negative effects porn has had on your life to prevent relapse. Create a list outlining the harm and setbacks caused by your porn addiction in relationships, work, and personal life. Journal about your experiences and future plans beyond this addiction.

Treatment Options to Quit Porn Addiction

To overcome compulsive pornography use, there are many treatment options available that you can choose based on your preferences and access. 

1. Psychotherapy

Effective treatment for porn addiction can be ‘Psychotherapy’ which will help you understand the underlying cause of your behavior. It is also known as supportive talk therapy and can enable you to understand your relationship with porn. There are many techniques for psychotherapy, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy(ACT), Group Therapy, and Clinical Hypnotherapy.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a very useful strategy as it focuses on identifying the triggers and modifying the distorted thoughts and beliefs that cause this behavior. It will develop new concepts in you related to porn usage by removing the old ones. It can help you manage your porn addiction by changing the way you think and behave about it. 
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a mindful psychotherapy that emphasizes accepting uncomfortable thoughts and feelings without any judgment rather than suppressing them. It helps you process difficult emotions you have in terms of porn addiction and makes you move forward so you can heal easily from this compulsive behavior and not be stuck in negativity due to pornography.
  • Group therapy involves one or more therapists treating a small group of people at the same time. It can provide valuable support and allow you to connect with others who are struggling with the same issues like porn addiction. The bonding you build with people in group therapy can encourage you to overcome porn addiction by sharing the same issues, vulnerabilities, and triggers regarding porn.
  • Clinical hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis for the treatment of psychological problems and addictions. It induces you into a deep state of relaxation to address underlying and deeper issues that might be the reason for your porn addiction.

Here are the best resources to help you with your porn addiction. 

  • Better Help is a website that can help you in dealing with porn addiction. You can get 100% online professional therapy from their website, and they provide you with the licensed and professional therapist you need for porn addiction.
  • NYC Hypnosis Center can help you overcome porn addiction through hypnosis. They provide you with a licensed and certified hypnotherapist. For information and appointments, you can call their number: 877-800-6443
  • For group therapy, you can go to the Northern Michigan University website and book your group therapy. They have given the full details on their website regarding your confidentiality in terms of therapy. 

2. Support Groups

Support groups are groups of people who share a common root and ground, and these individuals can offer each other mental and emotional support. The people in the group go through the same experiences; that’s why it becomes easier for them to connect. 

Porn Addicts Anonymous offers support groups for porn addiction. There is also a section for family and friends of porn addicts.

Reboot Nation is an online community that also offers support groups, videos, and advice to get rid of pornography. 

3. Medications

Besides psychotherapy and support groups, medications can also help get rid of porn addiction. According to a 2020 research study, Nalmefene (18 mg per day) impressively decreased addictive symptoms in individuals, so it can help in the treatment of porn addiction. 

Naltrexone can also help in overcoming behavioral addiction by blocking the ‘high’ an individual feels while consuming porn and decreasing the urge.

How does porn addiction negatively affect your life?

Porn addiction can have many negative consequences in your life that can drain you emotionally and mentally.

  • It can damage your relationship with your partner, family, and friends and can lead to isolation, betrayal, and trust issues.
  • It can decrease your productivity, and it will be difficult for you to focus. It can also lead to problems at work.
  • Porn addiction can result in financial problems, especially if you are spending money on pornography or engaging in risky sexual behavior.
  • Porn addiction can lead to compulsive and obsessive use of it, and you can engage in risky sexual behaviors.
  • Porn addiction can lead to physical health problems such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and decreased libido. 

Benefits of Overcoming Porn Addiction

After providing strategies on how to overcome porn addiction, we now highlight the benefits of overcoming this addiction.

  • Overcoming porn addiction can help improve your mental health and wellness. 
  • It can help you increase your productivity and creativity. You will be able to focus on your studies and career.
  • Overcoming porn addiction can help you improve your relationships with your partner, colleagues, and family, and you will be able to socialize more.
  • It can make your mood better; you can have fewer mood swings, and you will start to feel happier and more positive. 
  • You can have improved self-esteem as you don’t have feelings of guilt and shame and don’t have to hide and lie to watch porn. Your self-confidence eventually increases due to overcoming this addiction.
  • People who overcome porn addiction often report sleeping better. This is because pornography can interfere with sleep.
  • People who overcome porn addiction often report having a healthier sex life. They may experience increased libido, improved erectile function, and more satisfying orgasms.

Self-Help Books for Porn Addiction

There are many books related to a porn addiction that you can read to start your journey toward overcoming this addiction.

1. Sex and Porn Addiction Healing and Recovery

This is a book by the author, Scott Brassart. It gives practical daily tips to readers for recovering porn addicts. 

2. Breaking Porn Addiction Through Rewiring Your Brain

It’s a book by Paul Crawford. This book can give you empowering strategies to overcome porn addiction.

3. Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions

Recovery: Freedom for Our Addictions is an audiobook by Russell Brand. Its audible sample is available that is read by the author. It’s a manual and guide for all kinds of addictions and has come from a star who himself has struggled with addictions.

4. Breaking the Cycle: Free Yourself from Sex Addiction, Porn Obsession, and Shame – The Workbook

The workbook by George N Collins MA can help you find a way to break free from porn addiction. It will give you 33 exercises to overcome addiction and take control of your life.

5. The Porn Trap: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography.

This book is written by Wendy Maltz. It can provide you with real-life stories,  innovative exercises, checklists, and expert advice for the healing of porn addiction.

Conclusion

I hope that this blog post, offering guidance on “How to Overcome Porn Addiction,” has been informative and helpful for you. It’s a challenging journey to overcome any type of addiction, but with the right strategies and support, it is completely possible.

Take the first step towards recovery by following the practical tips we have given, reaching out to therapists, and seeking support groups. You can also take medications as prescribed by your doctor. 

Remember, you have the power to get rid of this addiction, and you are not alone in this struggle. There are many resources available to help you overcome porn addiction and lead a healthier, more fulfilling life.