By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT
I’ve worked with many families over the years. When parents discover that their son is using pornography compulsively, it’s often a traumatic experience. Sometimes they find it while looking at the history on the computer. Other times their son confessed and asked for help. Studies over recent years continue to draw the same conclusion: people become addicted to using pornography. Pornography use causes emotional and chemical changes. Most teenagers are obsessive about certain things, especially with raging hormones. But if an obsession with porn becomes compulsive, it may have a tendency to become an addiction.
The impact of compulsive pornography use will not be immediately obvious to you or your son. He may not be aware that changes are occurring inside his mind until. The changes are slow and grow over time. It will also be easy to confuse the signs of pornography addiction with normal teenage challenges.
How do you know if your teenager is addicted to porn? The following are some common indicators:
- Does he feel as though he’s out of control, and simply cannot stop even though he’s promised that it’s under control?
- Does he continue using pornography when it’s contrary to his values?
- Does he try to hide or lie about the pornography so that you or anyone won’t find out about it?
- Does he describe spending time thinking about his next chance to use?
- Is he using pornography in places where he might get caught – like at school or work?
- Does he use pornography at the expense of important activities like school, work or family time?
- Does he seem disconnected or having a difficult time socially?
If your son has developed an addiction to pornography, his whole demeanor will change over time. However, he can get back to his old self again with proper guidance and recovery. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple process. It can also be discouraging. There is no fast or quick cure. It will require a lot of effort and practice. It will also require a lot of human connection and support.
Most people who successfully overcome an addiction to pornography seek counseling as a part of their program. Make sure that you do not shame your son if he makes attempts to stop, but keeps using pornography. This is common. Your son is normal – but he is also addicted. Shaming him to feel worse so that he’ll stop will usually has the opposite effect. Find someone with special training in pornography addiction to help. Typically counselors with training will have a CSAT certificate (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist). Call us for a free 15-minute consultation with one of our therapists trained in pornography addiction in Mesa AZ (480) 668-8301