By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
Pornography addiction is the use of any pornographic material for sexual stimulation, having the purpose of lessening pain or augmenting pleasure, by a person who has lost control over the rate, frequency, or duration of its use, and whose life has become progressively unmanageable as a result.
The use of the pornography essentially becomes central to the addicts life in spite of any consequences that may result. He may be frantically trying to stop, but cannot let it go. In some ways it becomes more important than church, work obligations, family or friends. Unfortunately, pornography addicts often deny they have a problem. This denial is often inside them. They rationalize and say things like, “Everybody does it… its no big deal.” Or “I can stop anytime if I really want to.” When in reality they cannot stop, and the consequences begin to escalate.
I remember a client sitting in my office in tears. He had joined our pornography addiction program in Mesa Arizona. I will never forget his words: “I kept telling her I had it under control. I can’t count the number of times I told her that. It wasn’t until she left with the kids that I realized I couldn’t stop. I need help.”
In April of 2011 the American Society of Addiction Medicine included sex as an addiction similar to gambling, or food addiction. They concluded that addict’s brains have rewired in ways that impair healthy functioning. You can Google search the organization and get more details.
Essentially pornography addiction can be characterized in several ways:
1. The addict simply reports an inability to abstain.
2. The addict reports lack of control.
3. The addict describes a sense of “craving” for the pornography.
4. The addict loses recognition of significant issues within relationships.
5. The addict progressively responds to life in emotionally dysfunctional ways.
If you are working with someone who is addicted to pornography, or you have a loved one who is addicted, be cautious that you don’t make it worse through shaming. There are multiple factors that contribute to the pornography addiction. There are chemical factors, neurological factors, emotional factors, and more. When pornography becomes addictive, it becomes uncontrollable. The addict will need to learn about the problem, practice sobriety skills, and resolve emotional issues. It takes time and persistence. Your patience will help more than shame.
If you’d like to talk to a professional counselor about pornography addiction in Mesa Arizona, please gives us a call. We understand and we can help. (480) 668-8301.