A Guide to Recovering from Porn Addiction

Content Overview

Porn addiction, or pornography addiction as it is also known as, is a behavioural process addiction that manifests itself in the form of an obsessive relationship with pornography. Whether it be watching internet porn, or through traditional media, this process of addiction can be devastating to all types of relationships.

If you are struggling with porn addiction and your relationships are suffering, this article may help you better understand what you are suffering with and how we can help.

When you are constantly obsessed with getting more time with pornography, personal relationships get left by the wayside, they just don’t seem as important to you anymore as your needs being met. This is because the behaviour aspect becomes your focus and obsession of mind. In order to get the next fix, you will do anything.

As the availability of porn has grown over time with digital media, so has user consumption. Pornographic material is now easily accessible via any smart-phone or computer in an instant. While this hasn’t changed the cause of porn addiction, it has changed to make it more readily accessible and the viewing of it somewhat socially acceptable.

When porn addiction is taken to the extreme, it can destroy marriages, personal relationships and affect relationships with food and personal health. It becomes the sole focus and the most important thing to do, everything else becomes secondary.

The Signs & Symptoms of Porn Addiction

While the manifestation of the addiction is pornography, the actual underlying cause is no different from any other addiction. The overuse of Pornography is the symptom of a misunderstanding of how to cope with life. The obsession will be somewhat similar to drug and alcohol addiction, without the physical part, even though at times it has been reported as feeling like a physical compulsion to spend time viewing pornography.

It is common for people who suffer from porn addiction, to have been in the past addicted to other substances or struggling with substance dependence or cross addictions.

Pornography addiction while creating sexual urges in the process, doesn’t always lead to explicit sexual behaviours, more the obsession and fantasy of them. Releasing dopamine while seeing pornographic images activates a feel-good neurotransmitter.

The obsession with porn is no different from the obsession with drugs for the drug addict, or alcohol for an alcoholic. Porn is only the symptom, as is alcohol or drugs.
Things to look out for if you think you or someone you love is struggling:

  • Not being able to stop viewing porn, or having the obsession to constantly view porn, waiting for the next time you can.
  • Feelings of anger or frustration when someone or something (life circumstances) get in your way of acting out your obsession/fantasy.
  • Not wanting to tell people about your behaviour around porn, keeping secrets.
  • Continual use of pornography despite the consequences of personal relationships.
  • Finding yourself watching porn for hours on end and avoiding ‘real’ life responsibilities.
  • Avoiding social commitments and finding excuses so you can be alone watching porn.

Any or all of the above could be signs you are struggling with this addiction, if you need confidential and non-judgemental help, feel free to speak to one of our trained advisors, we understand for various reasons this can be a shaming experience reaching out for help, but help is possible and a full recovery is often reached.

Is Sex Addiction the Same as Porn Addiction?

If you are not sure what type of addiction you are struggling with, there may be similarities with other sexually explicit types of addiction. Sex addiction and pornography addiction, may seem to have similar patterns of behaviour but they’re not the same, they are a different manifestation of the same underlying misunderstand of how to cope with life, though, the behaviour is different.

Sex addiction is more about the act of having sex, and the obsession with getting more, the pursuit of sex is where most of the time is spent. This is similar to a drug addiction where most of the time is spent, leading up to, building up anticipation, arranging for things to happen, and then much disappointment and shame after the act is carried out.

Each time the obsession is triggered, delving into the porn addiction looks like it is going to be a great, satisfying experience, but every time it leads to the same outcome. This can be confusing and becomes a repetitive cycle that doesn’t make any sense to you, but it is normal.

Whether you are struggling with sex & love addiction or pornography addiction, the underlying root cause is the same, it is based on a misunderstanding, looking for happiness and fulfilment outside of yourself. All addictions have that in common, regardless of the external manifestation and how represents itself.

You will have developed a learned behaviour on how to cope with life, stress, emotions, and unconsciously it just becomes and looks the only way to deal with things, that then manifests as an addiction.

The Recovery Approach to Porn Addiction

If you are looking for treatment for porn addiction, a treatment programme may be an option to help you start your journey to recovery. In treatment, we treat addiction through different therapies. Some of which will be explained in more detail below. Joining a treatment programme will help you integrate back into normal society and spend time around other people who understand or have been in the same shoes as you.

Treatment is a non-judgemental freeing experience to express yourself and learn about who you are, and how you cope with life. Often during a treatment programme you get a lot more than you came for, in a good way, where you develop friendships for life, a real understanding of what you suffer with, and how to cope with it, as well as a deep understanding of your own addictive patterns and struggles.

Compassion for others, as well as yourself is the start of the recovery journey. You are not broken, and you don’t need fixing, we simply just point you back to who you really are, and shine a light on how to cope with life more effectively.

Rather than seeing a treatment programme as a painful, scary experience where you worry about what is going to happen. Think of it as an adventure to go on, to learn more about who you really are. We have years of experience in treating people with multiple addictions and this is often the feedback we get, what can look scary to start with, can turn out quite magical in the bigger picture of life.

Porn Addiction Treatment

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While inpatient residential rehabilitation can sound very daunting it is actually a very loving and safe environment. People come to rehab for various different reasons such as alcoholism and substance dependence, but all have the same goal, freedom from addiction.

There is no detoxification for porn addiction, but you may have a psychological withdrawal from this process addiction, which is quite normal. The longer you delve into your treatment within a residential rehab, the clearer you will see how your life was, and what is possible in the future, living a life free of addiction.

You will undertake holistic therapies which simply means that there are different processes to learn about life, and how to cope with addiction. Psychotherapy, counselling, art therapy, music therapy are all part of the rehabilitation process. Often putting you in touch with who you really are and giving you new insight into how to cope with life without your prop.

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Dual Diagnosis is the combination of a mental health condition alongside an addiction of any type. At UKAT we treat dual diagnosis at our treatment centres also, so if you have been diagnosed as a patient with a mental health condition, we can treat both.

There is no difference in the treatment process although your medication needs will be looked after by a medical professional. You will still join in on all activities and process groups. As we have a personalised treatment plan for everyone, your needs will be assessed and taken care of.

Regardless of a dual diagnosis, you can recover, there is hope and a great future ahead. Many people attend and graduate from treatment programmes with dual diagnosis and live a happy and fulfilled life post-rehab. Our aim is to empower you to take control of your life and lead you back into everyday society with a brighter future.

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Addiction counselling and psychotherapy is a big part of the treatment programme for recovery from porn addiction. This is where you will sit down with a qualified therapist and talk about your experiences. It is important to be honest and build a relationship that will be productive for your recovery. This may feel difficult, and seem a little alien at first but as you build on your work together, this will become a very important relationship where you see new things about life and how you have learned to cope.

We understand that talking about pornography addiction and sexual addictions can create a feeling of shame and embarassment, and we approach this with the upmost compassion and confidentiality in order to make your journey through rehab the best it can be.

There may be some exploration of life as you knew or understood it to be during your addiction or even beforehand. This is also where you can deal with past trauma and troubling memories that have haunted you.

You may also have some family or marriage counselling with your loved ones or partner. This is where you can look at damaged relationships, to get a true understanding of what was going on and how to repair the relationships and bring you closer together again. Family therapy can be hugely productive and helpful in the recovery process, often addictions cause the most damage at home, and with partners. This is why it’s a big part of our process, we realise how therapeutic and helpful the mending of a close relationship can be.

We also help your family or loved ones understand that your addiction is not you, it is a learned coping mechanism and comes from a misunderstanding about life, this often helps to ease any tension between relations and helps all people involved see the clear potential of a bright future.

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12 Step programmes such as Sex & Love addiction Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous are based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics anonymous. They are part of the programme at many inpatient rehabilitation centres and form the foundations of the external support groups where so many people attend to find recovery.

The 12 steps adopt the disease model of addiction, believe that it is incurable, but however, can be arrested and long term recovery is possible. Whether this approach is right for you or not, only you will know. Addiction is self-diagnosed, you decide if you want help or not, no one can tell you.

If you have decided this is for you, the 12 steps will help guide you to find a higher power, which is outside of yourself that you can believe in. Often as addicts get so lost in their addiction, it is helpful to see something other than themselves exists. To help and guide you to a better future. It’s important to note that the 12 step programme is not religious in any way, even though it mentions God, this can easily be substituted for Good Orderly Direction or a person or thing outside yourself. The emphasis is on it not being you.

Staying Away from Porn

There are many things you can do after your graduation from rehab to help you stay away from pornography, however, our hope for you is that you don’t need to do this. Rehab is not a behavioural modification, it is a whole new understanding of how the human mind works, this means that you won’t have to avoid situation and behaviours, because you will be free.

This happens quicker for some and longer for others, should you need to adopt the approach of avoiding temptation then the following steps can help you out:

  • Porn Blockers/Filters – you can block sites of a certain type or that contain pornographic material on your web router/firewall to stop temptation.
  • Get a non-smart phone – so when temptation is present, you can call someone instead of accessing instant gratification.
  • Set up a support network of people you can call when you feel vulnerable.
  • Attend 12 step programmes in order to stay present within your life and aware of your addiction, and keep a focus on recovery and what is on offer.

None of these are required in order to remain abstinent and live a happy free life from porn addiction. You can achieve total abstinence or even enjoy being whoever you are without extreme behavioural modification. Upon leaving treatment you will have a better sense of who you are, and what is right for you. We will encourage you to make informed and instinctive decisions based on what is right for you, and what isn’t. Every human being has this built into them, it’s just that in addiction it gets a little lost, we just help you find it again.

FAQ

Porn is so addictive because it gives an intense high, and is so readily available on all internet-enabled devices. It is somewhat socially acceptable in moderate doses so it is not until it gets out of control that it looks problematic.

Porn addiction recovery can take varying lengths of time, every person is unique in the depth of their experience, remember porn addiction is just the symptom. The real recovery is sitting beneath the behaviour, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly recovery is possible for everyone.

Mental health problems can manifest themselves in porn addiction, and other ways such as alcoholism and drug addiction. Porn addiction on its own is not a sign of a mental health problem as they are commonly diagnosed. It is a sign of a misunderstanding of how to cope with life.

You can completely recover from porn addiction and live a happy free normal life without returning to your addiction. It is suggested to stay close to your support network while newly graduating from rehab, until you feel ready.

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+44 2039 496 584