Pornography addiction is getting more and more attention in the media these days. In our therapy clinic here in the UK, we are seeing a growing number of people who seek help in dealing with it.
The Internet places pornography at the tip of our fingers. With the click of a mouse anyone can access all manner of porn.
What happens when looking at online pornography gets out of control? At what point does it become an addiction? How can someone who is struggling with it get help?
Pornography addiction is not yet recognized by the American Psychological Association as a mental disorder (as many other addictions are), but this does not mean that the problem doesn't exist.
The criteria for identifying pornography addiction is very similar to other addictions. Does reading, watching, thinking about, and/or viewing pornography interfere with a person's work, personal life, relationships, social interactions or family life? If a person answers yes to this question, they could well have a pornography addiction.
What are some of the issues that make pornography addiction more of a problem than it has been in the past?
It's easier than ever before to view pornography. Before the advent of Internet porn, a person had to actually enter an adult video store, or buy an adult magazine in a shop. Now, with a quick Internet search, anyone can have practically instant access to almost unlimited, free porn in the privacy of their own home.
A recent study reported that 42% of children have been exposed to pornography on the Internet before the age of 18. Whereas in the past access to pornography would have been more difficult, with the Internet children have a greater chance at being exposed to it from an early age.
Some experts believe that tolerance to pornography is built up in a similar manner to alcohol and other substances. The more pornography an addict consumes, the more the person needs in order to get turned on. The Internet offers an unlimited supply of content with around 420 million different pornography websites available.
How can someone who is struggling with it get help?
As pornography addiction becomes more common and receives more attention, our understanding of it grows. With a better understanding comes better ways to treat the problem.
The first step to recovery lies in ending the denial and recognizing that there is a problem and that the person is addicted. Once this is accomplished, there are several helpful and effective ways to treat pornography addiction.
There are a number of 12-Step programs, both on and offline that offer help with this addiction. Sex Addicts Anonymous and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous are two of the most popular. A person can also seek individual therapy and counseling, and hypnotherapy can be of enormous help in managing this addiction. Working with a professional who has experience in this area, the addict can learn to control their addiction and return to a freer way of life.
If you know someone who you think might be suffering from pornography addiction or you're concerned you might have a problem yourself, any of these therapeutic options can be very effective in helping to overcome it.
Peter Field is a leading U.K. therapist and counselor. His hypnotherapy Birmingham website provides more information on pornography addiction and treatment. Peter's comprehensive range of powerful self hypnosis MP3 downloads are now available.