As the conversation around pornography and addiction to graphic, sexualized images and videos continues to grow, many are wondering how the effects of pornography addiction compare to addictions to drugs and other substance-related addictions. Mental health professionals and other scientific sources continue to study and report on the findings of individuals who are coming forward with sexual and pornographic addiction.
Their findings? There are quite a bit of similarities between pornography addiction and substance abuse. These comparisons are helping professionals better understand the addictive qualities of pornographic materials, what triggers often lead to addictive behaviors, and how to develop treatment plans for those seeking help from pornography addiction.
Individuals who report pornography addiction are increasingly indicating both behaviors and withdrawal symptoms that are similar to substance addiction. Many will report experiencing uncontrollable and constant urges to engage in destructive behaviors with themselves and others. Similarly to those who find themselves addicted to drugs and alcohol, many will go out of their way to find access to the addictive substance and “experience a high” in increasingly inappropriate environments.
When attempting to quit pornography consumption, those who report addictive behaviors with pornographic content report similar withdrawal symptoms as those reported with drugs and alcohol:
Outside of the physical symptoms, those suffering from pornography addiction also experience similar behavioral manifestations. Unchecked, addiction to pornography or sex can lead to an increase in predatory behavior such as stalking, harassment, assault, or rape. Similar to those suffering from substance abuse, the physical dangers posed to themselves and others through their addictive behaviors can increase in severity and consistency over time. Many only report finally breaking their addictions once a tragic outcome occurs.
Many individuals suffering from pornography addiction report looking to their addiction as a way to escape the difficulties of life. Whether for comfort or escape, individuals flee to the temporary relief of sexual gratification in the same way that drugs or alcohol can bring a physical sense of addictive comfort or relief.
The issues related to pornographic addiction have shown similar neurological rewiring capabilities as other addictions – creating new neural pathways that the brain seeks to follow time and again. These new neural pathways become increasingly difficult to overcome as individuals follow their impulses further.
As mental health professionals continue to find similar biochemical addictive properties with pornography consumption, the comparisons between porn addiction, sex addiction, and other substance abuse continues to grow. While this is a terrible prognosis for those suffering from pornography addiction, this reality does offer hope for those engaged in addiction – as the current treatment methods for substance abuse hold hope for those struggling with pornography and sex addiction.
As a team of licensed, clinical counselors, our professionals at Novus Mindful Life, stand ready to help individuals suffering from pornography and sexual addiction. In personalized treatment plans that are centered around holistic health and wellness, Novus Mindful Life works to help individuals learn more about pornography addiction, as well as the treatment options available for those looking to escape the grasp of addiction.
If you or someone you love is suffering from pornography addiction, there is hope for healing for those willing to step forward. Contact the Novus Mindful Life team today to discover how personal counseling tailored to your unique needs can help finally break the chains of pornography and sex addiction.