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Stages of Pornography Addiction

Author: Shernide Delva

Pornography addiction is one of the most controversial addictions out there. Even the DSM-5, the latest official manual of mental disorders, does not list pornography or sex addiction as an actual mental illness. Yet, those who struggle with it know that it is very real. Those who suffer with it deal with the reality of their addiction every single day.

An addiction to pornography does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process that worsens over time.  However, once pornography becomes a full blown addiction, it is difficult to stop. Furthermore, because of the stigma surrounding pornography addiction, many people struggle to get treatment for it. The media makes pornography seem harmless, but when it consumes every second of a person’s life, it can become as detrimental as any other addiction out there.

If you or a loved one suffers from pornography addiction, we encourage you to be mindful of the five steps of pornography addiction.

The 5 Steps of Pornography Addiction:

  1. Early exposure:

    Most people who later on struggle with pornography first viewed pornography at a young age. While this not apply to all  porn addictions, it is extremely common. Viewing pornography during childhood and adolescence exposes the mind to the act at a young age. Eventually, porn addiction becomes a way to escape reality and solve problems. Like other addictions, the brain rewires to understand that viewing pornography is a source of comfort and security.

  2. Formulation of Addiction:

    Pornography is designed to be a fantasy. It portrays sexuality in an unrealistic and compelling way. Individuals who turn to pornography continue to turn to it again and again. It skews the reality of sexuality and makes it into a spectacle.

  3. Escalation:

    Eventually, images and words become familiar, even boring, however the desire remains. What this means is that pornography that was once fulfilling in the past becomes boring. However, the desire for the same high and craving for pornography remains. Therefore, at this point, the porn addict seeks new, more graphic material, even exploring content that they once found disgusting.

  4. Desensitization:

    As mentioned above, after a while the addict becomes desensitized to the graphic material. Therefore, they watch more and more porn and even more graphic material and are never fully satisfied. This begins a destructive pattern because the porn addict is left with an overwhelming desire they can no longer fulfill.

  5. Acting out sexually:

    After a while, it becomes difficult for the pornography addict to separate reality from what they see online. At this point, many begin to act out the images and scenarios that have surrounded them for so long. While this is not a step for everyone, it is a possibility. However, just because your addiction has not reached this point does not mean it will not in the future. Also, if you have not reached this point, that does not mean you do not have a pornography problem.

Seeing a loved one struggle with porn addiction is difficult. Having a pornography addiction is even harder. However, the first step is acknowledging the problem and taking steps to ensure that the addiction does not take over your life. Understand that any addiction that affects your day to day life is a serious issue. You do not need the validation of others to seek help for your addiction.

If you have identified yourself in any of these steps, or suspect a loved one is struggling with a pornography addiction, please contact us today. We can give you the tools to overcome your addiction. Please take the initiative to get your life back on track. Call now.

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