Pornography addiction: symptoms, characteristics and treatment

The issues that affect mental health evolve over time, in the same way that the development of new technologies and new lifestyles are also transformed with the advancement of history.

The emergence of pornography addiction, a psychological disorder that would have been unthinkable centuries ago, is one example.

In this article we will see what porn addiction isWhat are its characteristics and what can be done about it.

    What is porn addiction?

    As the name suggests, pornography addiction is a psychological disorder characterized by excessive use of pornographic material to satisfy sexual appetite, Which becomes an addictive relationship with adult content films, erotic photographs, etc.

    However, it is still little studied and the knowledge available about it is mainly part of clinical practice in therapy by psychologists and psychiatrists. In fact, today porn addiction does not have its own section in the most widely used diagnostic textbooks in the mental health world, although it can be understood as a specific variety of psychological disorders. who have them.

    We often understand that this phenomenon between in the concept of sexual addiction, an umbrella term that brings together a whole series of dysfunctional behavior patterns based on dependence on the satisfaction of sexual urges, and which is estimated to be present (more or less) in 3% of adults in Western countries.

    It has been found that in people affected by compulsive sexual behavior, the areas of the brain that are activated when they see pornography are almost the same as those which are activated when they see drugs by those who develop drug addiction. : zones of the system. reward of the brain and other associated structures, such as the cortex of the anterior cingulate and amygdala.

    However, it remains to be seen whether porn addiction can be considered, technically, as an additional behavioral addiction (such as pathological gambling or gambling addiction) or whether it is more appropriate to understand it as a disorder belonging to the spectrum. obsessive-compulsive, like OCD, excoriation disorder, etc.


      As we have seen, there is no very precise definition of the characteristics and symptoms of pornography addiction; But, as a rule, these forms of discomfort stand out:

      • Consumption of pornography occupies too high a percentage of free time.
      • The satisfaction of the desire to watch pornography interferes with work and / or a healthy social life.
      • Consuming pornography constantly or anticipating it damages any relationships you might have.
      • The lifestyle associated with this modification involves spending too much money on erotic or pornographic material.
      • Difficulties in concentrating when taking too long without consuming pornography appear.
      • An irritable mood emerges from the frustration of spending hours without looking at pornography.

      All of the ways porn addiction is reflected in dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns. On the one hand, the tendency to think too often about these types of materials and the sexual activity associated with them. On the other hand, difficulty concentrating on other aspects of life and giving them the attention they deserve.

      How is it treated in therapy?

      Pornography addiction can be overcome through a process of psychotherapy. In this, we work to help the person deal with intrusive thoughts related to sex and pessimistic self-perception (as they act as a ‘trap’ that facilitates recovery) and develop habits. Capable of providing more and better sources of motivation and intellectual and emotional stimulation beyond sex.

      Anyway, each therapy program is always adapted to the characteristics of each patient, And their way of life.

      Are you looking for psychotherapy services?

      If you would like to initiate a process of psychological treatment for pornography addiction or any similar disorder, please contact us. Fr PsychoConsulting we have been working on issues like this for years and we attend both in person in Barcelona and through online sessions.

      Bibliographical references:

      • American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
      • Kafka, MP (2001). Paraphilia-related disorders: a proposal for a unified classification of non-paraphilic hypersexuality disorders. Sexual addiction and compulsiveness, 8 (3-4): 227-239
      • Karila L .; Wéry A .; Weinstein A .; Cottencin O .; Small A .; Reynaud M, Billieux J (2014). Sex addiction or hypersexual disorder: different terms for the same problem? A review of the literature. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 20 (25): pages 4012 – 4020.
      • Voon, V. (2014). Neural correlations of responsiveness to sexual indications in individuals with or without compulsive sexual behaviors. PLoS One, 9 (7): e102419

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