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Pornography is taboo, and people with porn addiction may find it challenging to reach out for help. If you’re wondering how to overcome porn addiction, know that you aren’t alone, and it’s possible to recover.

Porn addiction is compulsive, uncontrollable use of pornography. The person with the addiction often feels guilt and shame for their inability to stop. There is recovery after porn addiction, but you have to understand the signs of porn addiction before taking steps to overcome it.

Signs of Porn Addiction

Like other addictions, porn addiction often develops as a response to extreme stress or unresolved trauma. To feel relief in a stressful situation or when triggered, someone with porn addiction will turn to pornography to ease their discomfort. 

Signs of porn addiction include: 

  • Excessive viewing of pornography
  • Failed attempts to stop viewing porn
  • Feeling defensive about porn usage
  • Declining sexual intimacy between you and your partner 
  • Lying about porn usage

Someone who can healthily use porn can view pornography and stop whenever they want because they can control their desire to consume it. People addicted to pornography often feel shame and guilt regarding their porn use because they don’t know how to stop watching porn.

Conditions that Encourage Porn Addiction

There is no single cause of porn addiction. Experts think a combination of factors causes someone to develop a porn addiction. Similarly, there is no single reason that people with porn addiction turn to porn to ease discomfort. Factors like mental health, cultural expectations, and relationship problems may encourage porn addiction.

Other factors related to porn addiction include:

  • Loneliness
  • Voyeurism
  • Pornographic novelty
  • Fighting boredom by watching porn

When someone under these conditions uses pornography and experiences a dopamine release, the brain interprets that release as pleasure. Over time, an individual will develop porn cravings and continue to seek out pornography to overcome the feelings they experience when lonely, or fighting boredom, for example. But as their porn use increases, it will take more pornography to achieve the same high they once experienced, and the dopamine receptors in their brain will function less. As the use of porn escalates over time, it becomes an addiction.

How to Overcome Porn Addiction

To treat any addiction, you have to treat its underlying cause. Identifying and healing the trauma that led to the addictive behavior is crucial for success. The following steps can help you overcome porn addiction.

Recognize the Problem

Admitting a problem and acknowledging how it affects your life is necessary to make a change. Honesty is key, especially with yourself.

Ed Tilton, Chief Operating Officer at  Begin Again Institute and Boulder Recovery, said the best way to win the battle with porn addiction is to be honest with yourself. 

“Start to be honest with your behaviors as it relates to cravings and start being honest with yourself about the consequences. The lies we tell ourselves often become the strongest delusions and hardest behaviors to change. Convincing ourselves that we have an overactive active libido or that our partner just is not into the same things we are can be some of the lies that we use to feed a behavior into an addiction.” 

Ed noted that honesty is critical for real change.

“Once we can find honesty with self, we are more likely to start to be honest with others and through that honesty start to acknowledge a desire for change and a new freedom in how we see choice,” he said.

Decide What Needs to Change

Once you’ve recognized the problem, it’s time to make some changes. You may want to change your environment or your habits. For example, avoiding porn use triggers is a great way to start.

You may also want to seek professional help. Researching group therapy or one-on-one programs is a great first step to finding help that will work for you.

Don’t Blame Other People

While porn addiction can result from biological or cultural factors, it’s imperative not to pass the blame to other people for the sake of your recovery. Having an addiction is not your fault, nor is it anyone else’s. Instead, focus on being honest with yourself about your addiction. Then, take steps to get the help you need to recover.

Get Rid of Pornographic Materials

Getting rid of pornographic materials may look like deleting bookmarks to porn sites on your browser or getting rid of pornographic magazines or DVDs. You may also decide to have a trusted friend install anti-porn software on your computer, so you can’t access pornogrpahy and you don’t have the password.

Combat Temptation

Find something else – a healthy activity – to turn to instead of porn. Keeping a journal where you record times you were tempted and track any setbacks can help you recognize patterns and better understand why you turn to porn in the first place. Identifying triggers and ways to avoid them can be a great way to prevent the urge to access pornography.

Give Yourself Time to Recover

Building habits and breaking them takes time. You don’t have to go on this healing journey alone, nor do you have to do it all at once. Give yourself the time to understand your behaviors and set realistic goals for your recovery.

Quitting gradually while you slowly confront the truth of your behaviors and come to terms with how they impact your life can help prevent a relapse. Understanding the porn addiction stages of recovery can help you build a strong foundation for a lifetime recovery.

Altering Your Environment to Overcome Porn Addiction

Changing your environment can help you avoid triggers that make you want to use porn. Making changes to your life, both physical and digital, can help you overcome porn addiction. 

Suggested changes include:

  • Downloading a porn filter on your devices
  • Monitoring internet use
  • Setting a timer when using the internet
  • Using a computer in public locations
  • Getting rid of hard copy porn
  • Creating distractions from porn
  • Avoiding the conditions that encourage porn addiction
  • Surrounding yourself with people who support you

Getting Help to Overcome Porn Addiction

If you know someone who needs help with porn addiction, Tilton says to be honest and clear with them.

“The communication has to be specific and involves you acknowledging the person you know while also stating the specific behaviors associated with the addiction that have caused pain and betrayal and set a boundary and follow through.”

The following steps are critical for recovery:

  • Start Changing Yourself First. Start small and work on changing your environment and understanding your triggers. 
  • Build Your Support Network. Reach out to a trusted friend or partner and let them know what you’re dealing with. Share your goals and ask for help with accountability.
  • Get Resources. Check available resources to help you with this specific problem. There are many treatment programs available. You can start treating your addiction at home.
  • Get Professional Help. Find a program or mental health professional who understands what you’re going through and can guide you to healing the addiction’s cause and through your recovery.

Let Begin Again Institute Help

Learning how to overcome porn addiction is an essential step in your recovery journey. If you’d like help along the way, contact Begin Again Institute. We have treatment programs to help you overcome your addiction and take back your life.

  • Category: Pornography Addiction
  • By John Squires
  • May 21, 2022

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