Posted by Improving Lives Counseling | Articles
Men, women, adolescents, and teens are exposed to pornographic websites. Often linked to unsuspecting legitimate websites or in malware spyware, popups with pictures, videos, and movie clips offer a wide range of enticing advertisements. There are 25 million porn sites worldwide and they make up 12% of all websites and more than 30% of all web traffic. These sites enjoy more than five million hits a month and the industry is said to be worth more than $100 billion globally. Although the recession of 2009 greatly “decreased” the number of U.S. porn viewers, in 2013, multiple sources reported 77% of Americans viewed porn at least once a month. Some say it fosters exploration and emotional intimacy, while others say it exploits women, destroys relationships, and sabotages the ability to enjoy normal sex. The American Addiction Center defines behavioral addiction as: “The compulsion to continually engage in an activity or behavior despite the negative impact on the person’s ability to remain mentally and/or physically healthy and functional in the home and community.” An addiction to pornography is a behavioral addiction. Improving Lives Counseling Services can help.
As with any addiction, determining severity is based on frequency, response, reward, and the level of anxiety experienced at ending or ceasing the activity. The pornography addict spends an excessive amount of time viewing free and pay pornographic websites, collecting pornographic material, and downloading and sharing pornographic movies and videos – oblivious to the impact on other areas of his or her life, health, finances, or relationships. Viewing actors and actresses in specific roles invite the customer to invest mentally and physically in a fictional fantasy. Professionals report three main reasons people turn to pornography: to view fantasies, enhance self-stimulation, or avoid intimacy in a relationship. Researchers suggest men’s brains are hard-wired for arousal, that brain cells fire when an action is performed or observed. Loss of libido, loss of interest in an intimate relationship, depression, anxiety, frustration, anger, declining attraction, and loneliness are reported as top causes of pornography addiction. Erectile dysfunction, the health of a spouse or partner, loss of a job, death in a family, and financial hardships can trigger an addict’s intense cravings for the dopamine pornography provides. The counselors and therapists of Improving Lives Counseling Services diagnose and treat behavioral addictions.
An addiction to pornography limits the ability to experience a full range of human emotions. Reduced cognitive functions, coupled with increased cravings, lead to endless heightened desires and unattainable satisfaction. Self-control, self-esteem, impulse, and motivation are affected by the implicit compulsive voluntary behavior. Pornography can direct intimacy away from a real life partner, leading to risky, and often, illegal behaviors. Divorce, separation from family and friends, loss of employment, emotional isolation, and financial problems lead to problems in everyday life. Irritability, blame, embarrassment, and self-loathing are side-effects of the addiction. How serious is the addiction? In 2005, Senator Sam Brownback, chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Science, heard a panel of anti-porn advocates comparing pornography to heroin, calling upon Congress to finance studies on porn addiction and launch a public-health campaign about its dangers. More recently, House Bill H.R. 901 – 114th Congress (2015-2016) directs the Office of Management and Budget to issue guidelines that prohibit the access of a pornographic or other explicit website from a federal computer – except in investigative cases. Pornography addicts often carry their activities into the workplace and into the homes of family members and friends. They download websites onto cell phones, laptops, and other portable digital devices for easy access when traveling or away from home.
Improving Lives Counseling Services has ten locations in Tulsa and surrounding communities. The treatment, although similar to that of other addictions, is specific to pornography addiction. Related mental and behavioral disorders and related addictive behaviors are diagnosed and treated. An addiction to pornography is destructive. Over time, a porn addict may require increasingly explicit porn, connect with other porn addicts, or act on the fantasies – becoming overly aggressive and self-destructive. It’s never too early or too late to seek help, guidance, treatment, and support. Individual, couples, family, and group sessions are available. Live the life you and those you care about the most are meant to live. Call us.