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Page medically reviewed by Dee Johnson (Mbacp,MNCS), Addiction Therapist at Priory Hospital Chelmsford in July 2022.

Porn addiction is becoming increasingly prevalent in modern society, due to the availability of the internet and other forms of technology, allowing this type of material to be accessed and downloaded anywhere and at any time.

Here, we will explore the signs that you might need professional support for porn addiction, what porn addiction withdrawal might look like, and the treatment options that are available.

When to get Porn Addiction Help

Watching porn isn’t necessarily unhealthy in itself. However, if your porn use:

  • has become excessive,
  • feels uncontrollable,
  • is increasing and becoming more extreme,
  • becomes more important than engaging with the real world,
  • is having a negative impact on your day-to-day life,
  • is having a negative impact on your relationships and sex life,
  • is having a negative effect on your mental health

This suggests that you have developed an unhealthy relationship with porn and may need professional support. If you watch porn regularly, it’s useful to make sure you’re aware of the symptoms of porn addiction, so that you can recognise when you might be developing an unhealthy dependence.  

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Priory deliver expert addiction treatment and rehabilitation. To find out how we can help you to get your life back on track, call us today on 0800 144 8969 or enquire online. Book your FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT.

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Withdrawal from Porn Addiction

In a similar way to alcohol and drug abuse, viewing pornography increases the levels of ‘feel good’ chemicals, such as dopamine, in the brain’s reward centres. This means that people want to continue seeking out these feelings by watching more and more porn. However, when you stop watching porn or are unable to access it for whatever reason, this can cause the appearance of withdrawal symptoms, much like those associated with drug addiction and alcohol addiction.

Pornography addiction withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Stress
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression, low mood and mood swings
  • Irritability and angry outbursts
  • Apathy and poor focus
  • Loneliness
  • Intense cravings to watch porn
  • Loss of libido
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headaches and other aches and pains

You may also seek out other addictive, dopamine-flooding activities to try and get your ‘fix’ e.g. gaming, gambling, shopping or substance abuse.

If you are experiencing porn withdrawal symptoms, this further suggests that you have developed a harmful dependence on porn, and need professional support.

Porn Addiction Treatment Options

The thought of speaking to someone about your porn addiction may feel daunting, because there’s a level of stigma surrounding porn use and it’s still considered by some people to be a ‘taboo’ subject.

A useful first step may be to speak to your GP about your concerns. They’ll be able to explore your symptoms and the impact they’re having on your life, and refer you for specialist porn addiction treatment if needed.

Alternatively, you can contact a private provider, like Priory, directly. All of our specialist addiction treatment hospitals and clinics offer a free initial addiction assessment with experienced addiction and mental health professionals, enabling you to discuss your porn addiction in a safe and non-judgemental environment, whilst guaranteeing utmost discretion and confidentiality.

Depending on the severity of your addiction and the intensity of the support you require, treatment options include:

  • Inpatient treatment 
  • Day treatment 
  • Outpatient treatment 

These options will be discussed in more detail during your initial assessment, and used to shape your treatment plan.

What happens during Porn Addiction Treatment?

Porn addiction treatment at Priory involves individual and group therapy to help you overcome your addiction. Within these therapy sessions, you will talk about your addiction, potential triggers, and learn ways to overcome the urges to watch porn.

Porn addiction may also be an indicator of past issues, trauma, difficult life events and low self-worth, that have never been addressed and processed, so these may also be discussed in your individual therapy sessions. 

The treatment and therapy that is provided at Priory for porn addiction, is guided by the 12-Step philosophy, which is a world-renowned abstinence-based model, that was first pioneered by the organisation Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The 12-Step philosophy focuses on combining the porn addiction recovery process with an individual’s spirituality and their motivation to change.

It's important to remember that you’re not the only one who struggles with porn addiction and you don’t need to suffer in silence. Seeking treatment is the most important first step on your road to recovery.

Get in Touch Today

For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding work addiction treatment and rehabilitation, please call 0800 144 8969 or click here to book a FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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