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How to Help Someone With a Porn Addiction? – Porn Addiction Help

If you’re in a situation where your family member or friend struggles with the effects of a pornographic addiction, you may feel uncertain about how to help.

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Most likely, you came across something that clued you into their addiction, or you observed some changes that caused you to think that something was going on.

Best case scenario? You’re a trusted person; they came to you for advice and to tell you about their concerns and want your help.

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Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, now you’re in a position to help. There are a few suggestions on ways to help someone suffering from porn addiction, but before we get to help someone suffering from porn addiction, ReelNat would like to talk about the signs of a porn addiction.

What is Porn Addiction?

Porn addiction is classified as a behavioral addiction similar to sexual addiction, gambling, or web addiction. According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5), the guide psychiatrists employ in diagnosing mental disorders has not included porn or sexual addiction as a clinical diagnosis in its most recent edition. This is because of an absence of research and consensus on symptoms.

However, just because the diagnosis hasn’t been included in the manual doesn’t necessarily mean that individuals aren’t suffering. Even though porn addiction isn’t included in the DSM at present, it doesn’t suggest that the condition will not be ever listed as a medical diagnosis.

Researchers and theorists have come up with lists of symptoms and signs of porn addiction comparable to those of other addictions based on behavior. These signs and symptoms include:

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  • Inability to stop using pornographic materials (or associated behaviors) despite a desire to stop.
  • Feeling the urge to watch pornographic content.
  • You feel as if you’re living a double life due to porn (this usually leads to feelings of guilt or shame).
  • Continue to watch porn despite the adverse effects, such as breaking friendships or job loss.
  • Inaccurately tracking significant chunks of time because of being consumed by porn.
  • In need of higher amounts or more explicit porn to achieve the same level of satisfaction or excitement (this corresponds to greater tolerance levels of those who suffer from addiction issues).

Who Can Become Addicted to Porn?

Studies have shown that dopamine is a common factor in all addictions, including porn addiction (The National Institute on Drug Abuse). Dopamine is the substance in the brain responsible for experiencing feelings of satisfaction and pleasure, but dopamine isn’t just involved in the sensation of pleasure. It also plays an important role in memory and learning.

Constant encounters with addictive drugs or behaviors like watching pornography trigger neurons in the brain to connect in the way that they connect liking something to wanting it, thereby causing us to search for it.

What Are The Signs of a Pornography Addiction?

Active addiction isn’t always obvious to recognize; the typical addiction involves a lot of shame and guilt, which is why people aren’t always open about their issues. However, there are indicators that pornography is becoming more of an issue.

Be on the lookout for these warning indicators.

  • You may have seen them watching porn at least a few times.
  • You have caught them in a lie about their pornography-watching habits.
  • If you mention it, they become defensive and start to lash out.
  • They appear to have lost their sexual attraction or drive. (You may only know this if they’re your beloved partner).
  • They’re not paying attention to their obligations.
  • They spend more and more time in solitude, particularly in private settings.
  • They are calling out of work regularly or increasing the number of times they are calling out of work.
  • You share a computer, and the history is always empty.
  • They continue to consume porn, regardless of negative consequences, like the loss of jobs or problems with relationships.

Risk Factors in the Development of Porn Addiction

There are numerous risks for addiction to porn. They are divided into psychological, biological, and social aspects.

Biological Risk Factors

The risk factors for this are an excessive libido and a genetic predisposition, emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, or sensation-seeking behavior.

Psychological Risk Factors

The psychological risk factors are early exposure to sexuality or pornography, abuse, and mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, control disorder, and performance anxiety.

Social Risk Factors

The risk factors for social risks include the possibility of rejection, particularly from a desired partner, social isolation, and peer influence.

How to Help Someone End a Pornography Addiction

Although there isn’t a silver solution to getting rid of the desire to watch porn for someone that is addicted to porn, there are ways that your loved one can get help. It could start with you! We have some concrete ideas of ways you can assist people in ending their addiction.

Don’t Shame Them

You could think that creating a sense of shame and guilt over viewing porn will make them realize the ripple effects of their choices. If they experience a sense of guilt and shame for watching porn, they’ll want to stop looking at it, right?

It doesn’t really work that way; they’re already struggling with a lot of shame. Most likely, they are aware that they don’t want to be around porn but have attempted to get off at their own discretion hundreds or a thousand times. Shame and guilt can be very damaging to a person’s self-esteem; they may feel damaged, inadequate, and depressed because of it.

These negative emotions can create a lot of suffering for addicts, not just those addicted to pornography. If you add to their feelings of inadequacy and shame, you could make it worse instead of helping; you’ll want to be a trustworthy individual for your loved one to communicate with. You want them to be able to trust you, as this is the best method to be there for them and help them.

Help the person identify other ways to encourage positive change instead of criticizing negative behavior.

  • Develop a healthy perception of right and wrong when needed. It is possible to do this by letting them know that you want them to see themselves as a separate person from their addiction. They are not terrible individuals, but their behavior can cause harm and need to be changed. 
  • If the addiction has harmed their relationships, you could tell them, “Your relationships are going to be much better if you alter your behavior. Life is going to be easier for you. It might not seem so at first, but I promise it will.”

Provide emotional support.

If someone has been transparent with you regarding their addiction to porn, it is important to concentrate on being more supportive than negative; it can be hard to admit to such a problem. If you are looking to help, you have to show you are trustworthy and not ridicule the person. A solid support system can aid the person in reducing stress.

It’s not easy to admit there is a problem, and you should be able to tell them something like, “First foremost, I want to thank you for letting me know. I’m sure it requires a lot of courage to admit that you have a problem. I’m here to assist you in any way that I can assist.”

Show empathy.

Being heard and being understood is a crucial aspect of personal development. The emotional pain that comes with dealing with an addiction to pornography can make a person hide their face in shame, which can be difficult. It is possible to alleviate the pain of someone else by listening attentively.

  • Learn to be accepting and compassionate rather than criticizing the person. Learn from resources that will teach you how to be more compassionate. 
  • Treat someone the way you would want to be treated; the golden rule. You’ve probably had to deal with challenges in your life; use the sense of what worked for you and what didn’t.

Talk to them and be gentle.

You have to approach the issue firmly and honestly; however, you must consider their feelings and the best approach to take. Be gentle, but don’t beat around the bush or makeup excuses.

You could say, “I am worried about you; hope you’ve have been making progress. So far this week, how has it been?”

Talk about the problem to take action.

It is possible that someone with a problem with pornography has kept it to themselves for a very long time. Talking lets someone free from the illusion of hiding secrets. Talking can be extremely therapeutic and is utilized in various forms of psychotherapy.

  • If someone tells you he is addicted, let him share his story with you. It is essential for him to feel that the story is being heard.
  • If you notice any changes in a person’s behavior, you could raise the issue by saying, “I’ve noticed you are spending more time online, and it seems as if something is bothering you. Would you like to discuss it with me? with me about this?”
  • Be prepared to ask hard and truthful questions; the discussion of difficult topics that could compromise the relationship can be challenging. The root of the problem is deceit or refusal to acknowledge, so you have to be honest. It is essential to be honest and direct with your questions, such as, “Do you think you are addicted to pornography?”

Be the accountability person.

People are more likely to take on a challenge if they are aware that someone else is interested in the results. It’s easier to trust yourself and your capabilities when you can tell somebody about your accomplishments; the ability to be accountable improves results and efficiency. You could be the person who demands to be kept informed, displays an interest in the individual’s achievement, and will call the person out when the person isn’t performing to the standards you expect. It can help a person commit to a plan that will stop unhealthy behavior.

  • You can assist the person to take responsibility by saying something like, “I want to help you with this so I’m going to check in with you and ask you how things are going.”

Get them physically active.

Offer healthy distractions to draw them away from the computer. The aim is to assist the person to become physically active in order to develop an interest in experiencing the benefits of physical exercise. When they feel more relaxed, it is easier to be motivated and positive to make changes.

  • You can suggest things such as walking in the morning, running, hiking, and lifting weights. These types of activities aid the brain in releasing endorphins that increase satisfaction and decrease discomfort, you know, simple pleasures of life.

Find new passions.

Addiction consumes the bulk of a person’s time and prevents them from pursuing passions. This prevents them from experiencing things they like and also things they could appreciate if they had the time.

Encourage them to pursue their interests by asking the questions: 

  • What’s lacking in your life? 
  • Where would you go if you could? 
  • What would you love to do to earn a living?

Read More: Overcoming Pornography Addiction

Read More: How Taking Responsibility For Your Actions Helps You Grow in the Process

Read More: Ways to Invest in Yourself and Build a Better Life


Engage in an intervention.

Help can come in various ways; sometimes, it is a more targeted approach required. Intervention is a deliberate confrontation with family and friends to discuss the addict; it’s a difficult choice to make, but one that is essential if the addiction has grown into a spiral that is beyond control and it is clear that the individual’s life is at risk. Most people who suffer from addiction are in denial and don’t seek help. Although an intervention may be overwhelming for the individual, the goal should not be to place the individual on the defensive.

Be aware that people participating in the event should be chosen carefully, and people who can explain how their addiction to pornography affected them.

Talk to a therapist.

If the issues are getting more difficult and self-help techniques aren’t making any difference, suggest they seek out the help of a therapist. There is a possibility that they have deep-seated depression, anxiety, and self-esteem issues, which are too difficult to manage. A licensed therapist is educated to handle these kinds of problems and will be able to assist them. The therapist aims to provide an environment where people can discuss, express feelings, and discuss the issue in an open and complete way.

Encourage real-life interactions.

An addiction to pornographic content causes an unhealthy quantity of online time as compared to the time spent in real life. If someone wants to build authentic, meaningful interactions with others, then it is essential to engage in a healthy amount of interactions with people.

  • Invite them to social events with you, where there will be new faces; they may feel uncomfortable in the beginning, so be by their side to give them the assistance they need.
  • Pornography has created a false perception of sexual interactions between humans. The person who is affected must be taught about the reality of sexual relationships. Try to offer trustworthy and reliable resources to them.

Celebrate the improvements. 

It is hard to change behavior, so when someone shows improvements, it is important to recognize and celebrate this. It could be a small gesture initially, but gradually increasing to bigger ones as the days and months go by. If the person is sharing any details about the good activities he’s doing and you are pleased, be sure to thank him.

  • For instance, they could say they got through an entire day or week without glancing at pornography. You could reply with, “That is awesome. You’re making progress. Continue to work on yourself.”

Continue to show your support. 

Always be there with the other person (text, call, or visit them). Be positive in your interactions with them; Be honest, direct, and serious when necessary. The person should be aware that there are those who will help him in his path to recovery. That includes you.

  • Be understanding and kind to the person’s struggles. 
  • Be kind and treat others the way you would prefer to be treated (The Golden Rule).

Conclusion

Pornography addiction can be a severe problem, and attempting to assist oneself requires sensitivity. Do well to help the loved one to seek the help they require and to stick with it. Recovery is very possible.

There’s a lot to do to assist someone, but the most important factor is always showing up gracefully. Listen to them, and be there for them at every step of the process. You can guide them on the right track by facilitating counseling groups, therapy, or other professionals.

Escaping Porn Addiction | Eli Nash | TEDxFortWayne
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