In the age of modern technology, porn is within reach every moment of the day. Through smartphone technology, tablets, computers and TV, it has never been easier to view porn. This can make it really difficult to recognise that you are struggling with an addiction and to manage your addiction yourself. Addictions are treatable though, and with the right support, you can learn how to identify dependence on porn and overcome the powerful feelings that cause addiction in the first place. Learn here about the signs and symptoms of porn addiction and where to turn to for support.
An addiction to pornography is more than just regular use of porn. Addiction refers to the way that your brain structure and chemistry can change in relation to a particular substance or activity. Using pornography causes a strong release of dopamine, which is the brain’s reward pathway. As the reward pathway becomes desensitised over time, you require more and more of the same substance or activity to attain the same sense of reward. In the case of pornography, this can mean that the user needs to access more and more regularly, or increasingly extreme viewing material to get the same sense of pleasure.
Addiction means that the person feels compelled to keep using something even though they may not want to, or may recognise that it is causing them harm. If you believe that pornography is interfering with your life or relationships then it is time to start seeking help.
Porn dependence treatment can be particularly challenging because of the ease with which users can access pornography. Most people can access porn on their phones, tablets, and laptops, meaning that within moments from having the urge to be looking at porn, you can access millions of pages and videos. This makes it uniquely challenging to try to abstain from porn usage or to recognise that you are struggling with porn dependence.
It can be difficult to treat yourself for porn dependence when you are in your own home and continue with your daily routines; porn rehab offers distance from day-to-day life and the ease in which you can access pornographic content. It also takes you away from the stressors and difficulties that may be contributing to the addiction. Porn addiction rehab provides therapy from compassionate people and round-the-clock and support to give you the highest chances of being freed from your addiction.
There are a lot of negative stereotypes and beliefs about porn usage. Porn in itself is not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ and can be used as part of healthy sex life as an individual or within a relationship. However, when porn is misused or overused it can have harmful effects, such as:
Some use of pornography is healthy and normal. You can recognise if your usage has slipped into an addiction if you start to notice:
Porn dependence treatment can be complex and it is important to seek help as soon as you realise that you are struggling. It may feel embarrassing or difficult to speak about, but please try to remember that doctors and mental health professionals are used to talking openly about issues such as pornography and masturbation. They are concerned only with your wellbeing; no one is judging you. The more open you can be about your difficulties the more they can help you to identify the next steps in your porn addiction treatment. It might be that you can manage this yourself at home with some counselling, or in some cases, you may be advised to attend porn rehab in an inpatient unit. Your GP can discuss these options with you.
Porn addiction rehab is usually an inpatient treatment option that allows you to stay in a safe and comfortable space, away from life’s demands, to focus on your recovery. You will receive an assessment from a mental health professional, who will help to uncover underlying factors for your addiction and understand which treatment approach will be most effective for you. The first step involves an admission process where you will be helped to understand your treatment and what you can expect from your stay. A detox period is not necessary for porn addiction since there are no health risks when you stop using porn; however, you may experience effects of psychological withdrawal, such as depression, anxiety and insomnia. This is different from a physical detox.
You will have regular one-to-one and group therapy throughout your stay. Therapy is a process of self-discovery where you can find out what your addiction is really about. Porn addiction is not really about porn – it is about yourself and the way that you cope with your life. In therapy, you will learn how your past history and the coping skills you have developed may leave you vulnerable to addiction, and you will develop new coping skills and learn about yourself and your triggers and risk factors. Finally, you will receive an aftercare support package to help you to maintain your progress after you leave.
The length of rehab treatment can vary depending on the programme at different centres and also the severity of symptoms. On average, porn rehab programmes can range from 1 week up to around 12 weeks. It is advisable that a course of around 4 weeks is the minimum required to make effective change. If you want to successfully recover from porn addiction, it is important that whatever treatment programme you do choose, you stay for the duration.
It can be daunting to make that initial call and reach out for help. There is a lot of stigma around porn use and many people will feel scared to admit they have a problem and ask for help. Rehab is a safe and supportive environment where staff are trained to help you feel comfortable to explore your difficulties and open up. There are a few different ways that rehab units can support you:
It is possible to access treatment for porn addiction through the NHS, as well as through private funding and private insurance. NHS treatment would be accessed by talking to your GP. You may then be put on a waiting list, which unfortunately can take many months. With NHS addiction treatment, you will not be able to choose the centre you prefer and may have to travel a significant distance for your treatment.
It is also possible to access treatment through private insurance in some cases. It is best to discuss this with your insurance company first and make sure that you are clear on which parts of the treatment are covered and if there are any parts that are not covered. You will usually still have to go to your GP for a referral.
Private funding is the quickest and most straightforward way to access support for porn addiction. In some cases, you can be in a treatment centre commencing treatment within 24 hours of making the first phone call. The cost of treatment can vary and there may be different options available to suit different budgets.
Recovery Lighthouse is a state-of-the-art treatment centre based in West Sussex. Our treatment programme is based around the ‘12 Step’ model and offers a full timetable of holistic therapies tailored to your needs. ‘The 12 Step’ model is a set of principles which can be interpreted in different ways, helping you to direct your life towards a meaningful focus and away from self-destructive behaviours and habits. You will receive a combination of individual therapy, CBT, group therapy and holistic therapies such as meditation and music therapy. This comprehensive programme will allow you to recover and heal on all levels, body, mind and soul, while individual and group therapy will help you to identify the underlying reasons for your addiction and to identify triggers. You will also be offered guidance on how to manage the painful or difficult feelings that you are presently avoiding through your porn addiction, through different coping skills, such as meditation and the other holistic therapies. You will also have the chance to form friendships with others going through similar experiences, via social activities during your stay.
Staff at Recovery Lighthouse are medically trained. You will receive a year of free aftercare as part of your rehabilitation journey, including regular group therapy sessions. It is important to ensure that aftercare is at the heart of any treatment that you choose as you will need more support at home for a year after your treatment.
Recovery Lighthouse offers a year of free addiction treatment services following your stay at the residential unit. Alternative options such as the NHS, and charitable organisations such as Turning Point, may also offer aftercare facilities as part of their programme. It is important to check this when you discuss rehab options since aftercare is a crucial part of the recovery process. Aftercare can involve regular counselling, group meetings and access to peer support.
If you suspect that you might be struggling with an addiction to porn, please be assured that you are not alone and that help is out there. It can be challenging to overcome on your own, but with professional help, you can learn how to overcome your addiction. The first step towards a brighter future is to contact an organisation that offers specialist support and find out what your options are. Within days you could be getting the help that you need.