What Do I Do If Someone I Care About Has An Addiction To Pornography?

Knowing how to deal with someone that has an addiction to pornography can be a very difficult road for many. And most often those affected by this type of addiction happens between a husband and a wife. This behavior can leave one with a low self-esteem, feeling betrayed, alone, and end up with a shattered relationship. Even if the addiction is between friends, relationships will suffer, so the issue shouldn’t be ignored.

Once you have discovered that someone close to you has an addiction problem, talk with them and share your concern. This is probably one of the hardest steps to take emotionally, but can be the most rewarding long term.

Some of you may not know that pornography is a neuron changer. The reason for this is due to the way it floods the brain with dopamine‒ giving the body a rush that eventually rewires the brains reward center. Neuroplasticity is a word meaning brain and change. It works like this:

A neuron is a cell in the brain that is activated by smell, sight, sound, taste, or touch, etc. Every time something good happens, chemicals are released in the brain, telling you how wonderful you feel. Your brain builds pathways like this for everything including emotions, and it does the same for those that engage in pornography. The problem with pornography is that the brain gets overwhelmed by the constant overload of chemicals it’s experiencing, and starts to fight back… eventually taking away some of its dopamine receptors. This begins a numbing effect, causing a result in the brain to find more arousal from pornographic materials, and ultimately becoming addicted, and always looking for something bigger and better to satisfy the addiction. Now, the addict is constantly searching for that dopamine high that they first experienced, and the more they look at porn, the harder it is to find satisfaction, and more difficult to break free from the unhealthy behavior.

Addictions of any kind use these same neurons. Within the last decade, research has proven that addictions cause the brains frontal lobes to start shrinking. This is the part of the brain that controls our logical thinking and basic problem solving. It wasn’t just drugs and alcohol causing this type of trauma to the brain. It is all types of addictions and compulsive behaviors that cause the same damage.

Now that the brain is relying on this chemical response, it suddenly has a new sense of craving that cannot be satiated. Pornography short-circuits the brain since it remembers where the sexual high came from, turning the viewer into an addict.

With this information, there is hope for those you love. Often times you may wonder how you can you assist those you care for who are suffering from an addiction to pornography. This can be achieved with a 30 step task program that was designed by Dr. Patrick Carnes, who has pioneered treatment for sexual addiction. Without identifying the core issues that contribute to the addiction, the ability to overcome and maintain sobriety with an addiction to pornography would be nonexistent.