Withdrawals from Porn Addiction

Porn addiction is one of the most common behavioral conditions among men, with 79% of men between 18 and 30 years of age admitting that they watch porn on a monthly basis.

With increased consumption, porn addiction may lead to changes in the brain, which may further lead to symptoms of withdrawal once that person tries to quit. This is why porn addiction withdrawal help is necessary for those exhibiting this behavior.

What is Porn Addiction?

Porn addiction is a behavioral condition that occurs in people that have abused porn watching over the long term. It is described as a compulsive activity to watch porn, even if you are negatively affected by it. In time, the repetitive pattern associated with porn addiction will escalate in a way that it begins to resemble substance abuse.

Porn addiction has taken a fair amount of skepticism, to the point where even the psychological experts do not consider it an actual addiction. However, while the behavioral study societies do not diagnose it as an “addiction,” it is treated similarly.

Porn addiction can cause damage to a person’s lifestyle in the same manner that substance abuse does. As the person consumes more and more porn, the brain will become dependent on it, continuing the activity even if they repeatedly want to stop the behavior. 

What Causes Withdrawals?

Our brain is wired to work around something we call the “reward system.” Whenever we do something that makes us feel happy or overall find pleasurable (i.e., porn), the brain will boost the production of dopamine – or as we call it, the “feel good” neurotransmitter.

Once your body gets used to the dopamine rush, it will seek it more and more. At some point during the addiction, your body will become dependent on dopamine, relying on porn to trigger the reward system. With time, more porn will be necessary in order to obtain the same release.

When an addict no longer feeds their addiction (in this case, porn), dopamine will not be produced in the usual quantities. This can lead to a series of withdrawal symptoms of both physical and psychological nature.

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Signs of Porn Addiction

When casual porn enjoyment turns into an addiction, there are a couple of signs you might want to look out for. These signs include:

  • Being secretive about your online behavior
  • Watching porn for long times, even when you are not supposed to
  • Neglecting your responsibilities in favor of watching porn
  • Feeling the need to watch porn and being unable to resist it
  • Being unable to enjoy sexual intercourse with your partner without watching porn first
  • Feeling guilt for your own porn-watching habits but being unable to stop
  • Increased tolerance and the need for extreme porn in order to get the same effect

When you notice the signs of addiction, you might want to get help as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Withdrawals in Porn Addiction

Unlike substance abuse, porn addiction exhibits more psychological symptoms as opposed to the physical type (although the latter may also be present). Here are the symptoms that often appear during the porn addiction withdrawal process.

  • Decreased libido as the fantasies from watching porn become harder to reach
  • Mood swings as your brain no longer gets that dopamine rush
  • Insomnia as the addict can no longer get their “after dark” dose of porn
  • Social anxiety as a potential result of going out more
  • Headaches as a result of the chemical imbalance occurring in your brain
  • Inability to focus as you keep replaying the porn scenes in your mind in the absence of the actual videos
  • Sexual dreams and pornographic flashbacks
  • Irritability, frustration, and increased annoyance with everything around you

Porn withdrawal has a different timeline for everyone. Some may experience the symptoms for a couple of weeks, whereas for others it might take months.

How To Treat Porn Withdrawals

Porn withdrawal is treated through various means. First, the patient will be limited from their porn consumption and given other activities to focus on. Exercise is very often a healthy replacement for porn addicts, as it helps the brain naturally release the dopamine they crave.

If the porn addiction is not severe, then the withdrawal can be done at home. The patient will limit their Internet consumption, keeping themselves occupied with other healthy activities in order to get past the withdrawal. If the porn withdrawal is more advanced, then inpatient therapy will be recommended instead.

Depending on the circumstances, a patient may also be recommended medical detox. In circumstances where the withdrawal brings depression and anxiety, medication may be prescribed to correct that imbalance in your brain.

Long-Term Solutions to Porn Withdrawals

Porn addiction withdrawal typically affects people in the long term. Unlike other afflictions, such as alcohol addiction, withdrawal can start weeks after you got your last “dose” of porn. Some people may even experience a peak in their withdrawal symptoms after 3-4 weeks.

When long-term withdrawal sets, a person who is addicted to porn will begin to experience sexual dissatisfaction with their partner, along with a decreased addiction. This can have a significant impact on their relationship, as they will not be able to become close physically.

Porn addiction can also lead to low self-esteem in both partners, causing a rift to form in their relationship. Shame along with different expectations will haunt the person going through withdrawal, affecting them in the long term.

How We Can Help You

At Real Deal Therapy and Wellness, we have the resources necessary to ensure that your withdrawal process goes as smoothly as possible. Whether you require inpatient or outpatient therapy, the physicians and rehab professionals will determine the right course of treatment for your condition.

Based on the severity of your addiction, the doctor might also recommend medical detox and individual therapy. Your mental health will be checked, and if any chemical imbalances in your brain are discovered, then you may receive medical aid. Those in need of long term therapy will also receive counseling in order to resolve their addiction.

Don’t let your porn addiction control your life! Contact Real Deal to make your withdrawal more manageable.

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