Pornography addiction is being studied now more than ever. More people are discussing the problem, and more professionals are uncovering its devastating effects.
But many people are suffering silently from this addiction.
They suffer in silence because few people are willing to share such private and vulnerable aspects of their life.
So I want to give a voice to those who can't speak up.
Everything I share comes from experiences my patients have shared with me, and from things I have observed in dozens of therapy sessions. For obvious reasons, I will not share any personal information.
Here are the things that people struggling with pornography want you to understand but will never tell you:
1. It's extremely painful
Addiction is painful; but we sometimes forget that pornography addiction is no different from other addictions. It is painful, real and deep. With it come feelings of depression, anger, frustration and self-hatred, among others.
2. It affects every aspect of life
It is a common misconception that pornography only affects intimacy; but it really affects much more.
This addiction changes the way the brain registers pleasure, eventually requiring the brain to need large doses of adrenaline to feel something positive.
This is why addicts can't easily enjoy simple things, like a good meal, a positive day at work, the love of their spouse or children and many other things. It also makes them more prone to depression, anger and impulsivity.
3. It's not their fault
I have heard many stories from various addicts, and the topic of how they started is always difficult for them to discuss. All but one had either accidentally encountered pornography, or were introduced to it by a relative or friend when they were around 8 to 11 years old.
It's not my intention to justify the action of viewing pornography; however, I want to create a level of sympathy for those who have not yet been able to pull themselves out of their addiction. While we can't force them to change, we can offer them love and acceptance through a difficult process. That alone could be the beginning of a road to recovery.