How does someone become addicted to cyberporn? "Addiction to internet pornography behaves much like any other addiction. The individual normally begins with occasional use of porn (viewing the masturbation), and because the behavior is such a powerful and immediate pleasure reinforcer it is at very high risk for progressing, often rapidly, into out-of-control behavior. Addictions are almost always progressive, sometimes quickly, sometimes slower and more insidiously. One of the primary diagnostic qualifiers of addiction is the continuation of the behavior in the face of adverse consequences (trouble at work, home, socially, loss of interest in other activities, etc.). "
What type of impact can cyberporn have on a person's overall life? "It is often though that the potential negative effects of porn addiction pale in comparison to alcoholism or drug addiction, but I have not found this to be necessarily true. I have seen in my own practice cases where porn addiction has virtually completely taken over the person's live: Lost time at work or even losing a job due to porn use, loss of interest in sex with real people, including partners/spouses, isolation from friends an social activities due to time spent using porn. It can be a very isolation and lonely experience. Marriages have been broken, friends lost and jobs terminated due to porn addiction."
How can someone overcome cyberporn?
"Overcoming porn addiction requires a multifaceted approach, beginning, to state what should be obvious, a sincere desire to stop. This also requires the acceptance that moderation is in almost all cases impossible, and that what is necessary is a commitment to complete abstinence. A combination of support groups and individual and/or group psychotherapy is most effective, however some people also benefit from an inpatient treatment program."
What last advice do you have for someone who wants to overcome cyberporn? "Realize that you are not alone and that your shame does not serve you or anyone else. You have a disorder, and like any other psychological disorder it is not your fault that you have it". But is IS your responsibility to change it. Be willing to tolerate some initial discomfort in order to stop the behavior. The cravings will pass. There is no such thing as being "ready," and the only "right time" is now. If you try to stop using porn on your own you will almost certainly fail. There is plenty of good help available.
"Dr. Perry is a licensed clinical psychologist in San Francisco specializing in alcohol and drug abuse or dependency as well as sex addiction and other addiction disorders. My specialties include psychotherapy for depression, grief recovery, response to trauma, anxiety disorders, divorce recovery, child custody evaluations and the management of stress and anxiety. I am a member of the Associations and a past Chair of the Ethics Committee of the San Francisco Psychological Association."
For more information on this and other issues you can contact Dr. William I. Perry on www.find-a-therapist.com or his website.