The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
Addiction to pornography is a problem that affects people from all walks of life. This addiction is a serious issue that can have damaging effects on both the person’s mental and physical health. In this article, we will explore the dangers of a pornography addiction and what people can do if they feel they are struggling with this problem.
Effects On Physical Health
Though many people know how a pornography addiction can affect one’s mental health and quality of life, few are aware of the physical dangers this addiction poses. The sections below will discuss some of the physical health risks associated with pornography addiction.
One of the most common physical effects of pornography addiction is sexual dysfunction. This can manifest itself in many ways, such as difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, loss of sexual desire, etc. This is often due to the addict becoming desensitized to sexual stimulation or developing unrealistic expectations about sex. In some cases, pornography addicts may even experience erectile dysfunction.
Another common physical effect of pornography addiction is problems with sleep. This is often due to the addict spending too much time viewing pornography, which can lead to them feeling restless and unable to sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation not only makes people more irritable, fatigued, and moody but can also increase the risk of various health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and strokes.
Reduction In Grey Matter
In addition to the above concerns, research has shown evidence that frequent porn use and the development of an addiction can lead to a reduction in grey matter. Grey matter is fundamental to the brain as it helps regulate movement, memory, and emotions. These significant changes in the makeup of the brain can cause significant problems for mental health, cognitive functioning, and even motor skills.
Effects On Mental Health
As mentioned before, a porn addiction (like any addiction) can take a toll on one’s mental health. So let’s take a look at some of these effects.
Guilt And Shame
People who are addicted to pornography are often quite aware of how it is hurting their life and relationships and, therefore, may feel guilt about their habit. Even worse, they may develop shame, which can convince themselves that they are inadequate or that something is wrong with them because of their habit. Chronic guilt or shame can lead to worse conditions such as depression, anxiety, paranoia, or low self-esteem.
If one is aware of their addiction and feels guilt or shame about it, then their self-esteem will plummet. They may not feel worthy of the relationships they have or that they are losing their integrity or intrinsic value. Low self-esteem will plummet further if they feel they have no control over their habit.
Furthermore, watching pornography can warp a person’s perception of their or others’ body image. Seeing these extraordinarily beautiful people onscreen can make the person feel ugly themselves and inadequate for not being able to reach those impossible beauty standards.
Depression And Mood Disorders
The guilt and loneliness that pornography brings can lead to depression. This habit can significantly damage relationships and a person’s healthy perspective on attractiveness and sex. The degradation of their relationships and connections, as well as their guilt, will weigh heavily on them, leading them to depression or similar conditions.
Furthermore, people with a pornography addiction often experience more mood swings, just as anyone with an addiction does. This is because they depend on pornography to feel good, so they become dependent on it to feel happy. In addition to the mood swings, people with an addiction may also experience increased anger, sadness, and irritability, as well as potentially develop a mood disorder.
We all need-satisfying relationships to thrive in life. But a pornography addiction can make it harder to maintain those connections. Not only does someone with this addiction prefer to spend time alone with pornography or people, but they may also isolate themselves out of shame. Furthermore, their interest in porn may decrease their interest in real people, as they will be more attracted to the people they see on screen. All of these factors encourage social isolation, which can make a person incredibly lonely and unsatisfied with life.
What Should You Do If You Have A Pornography Addiction?
Do these health effects seem familiar to you? If you feel your pornography usage has gotten out of control or is affecting your health, then you may be developing an addiction. But don’t beat yourself up or despair. There is still plenty of hope for treatment and help.
The best thing you can do for this addiction is talk about it in a therapeutic setting. People with pornography addictions find healing and treatment through individual therapy, relationship therapy, or support groups. Talking to professionals or other people going through the same journey can provide you with the motivation, help, and support you need to break your addiction.
You should also take action to improve your quality of life so that you no longer depend on pornography for satisfaction. For example, find new hobbies, spend time with friends, take care of yourself, and put more effort into your relationship. These will all improve your satisfaction in life, so you are not dependent on pornography or any other unhealthy habit.
A pornography addiction can harm your relationships, physical health, mental health, and quality of life. But if you find yourself with this addiction, don’t despair. There are ways to treat your addiction and find satisfaction in your relationships and sex life again.
If you are interested in reading more information on how to treat a pornography addiction, check out the link below: