Pornography addiction is defined as the repeated habit of using pornography to alter one's mood to avoid having to deal with the reality of life challenges.
The word “addiction” has a strong and scary sound to it for many youth as it is often associated with behaviors and people who are out of control. Young people are especially concerned about having the term “addiction” associated with their problems and for many struggling with habitual use of pornography, the addiction has been hidden with no outward signs of the problem.
"Addiction" can be defined as a state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes trauma. To further add to the understanding of term addiction, consider this definition: any behavior or activity that is repeatedly engaged in and used to avoid having to deal with the reality of life. As mentioned, addiction is often associated with people who use drugs or alcohol to alter their mood in an attempt to deal with their life problems. Behaviors such as gambling, over-eating, shopping and even working can turn into addictions. People who repeatedly use these behaviors to avoid having to deal with their life responsibilities could be considered addicts.
For young people struggling with the use of pornography, we are less concerned about debating whether it is simply a bad habit or if it is a true addiction, and far more concerned about helping to eliminate the problem whether the pattern has been in place for several years or whether is has just recently formed.
Typical Behaviors in Teens
Below are typical behaviors of youth who are struggling with an addiction to pornogoraphy:
-Living a double or secret life related to pornography use.
-Tendency to isolate self and stay up late at night on the internet.
-Hiding or attempting to keep secret the viewing of pornography.
-An inability to stop viewing pornography despite previous attempts to do so.
-Denial and anger when asked to stop by parents and adults.
-Continuing to view pornography despite the known consequences of continued viewing.
-Depression, irritability, anger.
-Hypersexual attitude, vocabulary and behavior.
-Overprotective of their technology (cell phone, I-pod, lap top, etc.)
Many youth are able to keep their addiction secret and hidden from others without outward evidence of the problem. For these youth, because problems don't immediately manifest in their life functioning, they develop a denial that a problem exists and become experts is self-deception believing that the problem will somehow just go away when they get older.
For some, it is not until they have repeatedly attempted to stop viewing pornography on their own without success, that the realization sets in that an addiction has developed.
Neurological research has found that pornography is particularly addictive because of the neuro-chemical release in the brain that occurs while viewing pornography. For many youth, the euphoric "high" that occurs in this process quickly develops into a coping style for escaping emotional distress.