It can not be overstated how connected addictive behaviors and traumatic experiences are. It is my opinion that addictive behaviors tend to be an avoidance behavior of a person’s internal experiences that they find intolerable. In other words, a person feels anxious or hyperarousal a lot, so they turn to alcohol, drugs or unhealthy sexual behaviors to feel better. Over time this substance abuse or unhealthy behavior grows until soon withdrawals set in when the drug of choice or unhealthy behavior is not used. It is also my opinion that traumatic experiences are usually the root cause of the intolerable internal experience. The addictive behavior that I am most interested in working with and have the most training and expertise in is pornography addiction.
The ease of access to porn both enables a high rate of porn addiction and makes treatment a greater challenge. Pornography use and addiction come with a negative stigma from religious and social groups. Although addiction to porn can interfere with a healthy lifestyle and relationships, this social pressure can make those with the disorder afraid to speak out or seek treatment. Knowing the facts about porn addiction can help people recognize porn addiction and know how to find help for themselves or someone they know.
Many people with porn addictions are reluctant to seek help because of the shame and stigma associated with their addiction. However, with the right therapy, success rates can be quite high. Recent studies have shown that patients who underwent specialized forms of therapy, such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), reduced their porn viewing by as much as 92% after treatment. After three months, their porn use was still reduced by 86%.
EMDR Therapy has also been proven very affective in the treatment of porn addiction. Study after study shows that resolving past traumatic experiences allows the brains normal healing process to occur. When one is not trapped in past traumas and experiencing life in a way that is intolerable the need for avoidant behaviors goes down and behaviors like unhealthy porn use tend to resolve. If pornography use is a problem for you help is available. I highly encourage you to contact me at any one of the ways listed.