Just as people can be addicted to substances like drugs and alcohol, behaviors can also become addictive. Pornography addiction is one such behavior, and recovery requires it to be taken seriously.
Most people are familiar with chemical addictions such as drug and alcohol dependency. It’s commonly known that these kinds of addictions rewire the brain, causing those suffering from addiction to become chemically dependent on their addictive substance.
The power of addictive behaviors, rather than substances, is less well-known. Addictive behaviors such as gaming and gambling addictions have been formally classified in the DSM-V, the handbook for mental disorders. The scientific community has acknowledged that these addictions exist, and that they often require intervention before recovery can occur.
One of the most shame-laden addictive behaviors, pornography addiction, is similar to gaming and gambling addictions in that it presents a “supernormal stimulus” which may cause neurological changes in the viewer.
A “supernormal stimulus” was first defined by Nobel prize winning scientist Nikolaas Tinbergen, who used it to describe some stimulus that is more extreme than something that’s evolutionarily advantageous for a species.
In other words, the human species needs sex to survive, but pornography trains the brain to expect extreme sexual imagery that isn’t found in normal sexual situations. According to one study, once chronic pornography viewers have become addicted to this extreme imagery, they may no longer find their human connections with their spouses as satisfying as they did before.
Moreover, the shame that people suffering from pornography addiction experience may keep them from reaching out for help. That shame may even cause them to feel uneasy around their loved ones because they feel that they’re hiding a dark secret, or that they’re unclean.
The combination of pornography as a “supernormal stimulus” and the shame and stigma felt by those addicted to pornography makes it difficult to recover from.
Desert Solace officials said that “coming out of our shame, having the courage to reach out and say, ‘This is what I’ve done, this is where I am, this is where I’ve been, and I’m going forward,’” goes a long way towards reaching recovery.
“The days of isolating are over,” Desert Solace officials continued. “Reach out for help … let’s move forward and the past is the past.”
Desert Solace is an inpatient addiction treatment center in St. George, Utah. Desert Solace specializes in the treatment of pornography and sex addictions. Additionally, they offer treatment programs for gaming, gambling and substance abuse. Their inpatient facility for porn, sex, gaming, gambling and substance addictions features professional, licensed counselors, a top-rated chef, equine therapy and more. Desert Solace believes in involving the client’s family in the recovery process.
Note: Article contributed by KHTS AM 1220 & 98.1 FM