Pornography Addiction Self-Test

Nov 02, 2011

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The American Society for Addiction Medicine says addiction is "about brains…it's about underlying neurology, not outward actions."  In simple terms, we all have reward circuitry in our brains that make food and sex rewarding. This is a survival mechanism.

In a healthy brain, the food and sex rewards have feedback mechanisms for knowing you'd had enough. For an addict, dysfunction causes the message to become ‘I want more.' This leads to the pursuit of rewards and/or relief through abuse. Internet pornography, unlike the girly magazines from the past, has the power to override natural satiety mechanisms in many brains. This increases the risk of addiction-related brain changes.

With respect to pornography, it's not about the time spent viewing or what you're looking at that determines whether your brain has changed. Instead, watch for these signs:
  • Inability to refrain from viewing
  • Impaired impulse control
  • Craving
  • Diminished grasp of one's problems
  • Problematic emotional responses
The American Society for Addiction Medicine publishes a very detailed list of questions to ask yourself at http://www.reuniting.info/download/pdf/ASAM.exp.pdf.  This list of questions (and beware, some are quite graphic) will help identify signs of addiction.

Some of the questions are not those you might normally associate with pornography addiction and relate to an addicts social interaction, loneliness, feelings of self worth, procrastination, self-motivation, anxiety, and more. Pornography has far-reaching effects.