Porn addiction – links to depression and anxiety

porn-addiction-may-lead-to-depressionThere are many differing ideas as to whether pornography has an affect on mental health or not, with various studies showing conflicting results. Part of the problem involved in analysing the question, is in the very definition of pornography itself, and which media it is presented on, such as magazines, television, DVD or the internet. In addition, there are then exposure levels, age groups and social categories to be taken into account, which all go further to complicate the situation.

Pornography itself can also be categorised, with the words light and hardcore often used to describe things as varied as semi-naked still photo shots through to films involving multiple partners and much more. Online, it can then take the form of free or ‘pay-per-view’ pornography.

Access to porn is easier than ever

One thing that most people agree on, is that access to pornography has never been easier than it is in today’s digital age. With literally a click of a button, pornography of all different levels can be readily viewed online, whether in still photographic form or streaming video. This has, in turn, led to more people than ever viewing pornography when they might not otherwise have done so. This then leads them to watching styles of pornography depicting sexual acts which they might not have had an interest in beforehand.

Pornography can be addictive

Another thing that most studies would agree with, is that pornography can be as addictive to some people as alcohol would to some and exercise would to others. That is to say that whilst many people use it, they do so within limits and do not rely on it. For the small minority, it may become an addiction and something that can not be lived without. This probably says more about the nature of addiction than it does about pornography, however.

Porn and its links to depression and anxiety

In some cases, yes it does. Evidence suggests that it may play a contributing factor in depression and anxiety in some people, and may also lead to symptoms that might be associated with bipolar disorder. It must be made clear though, that this is only in a small number of users.

The evidence is stronger when it comes to associating pornography with de-personalising women, and seeing them as sexual objects, as opposed to emotional human beings with their own needs and desires. This also occur with the objectification of men. This is particularly concerning when online pornography can be so easily accessed by younger people, as they may carry these opinions with them throughout their lives. It is very important to monitor children’s access to the internet to ensure that they are growing up in the safest and most balanced environment possible. If you discover that your child has seen or watched pornography, then you should talk it through with them, and if you have any concerns at all, seek the advice and services of a counsellor.

This desensitising of men and women through the use of pornography can in some circumstances lead on to other issues, such as sexual violence, either within or outside of a relationship. It may also lead to general problems of intimacy, a lack of which then contributes towards depression or addiction of others sorts.

Pressure to be like a porn star

Porn overdose may have a dramatic impact on relationshipsIncreasing numbers of women within relationships find themselves under pressure to behave like porn stars in the bedroom, which is a sole result of their partner’s watching pornography. At the same time men feel the pressure to perform like those men who they see on the movies. This means that pornography affects not only the mental health of the immediate user, but also those people that they may have relationships with. Partners of people addicted to pornography feel a lack of self-esteem, anxiety and depression which may put them off sex with their partner, which in turn may lead to their partner watching more pornography.

Are you addicted to porn?

If you are concerned that either yourself or a loved one may be using pornography to the extreme that it is affecting mental health, then there are several steps that you can take. There are many online resources and organisations that can be visited, and it is also recommended that a counsellor be consulted. It is important to change daily routines, so that the need or opportunity to use pornography is no longer there. This could include spending less time alone, developing more intimate relationships, joining addiction groups and finding new ways to cope with loneliness and boredom.

Talking with a qualified Counsellor can be very useful if you think you have problem using pornography. I am a gay friendly Counsellor offering counselling in Waterloo and psychotherapy in King’s Cross. They are both within 5 min from central London.

Contact me to arrange an introductory counselling session in London Waterloo or King’s Cross or to ask me any question. I always reply by email within 24 hours from initial enquiry .

Images on Creative Commons licence courtesy of eschipulricardo.martins and stagshop

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