The journey of recovery from porn addiction

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The journey of recovery from addiction is never an easy task, particularly a lot tricky for porn addiction. As soon as people realize about their porn addiction, they get overwhelmed to get rid of this. They keep exploring every possible means and way of getting help. 

The recovery process takes a lot of mental and physical effort. No doubt it is challenging, but it’s never impossible.

Often people with porn addiction ask the therapist, “Tell me few pointers to stay away from porn,” “what is the best technique to avoid porn,” “I have tried a lot, but nothing works,”

They have host of questions in their head, trying to find ways that will help them stay away from porn and begin the recovery process. They would meet therapists, find answers in google, look for peer support, look to connect with someone who could possibly have been through similar experiences.

How to begin recovery from Porn Addiction?

The first steps taken towards recovery and relapse management, is the response prevention, and response prevention will begin from the point of staying abstinent from porn.

Basically, what happens in porn addiction is the chain of trigger situations or events leading to cravings, which in turn lead to porn consumption, and breaking this chain is the key foundation of recovery process.

Breaking this chain will need, firstly identifying the trigger events. A lot of people with porn addiction often report that they develop the urge of watching porn under stress, when feeling bored, sitting ideal, fight with partner, and so on. Therefore, fixing triggering events is essential.

Identifying these trigger events and modifying the triggers would often need the help of a Mental Health Expert. They would facilitate and train the individuals with porn addiction to learn new skills such as techniques of trigger modification, stress management, emotional regulation, better coping skills and problem- solving techniques.

While taking care of the cravings- one major and active effort that requires is the response prevention. That is, while in the recovery process, abstinence will trigger a lot of craving experience, and at this point it is important to develop acceptance and response prevention.

How to Control the Urges?

As a Clinical Psychologist dealing with individuals with porn addiction, the most common question being asked is “how to control urges?”

As the recovery process begins with some stringent abstinence, urges are common to come.

We do suggest some immediate ways to control urges with some distraction techniques, but it is important to do an ABC analysis and situations that trigger the urges and facilitate with the individual with some long- term self- help technique.

Some unique and modified techniques such as Exposure and Response Prevention therapy is for Compulsive Sexual Behaviour, which can be slightly modified with the individuals with porn addiction of preventing self from acting out on the cravings.

The idea is to develop an Acceptance, that due to the abstinence from a behaviour which have been occurring for a very long period of time, the cravings would increase, as a part of withdrawal symptoms. This situation can be somewhat compared with drug addiction.

This process of building the acceptance towards the fact that – cravings would be present, but not acting out on those will eventually decrease the intensity of cravings. Developing this Acceptance is overwhelming and hence professional support from the Mental Health Expert at this juncture is extremely crucial and highly essential.

Although at the beginning, the distress causing from the cravings would be very high; and in fact, a lot of people return to the addictive behaviour because they find the cravings very overwhelming, and just in order to avoid the distress causing from the cravings they indulge into watching porn and masturbation.

This causes some sort of set -back in the recovery process.

Doing so gives an immediate relief to the distress caused by the cravings, but on a longer term, this causes more harm than relief.

How to deal with the stress of Recovery Process?

Seeking professional help from a Mental Health Expert helps in navigating the recovery process with better preparedness and better skills.

What is most important in the recovery process is the persistent efforts. A lot of individuals with porn addiction report in the therapy sessions, that they have tried everything but it’s not helping them in anyway.

There are certain possible reasons why such efforts might not have given them any positive result-

  • May be the efforts were not very persistent enough. Sometimes, we think that we are doing a lot but in reality, maybe this is what we think, but may not be enough from the point of view of the nature of the problem.
  • May be the strength of the efforts were lesser than what it is actually required
  • Not identifying the problems well, or to put it in other words, the problem situations or the triggers are not well identified.
  • What if the efforts are not in the right direction? Most people indulge into watching porn under stress, and instead of dealing with stress management they keep looking for best techniques to deal with porn addiction. Instead, treating the root cause is the need in this case.

Bursting some myths, that will help recovery process and relapse management

Understanding the fact that recovery process is never an easy task, and it actually gets very stressful, people look for some quick remedies that can immediately resolve the issue. As a practicing Clinical Psychologist, I can empathize how badly they want to get out of this problem.

One very patient understanding and acceptance towards the process of recovery from porn addiction is that, it is a time taking process, which requires patient and persistent efforts.

In fact, it requires the person to keep practicing the skills required in the process and gain mastery over their thoughts and behaviour.

Recovery from porn addiction can never happen over the night; searching for the best techniques to recover from porn addiction is a myth!

Every individual is different and hence every recovery technique will work differently for each individual, in the same way how porn affects differently to different people.

Considering the fact that porn addiction is not considered a medical or a mental health condition, people usually take it less seriously. But the fact remains that it is a kind of addiction which require diligently planned recovery pathway, with all the intervention techniques aimed at reforming the thought process and the behaviour of the addicted individual.

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