It’s Getting Worse: Understanding the Trends in Technology that Make Porn a Threat to Mental Health.

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If you’ve struggled with Pornography addiction, you know the damaging effects it can have on your mental health. While technology increased the occurrence of pornography addiction through the accessibility of the internet, there are advances being made in technology that make this access easier and pose a greater threat to mental health.

Today we’re going to take a look at these trends, give you tips on how to protect yourself, and review the effects pornography addiction can have on your mental health.

Trends in Technology

Easy Access to Pornography: We all know that with the advent of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices capable of connecting to the internet, the rate of pornography addiction has increased.

It’s hard to avoid or resist the temptation when you have a tool that is able to be used at any time, and small enough that your viewing habits are hidden from those around you. This can lead to frequent use of these devices to access pornography, as well as extreme difficulty avoiding engaging in the behavior.

Research demonstrates that 12 percent of all websites are pornographic. Unlike physical pornographic materials, there is little to safeguard minors. Almost all of these websites operate with a self-reporting age verification process, allowing anyone who claims to be of age access.

As with any addictive substance, it’s proven that the younger the person is exposed to the material, the stronger the addiction will be and the harder recovery becomes.

Exposure to internet pornography can have detrimental effects on mental health to include depression, damage to interpersonal relationships, inability to enjoy sexual relationships with partners and feelings of guilt and shame.

Webcams

It seems like the perfect situation: You’re able to connect via the internet to another person, who will then perform in a sexual manner. You may be able to tell yourself that it’s not a dangerous or harmful habit due to the lack of actual physical contact.

However, most of these webcams are not free, and the money they take from your account are very real. In addition to financial loss, frequent webcam users may experience depression, a lack of ability to be intimate with their partners and decreased ability to concentrate on work.

In addition to these concerns, recent news reports that state a number of the women on webcams have been victims of sex trade operations are concerning. If you frequent the use of a webcam to engage in illicit sexual behaviors with another person, you may be inadvertently supporting an illegal and dehumanizing industry.

Role Playing Games

In a manner similar to web cams, role playing games through virtual reality may seem like a guilt-free solution to viewing pornography. In these games, you’re either an independant player or interacting with others in a virtual world.

Some of these games allow players to engage in sexual situations. In this way, a pornography addict may feel secure engaging in their habit, due to the idea that the interaction is not real.

While the use of virtual reality to engage in pornography carries the same risks outlined above in pornography use, it’s important to note that individuals who access this tool to pursue pornography often experience a heightened symptom of inability to connect with their spouses.

While this may be tied to the effect virtual reality has on our brain through its convincing programming, it’s concerning that this method of pursuing pornography can carry over to your personal relationships.

Chat Rooms and Communities

Perhaps the most insidious ways in which technology can encourage your addiction is through the offering of a support community. Users can easily find web pages and communities in which to discuss their addictions and share their materials.

These communities are dangerous as they encourage internet pornography and work to instill a sense of normalcy to their addiction in the addict’s mind. If you are struggling with an addiction, any method of supporting unhealthy thinking to encourage that addiction can be devastating to recovery efforts.

It’s apparent that the internet contains many roadblocks to maintaining mental health where pornography addiction is concerned. Through easy access, multiple forms of engagement and community support, addicts may find not only their needed stimulation but support in their activities.

It’s important that the pornography addicts avoid these avenues of the internet to avoid relapsing in their recovery. The effect of pornography addiction on mental health has been studied widely, with research showing that addicts minds respond differently to visual stimuli than non-addicts.

When an individual who is addicted to pornography encounters visual stimulus, their brain responds with a release of Dopamine. This hormone has the effect of creating euphoria in the brain. In addicts, the amount of dopamine can be much higher than the level of dopamine released normally in response to typical pleasant stimuli.

The long-term effect of this is that an addict will not be able to feel as happy in their daily interactions as they do when they are viewing pornography. This can lead to depression, guilt, anxiety and stress, which in turn encourage their addiction.

If you are struggling with a pornography addiction and want to limit your exposure to online forms, there are several steps you can take:

  • Place safety settings on your internet browser to limit the change of pornography related materials showing in your search results.
  • Avoid chat rooms or ‘spam’ sites that frequently experience ‘pop-ups’ of pornography related materials.
  • Install a ‘pop-up’ blocker on your browser to further limit the possibility of accidental exposure.
  • Turn ‘Safe search’ on when you search images.
  • Avoid webcams, forums and other avenues of secondary pornography exposure.

Getting Help

The most important step you can take if you are struggling is to get help!

For more information on pornography addiction and to quiz on hypersexual behavior, click here.

You can also check out the Purify Your Gaze Program and what it has to offer.