Can Porn Addiction Be Treated with Medications?

Dr R. Y. Langham

Dec 04, 2021

Porn addiction, during this COVID-19 age, is more relevant than ever, primarily due to social distancing, boredom, anxiety, depression, uncertainty, and lockdowns. And, it doesn’t help that porn is readily accessible with a stable internet connection and the click of a mouse. The truth is you can access porn almost anywhere (i.e., on your smartphone, laptop, desktop computer, or tablet) nowadays. And, with approximately 64% of Americans owning a smart device (up from 35% ten years ago), it makes sense that there has been a “porn explosion” in the past few decades.

 

So, what is porn addiction? Well, basically it is a compulsive behavioral addiction or an inability to not view porn or to stop viewing porn. In other words, porn addicts are unable to “quit” the behavior, even if it produces unpleasant or negative consequences, such as the loss of a job, a divorce, a breakup, debt, low self-esteem, health issues, etc. Keep in mind, however, that porn addiction is not an “official” DSM-5 diagnosis.

 

And, because it is not “officially recognized” in the DSM-5, most health insurance plans do not cover the costs of porn addiction treatment. In other words, porn addiction help typically is an out-of-pocket expense. Also, some mental health professionals may refrain from treating people, who have a porn addiction. But, although, porn addiction isn’t a “recognized” mental health condition, the signs and symptoms of this behavior resemble those of other addictions, such as drugs and alcohol, gambling, shopping, overeating, etc.

 

Unfortunately, however, many porn addicts neglect to seek porn addiction treatment for their “porn habits” because of the stigma or shame associated with viewing porn. As a result, people, who really do need porn addiction support, tend to keep this activity (porn-watching) to themselves. Why? Because they are afraid of what their friends, loved ones, and even acquaintances would think about them if they knew they were addicted to porn, so they keep it to themselves – as a secret. In other words, they suffer in silence.

 

The good news is that porn addiction can be “cured” with the right tools (i.e., lifestyle changes, staying busy, therapy programs, such as CBT, DBT, and/or ACT, online porn addiction recovery programs, like Stop Together, anti-porn software, medications, etc.). Thus, if you are suffering from porn addiction, seeking porn addiction treatment can help you stop the addiction, so you can enjoy the best that life has to offer.

 

So, can porn addiction be treated with medications? Yes, but it’s almost always the last case scenario.

How is Porn Addiction Normally Treated?

Although porn is not technically a “drug,” researchers suggest that it influences the brain in a similar way as “drugs and alcohol.” It is important to understand that porn addiction isn’t just a behavioral addiction, it’s also a psychological one. So, the most effective porn addiction treatment should involve therapy.

A porn addiction therapist can help you better understand why porn entices you, the cause of your addiction, and what is contributing to it. He or she can also give you valuable tips, suggestions, and tools that can help you combat the addiction – while also providing porn addiction support for you and your loved ones. Understand, that the more you know about your porn addiction, the better equipped you’ll be to address it and prevent it from returning in the future.

Porn addiction can be treated in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Therapy

    Although porn addiction isn’t a “universally recognized” addiction, it’s still an addiction. Thus, for many porn addicts, seeking porn addiction therapy is essential for complete recovery from this affliction. Unfortunately, many porn addicts are simply too ashamed or embarrassed to seek porn addiction help for their “porn habits.”

    The good news is online therapy programs, like Stop Together, are designed to provide porn addicts with the tools, support, resources, and information they need to overcome their “porn habits.” Stop Together uses a variety of therapy approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), etc., to help you “quit” porn – for good! It also offers 100s of online courses that you can access at any time and from any location.

    Porn addiction recovery may involve in-person therapy sessions or virtual or online therapy sessions, depending on what works for you. And, it may include individual and/or group sessions, along with support group meetings. Porn addiction support groups are beneficial for porn addicts because they provide them with opportunities to “relate to” other people, who are also on porn addiction recovery journeys.

    Support group meetings also allow members to exchange tips, suggestions, approaches, and experiences with other recovering porn addicts. With support groups, you feel more supported and less alone. Other popular therapeutic techniques used to treat porn addiction include hypnosis, stress-management exercises (i.e., deep breathing), books, apps, mindfulness meditation, yoga, etc.

    Note: If your “porn habit” is negatively impacting your romantic relationship, couples counseling may also be an option. Porn addiction can foster mistrust, trigger feelings of betrayal and resentment, and cause a host of problems in a relationship. Couples counseling can help you “fight” your addiction while keeping your relationship or marriage intact.

  • Hypnosis

    Hypnosis is a “non-traditional” porn addiction treatment option for porn addicts. It appears to be especially beneficial for addicts, who have tried other options in the past but have not received success from them. What is hypnosis? It is a technique that is used during hypnotherapy sessions.

    More specifically, hypnotherapy is the “therapy” while hypnosis is the method or tool. Hypnosis is a type of “guided meditation” that involves entering in a semiconscious or trance-like state to address repressed memories, emotions, behaviors, and experiences. In regards to porn addiction, hypnosis can help you identify the origin of your “porn habit” by “tapping” into your subconsciousness.

    Furthermore, hypnosis heightens your awareness so you can address and resolve deep-seated issues. In fact, researchers suggest that hypnosis can help “unearth” the root cause of a person’s porn addiction, so they no longer feel the need to view porn to ease their angst, boredom, stress, distress, pain, etc.

  • Lifestyle Changes

    Porn addiction treatment should also include lifestyle changes, such as revamping your daily routine, restructuring your home layout so that your electronic devices are out in the open, adopting a healthier diet, establishing an exercise routine, practicing relaxation techniques – i.e., yoga, deep-breathing, meditation, etc., socializing and staying busy, keeping your mind occupied so you’re not consumed by porn, joining a “club,” volunteering at a non-profit, spending time with friends and loved ones, working, etc. The goal of these lifestyle changes is to reduce your stress so you don’t feel the need to turn to porn to “escape” your problems.

  • Support Groups

    If “talking things out” offers you relief, in general, you may want to include weekly support group meetings into your porn addiction recovery program. Group meetings can provide you with porn addiction support by making you feel as if “someone else” understands what you’re going through – because they are going through something similar. It’s also a good place to swap ideas, tips, and suggestions.

    If this sounds like an option that would work for you, ask your doctor, mental health provider, or support network for recommendations. If you are unable to get recommendations from the people in your environment, google “porn addiction support groups near me” for suggestions.

    Listed below are some resources and porn addiction support groups – online and/or in-person:

  • Medications

    Although porn addiction can be treated with medications; this is usually the “last resort.” Typically, medications are used to treat underlying conditions – conditions that could be contributing to your porn addiction. For instance, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant if it is determined that depression is contributing to or aggravating your porn addiction.

    The belief is that if you can get your depression under control, you’ll be less inclined to view porn. Thus, medication is not used to treat porn addiction itself, rather, its purpose is to address any contributing factors. Still, researchers have found that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may reduce compulsive sexual or “hypersexual” behaviors – especially if the individual has a history of depression or a similar mood disorder.

Can Medication “Cure” a Porn Addiction?

Possibly.

Although distressing, you are not alone if you are struggling with a “porn habit.” Understand, however, that there is no universal “quick fix” that will “cure” porn addiction. Thus, the key to success is identifying the root cause of your porn addiction and exploring various treatment options until you find the one that works for you. Keep in mind that most porn addiction treatment approaches involve therapy and self-help tips, however, sometimes, medication(s) are also prescribed to aid in the recovery process.

But, to “cure” porn addiction, you must first understand what it is and how it works. Similar to other behavioral addictions, like gambling, shopping, overeating, etc., porn addiction interferes with your brain chemistry. Although rare, medications, like antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds, are used to “balance” or “regulate” your neurotransmitters (brain chemical messengers), so you do not feel depressed or anxious.

Depression and anxiety, along with other factors, can increase your risk of “porn use” or porn addiction. Understand that physiological “changes” caused or influenced by addictive or compulsive behaviors (i.e., “porn use” or porn addiction) may improve once the original catalyst is addressed (i.e., porn). But, as mentioned above, medications are usually the “last resort” unless there is a condition or ailment that is triggering or worsening your “porn habit.” If so, a medication may be used to ease the symptoms relative to that condition – with the hope that it will also curb your porn urges.

What Medications Can Help STOP My “Porn Habit?”

If you are suffering from an underlying condition that is contributing to or causing you to turn to porn, some medications could reduce your porn urges and help you return to healthy sexual behaviors.

Listed below are medications that can regulate your brain chemistry and banish your porn-related obsessive thoughts, urges, and behaviors for good:

  • If you have depression, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant or SSRI to help treat your mood disorder and reduce your “porn use.”
  • If you are juggling a drug and alcohol addiction and a porn addiction, your doctor may prescribe naltrexone (Vivitrol). This medication is designed to mitigate the effects of alcohol abuse and opiate dependence, so you are not drawn towards porn as a “release,” “entertainment,” or an “escape” from your problems. Naltrexone blocks the region of your brain the receives “pleasure” or “joy” from viewing porn.
  • If you suffer from a mood disorder like bipolar disorder, mood stabilizers may control your “compulsions” or compulsive behaviors. Thus, your doctor may prescribe a mood stabilizer to address your mood disorder and reduce your urge to view porn.
  • If you suffer from a high level of androgens, your doctor may prescribe you an anti-androgen medication to reduce or eliminate your “porn use.” Anti-androgens are designed to “dull” the effects of androgens (male sex hormones) and as a result, reduce your sexual or pornographic urges and behaviors.

What Happens If I Do Not Seek Treatment for My Porn Addiction?

A lot can happen if you do not seek treatment for a porn addiction, such as:

  • Unhealthy relationships
  • A breakup or divorce
  • Poor libido or sexual satisfaction
  • Low self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Debt or financial problems, especially if you are “shirking” your job responsibilities in favor of watching porn

Thus, ultimately, an untreated porn addiction could easily become a highly damaging or destructive force in your life. This is especially true when it comes to romantic relationships and your sex life.