Anxiety and Porn Addiction: FAQ

Anxiety and Porn Addiction: FAQ

Is there a link between anxiety and Sex Addiction?

Anxiety and Addictions often go hand in hand.  Anxiety is an emotion that seeks to be relieved immediately.  Very often, when we feel anxious about a particular issue, we may try to solve the problem or plan ways to mitigate the issue.   When anxiety is limited to a definite issue, it can be resolved with effective problem-solving methods.  However, people who are prone to worry or feel anxious will tell you that certain issues can trigger anxiety symptoms that are way out of proportion or reasonable.

How do I know if I am anxious?

Racing heart, sweaty palms, headaches, tightness in the stomach or chest are common symptoms of anxiety.  An anxious thought leads to a racing heart that result in more anxious thoughts that lead to tightness in the chest and so on. When you think an anxious thought, a cycle between the brain and the body is established.  It is extremely important to interrupt this cycle.  The longer that this cycle continues, the harder it is to break.  Physical symptoms of anxiety like a continually racing heart or tightness in the chest can be extremely uncomfortable.  For many people, this can hamper their level of functioning at work and at home.  It is very natural to want to relieve and alleviate the symptoms.  For many people, pornography provides a welcome distraction from the anxiety.

How does anxiety affect my addiction?

Pornography reduces levels of stress and anxiety in the short term. However, as time goes on, a person begins to manifest physical symptoms in response to anxiety.  In the beginning, pornography provides a welcome break from the overwhelming feelings of anxiety.  It distracts, sexual arousal also helps the body to relax and many people masturbate while looking at pornography.  Climaxing helps the body to feel an even greater sense of relaxation and contentment. Therefore, temporarily, pornography provides an easy and welcome relief.  However, the effects of pornography lead to far-reaching consequences for the person’s mental health and relationships.  Using pornography to alleviate anxiety can lead to porn addiction, or sex addiction in general, compulsive masturbation.   The person becomes obsessed with sexual fantasy and all uncomfortable emotions are dealt with sexual compulsions.

How does pornography affect my brain?

In “The Brain Science behind Pornography Addiction and the Effects of Addiction on Families and Communities”, Judith Reisman, presents certain findings.  Ms. Reisman claims that emotionally arousing images imprint and alter the brain by resulting in an involuntary, but lasting, biochemical memory trail.  Pornography also commonly triggers the viewer’s “fight or flight” sex hormones producing intense arousal states.  These intense arousal states are similar to the “high” produced by abuse of street or prescription drugs. The difference is that these highs are produced by the viewer’s own brain.  The erotic images also serve to blend the conscious state of libidinous arousal with the unconscious emotions of fear, shame, anger and hostilityThe irony of this is that pornography is initially used to relieve anxiety.  However, repeated use triggers the fight or flight sex hormones in the persons brain.  While these are intense arousal states, or the high, they also produce high anxiety states in the brain.  Thus, the cycle of anxiety and high arousal states of the brain continue.You may be asking is there a solution?  Yes, there is.  Anxiety is a normal and natural reaction to life’s circumstances.  There are many effective ways of learning to manage these emotions.  In fact, as ironic as it may sound, there are ways to make us anxious and even learn to enjoy it and find humor in it.

How can I treat both my sex addiction and my anxiety?

Cognitive-Behavioral therapy is a very effective technique in treating both anxiety and addiction.  This modality of therapy examines your thoughts and puts it to a reality test.  In this way, your thought patterns gradually change from a distorted, unrealistic view of things to one that is more positive and realistic.  Another less known, but perhaps the most powerful technique of taking control over anxiety and addiction is what is commonly known as Mindfulness.  This is an alternative or holistic approach to treatment. In the most simplistic terms, Mindfulness teaches us to “Stay” instead of running away from difficult emotions like Anxiety.  Find a professional therapist who is trained in Sex Addiction to first get a detailed evaluation and Assessment.  This will give you a clear picture of what treatment will entail.

About Rochna:

Rochna Hazra is trained in Marriage and Family Therapy at Virginia Tech. She includes the emotional, psychological, spiritual and family aspects of a person in her work. Rochna has been trained by Dr. Pat Carnes, a pioneer in the field of Sex Addiction.

Rochna is also a Certified Advanced Relapse Prevention Specialist and trained in Sex Addiction and Mindfulness-based Therapy and Relapse Prevention.

Originally from India, she combines the Eastern traditions of mindfulness, non-judgment and a holistic approach to healing with the Western approach of realism and solution-focused action.

Click here to learn more about Sex Addiction treatment and my practice in Leesburg, Virginia

 

By | 2017-12-07T21:57:23+00:00 July 7th, 2013|Sex Addiction|0 Comments

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