photo for porn addiction vs internet addictionIs internet porn addiction related to internet addiction?  I don’t know of any data specifically on this point.  My colleague Maria Robinson believes that porn addiction is “above all, an internet addiction”.  She argues that addiction to internet porn has different properties from addiction to other sexual behaviors.

Sex addiction was first identified  decades ago when Sex Addicts Anonymous was formed and Patrick J. Carnes began his research and writing on the assessment and treatment of sexual addiction.  Internet addiction disorder is a relatively newer phenomenon.

So it is surprising to hear it reported that although Internet Addiction Disorder is not officially recognized as a disorder yet, it is a “condition for further study” according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders when the diagnoses Sex Addiction and Hypersexual Disorder didn’t even make it that far.

An excellent article from July of this year places “cybersex addiction” as a sub-type of internet addiction, with compulsive internet porn use as one kind of cybersex addiction.  Other types include adult chat rooms or adult fantasy role-play sites.  Here is their complete typology.

 

  • Cybersex Addiction – compulsive use of Internet pornography, adult chat rooms, or adult fantasy role-play sites impacting negatively on real-life intimate relationships.
  • Cyber-Relationship Addiction – addiction to social networking, chat rooms, and messaging to the point where virtual, online friends become more important than real-life relationships with family and friends.
  • Net Compulsions – such as compulsive online gaming, gambling, stock trading, or compulsive use of online auction sites such as eBay, often resulting in financial and job-related problems.
  • Information Overload – compulsive web surfing or database searching, leading to lower work productivity and less social interaction with family and friends.
  • Computer Addiction – obsessive playing of off-line computer games, such as Solitaire or Minesweeper, or obsessive computer programming.

 

There is at least one reputable test for internet addiction: the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) by Dr. Kimberly Young, which has been evaluated and reported by the National  Institutes of Health as follows: “Overall, the IAT is a valid and reliable instrument that may be used in further research on Internet addiction.”

There are also tests for internet sex addiction such as the Internet Sex Screening Test by David L. Delmonico, Ph.D., NCC which is currently being researched, and of course well established tests such as the Sexual Addiction Screening Test and the Sexual Dependence Inventory.  The latter is a lengthy test which covers a wide range of aspects of sexual behavior including online sex and porn and which is also a useful research tool.

Implications of the possible link between internet addiction and porn addiction

If pornography addiction rests on or is a form of internet addiction then that helps to explain its extreme power and intractability.  Internet porn is thought to be so highly addictive because it is accessible, affordable and anonymous.  It is also believed to be processed by the brain in a way that makes it imprint more directly and indelibly.  But if it is a sub-type of internet addiction then the treatment of porn addiction will have to address internet use as a possible co-addiction as well as a trigger.

The process of treating internet porn addiction then becomes a bit more complex in a world in which the use of computers is an increasingly integral part of life.  A client of mine has had state-of-the-art blocking software installed on his devices but recently managed to access pornography on his 5 year old son’s tablet.

The treatment of internet porn addiction and other internet addictions such as gaming, gambling and financial trading will likely find a lot of common ground as addictions to fantasy, and as involving a withdrawal of part of oneself from real world contacts.  This area will require innovations not yet thought of in the traditional treatment of sex addiction or the other online addictions.

Find Dr. Hatch on Facebook at Sex Addictions Counseling or Twitter @SAResource

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 0 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

Trackbacks






    Last reviewed: 14 Oct 2013

APA Reference
Hatch, L. (2013). Porn Addiction as a type of Internet Addiction. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 16, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex-addiction/2013/09/porn-addiction-vs-internet-addiction/

 




Check Out Linda Hatch's books,
Relationships in Recovery & Living with a Sex Addict.


Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • Linda Hatch, PhD: Dahlia- sounds like you need to be clear on what you will tolerate and what you won’t. Either...
  • Dahlia: I just don’t see how any of these sa get better. My husband has been in recovery, sa meetings therapy...
  • Linda Hatch, PhD: Thanks Kelly. Nice comment
  • kelly: I would say if you think you are being manipulated by someone to actually have a conversation with the person...
  • kimberly: I found this article to be very alarming because as a faithful partner it is horrifying to think that my...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!