How to control Internet porn 'addiction'

Posted at 05/17/2010 5:56 PM | Updated as of 05/18/2010 2:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The act of viewing pornographic content is not inherently dangerous.

But as materials that depict erotic behavior slowly become readily available on the world wide web, some people tend to watch porn in excess or in inappropriate situations. This can take a toll on a person's career and personal life.

According to Julie Walther Scheibel, counselor at Concordia Seminary Counseling and Resource Center in the United States, overconsumption of pornographic content tends to play out in similar ways to drug and alcohol addiction.

Just like in the case of drugs and alcohol, Walther Scheibel said excessive viewing or porn may lead to strained relationships and job loss, among others.

"When it's the first thought on your mind when you wake up and the last thing you think of before going to sleep, that's a sign of a problem," she said, as quoted in an article by everydayhealth.com.

Red flags

Walther Scheibel said some of the warning signs of porn "addiction" include "out-of-control" behavior and letting go of other hobbies to indulge in erotic content.

"You need to examine how it affects your life. Does it interfere with daily activities? Does it affect job performance?" she said.

She urged individuals who see any of these patterns to seek professional help immediately, but also suggested ways to help overcome porn "addiction," as quoted by everydayhealth.com:

- Admit the problem. Walther Scheibel said the person with the compulsive behavior (in this case, excessive viewing of pornographic content), should admit that he has a problem and be ready to seek help.

- Individual counseling. Individual therapy can help address a person's specific issues and set goals for recovery, Walther Scheibel said.

- Group therapy. After undergoing individual counseling, Walther Scheibel said a porn "addict" can overcome his compulsive behavior more easily if he is surrounded by people who are dealing with similar issues.

Unwanted online behavior

Dr. Martin Binks, clinical director of Binks Behavioral Health PLLC in the United States, listed a number of practical strategies that may help control unwanted sexual behavior in the Internet such as cybersex affairs and porn "addiction."

In his regular column, Binks said these may be quite helpful in staying away from erotic content and activities as these are the same strategies used to keep children safe on the Internet.

Below are his suggestions to curbing overconsumption of erotic content in the world wide web, as cited in his column. He stressed, however, that people should also consider seeking professional assistance:

- Set all content controls on your computer to block the sites that are causing you difficulty.

- Cancel all subscriptions and accounts that allow you access to these types of interactions.

- Place the desktop computer in a public place, and keep your laptop in plain view in a family area. This makes secrecy a little tougher.

- Track your "at risk" times and schedule other activities during those times.

- Start limiting recreational screen time -- use your computer for necessary work and nothing else until you get control of this issue.