Research Surrounding Pornography Addiction

Pornography addiction is increasingly being recognized within the scientific community as a legitimate and concerning issue, akin to other recognized forms of addiction. Groundbreaking studies and reviews in neuroscience have shown that the compulsive use of internet pornography can rewire the brain's reward system much like substance addiction does. This involves significant changes in brain function and structure, particularly in the areas associated with reward and pleasure. For instance, research has highlighted that sexually explicit videos can trigger greater activity in neural networks similar to those observed in drug-cue-reactivity studies. These findings underscore the addiction-like effects of pornography on the brain, marked by an increased need for stimuli and diminished control over usage behaviors, despite adverse consequences ​ (reported by “Ethics & Public Policy Center,” Dec 15, 2019)​.

Further supporting this, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes internet gaming disorder, which shares many behavioral cues with internet pornography use, as a potential addictive disorder. Studies comparing internet pornography addiction to other forms of behavioral addiction found substantial similarities in how these conditions affect the neural circuits involved in addiction, suggesting a strong basis for considering addictive internet behaviors, including pornography use, as behavioral addictions​.

Prominent researchers like Dr. Don Hilton have argued in favor of recognizing and treating internet pornography as an addictive condition. These perspectives are informed by a wealth of neuroscientific data that draws parallels between the neurobiological processes involved in substance use disorders and those triggered by excessive pornography consumption. This body of evidence is crucial for understanding the significant, and often debilitating, impact that pornography addiction can have on individuals' lives.

It is important for public awareness and healthcare policies to catch up with these insights to provide better support and treatment options for those struggling with pornography addiction. By doing so, we can address the underlying issues and offer a path toward recovery, similar to interventions available for other addictive behaviors.

Family Strategies Counseling Center has actively serviced clients since 2000 in treatment for pornography addiction or sexually compulsive behavior. Our SABR program for adults, Tribe for college, and Band of Brothers for teens can help you! Give us a call (800) 614-8142 or visit our website for more information:


Bottom of Form


Fill Out Form
Would you like to privately speak with someone?