Pornography and Depression

The myth that masturbating or pornography causes depression cannot be dispelled immediately. A person who is happy would not become depressed if they started viewing pornography. Evidence suggests that depression and porn influence each other in a bidirectional manner.

One study showed that those who see porn online are twice as likely to develop depression than those who don’t. Although this result suggests a link between pornography and depression, it does not prove that porn is a cause of depression.

Another study found that people who viewed pornography were more likely to be lonely than those who did not view porn. This link is valuable, but does not establish a causal relationship.

Depression is a multi-faceted condition with many common symptoms, including:

Low mood, irritability

Modifications in diet and sleep habits or weight

Motivation and low energy

Indifference to pleasurable activities

Increased guilt and worthlessness

Thoughts about death and dying

It doesn’t necessarily mean that porn causes depression, even if it triggers less motivation.

Is depression linked to increased porn consumption?

Although it’s impossible to prove that porn viewing is a cause of depression, it is possible for someone with depression to be more inclined to look at pornography. This could be due to the coping skills that are used to manage symptoms.

Positive, long-lasting effects can be created by a healthy coping skill, such as spending time with loved ones or exercising. Negative and unhealthy coping strategies can provide immediate satisfaction, but often lead to long-lasting unintended consequences.

Some people, particularly men, might view pornography, especially as a way to cope with depression symptoms. If pornography prevents someone from looking for more productive coping strategies, it could be considered a negative coping strategy.

Do Porn consumption and depression affect men and women differently?

Different sexes and genders seem to have different effects on pornography viewing. Porn viewing could be a positive experience for women.

A 2020 study found that women who viewed pornography regularly were more likely to experience several positive consequences linked to the content like:

Being aroused easier

Reduced difficulty in having an orgasm

Masturbation can bring you more pleasure

There are more episodes of masturbation ending in orgasm

While some may think that pornography in women can negatively impact their happiness, the study found that viewing porn did not affect their relationship satisfaction or their sexual relationships with their partners. It appears to only aid masturbation, but not depression.

These results are remarkable because women are now viewing pornography more than ever before. Only 14% of internet porn viewers in 2002 were women. However, the number of porn viewers has more than doubled to 33% by 2013.

Depending on how men view pornography, the effects can be very different. Depressive symptoms are more common in men who view pornography as morally degrading, but still continue to view it. This could be due to guilt and shame associated with the behavior.

What happens in the brain when you watch porn?

The brain responds favorably to basic necessities like water, food, and sex. The brain releases a neurotransmitter called Dopamine when someone enjoys a satisfying meal or positive sexual encounters.

Dopamine can create a positive feeling when it’s released. However, it can also be instrumental in memory. Dopamine is released by the brain and the body can remember when and how it was released so that the behavior can repeat itself often.

Pornography can overuse this system and take away the natural reward. Dopamine production decreases with repetition. This can lead to people wanting to see porn more often, for longer periods of time, or to view material that is more taboo in order to get the desired level.

This happens with repetitive behaviors such as addictions. Consistent alcohol consumption builds tolerance. People respond to this by increasing their alcohol intake or using more potent alcohol.

A person could experience depression or anxiety if they have lower brain dopamine levels.

How Does Depression Affect Libido or Personal Relationships?

Depression, like many other serious mental disorders, can have a negative impact on all aspects of a person’s life. This includes sexual interests and relationships. These aspects will be more affected if the depressive symptoms become severe.

Depression can lead to lower energy, motivation, and a decreased interest in pleasure-seeking activities. This can have an impact on sex interest. An increase in irritability or mood symptoms can cause conflict within relationships. This could lead to anger, frustration, or tension.

Treatment for depression can have an impact on libido as well as sexual relationships. Unwanted side effects of medications for depression include decreased libido and inability to have an erg.

Is Porn Consumption a Problem in Your Country?

When a person’s ability or feeling well is affected by porn, it can be a problem. There is a fine line between unacceptable and excessive porn, just like other potentially harmful behaviors such as gambling, substance abuse, and sex.

Signs that porn isNegatively impacting someone include:

Pornography is a time-consuming hobby that can be done for longer than you intended.

To achieve desired effects, you may need to see pornography more often.

Porno more often

Seeing the material in situations that are not appropriate, such as during class, work, or with the family

Porn can lead to increased conflict in the family and social life.

You are struggling to meet your responsibilities at work, home, or school

When you are unable to view porn, you feel restless, agitated, or irritable.

It is important to note that viewing can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health.

You are trying to end porn viewing, but failing.

What is the best time to seek help for a porn addiction?

Each person’s experience with porn is different so there is no one right way to measure problematic consumption. One person could see porn every day without having an issue. Another person could only view it once a month and have problems.

To determine if you have a porn addiction, consider these signs. These types of issues can be difficult to self-assess, so it is worth speaking with someone you trust.

A person could seek treatment for porn addiction if they have only one or two symptoms.

What Does Porn Addiction Treatment Look like?

While addiction treatment for non-substance abuse issues is rapidly developing, many aspects of it will resemble treatment for substance abuse disorders. Each person’s experience with addiction treatment will differ depending on their goals and needs.

A person suffering from severe porn addiction might need residential or inpatient treatment. They will live in the care center during their treatment. This allows individuals to eliminate all external stressors and focus solely on rehabilitation. These programs usually last between 28-90 days, with longer treatments possible.

Outpatient treatment is available for those who have successfully completed inpatient porn abuse treatment. They can go to treatment at any time during the day, and then return to work or home. There are different levels of outpatient care that offer between 1 and 30 hours of care per week.

No matter the level of care received, treatment for pornography addiction is focused on:

Accurately assessing the condition and evaluating it

Recognizing co-occurring mental and addiction issues

Addiction is a result of underlying issues being processed

Improve communication skills and improve relationships

To reduce dependence on pornography, it is important to develop healthy coping skills

To avoid further pornography viewing, create a relapse prevention program

By Cary Grant

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