Pornography Addiction is a Treatable Problem

There are many addictions in the world, but Lufkin psychologist Sid Epperson calls pornography the most addictive. Porn is easily accessible and its warning signs are much less recognizable than drug and alcohol abuse.

"Twenty-five or 30 years ago, if you wanted access to pornography you had to go across town to the little seedy bookstore, and now anybody that has a computer can see anything or just about do anything that they want to via the Internet," Epperson said.

Like drugs and alcohol, anyone can become addicted to pornography after very little exposure. And many people addicted to it are no longer hiding their problem in the comfort of their own home. Public libraries often deal with adults and teenagers who misuse computers to look at X-rated web sites.

Brenda Russell, director of the Diboll public library, said, "Our tech people have blocked those [pornographic web sites], but unfortunately there's ways of getting around them. These young people nowadays know those ways and so they can get on the sites if they really know what they're doing with computers. We try to do as much as we can to block any inappropriate sites that we can."

All pornography addiction can be damaging, but when it's focused on kids it becomes an even bigger problem.

Epperson said, "The major difference is in child pornography; the person has become fixated on a underage child and because of that it's a felony, but it's also so damaging to the child or the children that are involved in it because it's often against their will."

Addiction to pornography is treatable, but similar to substance abuse, problems at work, school or home can trigger a relapse. The warning signs can be difficult to spot, especially in teens, but if their social life or performance at school suffers because of the time they spend on pornography, that's a sign they need to get help.