Pornography addiction is defined, as a dependence upon pronography characterized by obsessive viewing, reading, and thinking about pornography and sexual themes to the detriment of other areas of life. Pornography addiction is diagnosed when an individual engages in the overuse or abuse of pornography to the extent that they experience negative consequences. On August 15, 2011 the American Society of Addiction Medicine issued a public statement defining all addiction (including sexual behavior addiction) in terms of brain changes. "Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry." (American Society of Addiction Medicine. 2011. Public Policy Statement: Definition of Addiction. (Source)

Dr. Patrick Carnes, a pioneer in sexual addiction research, has outlined four core beliefs common in most sexual addicts. They usually result from growing up in a dysfunctional family, especially one with rigid rules, little warmth and affirmation, abandonment, and sexual or emotional abuse. The core beliefs are the following: 1) I am basically a bad, unworthy person, 2) No one would love me as I am, 3) My needs are never going to be met if I have to depend upon others, 4) Sex is my most important need. The root of sexual addiction usually begins in childhood. According to Carnes, when a child's exploration of sexuality goes beyond discovery to routine self-comforting because of the lack of human care, there is potential for addiction. Sex becomes confused with comforting and nurturing.(Carnes, Patrick. Out of the shadows: understanding sexual addiction, pp 102, 167-168. MN: Hazelden, 2001.)

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