Symptoms of Porn Addiction: Do You Have Porn “Withdrawal” Symptoms?

I remember when I was buried deep in porn addiction: it seemed each day was a fight to avoid the inevitable. At the time I didn’t understand why my body would seem to take control. There were so many nights I would walk zombie-like to Internet porn or phone sex in search of my fix. And when I would white-knuckle it, the withdrawal symptoms would kick in.

Symptom of Porn Addiction

Have you ever experienced a symptom of porn addiction when trying to avoid porn? Linda L. Simmons, Psy.D., says this is simply a part of the addictive cycle, “When pornography is stopped, withdrawal symptoms will likely be experienced—irritability, anxiety, frustration, and so forth.”

Marnia Robinson, author of Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow, collected the testimonies from many men about this. She recently reported this on the Huffington Post:

“The whole day I have been shaking with jitters similar to how it felt when I quit smoking.”

“Intense bouts of anger leading to interpersonal difficulties, aggressive demeanor, easily stressed out, . . . suicidal ideation, severe depression, violent dreams, . . . insomnia, hallucinations, . . . ‘insects’ crawling all over me in bed, shakes, mania, . . . and inability to concentrate.”

“. . . I didn’t recognize I had an addiction until I had surgery and masturbation wasn’t an option for fifteen days. On day three, I was literally shaking, and I began to connect the dots. Other symptoms: irritability, inability to focus (‘staring at walls syndrome’), mood swings, headaches (sometimes quite strong), sense of pressure in my genitals, flashbacks, paranoia, self-defeating thinking, depression, hopelessness, and fear that I will never have sex because I’ve learned no social skills since diving into porn eight years ago as a teen.”

“No matter how many orgasms I have, I never feel satisfied; I just finally collapse in exhaustion, and start again the next day.”

“I’m more anxious or depressed, and I have a strong desire to avoid other people.”

You can read the extremely long thread of comments on her blog from men who reported these symptoms.

Call it what you like—addiction, compulsion, fixation—habitual porn use is much like any drug addiction, only the drug our body craves is its own neurochemistry—a fix of dopamine and other hormones.

Do you ever experience withdrawal symptoms?

Photo credit: svenjajan