Alcohol and drug misuse can lead to serious health, relationship, employment, and legal problems. Problematic alcohol or drug use can also lead to dependence. Symptoms of dependency include tolerance, which is the ability to drink or use greater quantities over time, compulsive behavior, which is the inability to stop drinking or using in spite of negative life consequences, and withdrawal, which includes feeling sick and distressed when attempting to quit drinking or using drugs. Problems with drinking or drug use may occur in response to stress, or in combination with posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, or other medical conditions.


These days people addicted to pornography and “hooking up” (having sex with strangers) have new and frighteningly powerful enablers: the Internet, Smartphones, and social media. Pornography addicts can constantly feed their appetites by viewing online still photos, downloading porn videos, or by having webcam sex (paid and unpaid). The ‘new media’ of smartphones offers some addicts instant phone-based porn downloads along with wherever/whenever live video streaming of sexual activities, while Facebook can leave some cruising images and profiles for hours on end.


Similar to someone with a chemical or substance addiction, pornography addicts tend to replace important relationships and commitments with their “drug” of choice: pornography. Non-Internet porn addicts can be found in places like strip clubs and adult bookstores, but it is unlikely that they have a strip club addiction or an adult bookstore addiction, but rather that they have consistent and compulsive sexual problems that manifest in different ways. Pornography addicts tend to isolate themselves when engaging in their sexual acting out. They can typically spend many hours or even days lost in two-dimensional images and experiences. Some also lose time to Internet addictions such as online fantasy games and/or gambling sites.

Nonsexual Internet addiction can also be painfully isolating, causing real life consequences for the person addicted to online gambling or fantasy games, but Internet porn addiction also carries a moral stigma and the likelihood that important love and sex relationships will be negatively affected. While some sex and porn addicts use compulsive masturbation as a part of their acting out, others engage only minimally in the sex act itself but nonetheless end up lose themselves to the endless sexual images and sites found online.


– An inability to stop the behavior(s) and use despite previous attempts to do so
– Anger or irritability if asked to stop
– Hiding or attempting to keep secret all or a part of the addiction use
– Living a double or secret life related to the addiction
– Continuing the behavior despite obvious consequences, such as a relationship or job loss
– Getting lost in the problem (i.e., spending more time than intended, losing time)


Recovery from addiction requires honesty and outreach. For those addicted to alcohol, chemicals, porn and sexual acting out – honesty begins by finding someone knowledgeable working with addiction and admitting the entire problem to them without omitting the embarrassing or humiliating parts.