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Porn addiction: How to get help

Mar. 31, 2010 - 07:27PM   |   Last Updated: Mar. 31, 2010 - 07:27PM  |  
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The best way to tell if you're addicted to pornography is to try going off it for a while, experts say.

"If you don't think you're an alcoholic, just stop drinking for 30 days," says Robert Weiss, director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles. "The same applies to sexual addictions."

If even the idea of a PornTube hiatus puts you on edge, it's probably time to think about finding some help. Getting honest is the first step.

One way to know you may have a problem:

"Sexual addiction is most often defined by the secret life," Weiss says.

If you think you have a problem, Sexhelp.com may be a good place to start. It offers a free, confidential online test to help sort things out.

"If you answer honestly, it's a very reliable, very valid test," says Navy Lt. Michael Howard, a chaplain and licensed therapist who uses it regularly with patients.

Howard also recommends reading "In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free from Online Sexual Behavior." For those interested in a faith-based recovery, he recommends the "Every Man's Battle" program at http://www.everymansbattle.com/">www.everymansbattle.com.

"For many, it may not be an addiction, but it's still causing problems," Howard says. "The focus for me is, how is this interfering with your life and how do you want to do something about it."

For a typical porn addict, laying the foundation for recovery takes at least a year. That involves regular counseling. As with other addictions, most experts recommend a 12-step program. The process is largely the same for married and unmarried addicts.

"I have a lot of Marines going to Sex Addicts Anonymous," Howard says. "When you have a group of people in recovery together, they grow because of the support they give each other."

It's like combat vets helping other combat vets with post-traumatic stress disorder, he says. "They have been there and are walking that same road now with you."

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