The Big Read: The harm caused by porn addiction

NZ Herald 2 May 2016
Family First Comment: No surprises in what’s being said – but interesting that the mainstream media are finally willing to print it!!

Pornography addiction is still controversial, but it is undeniable for those living within its destructive reach.

Sex therapist Mary Hodson says we need to act quickly to tackle pornography’s skyrocketing casualty list.

During the past five years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking help for pornography-related problems, she says.

Hodson runs two North Island clinics and is spokeswoman for Sex Therapy New Zealand’s nationwide network of clinics.

”When I first started it was just the odd person coming through,” she says.

”Now my guess is that it is up to 40% with some porn component. The growth has particularly been in the area of porn.”

When it comes to pornography, Hodson prefers the label ”Out-of-control sexual behaviour” (OCSB) rather than ”addiction”.

She says research is yet to conclusively prove that the brains of people experiencing problems with porn are showing all the classic signs of addiction. A chemical change in the brain, probably linked to the feel-good hormone oxytocin, is likely to be proven soon, she says.

There is, however, no argument about the devastating impact porn is having on some people and on those around them.

”There is lots of research that shows that strong sexual relationships create strong families, and strong families create strong communities and strong communities create a strong New Zealand. And yet there is no money for this.”

A spokeswoman for Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman said the minister had not received any advice on the rapid rise of pornography addiction. She suggested questions could be directed to the Ministry of Health.

A Ministry of Health spokesman, in an emailed response, said that the ministry recognised pornography addiction ”is a real phenomenon”.

Although the so-called psychologists’ bible, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, did not list sex addiction as a diagnosable condition ”there is growing literature about the behaviour”, the spokesman said.

As such, people with a pornography addiction should be able to seek help from community-based providers, ”some of which are funded by district health boards (DHBs),” the spokesman said. A rider was added.

”Addiction treatment services delivered by DHBs are generally designed to meet the needs of people with more severe addiction problems.”

Whether pornography addiction would be considered severe was not stated.
READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11632164
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