An addict is usually pictured as someone who has hit “rock-bottom”, who suffers from terrible bruises and physical scarring, and whose life has been directly and terribly ruined by an inability to stop using some kind of drug. People usually imagine that the addiction to a drug is something so physically absolute that it really isn’t anything to do with personal choice or psychology. If someone is addicted to a substance like that, it’s one thing. But being addicted to – the internet? How can it even be related?
Well, the truth is that the line between psychology and physiology is never that clear. Very commonly substance abusers can get past the physical need for the thing they crave. It’s the mental need that really makes things hard. Stopping the use of alcohol, cigarettes or any illegal substance can be painful, but never doing it again is even worse.
We are made of habits, and as has long been said “old habits die hard.” The more used to something we are, the harder it is to alter our action regarding it. So many activities that do not directly involve the ingestion of a physical substance really can be addicting. The use of the internet, especially for viewing pornography but not necessarily so, can cause habits and actions that are essentially the same as a person who is suffering from physical addiction.
It should be noted that sex addiction is commonly associated with porn addiction since the person is always trying to satisfy sexual urges even if they are not with someone. There are sites and therapists that specialize in offering sex addiction help online.
An addiction can be thought of as the development of certain habits which then take over and dominate one’s life. If habits are healthy, they can be developed and then maintained, or altered as a person sees fit, all the while becoming integrated with their personality. But an addiction does not become part of their personality so much as a need or desire that they are prostrate to.
This distinction can be fought over, as people do when discussing whether they are alcoholics or just people who like to have a drink, but in bad cases it is pretty clear. Being addicted to internet sex means being so enmeshed in the use of web porn that the possibility of real life sexual encounters is no longer of much interest. An addict can’t just forget about it for a few days or a week, and the issue gets in the way of a healthy life.