When writing Wack, I wanted to come up with a way to figure out the severity of my porn addiction, so I looked up the American Psychiatric Association’s substance addiction diagnostic tool. With a little adaptation on my part each criterion applies equally as well to porn use (except perhaps for number eight, but who am I to judge?). You can also adapt these criteria to fit any addictive behavior you wish to analyze in yourself, such as gambling, masturbation, etc. Make a tally mark for every statement that applies to you.
- 1: You use more extreme pornographic material than you planned, use porn more frequently than you planned, or have used porn over a greater time span than you planned.
- 2: You have several times expressed that you would like to quit or reduce use and/or have unsuccessfully tried to reduce or stop use.
- 3: You spend an inordinate or inconvenient amount of time acquiring, using, and/or recovering from the effects of porn.
- 4: You experience strong cravings for porn.
- 5: You have compromised major obligations at home, at work, or at school due to porn use.
- 6: You continue using porn despite knowing that it is consistently causing or worsening social or interpersonal problems.
- 7: You have skipped or given up significant social or occupational activities in order to use porn.
- 8: You use porn in ways or locations that are physically hazardous.
- 9: You continue using porn despite knowing that it is consistently causing or worsening physical or psychological problems.
- 10: You have acquired a tolerance and need more lengthy, varied, or extreme porn to feel the same or similar pleasure as when you first started using.
- 11: You experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you abstain and may use porn to alleviate these symptoms.
According to the APA, “As a general estimate of severity, a mild substance use disorder is suggested by the presence of two to three symptoms, moderate by four to five symptoms, and severe by six or more symptoms.” Before quitting PMO, I would have scored a 9. How about you?