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. 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 (this most commonly means consuming porn while operating a vehicle).
- 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?