LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2021 | Volume
: 8 | Issue : 2 | Page : 101--103
Mindfulness-based interventions: Potentials for treatment of pornography
Manoj Kumar Sharma1, Ajay Kumar1, Hemant Bhargav2, Raghavendra Bhat3, Nitin Anand1, Vishnu Digambhar1, Shubham Menaria4,
1 Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Integrative Medicine, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Division of Yoga and Life Sciences, S-VYASA, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
4 Department of Physiotherapy, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Manoj Kumar Sharma
Department of Clinical Psychology, NIMHANS Centre for Well-Being, SHUT Clinic (Service for Healthy Use of Technology), National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka
|How to cite this article:|
Sharma MK, Kumar A, Bhargav H, Bhat R, Anand N, Digambhar V, Menaria S. Mindfulness-based interventions: Potentials for treatment of pornography.AYUHOM 2021;8:101-103
|How to cite this URL:|
Sharma MK, Kumar A, Bhargav H, Bhat R, Anand N, Digambhar V, Menaria S. Mindfulness-based interventions: Potentials for treatment of pornography. AYUHOM [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Oct 7 ];8:101-103
Available from: http://www.ayuhom.com/text.asp?2021/8/2/101/348857
The past few decades have witnessed an increased use and acceptance of pornography. The market for pornography has been progressively increasing with the advancements in information and communication technology. The accessibility, affordability, and anonymity of Internet pornography have made it a powerful force in the area of sexuality., The self-report studies carried out in the US (n = 2,075) and Polish (n = 1036) samples showed that 9%–11% of adult men and around 3% of adult women expressed acknowledgment with the statement “I am addicted to pornography.” The inability of the user to regulate the consumption of pornography characterizes pornography addiction and is associated with a variety of negative emotional, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes such as anxiety, depression, social isolation, relationship problems, a decline in work performance, etc. Given the cost involved in pornography addiction, the problem contributes to a substantial financial burden. Thus, studying this phenomenon and coming up with effective interventions is essential. The double spiral model of pornography addiction suggests that integrated psychotherapies such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) can be used for the management of addictive behaviors. However, there have been only a few studies on a better understanding of mindfulness and pornography. Guided by the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses model, we searched for peer-reviewed English language publications indexed in PubMed, Google Scholar, Scopus, and ResearchGate using the keywords “mindfulness, internet use, and pornography.” The search was conducted from January 2011 to February 2021. Studies that were mixed methods or qualitative were excluded. The reference list of primary retrieved articles was screened to identify any relevant articles for inclusion in the synthesis. Out of 18 articles that were retrieved initially, 11 articles that met inclusion were included after removing duplicates.
Data were extracted on broad categories of (1) dispositional mindfulness, (2) metacognitive awareness, and (3) mindfulness as a treatment modality.
Mindfulness is nonjudgmental awareness of thought and attention to moment-by-moment cognition, emotion, and sensation without fixation on thoughts of past and future. Dispositional mindfulness is a trait-like feature that expresses in terms of one's predisposition to be mindful in daily life. Research shows that individuals with dispositional mindfulness display less problematic pornography use, and such an association was mediated through emotion regulation in a group of partnered individuals and long-term single individuals. In another study, examining the role of dispositional mindfulness in the relationship between compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) and shame among men diagnosed with substance use disorders, it was found that males with low levels of dispositional mindfulness were more likely to experience shame when engaging in CSB, which will affect the treatment outcome of substance use disorder. This is a significant finding as shame promotes emotional avoidance and aggression and contributes to maladaptive behavior for externalization. Greater mindfulness and self-compassion often attained through frequent mindfulness meditation was resulting in reduced shame proneness.
Metacognition is defined as any cognitive process that is involved in the appraisal, monitoring, or control of cognition. Research indicates that problematic pornography use is characterized by a predominant urge for behavioral engagement, referred to as craving, which is influenced by voluntary engagement in cognitive elaboration (i.e., desire thinking such as “I need to think about viewing pornography to avoid feeling overwhelmed.”) These clients have appraisals about the uncontrollability of behavior-related thoughts such as “when I begin thinking about viewing pornography I cannot stop.” This makes even more difficult to distance from engaging in pornography. Metacognitions influence desire thinking because they reflect either positive or negative information that an individual has about their own desire thinking processes. The perseveration of desire thinking through positive and negative metacognitions leads to escalation of craving henceforth maintaining pornography. Mindfulness practices enhance an individual's metacognitive awareness about craving and interrupt the automatic processes involved in the maintenance of undesired behavior.
Mindfulness as an Intervention
The meditation awareness training (a third generation of behavioral intervention) resulted in improvements in addictive behavior along with other outcomes such as reduction in depression, emotional distress, etc. Similarly, studies showed that participants who meditated regularly showed reductions in viewing pornography, less time spent ruminating over pornography, and experienced less guilt and shame. MBRP is recognized as an effective intervention treating addictions. A pilot study found that after 8 weeks of MBRP, men seeking treatment for CSB disorder reported less anxiety, depression, and obsessive‒compulsive disorder along with less time spent viewing pornography. Mindfulness promotes emotional well-being, which brings a reduction in the factors associated with pornography use. ACT which utilizes the principles of mindfulness such as acceptance and present moment awareness can become a potential therapy for the treatment of pornography addiction than traditional models like cognitive behavior therapy. In a study conducted among 6 Caucasian males reporting problematic pornography viewing, 8 sessions of ACT resulted in a significant reduction in porn viewing, which was maintained at a 3-month follow-up.
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment with whatever arises including uncomfortable or stressful experiences. The present work documents the role of the presence of dispositional mindfulness results in high psychological flexibility and self-regulation which is antidote to negative emotional states and pornography-related rumination; henceforth, the trait of being mindfulness will facilitate alternate value-based behaviors than addiction to porn. Mindfulness-based therapies have emerged as a promising approach to treat addictions, including pornography addiction. The neurobiological shreds of evidence show that MBRP affects both bottom-up limbic-striatal brain circuitry and top-down prefrontal networks serving metacognitive attentional control implicated in substance addiction disorder. Similar mechanism may be applicable to understand pornography use. Future studies can also explore the underlying neurobehavioral mechanisms of pornography consumption reduction following MBRP, as well as other psychosocial interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy, ACT, motivation enhancement therapy, or emotion-focused therapy to validate treatment protocol for the management of pornography addiction.
Dispositional mindfulness results in high self-regulation which is antidote to negative emotional states and pornography-related rumination; henceforth, being mindfulness will facilitate alternate value-based behaviors than addiction.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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