Module 7: Addiction


This module aims to help you explore and gain understanding of the following:

  • The difference between addiction and compulsion
  • What role addiction played in your on-line behaviour
  • How you can start to address your addictions

Download module as a PDF. 

What do we mean by a compulsion or addictive behaviour?

Compulsive: defined as performing an act persistently and repetitively without it necessarily leading to an actual reward or pleasure.

Addiction: is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.

Typically an individual becomes dependent on something to reduce the pain of certain emotions. Usually they get pleasure the first time they try it and then they return to the behaviour to get the same feeling of pleasure. Continual usage leads to a reliance on the behaviour to feel normal which ultimately leads to psychological dependence.

Starting Point

Think about your use of adult pornography and sexual images of children and using the definitions above think about whether they were compulsive or addictive?

Adult pornography


Sexual images of children


If you are still not sure here is an exercise that might help:

Please make a note of all those of the following that apply to you and your use of sexual images of children:

  • Tolerance (needing more images for the same ‘fix’)
  • Withdrawal (feeling negative/low when you are not looking at the images)
  • Use more than intended (staying on-line longer than intended, time ‘disappearing’ when on-line)
  • Inability to control use (repeatedly saying you will stop but then returning to the behaviour)
  • Effort is expended to obtain (making sure you have time alone on-line, hiding your search history etc from others)
  • Important activities are replaced (stopping other hobbies, spending less time with friends/family)
  • Continued use despite negative consequences (not having enough time to do other things, being tired due to staying up late on-line, feeling guilty or ashamed, fear of arrest)

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