Have you ever felt like you were alone? That there was something wrong with you? That you were going through something terrible and that no one could relate or understand how you feel?

This is how many people feel when they realize that they have a problem with pornography. What might have seemed harmless to them at first becomes an obsession that eats up their time and money while putting distance between them and their loved ones. And yet while they realize the sorry state they are in, they refuse to openly admit to having a problem.

Why Do People Have Trouble Talking About It?

Why? Maybe it was due to guilt, shame, or fear of being found out. The idea of being addicted to porn sounds unseemly, reflecting poorly on them, so they don’t want people to know about it. They might worry that if they admit to having a porn problem that they’ll be judged harshly by their peers. Others might feel that their addiction makes them unworthy of help, unworthy of even God’s love. But whatever the reason, the result is the same: their addiction becomes a secret shame, leaving them suffering in silence.

But porn addiction is (sadly) not a rare occurrence. It isn’t an anomaly that makes you stand out from the rest of the world. Roughly 200,000 Americans have been classified as “porn addicts” and 4 million American people regularly visit porn websites. Porn is a problem that a lot of people struggle with and that’s been the case for a long time. This might not necessarily be a good thing, but it does stress a very important fact: if you’re struggling with porn addiction, you are not alone.

Find the Support That You Need

In recent years, discussions surrounding porn addiction have reached the mainstream. Recent data shows that there are around 200,000 Americans are considered “porn addicts” and 40 million American people regularly visit porn sites. We’ve also seen several high-profile celebrities such as Terry Crews and Tiger Woods have admitted to struggling with porn addiction, speaking out on how it damaged their personal relationships. Granted, there is still a lot of debate surrounding porn addiction: many point out that it isn’t an official diagnosis recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), with some arguing that obsessive porn usage is a coping mechanism for depression, anxiety, and certain types of traumas rather than being an addiction itself. Yet while the consensus might be in limbo, there is little doubt that pornography can be physically, psychologically, and spiritually harmful.

With people becoming more aware of the dangers of porn addiction, talking about it has become less taboo, which makes it easier to find some much-needed help. Which is the key to overcoming porn addiction: finding support in others. Family members who know that something is wrong can offer their support, therapists can offer guidance on how to curb unhealthy behaviors, and your local priest can offer spiritual counsel. There are also hotlines and support groups for people dealing with porn addiction, and not to mention tools like Clean Internet that can help people struggling with porn addiction remain accountable and honest.

Porn addiction can make you feel trapped and helpless, disinterested in your daily life, and isolated from the people you love. But opening up about your experiences is the first step to making real change. Porn addiction is a very real problem in our society, but you aren’t the only one working to overcome it. Just remember that, when times are tough, you are not alone.