Is Viagra Dependency a Thing?

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Let’s talk about Viagra dependence, fellas. Over the last decade, an increasing number of men under the age of 40 have started using erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra.

This is largely due to increased awareness of erectile dysfunction, which can affect younger men almost as frequently as middle-aged and elderly men. In fact, study data indicates that many men seeking treatment for ED are between the ages of 20 and 40.

The vast majority of men who use Viagra do so without any major physical or psychological issues.

However, like all medications, there are correct and incorrect ways to use Viagra. When it’s used incorrectly as a recreational drug, Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medicines can have the potential to lead to negative side effects.

As a result of this, there are concerns that the use of Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications could cause long-term dependence. Below, we’ve dug into the evidence on this topic to help you learn more about the potential for Viagra dependency.

Is Viagra a Physically Addictive Drug?

One of the most common concerns people have about Viagra is that it could be a physically addictive medication, similar to many popularly prescribed painkillers and stimulants.  

Unlike many other widely used medications, sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) is not a physically addictive substance. This is also true for other ED medications such as tadalafil (the active ingredient in Cialis) and vardenafil (the active ingredient in Levitra).

These medications all work the same way—by inhibiting the enzyme that regulates blood flow to the soft tissue of the penis. By increasing blood flow to the penis, these medications make it easier to get an erection.

Men who use drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra typically find that their erections are harder and last longer than without medication. This can result in improved sexual performance and, for many men, greater sexual enjoyment.

There is no scientific evidence that sildenafil, tadalafil or any other medications used to treat erectile dysfunction are physically addictive. Unlike other medications, Viagra does not target the reward pathways in the brain that trigger addiction or cause withdrawal symptoms.

Can Using Viagra Lead to Psychological Dependence?

While Viagra isn’t physically addictive, it is possible for people who use the medicine improperly, at an overly high dose or without a prescription to become psychologically dependent on Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs.

Viagra dependency is uncommon in men who use the medication to treat erectile dysfunction—after all, these people are using the drug for its intended purpose and have a legitimate, clearly defined reason for seeking it out in the first place.

Instead, psychological dependence on Viagra usually occurs in younger men who use Viagra or other ED medications for their sexual performance boosting properties. These users usually buy and use Viagra without a prescription, often at a higher-than-recommended dose.

Viagra and other ED medications can have benefits even for men who don’t suffer from erectile dysfunction. They can shorten the refractory period and result in firmer erections, making them an appealing option for those looking to boost sexual performance.

Using Viagra without a prescription to boost sexual performance is not the same as using Viagra as intended. Instead, it’s abusing the medication by using it in a way that isn’t recommended or endorsed by doctors.

Abusing Viagra not only increases the risk of psychological dependence, but it can also increase the risk of other common side effects, such as headaches, nasal congestion, vision issues and digestive problems.

How to Avoid Viagra Dependency

The most effective way to avoid Viagra dependency is to follow your doctor’s instructions and take the medication as recommended. Used as recommended, Viagra is a safe, effective and reliable medication that is neither physically nor psychologically addictive.

In short, if you have a prescription for Viagra and use it as your doctor recommends, there’s no need to feel worried about dependence. You can also:

  • Get a Viagra prescription. Don’t take Viagra without a prescription. If you’re worried that you might have erectile dysfunction, it’s best to talk to your doctor about how you can improve your sexual experience. You can do this easily online.
  • Only use Viagra at the recommended dose. Viagra comes in several different doses, from 20mg to 100mg. Use the dose that you’re prescribed. If you think it isn’t effective, talk to your doctor about changing to a different dose of the medication.
  • Set realistic sexual expectations. Viagra dependence can occur if you set unrealistic standards for your sexual performance. Communicate with your partner so that both of you are on the same page and you don’t feel any pressure or anxiety.
  • Limit the amount of porn you watch. Watching porn can negatively affect your sexual performance. If you find it harder to get an erection with your partner even though you’re able to get hard while watching porn, try to limit the amount of pornography you watch.
  • Consider other treatments for ED. Viagra is an extremely effective treatment for ED, but it’s not the only option available. Used in combination with Viagra, other treatments can help you improve your erections and avoid relying solely on medication.

Overall, Viagra is not an addictive medication. Used with a prescription at a normal dose, Viagra dependence is not something you’ll need to worry about. Apply the tips above and you’ll be able to treat ED successfully, all without any drug dependence concerns.

Learn More About Treating Erectile Dysfunction

ED is one of the most common sexual issues men face, with scientific study data indicating that approximately 40 percent of men are affected by erectile dysfunction at age 40.

If you think you have erectile dysfunction, help is available. Our guide to the most common ED treatments goes into detail on how you can use proven, FDA-approved medications to improve blood flow to your penis and enjoy a normal, stress-free sexual experience.

You can also learn more about the effects of Viagra and other ED medications in our guide to what to expect from erectile dysfunction medication.



This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.