Addiction comes in many forms, though many people think of alcohol and drugs before considering pornography. Unlike most drugs and alcohol, pornography is available for free online and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The habit can seem cheap but it has expensive consequences.
A reward pathway exists in the brain which rewards a person when something positive happens. If an individual wins an award, the reward center records the experience to remember the good feelings associated with winning. Chemicals are released in the main including dopamine and oxytocin which help people feel pleasure and bond to people. Motivation to achieve things which create happiness starts with the chemical release. Drugs, alcohol and any other addiction hijack the reward pathway to trigger good feelings when the substance is used. Pornography has the same effect on the reward center of the brain as other drugs creating a desire to access more of the ‘drug’ (pornography) to achieve a high which can lead to addiction.
Over time, the brain is at risk for burning out its reward pathway due to consistently elevated levels of dopamine and oxytocin. More pornography is required to feel the same release due to the brain working to protect the pathway from overloading. Withdrawal symptoms can occur when a person tries to cut back on viewing pornography. Increasingly, pornography has become more shocking, full of surprises with increased levels of violence which increase a dopamine surge in the brain. Endless variety of pornography guarantees a person can see a new image when the high fades which keep dopamine levels elevated for hours, even days at a time.
An individual who watches pornography repeatedly will, over the course of time, risk developing an addiction. As with any other drug or substance, the brain and body can experience withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to stop watching pornography. The challenge for a person who quits cold turkey is to experience withdrawal without relapse. A person can experience a psychological and physical toll from quitting pornography which may take some time to go away. However, help is available. Therapeutic support is one avenue but a person may consider consulting with other community support groups which also help a person quit pornography. Spiritual support persons such as pastors and other counselors can be helpful in giving a person tools necessary to recover from pornography addiction. Having the support of friends, family and loved ones is also an important part of a journey to recovery which starts with first admitting a problem exists then seeking help to move forward.
Pornography addiction is serious and can affect a person’s ability to live, work and function optimally. If you or a loved one are experiencing difficulty with quitting pornography, contact The Villa for support. We are here to help you on the journey to recovery. (855) 591-6116