Why we’re obsessed and how to rewire the addicted brain – St George News

Stock image | Photo by kevron2001/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

FEATURE – As harmless or neutral as Internet pornography may seem, it alters the brain, body chemistry, moods, motivation and sexual function, and according to many scientific opinions, it is easily one of the most addictive behaviors around. . It was found to be a massive contributor to relationship decline and divorce, aggravating the problem of human trafficking, and responsible for young and old losing interest in connection, learning and life.

Stock image | Photo by Jun/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Pornography is tricky. It can appear to be almost harmless. But even for mildly addicted people, it still wreaks havoc on the brain and body while shifting behaviors, feelings, and brain patterns away from healthy states.

To find out how addicted porn makes us, we start with our biology. Our bodies are wired to be rewarded for doing the things that will preserve and perpetuate our species. So when we engage in activities like eating food or having sex, the natural dopamine reinforcers increase in our systems. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical produced by our body, and although it is released as a reward, its main purpose is to help us remember the reason for that reward so that we repeat the behavior. Because of this, dopamine is also the doorway to addiction.

When this reward system was created, our Paleolithic ancestors did not have the lifespans or population sources that we have today. When they met a potential mate, they were greeted strongly with a dopamine reward for having sex with a partner. Nature cleverly configured this feature into its wiring to perpetuate the species, and it is still active in us today.

Since the majority of the pornography industry is male-centric, to understand the addictive component of pornography, it is also important to know the nature of the dopamine delivery system along with the male sexual reproductive system. A man can only ejaculate a certain number of times in a given period with a woman, but animal studies have shown that if a new partner is introduced, the time needed for recovery decreases and dopamine increases , allowing his genetic lineage to capitalize on mating. season. Again, this is nature’s old strategy for maximizing the number of potential babies, and it’s the same for almost all mammals.

Today, viewers of pornography can see and imagine interacting with an unlimited number of new sexual partners, far more than men and women of antiquity would have even seen or experienced in their lifetime. The problem with the Internet is that there is no end; there are always more videos, new bodies and sex acts to watch with dopamine hits available at the click of a mouse.

Stock image | picture by
Photoboyko/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

When we look at how porn addiction works, we also need to consider the highly addictive nature of the internet in general. Our brain gets little shots of dopamine every time we see a new image, find new information, or get a like. There are countless studies done on this subject that prove the addictive and dopamine-producing effects of browsing even the most “vanilla” internet experiences. These tiny doses of dopamine administered regularly program us to have very strong connections – even addictions – to our phones and the Internet.

And there’s another side that isn’t often talked about: when human beings are sexually intimate, in addition to dopamine, a small dose of oxytocin – the “love chemical” – is also released. It’s not talked about much, but if a person has an orgasm from watching porn, in addition to the dopamine hits, they’re bonding to the porn.

As dopamine levels in the brain increase, dopamine receptors down-regulate. This means that normal activities will no longer be as enjoyable as they once were, leading to an increased desire for dopamine-intensive activities, such as watching pornography, living at risk, or using drugs.

As behavior continues to increase, DeltaFosB, the “binge” chemical, appears in the hormone cocktail, and this is where we see the most significant structural changes in the brain, particularly in the prefrontal cortex.

The effects of porn addiction look like this:

  • Pleasure numb responI know. Everyday pleasures are not so pleasant.
  • Hyper-responsiveness to porn. Even a swimsuit commercial can trigger strong porn urges.
  • Erosion of Will. This also includes a lack of motivation.
  • Decreased decision-making abilities. Bad decisions are made more easily.
  • Dyserection. Sex is less enjoyable.

The biggest question my clients and their family members want to know is, will their brains, mannerisms, and sexual responses return to pre-pornography? The answer is yes! Fortunately, our brains have plasticity, and a brain that has changed to become addicted can change to be healthy again.

When it comes to pornography, the best treatment for reversing the brain damage caused by addiction is total abstinence from pornography and thinking about any sexual imagery that accompanies it. But even for short-term users, quitting cold turkey can be difficult. The quickest transition out of cravings will be changing neural pathways and starting to associate porn use with negative feelings, which is something that happens fastest in deeper states of consciousness, making hypnotherapy a fantastic tool for those looking to reduce the desire for pornography. immediately.

Stock image | Photo by Marcos Calvo/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Often there is a deeper reason for the addiction that needs to be addressed: depression, anxiety, relationship issues, or old trauma that needs to be healed. These things can also be addressed in hypnotherapy or in group therapy settings or with a cognitive behavioral therapist.

As therapy clients experience the ability to break free from pornography and notice that cravings decrease and willpower increases, so do others who have participated in porn abstinence studies. , they reported happier relationships, higher motivation and productivity, better social relationships, better sex lives, and increased overall happiness and life satisfaction. Healing the mind, spirit and body is a beautiful process.

If I can help you or a loved one with issues of pornography, sex addiction, or betrayal trauma, please text or call my office at 435-429-2560 to arrange a consultation or visit BalancedModernHypnotherapy.com to find out more or make an appointment.

Written by ERIN DEL TORO, Clinical Hypnotherapist with Modern Balanced Hypnotherapy.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2022 issue from St. George Health and Wellness magazine.

Copyright St.George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

Leave a Comment