The Hijacked Brain of the Porn Addict

Recently Harvard Health Publication published an article entitled, “How Addiction Hijacks the Brain.”

The article states that it is now a scientific consensus that “The brain registers all pleasures in the same way, whether they originate with a psychoactive drug, a monetary reward, a sexual encounter, or a satisfying meal. In the brain, pleasure has a distinct signature: the release of the chemical neurotransmitter dopamine.”

When we gain a better understanding of how our brain chemicals work and affect us then we can see how porn addiction is indeed a chemical addiction.

The chemical dopamine is the “I got to have more of it” chemical. Let’s take a look at how this chemical applies to porn addiction issues, which include the viewing of pornography and chronic masturbation.

Acting out episodes begin in the brain with a stimulating thought. That thought can be generated from either a memory of a pleasurable experience or an environmental cue from outside the brain through the eye. It is also helpful to understand that as far as our senses go the human eye is the most powerful. Or as author John Median in his book, “Brain Rules” states, “Visual perception doesn’t just assist in the perception of our world. It dominates the perception of our world.” In either case a burst of dopamine is released which leads one to automatically seek more of it.

The limbic region of the brain simply works on the premise of avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. Unless it is managed by the higher function brain, the pre-frontal cortex , it can hijack the rational part of the brain. One of the things that is critical to understand about the limbic survival part of the brain is that it has no morals or values. These higher functioning and more evolved attributes work through the higher functioning rational part of the brain – the pre-frontal cortex.

In essence we have two brains that work in concert with each other. Pornography hijacks the rational part of the brain and can lead you into behaviors that are confusing and hard to make sense of.

The problem with the limbic system is that it really doesn’t have any moral boundaries. It simply wants more and more and makes you more thirsty until it leaves you exhausted and empty.

“One can never get enough of what one doesn’t need, because what one doesn’t need will never fully satisfy them.”

Research has indicated that the likelihood of something becoming an addiction is directly related to three things.

The speed with which the activity promotes dopamine release,
The intensity of that release and
The reliability of that release.

Internet pornography hits all three areas and, as such, it is surely the “crack cocaine” of sexuality.

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One thought on “The Hijacked Brain of the Porn Addict

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