Basically, your brain reacts the same way to porn as it does to meth, heroin or crack. Here’s exactly how the addiction forms:
Step-by-Step Porn Addiction Process:
You look at a pornographic image or video.
Your brain believes that you’re looking at a potential mate, so it releases the “happy chemical”, Dopamine.
Dopamine makes you feel good and gives your brain the drive to finish mating.
Because the Internet provides you with an unlimited supply of fresh mates, your brain tells you to binge like a rabbit during mating season.
When you “finish”, you’re completely exhausted as your brain tries to process the extreme amounts of Dopamine.
Now, if you stopped right here and never looked at porn again, you’d be fine
But you don’t.
If you’re anything like most men, you were first exposed at a young age and have looked at porn ever since. So, here’s what happens next as your brain reacts to chronic porn use:
The Effects of Chronic Porn Use:
After several months (or even years), your brain becomes desensitized to the Dopamine you’re flooding it with.
In order to maintain long-term sensitivity to Dopamine, your brain produces a protein called Delta Fos-B (pronounced fawz-be).
After the first time your brain makes Delta Fos-B, it’ll keep producing more with each cumulative porn use.
Over time, multiple layers of Delta Fos-B accumulate inside your brain’s “pleasure center”, the Nucleus Ambens.
As it builds up, Delta Fos-B creates a compulsive response in your brain that makes you feel like you need
Your brain associates Dopamine with porn, and so therefore that need for Dopamine becomes a need for porn.
And that’s when you’re addicted.
The more Delta Fos-B that’s stored in your brain’s Nucleus Ambens, the stronger your compulsion for Dopamine will be. This process explains where your porn cravings come from and why they grow stronger over time.
How Long Does it Take Your Brain to Rewire?
In most cases, Delta Fos-B will stick around in your brain for about eight weeks. However, every time you’re exposed to porn, you reset that timer AND you make your cravings stronger than they were before.
Scientists still don’t understand everything about Delta Fos-B or the neurochemical process behind addiction. All we know for sure is that it takes a minimum of eight weeks for your brain to clean itself and go back to normal.
Fun Fact: The younger you are, the longer it will take your brain to cleanse Delta Fos-B. If you’re younger than 30, it could take up to 16 weeks before your brain is back to normal.
Common Porn Addiction Symptoms
We already said at the beginning of this post that a common symptom of porn addiction is erectile dysfunction. This is because porn desensitizes your brain to normal sexual activity. So, even if you can get hard enough for intercourse, most addicted men will struggle to climax from real-life sex.
However, most porn addiction symptoms actually aren’t physical. Here are some of the most commonly cited symptoms in men today:
ADHD or an inability to concentrate
Anti-social behavior or social anxiety
Disinterest in real women
An escalating need for more extreme or taboo porn
Loss of willpower or discipline
Zombie-like feeling, especially during the afternoon
Grumpiness or irritability
Constant feeling of guilt or fear
Notice that these symptoms are completely different from [porn addiction withdrawal symptoms]. These are only the symptoms you’ll notice WHILE you’re addicted, although they may continue until your brain resets back to normal.
You will find a safe environment to explore your concerns and questions at healingsoulsllc.com or call Ryan at 952.261.5269.