Restorations Therapy Blog

Does Porn Really Change Your Brain?

by on Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Did you know that your brain is constantly changing? Based on the information you “feed” your brain every day, it adjusts to bring in new information and store old information. How the brain works is absolutely fascinating to a nerd like me, and we still have so much to learn. But what happens when the brain has pathways that are unhealthy? At a basic level, our brains are designed to crave things that make us feel good. But too much of a good thing can literally change your brain chemistry for the worst.

Let’s start with a little brain chemistry 101 for those of us who are not scientists. Does Porn Change Your Brain? There are these little things in your brain called neurons that are constantly communicating to each other in the brain. When neurons fire together often, they begin to connect together to create a pathway in your brain. As you continue to do the same thing over and over again, the pathways created by neurons deepen and create shortcuts in your brain called neuropathways. This is how daily routines are created when neurons become specifically wired to create deeper pathways in your brain. The brain loves doing the same thing over and over again and deepening its neuropathways.

When you feel good or excited about anything in life, a chemical called dopamine is released into one’s body and brain. This chemical is awesome. It is the rush you get when you hold someone’s hand for the first time, or eat a piece of cake, or embark on a new adventure. Dopamine is also released during sex, and even when viewing porn. Sex is a natural, healthy occurrence, but in some ways, our brains can’t tell the difference between sex and pornography. When watching pornography regularly in addiction, our brains are constantly flooded with dopamine.  When the brain is constantly flooded with dopamine, it begins to shut down dopamine receptors to try to stop the constant flooding. Then, you need more and more porn to get the same high, because more dopamine is needed. As this process progresses, the things that used to get you excited don’t even register anymore. Your brain is telling you that this amount of dopamine is too much! But we often does interpret the message this way.

Once you start going down the path of continued pornography use, it is really hard to stop. These pathways are so deeply embedded in your brain that it doesn’t know any other way to feel good. After an extended period of time of needing more and more porn to get the same high, the brain’s frontal lobe begins to shrink as a result of its self-protection. The frontal lobe is the decision-making center of the brain. This is not an area any of us want to lose! The reality is pornography addiction has severe consequences on the brain over time. This internal chemical release with pornography addiction is the same that is experienced in a drug or alcohol addiction. Just take a minute for that to soak in. A pornography addiction is building the same destructive neuropathways in your brain that occur in a drug or alcohol addiction.

But here’s the good news. Even if you’ve been struggling with pornography addiction for years, your brain does have the ability to bounce back. The brain is elastic and can repair itself; it can create new pathways and break free of the old ones. This is called neuroplasticity. The reality is that this process takes significant time and conscious effort to retrain your brain; but is possible! What could you do today to help retrain your brain? If you are seriously struggling with pornography addiction today, call us. We have seen hundreds of people reverse the affects of pornography addiction in their lives. Change is possible, but you must be willing to work for it.

For more information on the science behind this blog, check out this link: http://fightthenewdrug.org/how-porn-changes-the-brain/

About Kevie Simon

Kevie Simon works as the operations director of RTC. From marketing to finances to office management, Kevie works on it all. With her background in management and marketing, she is a great fit for our team. Additionally, Kevie has a Bachelors of Arts in Family and Human Services from John Brown University, and she is currently working on her Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health at Denver Seminary. She wants to specialize in working with partners of addicts and couples working through trauma. Kevie has learned from personal experience the effects of sex addiction on the couple and family. Contact Kevie at via email at Kevie@RestorationsTherapy.com or telephone at (720)446-6585.

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