Pornography Use in Recovery
Recent neuroscientific research has revealed a shocking truth; pornography use can lead to a release of neurotransmitters in the brain that is comparable to that of using a cocktail of street drugs. Not all users are as vulnerable as others, but for a great many individuals, the use of pornography becomes something they cannot control.
In addicts who are learning to live life without drugs or alcohol, behaviors that trigger excessive amounts of endorphins, the aforementioned neurotransmitters, can be very threatening to maintaining recovery. This is because the same processes in the brain are involved in the use of these behaviors, keeping the brain vulnerable to triggers for drug or alcohol use.
Pornography online is, in large part, about the anticipation of what the next image may be. Anticipation and excitement are a part of the release of adrenaline. Oxytocin, recently discovered to also be involved in pornography use, is the bonding hormone that makes an individual feel bonded to those he or she loves.
Dopamine is one of the most significant neurotransmitters released with pornography, and with masturbation as well, it causes a large release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine causes pleasure and the relief of both physical and emotional pain.
Compulsive pornography use should never be taken lightly as it is a progressive problem, often leading to the inability of the individual to relate to others, including spouses, parents, and children. This is thought to have a lot to do with the oxytocin release that artificially ‘bonds’ the addict to the pornography as, over time, they lose interest in real relationships.
Pornography used excessively can not only lead to relapse but can also lead to the development of sex addiction. Compulsive pornography users can find help in addiction therapy and counseling. The most important thing is that the compulsion be treated as soon as possible, as compulsive pornography use is very difficult to overcome.
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