Dopamine Rush of Porn Addiction


Guest post by:
Dorothy Hayden, LCSW
New York Center for Sex Addiction Therapy
www.sextreatment.com

I’ve written a great deal about the “marvelous dopamine rush” of viewing porn addiction.  Of course, there are many other endorphins and neurotransmitters involved in the allure of what I’ve called “The Erotic Haze.”  It’s a rather complex interplay of brain chemicals that produces this highly addictive state.

The endpoint in knowing about the biochemistry of porn addiction is the awareness that, eventually ,the pre-frontal cortex of the brain gets damaged.  This is the part of us that manages “executive functioning”.  Your ability to see reality, make decisions, make changes that affect your destiny, organize yourself internally and externally, to focus, to concentrate.  In other words to have a sense of “agency” in your own life.  Becoming the captain of your own ship.  We all really crave that, don’t we?

Along with damage to “executive” functioning, the biochemistry of porn addiction alters our Minds.  The Mind, as opposed to the brain, holds our “higher selves”.  It is what contains higher consciousness which is able to distinguish right from wrong.

Addiction occurs when the physical brain has taken control of the Mind.  The Mind is our higher intelligence part gets frustrated about the loss of control over your behavior.  The physical brain has no concept of right or wrong.  It’s primary function to survive and it does this exclusively by driving you towards pleasure and away from pain.

The biochemical, physical brain has a huge ability to capture control of the mind, which is our higher essence.  It can subject it and hijack it.  Really, the physical brain, part of the limbic system which drives us toward pleasure, can influence the human will and influence how you think, feel and act.  Certainly, this is addiction,  Certainly, this is the shackling of the human spirit.

The physical, biochemical part of the brain demands and compels you towards a certain compulsive behavior regardless of what the Mind or conscience says. I believe there’s something inherent in our souls that feels it wrong to view the private sexual acts of others.  The sexual act is designed to be a private expression of care and connection.

In other words, the Mind, the electrical (according to Dr. Swartz) intelligent part of us simply doesn’t feel good about participating in internet porn.

In all my years of personally treating people entwined in sex and porn addiction, never has there been anyone who feels good after a porn binge.  NEVER!

Viewing internet pornography leaves in its wake feelings of frustration, shame, anxiety and depression.  These feelings are the direct result of the biochemical changes in your brain, specifically the sudden drop in dopamine levels, the occur with persistent involvement with porn.

In addiction to the chemical changes that influence our feelings and general state of well-being, in the deepest part of ourselves, the Mind, the conscience, the “witness”, or our Higher Power observes the loss of control of a destructive behavior and acts as the ultimate judge of lower selves.

I re-print an e-mail from a client:

I am sick to my core about my involvement in internet porn.  I am at the bottom of a hideous pit.  I’m in terror that there may be no hope of recovery for me.  I simply am compelled by an irresistible impulse to go into the “Erotic Haze”.  What’s wrong with me?  Why can’t I change?

Pornography eats away at your soul.  You know it does.

The client mentioned above did find sexual recovery.  Along with acquiring the skills he needed to resist the “irresistible impulse”, he is working on the internal issues that drove him to porn in the first place.

He is learning better coping skills to deal with his feelings so his has other options than going to the “Erotic Haze” for soothing and safety.  He is more reality-oriented and finds himself more able to receive healthy pleasure from his interpersonal interactions, from hobbies and recreations and to a renewed commitment to working toward his meaningful, realistic goals.  He feels great.

So can you.  Find recovery now.

 

Call (916)259-3827 For Professional Help

P.S. Recommended Resources:

  • Sex Addicts Anonymous
    I cannot imagine my recovery without this program.
  • Free Podcast and Mini Course from Candeo Can
    I owe my first 90 days of continuous sobriety to this program and highly recommend it.
  • Internet Accountability Software
    Using this software allowed me to get truly honest with my internet usage for the first time in my life. For some reason knowing that my every step was being observed and reported on, made it really easy to use internet only in a healthy way.
  • Treating Pornography Addiction by Kevin B. Skinner Ph.D.
    I have read over 15 books on Pornography and Sexual addiction and this truly is one of the best books on the subject. The reason is I recommend this particular book is because it is full of excellent actionable steps. Other books do a good job describing the problem, but don’t really offer a realistic solution.
  • Your Sexually Addicted Spouse – How Partners Can Cope and Heal by Barbara Steffens Ph.D.
    I know that about half of visitors to our site are spouses of people who might be suffering with pornography and sex addiction. To the best of my knowledge this book is one of the most helpful books for the partners.
  • Free Consultation from Coach Craig
    Coach Craig has been a good friend and supporter of this site since January 2013. He has worked with people from all over the world, including famous musicians and other high profile individuals. Yet, he is only a phone call away and would be glad to give you a free consultation. Call him anytime, with any question you might have, and I am know he will be extremely happy to help in any way he can.

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Comments

  1. Timothy says

    June 16th, Father’s day. Today; every noble thing, every promise of a secure future, all my past ‘good deeds’, amount to nothing. My wife of 28 years found the smoking gun of my addiction to pornography when she suspiciously (rightfully so)looked at my cell phone, which had a porn video up and running. She saw for the first time what I had vehemently denied I was looking at. She was able, in an instant, to see my deception, fraud, arrogance,and addiction in the light of irrefutable evidence. The addict in me sounded, “general quarters, this is not a drill! All stations report to damage control”! In naval terms, my munitions (alibi)storage depot had taken a direct hit and my ship was blown apart was sinking fast, bow up! The Captain goes down with the ship. Suicide was a viable option.

    I typed the words, help for the pornography addicted, into Google.
    I selected, http://www.feedtherightwolf.org/‎
    This is day one.
    Captain decided to abandon ship, and take his chances for rescue in the open sea. He realizes that losing his ship to enemy attack has redeemable possibilities; however this was not the case. This ship sunk as the direct result of dereliction to duty and gross negligence.
    From out of nowhere came a rope. When all you have is a flimsy air filled life vest, you grab the rope, in faith. I now have trust in only one thing. The rope. My knowledge, pride, self sufficiency, money, influence, friends, family, cannot save me. Only the rope.
    The more I pull it the longer it gets. I can now tie it around my waist and as I do the life vest deflates. I am so grateful for the life vest, but it only had a short time to do it’s task.
    End of day 1.

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