Less than 3 years ago the Surgical Neurology International Journal published the article, “Pornography Addiction: A Neuroscience Perspective.” Take a look at some of the main points of the article in our summary below.
The Nature of Addiction
Addictions don’t only create chemical changes in the brain; they also create anatomical and pathological changes in the brain. Come again? That’s right, addictions physically change the brain. Simply put, the frontal area of the brain (where the “braking system” is located) becomes damaged.
Typically, hypofrontal syndromes are seen as a result of tumors, strokes, and trauma. However, Fowleret al. noted, “studies of addicts show reduced cellular activity in the orbitofrontal cortex, a brain area . . . [relied upon] . . . to make strategic, rather than impulsive, decisions.”
A study in 2002 revealed that cocaine addiction results in “measurable volume loss in several areas of the brain, including the frontal lobes.” A study in 2004 on methamphetamine addiction produced similar results. These studies confirm that addiction can “produce measurable, anatomical change in the brain.”
Abuse of Normal Biological Behavior
Just as the studies on cocaine and methamphetamine revealed physical damage to the frontal area of the brain, similar findings were seen when a normal biological behavior such as eating is abused, leading to addiction and obesity. The obesity study revealed that multiple areas of the brain suffered volume loss, especially the frontal lobes—the judgment and control centers of the brain.
Another biological function that is necessary for survival?
Can sex be addictive in the neurological sense? In 2007, a study in Germany found for the first time that sexual compulsion can cause physical changes to the brain that are almost identical to those findings in the cocaine, methamphetamine and obesity studies.
Before this study was conducted, Dr. Eric Nestler wrote a revolutionary paper in 2005 in which he describes all addiction as “a dysfunction of the mesolimbic reward centers of the brain.” The pleasure/reward pathways of the brain are essentially “hijacked” by drugs such as cocaine or opioids, or by natural processes that are necessary for survival, such as eating and sex.
What Does This Mean for You?
If you are struggling with a pornography addiction, or any other sexual addiction, you have physically changed your brain. It doesn’t mean that the damage is permanent, but it will take a lot of effort and sexual addiction treatment to fully reclaim the areas of your brain that have become dominated by pornography use or other sexual addiction.
How Can LifeStar Help?
Overcoming sexual addiction is a serious challenge, and you need guidance and support to know how to create the changes necessary to free yourself from the damage addiction has caused to your brain. Seeking sexual addiction treatment is the absolute best thing you can do to further understand and gain the tools necessary to combat your addiction.
LifeStar offers an intensive sexual addiction treatment program that can help you take some large steps toward overcoming your addiction. Please contact us to learn more about how sexual addiction treatment can, quite literally, change your mind and your life.