The Brain, Addicted

Aug 30, 2011

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The Brain

The human brain is programmed to motivate behaviors that contribute to survival.  The brain rewards eating and sexuality with powerful pleasure incentives.  It’s called the mesolimbic dopaminergic system.

Drugs and alcohol hijack the brain’s pleasure system and cause the brain to think a drug euphoria is necessary to survive.  Evidence is now strong that shows that food and sexuality affect the same reward system in the brain the same way drugs affect them.   Addiction, whether to drugs, food, or sexual things occurs when these activities cease to contribute to a state of stability or equilibrium, and instead cause adverse consequences.

A doctor at Harvard University said that changes in brain circuitry can occur even in the absence of drug-taking.  This change can occur by cultivating thoughts that act like a drug to the brain. A Stanford University psychologist (Brian Knutson) said: “It stands to reason if you can derange these brain circuits with medications, you can do it with natural rewards too.

Thus, drugs and alcohol are no longer at the heart of the matter of addiction.  Pornography has been found to be as addicting, if not more addicting. It’s a physical and psychological change.

One researcher suggests pornography addiction is frantic learning, and perhaps this is why many who have struggled with multiple addictions report that pornography was the hardest addiction to overcome.  

Imagine a drug addiction harder to overcome than heroine and alcohol.  This should be the biggest red flag you’ll ever see in your life. Should children be allowed to be accidentally exposed to heroine? What about pornography?

Drug addictions, while powerful, are more passive in a “thinking kind of way, whereas pornography viewing is a much more active process neurologically.  The constant searching and evaluating each Web-based image or video clip produced for potency and effect is an exercise in neuronal learning and rewiring.

If we fail to understand the implications of pornography’s ability to re-program the brain structurally, neurochemically, and metabolically, we doom ourselves to continue to fail with this formidable disease.