Learn How Porn Changes the Brain

Learn How Porn Changes the Brain

Studies have been done that demonstrate those who make more frequent use of pornography feel the impact on the brain including less connectivity and activity within the brain itself. Scientists used to believe once childhood is over, the brain stopped growing. Except illness or injury, nothing could change the brain but now it is known the brain changes throughout the lifespan. Learn just how much of an impact porn has on the brain and why it matters.

How the Brain Works

The brain is made up of nearly 100 billion special nerves called neurons which carry electrical signals back and forth between parts of the brain that then flow out to the rest of the body. When learning to play a chord on the guitar, for instance, the brain sends a signal to the hand to tell it what to do. As the signal zips along the neurons, activated cells form connections. This creates what is called a ‘neural pathway.’ Like a trail in the woods, when it becomes used, it grows wider and ever permanent. With repetition, the neural pathway will become strong enough that the guitar chord (or anything else) will be done easily without thinking. Practice really does make perfect. Porn is very much the same in this regard in forming long-lasting pathways in the brain. Porn is a ferocious competitor that has less activity to compete with, including actual sexual activity with a partner. Porn can actually overpower the brain’s ability to have real sexual connection.

The Flow

The flow is a satisfied state of focused attention. When in the flow, a person gets so deep into what is being done that nothing else matters. Playing a game or having a conversation with friends, even reading a book can require focus and a person can easily lose track of time. Flow is the ability to do things that take a person out of space and time so that it seems like no time has gone by at all. When a person sits in front of the computer to look at porn it may become so absorbing that nothing can compete for attention, including sleep. Neural pathways are being formed which creates space in the brain to ingrain images so deeply the individual remembers those images and movies for a long time to come.

Chemicals

As with other addictive substances and behaviors, porn activates the part of the brain called the reward center which triggers the release of a cocktail of chemicals offering a temporary buzz. One of the chemicals includes a protein called DeltaFosB. This chemical can build neural pathways and make strong connections between porn and pleasure which can disrupt a person’s entire life. DeltaFosB is important to learning any new skills and may lead to addictive and compulsive behaviors. Adolescents are particularly susceptible. If it builds up enough in the brain, it switches the genes on to create long-term cravings to go back for more. Long after a person stops viewing porn, the desire to keep viewing (cravings) may continue, sometimes for months. Neuroplasticity works both ways. When porn pathways are not reinforced, the pathways get smaller and eventually disappear, the brain mechanisms that lay down pathways for porn can be replaced with something else.

Blueprints provides space for people to reconnect with the self and disconnect from substance use, porn or other addictive behaviors. Give us as call if you are seeking help in quitting an addiction that has a stronghold in your life.

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