Porn is like a Drug

By Matt Bulkley | Blog Education Series

STAR Guides Wilderness - Porn is like a Drug

So, what is common between cocaine and pornography? You can ask this question of anyone and you will receive the same answer ‘nothing’. But a recent study performed at Cambridge University proves otherwise. It shows that people addicted to porn experience the same brain transformations most drug addicts do. Meaning that prolonged exposure to pornographic images can alter your brain chemistry, just as cocaine or any other hard drug does.

In the Brain

When it comes to addiction, the effects on your brain are as important as effects on your body. There are ‘reward pathways’ inside our brains, which produce chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin. They basically reward us for doing something good and productive, so we keep returning to the activity.

When one uses drugs like cocaine, these pathways are tricked into releasing uncommonly high levels of dopamine in our brain without us having to do anything for it. The reaction of these pathways to viewing porn is exactly the same. These ‘pleasure’ pathways become permanent as the porn addict continues to go back to the activity – watching sexually explicit images – to experience the release of dopamine.

Permanent Change

Over an extended period of time, porn addicts seek more extreme and higher amounts of pornography. This happens because their brain eventually gets used to the release of dopamine and the addicts can’t experience the same of kind of rush that they used to in the past. So, they have to find a higher amount of porn, more frequently, and often more extreme versions of it; to release even higher amounts of dopamine in their brains.

Free Drug

The worst thing about discovering this similarity between porn and addictive drugs is that, pornography is free and readily available. Cocaine, or any other addictive drug, for that matter, is expensive and not readily available. In fact, there are laws and restrictions fighting its sale and usage. Who is policing the sale or usage of pornography? The answer is, terrifyingly, no one. A few clicks and an obligatory but useless warning page are all that stand in the way of a teenager and porn.

When pornography addicts try to quit, they experience the same type of withdrawal symptoms as drug addicts, which makes it harder to quit. This is why a specialized treatment for porn addiction is needed to help addicts beat this habit. STAR Guides Wilderness offers a unique therapy program for addiction to pornography, specifically for teenage porn addicts. Their program can help teens overcome this ‘visual’ drug habit and get them on a path to healthy sexuality.

Company Introduction

STAR Guides is a first of its kind addiction therapy center. It offers uniquely designed wilderness therapy for adolescents struggling with sexual behavior issues. STAR Guides provides navigation for the whole family of people faced with the challenge of disruptive sexual behaviors. Sexual compulsivity, pornography, cyber-sex addiction and sexual offences are some of the issues that are treated in this program.

For more information, please visit https://starguideswilderness.com/

About the Author

Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.

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