Experiencing Porn Addiction Withdrawal: The Science Behind Quitting Porn (2022)

Experiencing Porn Addiction Withdrawal: The Science Behind Quitting Porn (2022)

Porn Addiction Withdrawal

Porn Addiction Withdrawl…the truth behind it!

Porn withdrawal is real.

If it weren’t, the habit could be easily cast aside.

Why the hell does your body produce chemicals that create fatigue, irritability, brain fog, and radical discomfort every time you quit?

Because you’re in withdrawal!

Porn Addiction Withdrawal

The pleasure from the addiction was so immense that your brain stamped the habit with “survival value.”

When you try to stop something that your brain thinks has survival value it’s going to push back a bit. It wants to deter you from proceeding with sobriety. You truly are up against yourself.

This is what it’s like to experience porn addiction withdrawal.

So, can I withdraw from porn just like an addict from a drug or an alcoholic from alcohol?

Yes!

Once the brain places immense value on a habit, it’s going to be hell to break. In short, you can experience the same withdrawal symptoms of people who stop using substances.

The more you understand, however, the easier it will be to navigate the symptoms.

Preparation will give you the confidence and the faith to overcome.

Porn Addiction Withdrawal

What are the Symptoms of Porn Addiction Withdrawal?

If you stopped using pornography and the following symptoms arise, you’re likely experiencing porn addiction withdrawal.

Physical Symptoms of Porn Addiction Withdrawal

One of the first things you’re likely to notice is changes in the way your body feels. It’s commonly reported to feel similar to the flu.

Physical symptoms of porn addiction withdrawal include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Body aches or stiffness in muscles and joints
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Decreased or non-existent sex drive
  • Mental and Emotional Symptoms
  • Does it feel like you’re living in a fog, or do you find yourself irritated with everyone around you?

The above are merely a few ways your mood can be affected by porn addiction withdrawal.

Porn Addiction Withdrawal

Emotional & Mental Symptoms of Porn Addiction Withdrawal

Othe primary mental and emotional symptoms of porn addiction withdrawal include but are not limited to:

  • Depression and sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to focus
  • Feelings of frustration and annoyance
  • Avoiding socializing
  • Intense sexual urges or cravings
  • Flashbacks or dreams about pornography

Why am I Experiencing Withdrawal from Pornography?

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of porn addiction, you’re likely going to first think you’re just coming down with the flu.

How could not watching sexual videos or pictures create such a momentous physical and mental reaction?

Why would the brain really put survival value on something so trivial?

The Science of Porn Addiction Withdrawal

It’s important to understand the science behind addiction to truly grasp why this happens.

Blame It On The Dopamine

When you watch porn, your brain releases loads of dopamine.

Dopamine is the pleasure neurochemical.

Pleasure is intimately tied to survival. The brain makes specific things pleasurable to enable survival. Why? Because it anticipates and motivates.

Why does cake taste better than broccoli? Because if you’re dying in a barren wasteland somewhere, the cake will help you survive. Broccoli won’t do the trick!

When the brain’s reward system releases dopamine your mood improves, and you feel sensations of pleasure and satisfaction. It’s the brain’s method of saying “this is good, keep it coming!”

In other words, repetition of the activity that caused the dopamine spike is encouraged.

Sex is good, it sustains our species and is thus encouraged by releases of dopamine.

Nonetheless, the brain in its primitive form was ill-prepared for the abundance of stimuli just one click away.

The problem is the novelty.

Every minute with a simple click, a new partner, a new scene, a new fantasy can be created with pornography.

The brain cannot really differentiate between the screen and real life. It releases dopamine as if you were about to have sex.

Eventually, your brain habituates or adjusts to this constant novelty. That is why porn addicts need more and more and more just to find any satisfaction.

Your brain adjusts to a super high level of stimulation.

Eventually, overuse of pornography can produce dopamine dysregulation. You can become completely desensitized to stimuli.

Cue devastating anhedonia. If left unchecked, you will do just about anything to find pleasure to overcome it.

This could be hours and hours of pornography, sexting, prostitution, and other risky behavior.

Porn Addiction Withdrawal

What Treatments are Available for Pornography Addiction?

A critical component in porn addiction recovery is the ability to separate shame from the behavior.

Guilt is the natural outcome of violating some law, be it explicit or implicit.

For example, if I am unfaithful in a relationship I experience guilt. Why? Because the spoken or unspoken law or expectation states that cheating is not allowed.

However, if the relationship is open, most couples in this context do not experience guilt because multiple partners do not constitute a violation. It actually meets the expectations.

Shame appears to be the outcome of a consistent violation of one’s personal moral law.

For example, if I am continuously unfaithful even when earnest attempts are made to remain with only one partner, I will likely experience shame.

So, whereas guilt is the result of violating an agreed-upon expectation, shame is the result of violating one’s own expectations and values.


Guilt says, “I did something bad.”

Shame says, “I am bad.”


The Spiral of Porn Addiction

Porn Addiction Withdrawal

Shame creates what I call the spiral of addiction.

It kicks off the process by producing a host of negative feelings that create mass amounts of discomfort.

The brain recognizes the discomfort and begins the process of motivating the individual to remove the discomfort.


The brain is about efficiency, so it leverages what it already knows and believes is effective.


Since survival value is placed on the porn addiction, the brain will start pushing the individual in this direction by releasing chemicals that create more physical and emotional discomfort (noradrenaline, norepinephrine).

Additionally, the reward system will produce thoughts recalling the satisfying feelings porn creates.

This is done in the limbic system of the brain, also known as the irrational center, where the neurons are extremely dense.

Consequently, messages are sent rapidly.

Conversely, in the frontal cortex, the rational center, the neurons are less dense and thus send messages slower.

This results in multiple thoughts from the limbic system that seemingly demand porn coupled with the hormones and chemicals in the body that incentivize the individual via discomfort (withdrawal).

All this against a few rational thoughts to the contrary that pack only the slightest punch.

It should be noted that the rational part of the brain is where we craft our personal values and make choices. It’s obvious in the above spiral that choice is severely handicapped.

Moreover, the frontal cortex is the first to go offline during times of heightened stress.

Shame, therefore, is just another manipulative tool the brain uses to sustain the habit.

It is clear that addiction is the problem, and it’s in the irrational or primitive part of the brain, not the morality of the individual.

Getting Help for Pornography Addiction

Porn Addiction Withdrawal

How can you address shame and what causes it?

A litany of causes can account for shame.

It could be trauma, culture, cognitive distortions, misunderstanding, abuse, and a host of other possibilities. Moreover, within each of these categories, a variety of subcategories can be discovered.

It’s important to move away from constantly trying to uncover the source and instead start moving towards a solution.

How do we address it?

The solution can be found in forms of therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, trauma-focused therapy, and somatic therapies.

It can be found in mindfulness-based practices, prayer, spiritual disciplines, and faith.

It can be found in support groups, such as sexaholics anonymous.

It can even be found in unconventional models such as neurolinguistic programming, psychology of mind, hypnosis, and spiritually-based programs.

Coaches, therapists, and psychiatrists can also be utilized.

You’re not without options.

Get the help you need today.

Porn Addiction Withdrawal
sobertostay.com