2012_12largeimg213_Dec_2012_094244897-703x422If you’re thinking of seeking porn addiction treatment, it is vital to grasp such important concepts as your brain’s biochemistry, how your brain has an effect on your addiction, and how viewing porn can cause changes in the brain. Understanding these ideas will allow you to obtain key skills that provide a major help when going through the detoxification process in porn addiction treatment.

Here’s the main idea: your brain becomes over-stimulated from porn’s debilitating effects, causing a decrease in your overall sense of well-being, as well as weakening your sexual ability with a significant other.

The brain responds in the same way to artificial sexuality’s over-stimulation as it does when affected by drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine. Neurochemical dopamine greatly increases in the reward receptors, and you feel satiated and happy.

In fact, each kind of reward that has been examined boosts the dopamine level in the brain’s limbic system. This is the brain’s primal component that controls emotions, guarantees survival and is the root of all drives and urges. All addictions occur in this part of the brain. When the limbic system isn’t balanced properly, you become obsessed with evading pain and anxiety, while aiming for the experience and re-experience of gratification.

The important point is this: You are not actually addicted to pornography. Rather, you’re addicted to the “dopamine rush” you experience from it. Dopamine spikes in the limbic system fuel the “erotic haze” that, for many hours, you’re able to inhabit.

What makes the “dopamine rush” so powerful is the feelings of euphoria it causes for extended amounts of time. As time passes, you’re completely absorbed in a different world, without any physical or emotional distress, or any of the hassles of daily life. Troubles, nuisances, irritants no longer exist-all that concerns you is self-gratification. Everything is entirely focused on you; you have total control over your surroundings and interactions. Nothing feels better.

And now an example of the downside.

I had a gay uncle whom I adored as a child and young woman. In contrast to my dull, drab suburban existence, Uncle Ray’s life sparkled. He lived on the exhilarating island of Manhattan in a charming apartment in Gramercy Park. He introduced me to music, took me to the theater and to the best restaurants. He ate from fine china and used Stuben glassware. In short, he had taste, humor and style.

Towards the end of his life from the AIDS virus, he became seriously addicted to cocaine. He stopped working at his lucrative job, and became a dealer. When we met for dinner, his clothes were rumpled and dirty, a far cry from the suave and stylish way he used to dress. When I visited his Gramercy Park apartment, no longer was it the delightful abode I remembered. I had to walk through knee-high garbage and debris. There were layers upon layers of dirt. He now had no interest in music or theater or in living the “gay” life. A craving for cocaine satiation had grown more powerful than the need for essential necessities like food and water. His basic survival instincts had shut down.

How are we to comprehend this dramatic transformation from such a joyous, vibrant and successful person to someone so downtrodden and marginalized, with an inner life marked by anxiety, paranoia and addiction?

By talking to a sex addiction therapist, we can address such issues and guide you on the right track so the same misguided path doesn’t befall you.

Dorothy Hayden, LCSW, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Manhattan. For 20 years, she has been treating sexual compulsives and her partners. On her website, http://www.sextreatment.com, she has published 40 articles and a free download on an e-book, Total Sex Addiction Recovery – A Guide to Therapy.