porn isn't the problem.

Discussion in 'Pornography Addiction' started by Illi, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. im definitely not saying porn does not have any physical withdrawal symptoms

    in fact in my own case i think i did go through porn withdrawal symptoms

    however i think at this point its near impossible to say if those symptoms

    were from abstaining from porn, MO, not having a sexual outlet or simply being frustrated

    my theory is they were in fact from porn withdrawal, but theres no way to prove this

    another thing, your right I dont have the kind of depth of knowledge on this subject that you do

    i dont read nearly as many studies on this subject as you have so il take your opinion

    on this subject as far as what porn can do to the brain over my own opinion

    However in general i think despite what studies say most people would agree

    that for most users addicted or not porn is easier to quit then addictive drugs

    partially for the reason porn can partially be subsituted for sex and MO

    and dependence on a substance can only be subsituted for a similar substance

    Gary please dont get me wrong originally I was not saying there are no studies to back up porn addiction

    the point i was trying to make is that people use such evidence to justify relapses, and in my own

    experience as a person who has all the symptoms of what would be described as someone addicted to

    porn quitting porn is a lot simpler (not easier) then people here are making it out to be

    thats all i was trying to say
     
  2. I think you are correct, I think at this point its impossible to tell what the cause is for the felt withdrawal effects
     
  3. Gary Wilson

    Gary Wilson Active Member

    I've read hundreds of thousands of stories over the last 10 years, and withdrawal symptoms are real. In fact, many of the men who post on YBR have suffered through long flatlines where they had no libido or ability to achieve an erection. Others swear they are experiencing PAWS years after quitting. Understand, scientists can induce heroin-like withdrawal symptoms in animals that binge eat on junk food. A few studies to illustrate:
    1) Sugar on the brain: Study shows sugar dependence in rats -
    https://www.princeton.edu/pr/news/02/q2/0620-hoebel.htm
    2) Evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes endogenous opioid dependence. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12055324
    3) After daily bingeing on a sucrose solution, food deprivation induces anxiety and accumbens dopamine/acetylcholine imbalance. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18325546

    Sex is a far more powerful stimulus than Twinkies, and releases far greater endogenous opioids that does binge eating. Put simply - Withdrawals are real, and the science supports it.

    Let's expand - I propose that severe porn addiction alters the brain in ways drug addiction cannot (not saying one is worse, cause drugs can cause damage). We see young men who have no nocturnal erections; guys who have 2-year long flatlines, then recover; guys who go into a flatline after an ejaculation; guys who have PAWS symptoms that only manifested after quitting porn. So which is "worse" for a 23 year old in his prime:
    1) A severe porn addiction with co-existing PIED and 3 years to get back to normal? 2) Or a binge-drinking 23 years who went to rehab and now is going to AA meetings.
    Both are bad - but let's not minimize what completely screwing up your sexuality does to a young man.


    We don't know if it's easier to quit porn than it is to quit drugs. Stats are notoriously shaky for recovery from drug/alcohol addictions. There are no stats on porn addicts. In some ways drugs may be easier to quit: It's a single chemical that is easy to avoid, whereas porn is everywhere. Drugs cost money, they can be hard to procure, use is detectable, as are their effects. Porn is free. accessible 24/7, and always one click away. And no one will ever know that you used. Many factors are involved in recovering from an addiction; it's not just the severity of withdrawals.

    The other thing people forget is that porn is a natural reward, and super normal version of natural rewards may have the ability to hook a greater percentage of users than drugs. We know that 35% of Adult Americans are obese and 75% are overweight, yet no one wants to be. Studies show that when rats have unlimited access to modern junk, almost 100% binge to obesity, and their brains changes in ways that mimic dug addiction. Compare this to about 15% of rats that get addicted to drugs, when given access. Drug addiction rates are similar to humans (except for nicotine).
     
  4. Those are very good points and fascinating information

    its hard to say i guess whats worse for the 23 yo, both situations are pretty bad

    ya i dont have any data but i definitely think porn gets more people (men) then drugs

    it makes sense, and then theres the issue that most people dont think porn has negative effects

    in fact very few of my guy friends i know dont use porn at least a few times a month, most more then that
     
  5. Holy shit, withdrawals are real. :eek: That's scary.

    The neuroscience of addiction is great and all, but isn't knowing "the truth" about addiction causing more harm than good for addicts? There is no defense against the risk of the placebo (or rather, nocebo) effect and self-fulfilling prophecies. An addict that believes that "going on autopilot" is a real thing is going to seriously damage his chances of surviving a strong craving. "I can literally feel myself going on autopilot... I'm doomed!" [relapse]

    Wouldn't it be more useful for the addict to believe in the "addiction is a free choice" model, as promoted by this website, even if it may ultimately be wrong?
    http://www.thecleanslate.org/myths/addiction-is-not-a-brain-disease-it-is-a-choice/

    I would prefer to believe that desensitization, sensitization, hypofrontality and altered stress systems intensify the feeling of craving, but they do not rob us of the choice to give in to those cravings. The loss of control is an illusion in the addict's mind, in the heat of the moment of excruciating craving. The addict is choosing what he really wants to do, but then rationalizes after the relapse that he didn't really want to do it, he just "went on autopilot". That feeling is heightened just after the moment of orgasm, when libido drops all the way to zero, catastrophically changing the addict's attitude towards porn in just a few seconds. He wants it, then a few seconds later he hates it. Then he convinces himself that he never wanted it in the first place, but just lost control.

    Resisting intense craving is ultimately a choice, same as:

    doing one more rep on an intense set of bench presses is a choice, or
    intense revision in order to get top marks for an exam is a choice, or
    running the last mile in a marathon when you feel like collapsing is a choice.

    The fact that so many addicts relapse is not necessarily evidence that "going on autopilot" exists, but it is definitely evidence that resisting strong craving is remarkably difficult and a statistically small percentage of people are able to do it successfully because that is human nature. You can't know where you stand in relation to those statistics until you try. But if you believe that addicts lose control under intense craving, it is more than likely that you will lose hope and give up, or won't even try in the first place.

    Believing the "addiction is a free choice" model rather than the "addiction is a loss of control due to changes in brain structure" model would probably be more useful from the addict's perspective, even if it fails the science test. It minimizes the nocebo effect and self-fulfilling prophecies, which I believe have a huge effect when it comes to addiction and cannot be studied with animal models.
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-work/201005/is-free-will-real-better-believe-it-even-if-its-not
     
  6. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    Gary Wilson: thanks for the explanations, it's very interesting!

    holdontoyerhats: relapsing is due to some amount of choice, some amount of (un)skillfulness, some amount of structural brain changes and some amount of neurochemical imbalance (and the environment/context, but this is beyond the scope of what I'll write here).

    The structural brain changes (hypofrontality, screwed reward center, etc) will sort themselves out while rebooting. You can help the process by adding healthy sources of stimulation, meditating, etc, but it's still a long process. Acknowledging the reality of the structural brain changes can be a motivation for the addict to take on activities to reverse the changes - so it is useful.

    Choice comes down to commitment. But then, what do you commit to? Do you commit to swear to yourself you will resist your urges, or do you commit to be proactive, to build a better life for yourself, to map out your progression from feeling normal to relapsing, and to having a plan of what to do in case of urges? If you choose to wait for the urges and face them head-on, you'll probably fail: auto-pilot is real.

    But if you choose to have a plan, to know how your cravings evolve over time (from a mild desire to PMO to a very strong urge), and to know what to do in different circumstances, you develop skills. In this regard, it is a choice to not PMO. But the choice is not here continuously. If you let yourself going too close to the auto-pilot zone, your ability to choose is being taken away. Choice resides in preparation as well as what you choose to do in the early stages of a compulsive ritual.

    And for the neurochemical imbalance, there are many variables. Withdrawals, poor sleep, lack of / too much exercise, stress, drugs, alcohol, coffee, sugary foods, all can negatively impact this balance. On the other hand, prioritising sleep, exercising the right amount, a healthy diet, meditation, walking in a park, all of these things are proven to positively impact cortisol, dopamine, serotonin, melatonin, testoterone and/or GABA levels. I'm not saying that, if you suffer from heavy withdrawals symptoms, doing this will 'cure' your chemical imbalance in one day. Just that, over time, your actions have a huge impact on your neurochemical balance. So, over time, it is a choice.

    To sum it up, in the context of addiction, knowledge, skills (which basically comes from the practice of the knowledge accumulated, as in some exercises) and awareness are the foundation of choice. No skill can be developped without knowledged. And without awareness, you'll forget to use your skills when facing an urge.
     
  7. I absolutely agree. The people that you describe as auto-piloting are the people that try to use pure will-power and "white-knuckle" the cravings without changing their relationship to porn. They don't put in place natural reward substitutes. A hole is left in their life and they relapse. They still have a love-affair with porn, and trying to stay away from your loved one for reasons that don't really sound convincing in the heat of the moment will most likely result in failure.

    But if you are arguing that this means "loss of control" is real, then you can also argue that a person that fails an exam due to lack of preparation is because of loss of control. He didn't. He failed because of lack of knowledge. I can re-frame the term "auto-pilot" as a lack of awareness and preparation. There is no need to invoke loss of free will.
     
  8. I want to make a further point about auto-pilot. You and I both used phrases such as "probably fail", and "most likely result in failure". This is not the same as saying "guaranteed to fail". There is still the slim chance that the person who faces his urges head-on without preparation will be successful in resisting his cravings. There is still plenty of room for free-will.

    Auto-pilot is a post hoc term. It is applied to people that have already relapsed in the past and describe their subjective relapse experience as "auto-piloting". This belief is never questioned, but accepted as if it were truth. There are no scientific studies that can prove without a shadow of a doubt that people auto-pilot, because it is a purely subjective experience. All we have are correlating brain scans, but correlation is not the same as causation. Auto-piloting may be real only in the statistical sense, in the same way that the "average person" is real only in the statistical sense.
     
  9. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    What's the link between an exam (which is the restitution of some knowledged in an ordered way, or the application of a method in a formatised context) and an urge (which is the facing of our own demons, in variable circumstances, and in the midst of a chemical and emotional storm)? Besides the importance of preparation, not much.

    There are no scientific studies, so we're in a science vacuum when speaking about auto-pilot... So this argument is quite blank. There's no study about my personal existence, but I live just fine anyway. I don't need a scientific to tell me that what I experience - be it my existence or the existence of auto-pilot mode - is true.

    Auto-pilot might be true in only 95% of the cases. Yes, sometimes the auto-pilot mode just fades. I don't see it as an on and off switch. More a continuum: full awareness & self-control on one side, auto-pilot on the other side. There is no 100% on either side (even for experienced buddhist monks, who arguably rank best on self-awareness).

    Yes, you could reframe auto-pilot / trance as "lack of awareness and preparation" (I would add the criteria of commitment, without which awareness and preparation are not enough, but let's not be too picky here) because they are two faces of the same coin. What happens when we describe a situation? "I was home, bored and alone. I was thinking about that hot chick I had seen in the street. Urges started escalating. My lack of awareness and preparation kicked in, and suddenly I was in front of my computer, had a tissue full of cum: I had just relapsed".

    Lack of awareness and preparation is the root cause why we let ourselves shift to auto-pilot. This is what I mean by two sides of the same coin: there's the same thing, but not at the same time (lack of awareness/preparation precedes auto-pilot). They don't take place at the same time. Both are true, and both are appropriate to talk about, but not in the same context.
     
  10. Great post, Newnes. :)

    You're right, the exam comparison was kinda crap. An exam is a neutral situation. Resisting an urge is a struggle to sever a strong emotional bond. Nowhere near the same thing.

    As for auto-pilot, I am guessing that belief in its existence has a lot to do with cognitive dissonance. We don't like what we had done, so we disowned the behavior. We compartmentalize our various conflicting "good" and "bad" beliefs inside us and say we went on auto-pilot instead of trying to address and challenge those beliefs, one of those beliefs being that "jerking off to porn is absolutely fantastic and the highlight of my day".

    Do you believe in demon possession or alien abduction? There are some people that are 100% convinced in these phenomena. But do you think it is true? If not, then how can you be so sure that auto-piloting is true? There is an experience, and then there is an interpretation. I believe auto-piloting is an interpretation.

    I think auto-pilot is more than the result of a lack of awareness and preparation. It is the result of being unable to internalize the belief that "there are much better things I could do with my life than watch porn". Deep down we don't believe that, and so we "auto-pilot" to relapse. It takes a lot of soul-searching and brutal honesty to develop a vision of a lifestyle and choices that will make us happier than how we’re living now, and then be proactive enough to go and do it. But ultimately, it all comes down to choice and commitment, which, when practiced again and again, leads to a new internalized belief.

    I see what you mean. You are talking about being so absorbed in activity that you are not aware you are doing it. I agree. But I still believe that before you cross over that threshold of no return, you still have the choice to do so.
     
  11. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    I think cognitive dissonance is the cause of a lot of guilt and shame post-relapse, but I don't know if it is the reason why we talk about auto-pilot. I honestly can't say.

    No, I don't believe in demons or aliens (I don't know for aliens, actually - I just think that, if they do exist, they don't interfere with our existence).

    I am sure that auto-pilot exists because I remember experiencing it. I remember being PMOing, and while doing this, having a background voice telling me I was relapsing. This background voice was the way I normally think - except this time, it was minimised. Neurologically speaking, my prefrontal cortex was over-ridden (again, this is a continuum: awareness is always here to some extant, and so is self-control; but when they are at, and this is an arbitrary number, 2-5%, they're not strong enough to weigh in our decision-making process).

    I would say that the internationalisation of the belief that "there are much better things I could do with my life than watch porn" is what I called commitment above. There is no commitment if we don't already believe that there is better than porn in life. Then, this belief becomes more and more refined, and it becomes an accurate life vision. A goal to reach, and to modify accordingly to our experience. But I'd say we kind of agree here.

    Yes. And preparation helps in recognising the temptation upstream, where we have more control over ourselves. Autu-pilot is what happens after the point of no return, when the compulsion is too strong, when we are mind-tricking ourselves for example.
     
  12. I pretty much completely agree with everything you just said, you just described it better then i could

    its all a choice baby.....our choice...
     
  13. bossaantigua

    bossaantigua New Member

    The way I see it that Life itself it's already hard. It has many problems that you have to deal with everyday.

    It will be even harder if you try to deal with it while you struggle with porn addiction. That's why even though you take out your porn addiction, there will always be another problems that you have to face.

    Breaking porn addiction will not magically remove all the problems in life, but it will certainly help.
     
  14. Loleekins

    Loleekins Nemo repente fuit turpissimus

    Quoting this whole thing because it deserves to be read again. Bravo, Mrfish! Spot on and brilliantly written!

    There are no slaves to addiction as addiction is in essence the enslaving of yourself. :)
     
  15. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    Indeed. Spot on. :)
     

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