The Great Dopamine Debate.

Discussion in 'Pornography Addiction' started by Doper, Jul 7, 2020.

  1. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    Instead of filling another gentleman's journal, I thought a new thread to be appropriate.

    Background: Joshua Shea and Doper are having a cordial, gentlemanly debate on dopamine, rebooting and the like.

    Joshua cited these articles:

    Doper's (non-expert) take:
    Being able to stay away from porn does not give one authority on how the brain works. There is also little authority in any of the non-journal articles you cited. I believe you may want to reread them as I'm not too sure they argue your point. They are talking about silicon valley idiots taking a....24-HOUR BREAK....24 HOUR....from their smartphones and other non-intense stimulation. I've talked about this nonsense in my own journal. Yes that is REALLY stupid. It takes a very long time for the brain to heal from overstimulation. And while I believe social media is addictive and being in front of a screen all day turns your brain to slop; we'll just go with the hypothesis that chronic use of social media isn't enough to damage receptors. Ok, but that's not what I'm talking about at all.

    It is utterly accepted that drugs like cocaine, meth and alcohol damage dopamine receptors by overstimulation. For example, cocaine is a reuptake inhibitor, which means the receptor gets flooded with dopamine but the dopamine does not get vacuumed away, it just sits there at the receptor binding site and so it quickly burns it out. Dopamine receptors are very fragile, and as I understand it, once they are damaged they don't "heal", you have to wait for new ones to grow and it takes a long time. Certainly not 24 hours.

    None of this is controversial. From The Betty Ford Clinic:

    Recently, scientists have discovered that after long periods of abstinence from alcohol and other drugs, the brain's physiology does begin to return to normal. By maintaining lower dopamine levels in the brain, dopamine receptors can start returning to higher, normal levels. Increasing the number of dopamine receptors to normal levels reduces impulsivity and anhedonia symptoms. Additionally, abstinence from drugs and alcohol for a year or longer has been shown to allow the brain to begin repairing structural damage caused by drug toxicity, which in turn improves cognitive function and allows chemically dependent patients to exert stronger self-control.

    My argument is that porn is a very powerful dopaminergic drug. I don't know how much cocaine you've used in your day. But I have some experience, and I'd say edging for an hour or two is hitting your brain more intensely than cocaine. At least in my experience.

    From the medium article you cited:

    “It’s not entirely idiotic,” says Peter Sterling, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. “These ideas of resetting by reducing overstimulation do make a certain kind of a biological sense; they’re allowing the system to reset the sensitivity.”

    Not only does it reset the sensitivity, it allows your brain to forge new pathways and let the addiction pathway get weedy with overgrowth, as that path isn't being walked. That is how you get out of addiction: Not walking the path of addiction. This is not a hypothetical path, it is real meat in your brain neurological pathway that grows or atrophies depending on how much you use, or stop using.

    Naltrexone, which is prescribed to alcoholics is a great example of how this works, when you take the drug you don't get the blast of dopamine from the alcohol. It is effectively blocked. So where your brain used to realize a reward for imbibing, it no longer gets that reward. So if you continuously take the drug before you drink you develop a take it or leave it attitude towards the drug, because your addicted neurological pathway that had previously developed that says "DRINK THAT ALCOHOL IT FEELS BETTER THAN ANYTHING", atrophies because that is no longer true. This works for skid-row alkies. I have taken the drug and it works for alcohol and it also works for porn. Unfortunately I'm in the percentage of users that feels terrible while taking it.
    The article below is specifically about using naltrexone for porn addiction. READ IT. I personally think every freaking person on this site that is having trouble abstaining should try naltrexone and see how the side effects are. As it sure as hell works.

    And I'll just leave this last one here as well. It shows brain scans of drug users, alcoholics, and the obese; Showing low D2 receptor activity. If eating too much can do that, I'm absolutely positive porn can. Should be enough to get you going. But lots more if not.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
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  2. DoneAtLast

    DoneAtLast Well-Known Member

    I've seen those articles regarding "dopamine fasting", and definitely feel like there has to be more to the story than "it's all fake", and unfortunately some of those articles seem to just be relishing the opportunity to take down another internet trend.

    My suspicion is that there is a whole mess of things that happens in the brain, and "dopamine" is just a stand in for a whole category of brain reactions and rewards. There is no doubt that there is some mechanism and some serious brain chemistry going on. Anyone who has dealt with the addiction knows the feeling, and then the brain fog kicks in when I start doing repetitive clicking, it is just too recognizable to just be a myth cooked up by internet articles. I'd be willing to believe that it is something other than dopamine, but I won't accept that it is some sort of placebo effect, either.
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  3. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Well, I agree with almost everything that is stated in these articles. I hate this marketing bullshit when people give new names to old ideas to make some money, be it "dopamine fasting", "superfoods" or "calisthenics", just to name a few examples out of a million. Wait, don't staring at your smartphone all day can be helpful, blueberries have certain healthy components and you can train your body without weights? Revolutionary ideas, Bro! Crazy!

    But here's the thing: These articles state (correctly) the oversimplification and the misleading (marketing) name. But when I read the term "dopamine fasting", 90% of the time it's in Joshua's own posts on this forum. I don't think anyone here thinks "Oh, I go on a dopamine fast for a week or two and then my porn addiction won't be a problem anymore", but Joshua seems to think that most of the guys here see it that way. @Joshua Shea: I think you read far too much into other people's post, things these people ar not saying at all.

    I agree that there is too much focus on dopamine and that many people don't understand it's role. But that doesn't mean that the role of dopamine in addictions should be regarded as "pseudoscience" entirely.
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  4. If dopamine is related to the reward circuitry in order that we repeat survival behaviours, how do stimulating substances like sugar and caffeine etc.. tie into that principle? For example why does the brain release dopamine for caffeine when caffeine is not really related to our survival or that of our genes? Can someone offer some explanation?
  5. DoneAtLast

    DoneAtLast Well-Known Member

    Right. The snark can't be ignored. The Medium article is the only one with any nuance (she has a phd in experimental psychology) and addresses the language and simplifications of the internet more than anything. The Psychology Today article is written by an MD who knows his stuff, but his thesis seems to have less to do with dopamine and more with how he's sick of internet trends. If you hold up the strangest internet advice on anything, you're making a straw man argument. Heck, we're all on board with the idea of porn addiction, but think of the nonsense that pops up on here! As for the Vice article... well, its Vice. C'mon. I tried finding the credentials of the woman who wrote that article, and all I could find was: "I’m a journalist living in Brooklyn. I grew up in Virginia and graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in journalism and a creative writing minor. I read and write about internet culture, cannabis, health & wellness, dating, and media. In my spare time, I enjoy fast food, anime, and shaping my own eyebrows." Yeah. Most posters here likely have more expertise on these issues. Plus, her twitter displays an obvious preoccupation with the occult, so.... yay science...?

    Edited to add: it turns out that Vice writer was the one working for "Babe", an internet start up trash site that also got in trouble for some kinda rapey culture going on in the offices, who did the article on Aziz Ansari that was absolutely not fact checked and to this day is held up as an example of awful journalistic practice. Apparently she is still proud enough of that article to still link to it on her site...? Check these sites to get an idea of that journalistic pedigree:

    Back to the straw man arguments: if someone argues that you don't need chemo for your brain cancer, you just need to eat a flat of blueberries every day and it is proven bunk, does it then mean that all health benefits of fruits and vegetables are an internet myth? Does it mean all dietary advice is just a giant internet fad? I don't know the truth of how dopamine works, it is well beyond my pay grade. I do know that the behavioral phenomena is very, very real. Just attributing it to a welling up of a specific brain chemical is helpful to understand it, but it may not be scientifically true. I remember when Gary was more active on these boards he'd field questions like this, and usually his answers just went over everyone's heads and usually ended up with stuff not being perfectly conclusive. Guys were obsessed with testosterone around the same time, mostly because they associated more = manly and less = wussy, but for all their obsession it never turned into anything.

    Then again, it could be true, and that truth just can't be captured in pop-news articles effectively. Honestly, the way most internet "journalists" work these days, I'd be amazed if they can describe how to make a sandwich without leveling insults or using buzz words they can barely define. I mean, we're literally talking about brain science, here.

    A better discussion would be how we can better understand the behavioral phenomenon that is 1) brought on with mindless repetitive behavior, usually with the involvement of electronic devices, and 2) is often treated with a fasting from those behaviors. A proper placebo test is impossible, but if we can display enough data to show that it isn't likely a placebo effect, then what we have is a genuine phenomenon that has a basis in physical science. That phenomenon affects entire populations and affects certain people in a profound way and is worth our attention, and shouldn't be ignored because a handful of click bait-y articles are collectively eyerolling at it.

    Personally I don't care if people call it "dopamine" on these boards or not. If they talk about a "dopamine hit" of seeing some porn, I know what they mean by that and they are indicating a real thing. I'm not performing brain surgery any time soon, so I don't really need to parse it out any further.
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  6. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member


    Because they give a higher level of reward. Sugar tastes better than a potato. Sex feels better than eating a potato. Meth gets you higher than drinking a glass of water. The more your brain relates something to reward, the more addictive it is. That's why porn is more addictive than sex, because your brain sees it as instead of having sex with one prude imperfect woman, you have an endless harem of total freaks. We have over time been able to manufacture products that were not in our original environment in which we evolved that give supraphysiological levels of reward.
    I can't find the original study this is from:


    Exactly. Anyone who finds themselves on this site can build a simplistic idea of what we are talking about. I'm sure anyone can remember the first number of times they looked at porn and how much blast to the brain they were getting, and then it became less effective over time. A better way to remember is to abstain for a number of months and then look at hardcore porn again. The blast will be massively more powerful than you remember before you abstained. Like that "Mind blown" GIF people always throw up on twitter. It doesn't matter if we call it dopamine, or we call it Lucky Charms. You inherently know it is a real thing and it gets more or less powerful the more you less you watch porn. You build a tolerance to the porn drug, just like any other drug, and that tolerance has a lot to do with your body saying "We are getting huge blasts of lucky charms to the brain", put in some earplugs (downregulate receptors) and turn down the volume of lucky charms.

    This lucky charms analogy really worked out. So by the same token, We all want to follow the rainbow and get the pot of gold (reward). So which pathway to the foot of the rainbow are we going to take. Well if you continuously take a drug, and you've created a drug path to the rainbow (reward), that's the path that is most easily walked, instead of exercise, or some other positive pathway that would be more akin to walking through a dense forest. But the more you use a path (say exercise) everytime you do it it's like clearing some trees from the path with a chainsaw, and now it's easier to walk that path to the pot of gold. And the more likely you'll try to do it. The drug path will always be there once it's there but the less you use it, the more weeds are on the path and the more branches are hitting your damn face as you walk it, so it's easier to say "I'm not walking down that damn path today.
    Hopefully I explained that somewhat effectively. If you understand these two concepts, you are far ahead of most peoples understanding of addiction, and you're probably more than ready to write a VICE article.

    Different neurotransmitters give different feeling. If you've done a number of different classes of drugs, you can absolutely notice the differences between something jacking up GABA, or serotonin or dopamine for example. It's obviously extremely complex and I don't claim to know jack. I just try to read what the scientists have to say in peer-reviewed journals (I know science and facts aren't too popular these days) and extrapolate a crude understanding so I can better aid myself in beating all addiction, create good habits, and be more efficient in life. I believe knowing a bit about this stuff is crucial to making that happen.
    There are a few books that I think are really important that I'm sure in the future I will be recommending on these topics (I've been really busy so I haven't completed them yet), I'm going out on a limb and just say read:
    Rewire: Change your brain to break habits, Overcome addictions, Conquer self destructive behavior
    by Richard O'Connor
    Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

    Rewire reads like it was written for me, I'm sure many here will feel the same.
    I'm not linking to Amazon because I don't give people worth $100+ billion free advertising. Vote with your money.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
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  7. Perigee

    Perigee Active Member

    I'm at the point where I'm desperate enough to try anything. To what extent the "dopamine detox" idea is valid, I don't care, because I know it's at least partially right, and many people are not in such a position to be waving away potential solutions, even if they only improve your situation by 10%.

    Fortunately, it looks like AllDayChemist sells a generic form of naltrexone:

    I can verify that ADC is legit, their products are sourced from legitimate multinational Indian pharmacies. I have used several of their products for years without issue.


    On another note, I should use this thread as an opportunity to talk about another potential drug solution: NAC.

    NAC shows promise in the medical literature for treating cocaine, marijuana, and nicotine addiction. Like naltrexone, anything that helps drug addiction will likely also help porn addiction because their neurophysiological mechanisms are virtually identical.

    NAC works by modulating glutamate which is actually a rarely discussed neurotransmitter in communities like these (and self-improvement communities in general). Glutamate is arguably more relevant for addiction than dopamine, since glutamate is the primary mechanism for causing pathological learning (in the form of neuroplasticity) in the brain. I won't pretend to know much about it, but I do know that excessive glumate levels are strongly tied to ADHD, impulsivity, and over-excitability.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
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  8. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    Certain compounds 'look like' other compounds to receptors.

    This is the reason drugs affect us. If certain drugs didn't 'look like' what our receptors are designed for, they wouldn't bind to the receptor.

    eg. psilocin from magic mushrooms 'looks like' serotonin and therefore has an affinity for 5-HT (serotonin) receptors and will bind to serotonin receptors. But this won't necessarily bind to other receptors because it's not similar enough.

    In some sense it's mere chance that our brains are such that coffee beans give us a high, and eating maple leaves doesn't.
  9. Perigee

    Perigee Active Member

    Also, dopamine is released in anticipation of a reward, and sometimes that reward is simply a "learned experience" from a previous dopamine dump. Many chemical compounds, whether natural or not, effect the brain by pure luck. Coffee just so happens to raise dopamine by antagonizing adenosine receptors and inhibiting monoamine oxidase , not because it does anything to further our survival.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
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  10. DoneAtLast

    DoneAtLast Well-Known Member

    Speak for yourself! :)

    Seriously though, it is a much better articulated way of saying what I'd been trying to say... lots of chemicals interacting in a lot of wild ways, and just because one chemical doesn't seem to spike in the way you thought it would, it doesn't follow that all the hypotheses up to that point need to be thrown out the window. When the already existing brain science is so well established and accepted, that seems very careless. If you're dropping ping pong balls in high school physics and your numbers don't make sense, it doesn't mean you throw out all of Newtonian physics. Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get what I'm saying...

    I'm glad you brought up serotonin. It is a good example. The effects and utility of serotonin in the brain are not something in dispute, but it does get over simplified often. Drug companies prefer that it be over simplified because SSRIs and SNRIs provide a lot of baseline income for many manufacturers. But, it doesn't mean that boosting serotonin to improve mood is a total internet myth, either. It just means it gets more complicated.

    Maybe I'll switch to "Lucky Charms" instead of talking about dopamine hits!

    Perigee, are you saying you've tried naltrexone or that you're going to try it? I'm not sure if you're talking about behavioral dopamine fasting or with the meds. I'm seriously curious about the pharmacological route. I will say that my very modest experience with pharma is that the stuff doesn't work if a person isn't committed enough to try other avenues of addiction recovery in tandem. My (limited) experience was seeing it dispensed to a lot of alcoholic recovery/rehab places in a state with high alcoholism rates virtually across the board, and seeing lots of released patients relapsing. It makes sense... if someone is comfortable with life as a drunk, they'll keep drinking even if they're not getting the same buzz. I know you better than to think you'd expect anything more out of this or that you're not committed to quitting so please don't think I'm saying that. I'm just curious how effective it would be across the whole population of people who visit this board, and am a little nervous about it being available without a prescription... probably no worse than half the crap at a GNC though, so maybe it isn't that risky...?

    On that note, who would be the best candidate for it? Maybe someone who is capable of good streaks, but gets those super strong cravings could go on it for 30 days or so...? How long would a person need to be on it? I don't think this is intended as a life long therapy, is it?
  11. Perigee

    Perigee Active Member

    I have not tried it, no, but I probably will once I research it a bit. I don't think that drugs/supplements are the best solution, but I think some of them have few enough side effects that there is no real reason not to try them. NAC in particular is something I think most people on this board ought to try. Naltrexone, on the other hand...I don't know. I've never even heard of it before today. I don't know how safe it is, nor do I know whether if its supposed to be used as a long-term prophylactic or if its something you only take when you are having or anticipating cravings.

    Anyway, I think if you have a good handle on your addiction and only slip up every few months or so, it's something to consider I think. If on the other hand you can only go a couple days without looking at porn, I doubt NAC or Naltrexone will help much at at all.
  12. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    NAC is great for a number of reasons and uses, everyone should take it just for health (glutathione), I've recommended it on this site a number of times. There are a number of supplements that I think will help prevent relapse to a slight degree
    Omega 3's
    That's some off the top. I think they can help for reasons like lowering brain inflammation, balancing neurotransmitters (NAC balances GABA/Glutamate). A great example of those two being out of whack is when you are hungover. Alcohol creates a pleasant imbalance of the two, increasing GABA and suppressing glutamate. When the alcohol wears off gaba goes back to it's natural level and glutamate rebounds higher creating an unpleasant imbalance causing many of the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol like the "hangxiety" many of us experience.

    Naltrexone is a completely different animal. It is a powerful drug, it can extinguish the addiction pathway (if you take it as prescribed, that's the key). You don't have to take it forever. It does not seem to have any major side effects other than making some people feel awful when they take it. I cannot emphasize the need to start at a very low dose enough. There is no rush, you may be in the MINORITY that feels terrible. My side effects were just crazy anxiety and waves of panic attacks, which I've never experienced before.
    The thing with that was I took a full dose and felt...alright I think, the day I took it, it's just I drank maybe 10 drinks that night and naltrexone is known to give you insane hangovers, so that may have had a lot to do with it, I just never went back to a full dose for a couple reasons. One was that I was literally scared to, as I've done lots of drugs and never felt that terrible for that long before (days). The other reason is that no one is actually prescribing this drug right, you don't need a full dose and you don't need to take it ever day. There are two schools of thought on this

    1. that people should take it every day, even if they don't use their drug of choice

    2. The "Sinclair method", which anyone interested in taking this should get very familiar with, that is the better way to go (only take it before doing the drug, to extinguish the addiction).

    Again, this drug blocks receptors that give pleasure when you do pleasurable things, and we are trying to block the happy chemicals teaching your brain to make you want to do them again (addiction). Both methods have you taking the average dose, 50mg, either every day or whenever you are about to take your drug of choice (this could also be every day). The thing is there are multiple old studies that show receptor blockade lasting massively longer than 24 hours, I can't find the studies just now but they both show something like 80% receptor blockade after 72 hours, and something like 30% after like 6 days. I could feel it was still working a good 5 days after. You don't need 50mg and you don't need to take it every day. This is my opinion, based on those studies. This is very clear to me it makes no sense how it is prescribed. After the first episode I took a quarter dose (12.5mg), and I believe that is enough for me to get the effects needed without the side effects. To be clear, I stopped taking it at all because I just didn't like how it made me feel, I might try again.

    It's also an issue because in my opinion you don't really want this stuff working all the time, because if it is blocking your reward from drugs it's also blocking reward from positive rewards like exercise or just getting shit done. If there were one word to describe how it makes you feel, at a dose that doesn't cause bad side-effects, it would be "blase". So your opinion on this drug is really going to be effected by how bad the addiction is effecting you. For a skid-row drunk feeling a bit.....bleck, is a small price to save their life and beat their addiction.
    The more trouble you are having with your addiction the more value you may get from the naltrexone. The more often you use your drug while on naltrexone, the faster you will extinguish the addiction pathway. That is why they say the more you drink, the faster you will get better. That is if you ALWAYS TAKE naltrexone before you use the addictive substance. That is the most crucial part of the whole thing. If you only take it sometimes when you relapse it won't work. That is to @DoneAtLast point about released patients relapsing. Again, we aren't telling people to take the drug and not drink, they are told TO DRINK, But they crucially must take the drug when they do. If they don't, naltrexone won't do shit for them, and they will of course be back right where they started in short order.

    Why some people have the side effects they do:

    These reviews are a great look into how it effects different people. Most are 5 star, the others are people that take it and feel like they were hit by a truck (mostly to do with idiot doctors starting them on a full dose IMO):

    Of course, I'm not a doctor. Speak to and get a prescription for the drug by a qualified medical professional.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  13. DoneAtLast

    DoneAtLast Well-Known Member

    Interesting. I tried theanine and felt a bit of an effect, but it messed with my stomach and I got really bad cramps. The best effect was generally only if I'd overdone it on coffee that day, anyway. I've tried Omega-3s over the years and never felt a thing, mentally or physically. I go through stretches of eating little or no meat (no real reason, I just tend towards fish and veggies these days, I also don't eat/drink dairy) and will take a B-complex, and sometimes I feel a bit of a difference, not sure if it is just my imagination. A few of those I recognize from a stress supplement I took for a while but stopped because of the aforementioned theanine issues. Magnesium makes me poop.

    The NAC sounds interesting because what you're describing with the alcohol is spot on for what I've been experiencing lately. Typically I only drink once a week on the weekends, and I have noticed what you're calling "hangxiety", bad enough that I've toyed with the idea of just swearing off booze entirely. Of course I don't expect it to give me full reign to drink like an idiot, but my experience is that supplements are generally only useful if you have a deficiency to begin with... taking extra of anything to try to achieve superman status tends to be a waste of money and you just pee it out. If that is a sign I'm deficient for whatever reason, then maybe... hmmm....

    During my most successful (and final) phase of reboot I was also working to lose weight, and hit my target weight about halfway through when I finally quit for good, a difference of about 40 lbs. I kept the improved diet until well after my last PMO, and only introduced certain old pleasures very gradually. I've often wondered how that might have affected my reboot. It is hard to say because those changes were in tandem with so many other things. I gave up booze for the biggest stretch and I'm sure that helped quite a bit, but otherwise... who knows. My diet was my own variation combining classic calorie restriction, common sense of cutting out junk, and a dash of "keto" in there, insofar as I was trying to keep my blood sugar from crashing.

    A chemically induced flatline, maybe?

    So, I'm trying to wrap my head around drinking/watching porn/whatever as a necessary follow up to taking the drug. In my mind, it is either A) like the Ludovico Technique from A Clockwork Orange where a new association is created with something displeasureable, or B) It goes over old neurological pathways, but by not having the dopamine surge, it is more like rubbing the eraser over the pathways than the pencil tip. Do either of those things make sense? If it just suppressed the dopaminic pleasure, then I don't see how it could possibly be effective after going off, and if anything, a really hard relapse/binge would seem inevitable since you'd be swimming in happy brain juices. Maybe that's the whole point of the Sinclair method?

    In either case, it sure seems like something best reserved for someone who's been through a bunch of other techniques but is still hitting a wall. I couldn't possibly imagine someone brand new to rebooting gaining anything from it as I understand it, but that kinda makes sense with what I see among alcoholics. Most of the people I saw taking it and relapsing it were likely only in the rehab center by court order, anyway. For many, going into one of these places was a lawyer negotiated alternative to prison for non-violent crimes or DWI charges. Someone who doesn't understand their triggers, doesn't understand the differences between real sexual arousal and porn triggers, someone who doesn't differentiate between their escalations and their real wants, someone who hasn't made real life changes, someone who still has a strong emotional attachment to porn... you get the idea.

    My REAL question for @Doper though is.... what can I take to keep women from trying to steal my semen? Okay, sorry, I'll see myself out...
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  14. DoneAtLast

    DoneAtLast Well-Known Member

    Oh, another thought on the dopamine topic:

    A while ago I was reading about tourette's syndrome. We mostly recognize it as the "glossolalia", which is when people blurt out random things and sometimes obscenities, but most of the time it isn't like that. The "ticks" can be just small physical things like sniffing or blinking. I've watched some people on YouTube, and some will even grab things and throw them randomly for no reason. The root cause is largely unknown, but there seems to be a general consensus that an over production of dopamine is a cause, and the primary mechanism of some of the meds involved in treating more severe cases is to control dopamine levels. I found this interesting. I've definitely found that if I'm at peak addictive behavior (either from my porn days, or these days if I get into too long of an internet-clicky state) I do become a bit more impulsive and will find myself doing odd little "tick" things, randomly saying things to myself, picking things up for no reason, or whatever.
  15. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    - Theanine is found in green tea, it balances with the caffeine so you don't get too wiry.
    -You were taking magnesium oxide, that makes you poop, take another kind and it won't do that. Calcium and Mag are a staple, along with D (especially so that virus don't kill ya)
    -I can really feel a B-complex when I take it, really makes me calm....I agree you can't feel most supplements working
    -NAC helps manufacture Glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in our bodies. If you take it before you start drinking, you will be less hungover in the morning because having a steady stream of it helps break down the acetyldehyde (what alcohol breaks down into) in the liver faster. I think it works to a degree.
    -I've also noticed the times I get on good streaks are the times I'm both not drinking and also in a caloric deficit and doing lots of cardio. It seems to be all or nothing with me.

    While the Sinclair Method does have a bit of A), for example some believe that for the therapy to be effective, when you watch porn or drink you must be strapped down and be listening to a bit of the ol' Ludwig Van.

    But at the same time, my thoughts are more along the lines of B) You don't get the happy chemicals when you do your drug of choice. I watched porn while on the full dose (as I was of course curious to see what it would do) and while enjoyable enough, I imagine it felt like what normal people feel when they do it. I looked at it for a bit, didn't nut and then lost interest and did something else and didn't have any want to go back for seconds. I doubt I've ever done that before. You are effectively erasing the pathway. You won't crave for it after a while because the last number of times you did it (while on naltrexone) it didn't give you anything to crave for, you may as well have been eating a piece of styrofoam. Tasteless.
    You definitely need to want to stop the addiction, or you won't take the drug before you drink or whatever, and render it useless in no time. (The pathway is back real fast)
    As for your real question. The answer is a steel codpiece my dear sir.

    -I believe high levels of dopamine are implicated in schizophrenia and OCD.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
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  16. DoneAtLast

    DoneAtLast Well-Known Member

    The mag I was taking was a product called "Calm", which is (if I remember/understand correctly) magnesium glycinate and citric acid in a powder. When you mix it in water it fizzes and has a vaguely fruity smell and taste, and the magnesium glycinate bonds with the citric acid making it magnesium citrate, which incidentally is a high power laxative sometimes used in prep for a colonoscopy. This is a pretty low dose, but you definitely notice a difference the next morning. I'm not entirely certain that the whole mixing and fizzing thing is anything other than marketing, but who knows.

    To the discussion in the OP and in a bit of a defense of Joshua's stance (though I largely agree with Doper), I might add this: having a myopic view on a handful of brain chemicals that are within our ability to understand and relying on low level manipulations of said chemicals, whether it be with "dopamine fasting" or blowing your paycheck at the supplement section of Natural Grocers, has limited abilities to help. In contemporary discourse we can only accept binary discussions... you're "fer it" or "again' it"; we're very Manichaen these days... stuff is either good or evil. Don't believe me, watch a "discussion" on Twitter. Wanting to be cautious about such explanations can force a person into the side of the court that is simply going to dismiss the entire concept of dopamine, when it just isn't the truth. But, it also doesn't mean that focusing on a handful of brain chemicals explains everything.

    If any of us were asked to give our biographies, who would include anything about brain chemistry? If we had traumatic brain injuries or suffered from serious disorders we might, but most of us wouldn't even consider it. The fact that we don't do that, I think, is indicative to that brain chemistry just can't tell everything. "I met the love of my life and we were married on St. Swiven's Day, 19XX, etc." could be replaced with scientific jargon, but we never do that. Our stories, our behaviors, our entire concept of "self" does involve undercurrents of brain chemistry, but is much broader. Some want to see us as just "space dust" (an interesting term of nihilism going back to earliest literature, disguised as a post-modern cosmological discovery), while others want to deny basic evidence of biology and even see physical realities as an oppression of our true "identities", which is shockingly gnostic, "ghost in the machine" at best, sometimes even denying that the machine even has a reality, except maybe just oppressing and confining the ghost. American philosophy has has strong traditions of both and bubble up fairly often.

    I really think the porn addiction recovery world ignores the basic emotional (or dare I say psycho-spiritual) components that are emphasized heavily in programs like AA. Addiction recovery is about our will/self/person/consciousness trying to work AGAINST brain chemistry, rather than trying to lay tracks in front of us where our behavior will take the path we want it to, even as it is the path of least resistance. Yes, there are definite gains to be made by focusing on brain chemistry, but from years on the board it does get to a point where people are just trying to hack a system. They're chasing that one final breakthrough that will make all their problems with porn go away.

    I remember reading a story about one porn/sex addict, and he talked about how as a child his mother would pull off her top and ask him to massage her breasts. This experience translated into years of addiction, as well as a fixation on domination and control within sexual relationships. Did he have some serious brain chemistry going on? Oh yeah. But, could you tell that story using only the language of brain chemistry? Likely not. I suspect many of us have similar stories, if not all of us. I'm not saying we were all abused as children. But, addiction has a way of digging through the mind and finding little things to exploit, and none of us make it to adulthood without some road wear somewhere. He recovered by becoming in control of his story and in turn regaining control of his actions in the sexual realm.

    When I see people just looking for "hacks", I often see people who will focus on brain chemistry, try to find perfect personal schedules or activities, or maybe yell at themselves in the mirror every morning, and I generally see people who get stuck with a series of streaks and never can make any permanent changes. Wanting to change our behavior when our behavior seems to have more physical reality than our "will" (whatever that is in science) is very confusing stuff, and you can see why the AA people talk about a "higher power", but if nothing else, it shows that there is a point where the hacks just stop working.

    (Not to dwell on the will too much, but I don't think people think enough how much of a scientific anomaly it is. Right now any one of us can get up and do something that is in no way explained biologically, evolutionarily, causally from our environment, or anything. Paint a picture, give money to a homeless person, chase the cat around the room, put your undies on your head, these aren't basic functions like heliotropism or an infant's instinct to start sucking, but seem to come out of nowhere. That's a tangent for another time, though I am not sure my small head can consider something like addiction without eventually considering the will.)

    That brings us full circle. Admitting these impediments does NOT dismiss the very real truths of brain chemistry. It just means that the distillations that bubble up randomly on the internet should be treated with a healthy skepticism. Good science helps explain reality, not offer an alternate reality. If Shea's argument morphed into "science devolves into pseudo-science and devolves below that and we should reject those low levels" then I'd agree with him entirely. He hasn't shown up for this thread yet, so I can only speculate how he'd weigh in in light of those distinctions.
    Bilbo Baggins and Doper like this.
  17. tushar70001

    tushar70001 New Member

    hello guys please help me i am feeling suicidal everyday. will dopamine or other neurotransmitters heal or i will be depressed forever as i was hardcore porn addict for 15 years when i left porn withdrawals hit me hard i dont know that time 7 years ago what was happening to me i cant sleep at that time, porn was the only solution of my sleep my memory was worst and many other severe symptoms then i went to a doctor and told me about my condition he prescribed me medications ssris, antipsychotics and benzos my receptors were already damaged due to porn and overstimulated dopamine then i had taken medicines on and off for 7 years with many binge relapses between to porn and medicine again and again it damages me further more now its been 18 months since i left ssris and over two years free from antipsychotics and benzos some hours and some days i am feeling same withdrawals as it was before medicines so my question is will my brain neurochemistry heal or i should take medicines for the rest of my life i had done the stupid mistake by taking medicines because of addiction i am 29 years old virgin from india here nobody is understanding about these things and i had not told about my addiction to anyone
    please help me
  18. DoneAtLast

    DoneAtLast Well-Known Member

    Hi Tushar,

    You might try starting a new thread and letting people weigh in. Honestly, I am not sure this board will be the best for you. Here you will find people who know a lot about porn addiction. You clearly have an addiction you want to be free of, but if you're feeling suicidal, you should be seeking more immediate help. You're also talking about medication management and going off of some of those abruptly (or even in a controlled way) can be very, very distruptive to mental health. I don't think there is much any of us could do for that.
  19. DoneAtLast

    DoneAtLast Well-Known Member

    Bumping to say that on a whim I picked up a bottle of NAC 600 mg sustained release on Doper's suggestion. Obviously I did some of my own research first instead of just taking the advice on some dude on a forum (no offense intended, Doper). I can't remember when I picked it up, but it was probably more than a month ago. I've been taking it most days since then. I am not so proud as to think that I am immune to the placebo effect, but I don't think I am particularly susceptible to it, either. I'm not opposed to trying supplements, but I'm usually pretty honest when I find that I bought into something really stupid or wasted my money. (If I had half the money back I spent on probiotics!) Things I've noticed that may or may not come from the NAC:
    1. My relationship with alcohol is a bit more tame. I rarely drink more than once a week, usually on Saturdays. For a while I'd have a couple very stiff drinks on Saturday, feel great, and the next day have that weird "hangxiety" as Doper called it. That has changed, and it more closely resembles how I remember drinking alcohol to be from several years ago. If I drink too much I'll feel awful, that's a given (and a problem when high proof stuff is your preference), but what I was experienced before was definitely not right. I'd say there is a little less of a "high" from drinking too.

    2. Mood and energy seem more even. There are certain things that stress me out regularly and while they still cause stress, I feel like I ruminate less. I feel like I can concentrate just a little bit better because of this and am in better control of how I use my free time. I have a bit of a way to go before it is all under my control, but I do feel a couple steps better than I was.

    3. Sleep patterns have changed. I sleep less and wake up earlier. I am not certain this is connected to the NAC. I drink coffee, take melatonin and it is the summer (light patterns affect me a lot) so there are a lot of uncontrolled things. What makes me think it could be the NAC is that despite sleeping less, I'm not less tired or feel like I need to catch up on sleep at all. I'm trying to figure out if it could have affected sleep quality in any way. I certainly started having more vivid dreams when I started taking it. Sometimes weird, sometimes pleasant, but not nightmares.
  20. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    Yes, on top of making days after drinking less painful, it also definitely just makes one catastrophize less in general, I'm guessing based on it's work on glutamate (as @Perigee mentioned earlier in the thread). I'm out now, but when I was taking it I would take up to 2000mg a day (maybe a bit much), of the immediate release kind. At higher doses you feel a bit foggy, but definitely calmer. I need to get more.

    NAC is thought to upregulate the glutamate transporter (GLT-1) that removes excess glutamate from the nucleus accumbens

    On another note, I took another very small dose of naltrexone (literally an eighth of a pill, 6.25mg, give or take)....and it made me feel absolutely terrible again, but thankfully only for several hours, not 5 days like last time. Some people don't feel it, I absolutely won't take it again. In this case for me the cure is worse than the disease. I'd rather the feeling of coming down from some hard drug than this stuff. Totally gross feeling.

    Another very cheap (in bulk), completely innocuous supplement (it's an amino acid) that can help with sleep is Glycine. It has many studies to show it helps in this way. It seems to make me wake up feeling noticeably more rested (I normally feel like a total wreck). It also tastes like sugar, and so can be used as a healthier alternative. So you can throw together some glycine, hot water, honey, lemon and whiskey and make some hot toddy's before bed....It won't help your sleep but the Irish will be proud.

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