Addiction is a way of relating to the world. It is a response to an experience people get from some activity or object. They become absorbed in this experience because it provides them with essential emotional rewards, but it progressively limits and harms their lives.
Six criteria define an addictive experience:
• It is powerful and absorbs people’s feelings and thoughts
• It can be predictably and reliably produced.
• It provides people with essential sensations and emotions (such as feeling good about themselves, or the absence of worry or pain.)
• It produces these feelings only temporarily, for the duration of the experience.
• It ultimately degrades other involvements and satisfactions.
• Finally, since they are getting less from their lives when away from the addiction, people are forced increasingly to return to the addictive experience as their only source of satisfaction.
All addictions appear to cause physical changes (shrinkage) in control and pleasure areas of the brain; this has been well demonstrated in both drug addictions (cocaine and methamphetamine), and in “natural” addictions (obesity and sexual addiction). Significantly, recent studies show that recovery with healing allows the brain to return to a more normal state in both drug (methamphetamine) and natural (obesity) addictions. He Restoreth My Soul Donald L. Hilton Jr., MD
[Lustful arousal when viewing] pornography causes release of adrenaline from an area in the brain called the locus coeruleus, and this makes the heart race in those who view, or even anticipate, viewing pornography. The sexual pleasure of pornography may be partially caused by release of dopamine from the ventral tegmental area, and this stimulates the nucleus accumbens, one of the key pleasure centers of the brain. He Restoreth My Soul Donald L. Hilton Jr., MD