Many wonder why those who view pornography do not just stop. The pornography addict can’t “just stop” for the same reasons that prevent the alcoholic from “just stopping.” Research shows that with addiction, there is an actual change in brain chemistry. Some studies indicate that the brain produces excess dopamine (a chemical associated with pleasure) based on overstimulation caused by addictive behavior. In response, the frontal lobe (the part of the brain that regulates judgment), shrinks and the receptor cells that receive the dopamine are reduced so the brain absorbs less dopamine. Once these changes occur, day-to-day pleasures are not enough to satisfy the brain’s craving for dopamine. The addict becomes dependent on his drug to achieve “normal” levels of dopamine. These intense cravings make it very difficult to stop the addictive behavior without
While many individuals initially seek out and view pornography out of a desire for excitement and pleasure, pornography is also used as a way to escape from or cope with negative feelings such as anxiety, shame, humiliation, fear, anger, stress, frustration, boredom, restlessness, loneliness, and insecurity. Like other addictive drugs, pornography can serve as an escape from pressures, responsibilities and difficult relationships. Once a pornography addiction is established and the brain produces less dopamine, addicts become dependent on getting their “fix” to feel normal.