With such a high use of pornographic materials and visuals, more and more people, both men and women, are becoming addicted to pornography use. But what is addiction?
The American Society of Addictive Medicine defines it this way: “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.”
In a recent TED talk, Gary Wilson discussed the impact of pornography on the brain and how someone could break the addictive cycle of pornographic use. But who is “Gary Wilson?”
From his own website, here’s an introduction:
Gary is host of www.yourbrainonporn.com. The site arose in response to a growing demand for solid scientific information by heavy Internet erotica users experiencing perplexing, unexpected effects: escalation to more extreme material, concentration difficulties, sexual performance problems, radical changes in sexual tastes, social anxiety, irritability, inability to stop, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
As a physiology teacher with a particular interest in the latest neuroscience discoveries, Gary was aware that their symptoms might be the result of addiction-related brain changes. Applying the website’s concepts of brain plasticity, many former users have braved withdrawal, reversed their symptoms and restored normal sexual responsiveness.
The site has been linked to from hundreds of threads in forums from over thirty countries, with posts numbering in the thousands. Gary blogs for “Psychology Today” and “The Good Men Project” on the extreme plasticity of adolescent brains, the evolutionary context for today’s flood of novel cyber “mates,” and the neurochemical reasons why super stimulating Internet delivery has unexpected effects on the brain.