HOW PORN DESTROYS YOUR BRAIN CELL

from : Neuroscience world.
Neuroscience now knows that willpower is a function of the prefrontal
lobes of the brain. Scientific studies have also confirmed that using porn
over and over actually reshapes these areas of the brain, literally eroding
our willpower and our moral compass.
Neuroscientists call it hypofrontality. Hypofrontality is a state in which
there is decreased blood flow to the prefrontal lobes of the brain.
Hypofrontality is observed in schizophrenia patients and is also observed
in all manner of addictions.
What is Hypofrontality?
In his book, The Porn Circuit, Sam Black explains what hypofrontality is for
the porn viewer.
“Compulsiveness is a good descriptor of hypofrontality. Many porn
users feel focused on getting to porn and masturbating even when
a big part of them is saying, ‘Don’t do this.’ Even when negative
consequences seem imminent, impulse control is too weak to
battle the cravings.”
The porn-addicted brain has trouble thinking logically. When impulses and
desires come from the midbrain, instead of being moderated, the brain
feels these desires as compelling needs . The prefrontal region is supposed
to be able to weigh consequences and situations and judiciously shut
down cravings, but hypofrontality means the addict’s ability to do this is
impaired.
To the addict, when the craving for porn surfaces, their whole body gears
up for action. As unhindered hormones are released and neurotransmitters
fire, the craving consumes them. The heart begins to race, blood pressure
rises, and the addict is consumed by a single thought: “ Just one more
time .”
What Causes Hypofrontality?
Compared to other creatures on earth, human beings have a very well
developed prefrontal region. When our prefrontal lobes are working
properly, then we have “executive control” of the processes going on in
our brains. It is where we do our abstract thinking, make goals, solve
problems, regulate behavior, and where we suppress emotions, impulses,
and urges.
But the more one masturbates to porn, the more dopamine is released in
the brain. Eventually dopamine receptors and signals in the brain fatigue,
leaving the viewer wanting more but unable to reach a level of
satisfaction. The viewer becomes numb to things once considered
pleasurable. “To escape this desensitization, people, and men especially,
expand their pornographic tastes to more novel stimuli,” Black writes. This
leads, again, to more fatigue.
Desensitization impacts the prefrontal cortex. As dopamine receptors
decline in the brain, so do the amount of neural cells in the prefrontal
lobes.
How Do You Cure Hypofrontality?
To bring the prefrontal lobes back into working order, a two-pronged
attack is needed: (1) the old neural pathways must be starved, and (2)
new neural pathways must be built and fed, increasing dopamine levels in
a way that build up the prefrontal cortex.
1. Starve: Stop All Pornography and Fantasy
Don’t give into the urge to look at porn. As the prefrontal lobes are given
plenty of time to rest, executive control will be strengthened over time.
This advice feels to many like a catch-22. “You tell me I’ve killed my
willpower by looking at porn. So now the way to increase my willpower is
by willing myself not to look at porn. How does that work?” Isn’t that like
telling the alcoholic to “just stop it”?
The big difference between “just stop it” and a conscious effort to rewire
your brain is this: The man being told to “just stop it” has no hope that
the cravings will ever be different. When he hears “just stop it,” he hears,
“Live with these intense cravings the rest of your life and never give into
them.” To the addict porn is life . Telling him to stop is like telling him to
die.
However, informed by the process of how our brains can change, the
addict can avoid porn and fantasy knowing that real change is possible .
Change is built into the very fabric of our brains. Change is exactly what
our brains are designed to do. When this person abstains from porn, he
thinks, “Okay, this really stinks for now. I feel terrible. But I will not
always feel this way. In fact, I aim to reclaim my brain so I can
experience real, lasting pleasure again.”
Here are some helpful tips for avoiding pornography
Redirection – When you feel the urge, get into the habit of distracting
yourself with another activity that you can start immediately. This can
be as simple as a breathing exercise or journaling your thoughts. It
can be as involved as making a meal or going for a jog. It will be
difficult to do, but each time you choose to redirect, your brain will
build new neural circuits.
Avoid All External Triggers – Remember, you’ve carved a grand-
canyon-sized gorge of neural circuits in your mind. It is easy for
everyday experiences to become triggers. If the trigger is a specific
channel on TV, refuse to visit that channel. If the trigger is a type of
person you see walking down the street, choose to bounce your eyes
away from that person. Learn what your triggers are and for the first
several weeks or months, completely avoid them—no exceptions.
Avoid Internal Triggers – External triggers are things you experience in
the world. Internal triggers are emotions or states of mind. For some,
when they feel lonely, this has become a trigger for porn. Porn has
become their release valve to make themselves feel good. Identify
what your internal triggers are (loneliness, boredom, exhaustion, anger,
etc.), and create an escape plan when these emotions pop up. Call a
friend. Journal your thoughts. Do something creative.
Avoid SUDs – “Seemingly Unimportant Decisions.” These are the
rationalizations you say to yourself to get you one step closer to porn.
“I’m just going to see what’s on TV.” “I’m just going to check my e-
mail.” “I’m just going to get on Facebook.” Get honest with yourself
and learn what your SUDs are. Be ruthless against these
rationalizations.
Avoid Inactivity – Fill up your social calendar to the brim. Refuse to
give yourself an open window.
Finish the Fantasy – When the thought of looking at porn enters your
mind, immediately finish the fantasy: imagine yourself having just
orgasmed and the feeling of shame, guilt, or disgust you feel. Vividly
experience the emotions.
Destroy Fantasies – As a fantasy or thought enters your mind, picture
the image being eliminated. Draw a red X over it. Smash it with a
hammer. Put it through the shredder. Flush it down the nastiest
looking toilet you’ve ever seen.
2. Feed: Build Up Your Brain
Much like a muscle, the more you exercise the prefrontal cortex, the
stronger it becomes. The goal is to engage in new habits that will
increase your dopamine and dopamine receptors.
Meditation – Making a habit of meditation has been shown to increase
dopamine release up to 65% . Even after only 11 hours of meditation
spread over a month, changes are observable. (For a Christian
approach to meditation, visit CCEF.org or
biblicalcounselingcoalition.org .)
Exercise – Aerobic exercise has been shown to increase dopamine
receptors and decrease cravings for those bound in addiction.
Socializing – Porn-watching is a very anti-social habit. By reforging
connections to real people, spending pleasurable time together, you
will establish new neural pathways of pleasure.
Change is Gradual, But It Will Come
Summarizing these above two points, Sam Black writes in The Porn
Circuit:
Whatever rewarding activity is pursued, it needs to be an activity
that is reoccurring. Building new rewarding neural pathways
requires time and ongoing repetition…
1. Neurons that fire together wire together. Repeating a
pleasurable activity instead of the compulsive activity, such as
porn use, forms a new circuit that is gradually reinforced
instead of the compulsion.
2. Neurons that fire apart wire apart. When a person refuses to
act on a compulsion, like porn and masturbation, it weakens
the link between the activity and the idea that it will provide
relief.
(Download the The Porn Circuit)
The prefrontal cortex is one of the things that makes us unique from
other creatures on earth. By reclaiming it we are reclaiming more than our
willpower. We are reclaiming our humanity.

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