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“I can stop any time I want” is the iconic identifier of an addict. Even individuals who haven’t spoken those words have certainly thought them a time or two. The very definition of an addiction renders the saying meaningless. So, why are addictions so addicting? Why are they so difficult to stop? At Desert Solace, we help individuals understand their compulsive habits so that they can overcome the addiction.

Like all addictive substances or behaviors, pornography affects the “reward pathway” of the brain, causing it to release dopamine when stimulated. Cambridge University conducted a study that assessed the brain activity of regular pornography users against non-compulsive users. Results from the MRI scans showed that the reward center of the brain in compulsive users reacted the same way as an alcoholic or drug addict might on seeing their own addictive stimulus. Non-compulsive users did not. Research further shows that regular pornography use deregulates the dopamine levels in the body, requiring a more stimulus each time to reach a sexual high.

When a person experiences an orgasm, the brain associates pleasure with the object of sexual focus. In a relationship, this helps build a bond of intimacy between two committed partners. However, this biological response is hijacked when an individual experiences sexual pleasure without an actual partner, such as during masturbation. The bond is therefore loosened with their significant other, and it becomes more difficult for the individual to respond to their familiar stimulus. Erectile dysfunction and emotional indifference are very common side effects for pornography addicts.

When viewing pornography becomes a compulsive habit, it can be extremely difficult, even impossible, to quit without the guidance and support of a structured program. If you or a family member is struggling with an addiction to pornography in St. George, Utah, or one of the surrounding areas, please call 435-817-1351 today and take the first step toward a life that’s free of addiction.