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Pornography has made a disturbing spike in popularity in recent years. It is now one of the highest-ranking internet searches, and pornography sites are visited more frequently than most forms of social media or other online entertainment sources.

Part of the reason for the increase in pornography viewing is the ease of accessibility. Internet and technological developments now allow anyone to carry images of pornography and links to sites in their pockets. Another reason is that pornography is an extremely addictive pastime that is not easy to conquer. Many viewers become hooked for many years, if not a lifetime.

Pornography has changed the way that we as a society view and define addiction. Not too long ago, most people believed addiction could only come from substances that physically enter the body, such as alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes. Though graphic images and words do not physically pass through the body, they have a significant impact on the brain.

All addictions share a common trait: they affect the “reward pathway” of the brain, causing it to release dopamine when stimulated. The reward center exists to keep you alive and happy by motivating you to participate in pleasurable activities, such as eating, laughing, and having sex. The release of dopamine makes you feel good and causes your body to crave that activity. Under healthy circumstances, this is a normal reaction. However, it can become the crutch of your addiction when stimulated by unhealthy situations.

Pornography is designed to arouse its users and encourage sexual release, causing an increased amount of dopamine to be released as users engage in pornography more and more. Overtime, the continued stimulation and release of dopamine makes pornography difficult to avoid. Furthermore, the brain may actually begin to fight the amount of “feel-good” chemicals, reducing the “high” that users normally feel and compelling them to increase the amount of viewing or find a more hardcore material.

If you or a loved one is struggling with pornography, we encourage you to seek help by calling Desert Solace at 435-817-1351. We can help you take the first step toward living free of pornography.