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Porn Withdrawal

porn-withdrawal

Porn Withdrawal

Porn addiction is a type of sex addiction that changes the brain and causes the user to seek compulsively seek pornography, even though it only brings more harm. The primary part of the brain affected is the ones responsible for motivation and reward. 

When a porn addict watches porn, they receive an intense rush of dopamine, causing feelings of pleasure and reward. As with every other form of addiction, the consistent use of pornography causes overstimulation in the reward/motivation center of the brain. The pathway becomes overwhelmed, and the brain cannot handle that many levels of dopamine being released. In response, it either lowers the amount of dopamine produced or reduces the number of dopamine receptors. 

When this happens, the user becomes desensitized and builds tolerance for pornography. However, the compulsion to watch porn still remains, so they just consume more, often unconventional, pornographic content to get the same level of “high” again.

The addictive nature of this cycle has deregulated the brain’s rewards system, so anyone trying to get clean from pornography addiction will experience porn withdrawal.

What Is Porn Withdrawal?

Porn withdrawal is the effect, both physical and psychological, that a person experiences when they try to stop using pornography. If you have been consuming pornographic content to the point of building dependency and you suddenly stop, you might encounter some problems. 

When it comes to porn addiction, think of your brain as a spring. Pornography addiction pushes down on the spring, suppressing the production of neurotransmitters like noradrenaline. When you suddenly quit porn, it’s like taking a weight of that spring. The brain rebounds, and there is a surge of adrenaline in the body, causing withdrawal symptoms.

The duration and severity of these withdrawal symptoms depend on a wide range of conditions, such as how long you have been using pornography, your biological make-up, and the amount of pornography you used to consume. The more intense your porn addiction, the more intense the withdrawal symptoms. Along the same vein, the longer your use of pornography, the longer the withdrawal symptoms last.

The symptoms of withdrawal can be unpleasant, and in some cases, outrightly dangerous. It is always advisable to seek the help of a trained professional before quitting to help you work through your withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Typically, withdrawal symptoms occur in two stages – the acute stage and the post-acute withdrawal stage.  The first stage occurs within the first three weeks of going cold turkey. Within the first 48 hours, you can expect to experience any of the following symptoms.

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Mood Swings
  • Overthinking
  • Irrational thoughts
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Physical pain and muscle stiffness
  • Boredom
  • Increased sexual urges
  • Porn flashes and cravings
  • Headaches, and
  • Brain fog

After the first few weeks of acute withdrawal, post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) begins and is the common cause of relapse for porn addicts. This stage ushers in the struggle for abstinence in earnest. Unlike acute withdrawal, the symptoms for post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) are mostly emotional and psychological. The symptoms for PAWS are similar for most addictions, unlike acute withdrawal that tends to be specific for each addiction. 

Symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome include:

  • Mood swings
  • Low enthusiasm
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • Variable concentration
  • Low libido
  • Variable energy
  • Irritability, and
  • Disturbed sleep

Many of these symptoms overlap with depression but are expected to reduce over time gradually. The most important thing to note about PAWS is its prolonged duration – it can last for up to 2 years. The symptoms do not also come in a single spell, as they come and go. It is not unusual to go 1-2 weeks without any symptoms, only to get hit again. Most people are unprepared for how long post-acute withdrawal syndrome lasts, putting them at risk of relapse. 

Studies show that when people struggle with post-acute withdrawal, it tends to jeopardize their chances of recovery. Most of the symptoms are psychological, so they tend to think they aren’t making any recovery progress. 

How to Cope With Withdrawal Symptoms

1. Be patient:

Creating a recovery lifestyle, clean from all influences of porn, takes time. You are not going to see your results within days, heck, weeks too. Take each day as it comes and make the most of it. Instead of comparing your progress day-to-day or week-to-week, try month-to-month instead.

2. Identify your triggers:

Most people use pornography as a coping mechanism for other underlying and co-existing problems. Some conditions may trigger you to turn back to porn as a coping mechanism. Identifying those triggers will help you avoid them and prevent cases of a possible relapse. 

3. Stay active:

Healthy amounts of exercise can help release endorphins and restore some chemical balance to the brain. It also reduces stress, insomnia, and tension, which are key withdrawal symptoms. Exercise will help to minimize the risk of relapse and compulsive porn use or cravings. You can go for a quick run or walk to improve your physical health and stabilize your mental and emotional health.

4. Practice mindfulness and relaxation:

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques like yoga and breathing exercises will help you cope better with withdrawal symptoms. These exercises can stimulate blood flow, causing a reduction in tension, stress, and muscle pain. They also help you become more in tune and aware of your bodies. Knowing how to pick up and understand physical cues from your body will help you understand the emotional response involved.

5. Join a support group:

Support, especially during withdrawal, will help reduce the chances of a relapse. Members of your support group would have been where you are at the moment and have made it to the other side. What better place to get help than from people who understand the things you are going through? Surround yourself with people who are committed to similar goals and let them help you live a clean life.Going through porn withdrawal might sound like a daunting experience, but that it makes your victory all the more satisfying. The most important thing is to arm yourself with as much information on the subject as you can. At the end of your recovery journey, you can be proud of yourself for staying true despite all the challenges you faced. 

My name is Edwin and I discovered my purpose for helping people learn how to overcome porn and understand the effects. I was introduced to porn at a young age and I was faced with the struggles of curbing these habits as it became more detrimental.After years of facing these challenges, I finally discovered ways to stop and quit porn. Today, I started this blog to share helpful and practical experiences of how to unshackle from the chains of porn.If you're an individual who is currently facing these same struggles, then you'll find proven techniques and guidance that can assist you in stopping and quitting porn. In my experience, I have learned the effects of porn to the psychological, emotional, and physical well-being of my body and mind. For this reason, I now strive to show individuals the consequences and effects of engaging in porn. I also understand that stopping and quitting these habits can be daunting, pressuring, and frustrating.So, i've employed an approach that is welcoming and non-judgmental to help you thrive and be encouraged to pick up more productive habits over time.I hope you'll find helpful material in this blog and feel free to reach out with any questions or if you'd like an accountability partner.

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