Catastrophic effects of adolescent porn addiction (2014) Wrishi Raphael, MD

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Monday, 27 October 2014

Author / Source: Dr Wrishi Raphael

These days it is impossible to find a teenager belonging to a middle class family without a smart phone or a tablet; therefore without access to portable high speed internet. While a vast majority of parents are totally unaware of the potential dangers of the information highway; it is not uncommon for teenagers to grow up into adulthood with a completely distorted and perverted idea of human sexuality and end up injuring not only their self esteem but also their minds and bodies. While on the threshold of their rebellious and tempestuous years it is only normal for youngsters to have impulses about their sexuality and these impulses can lead to all the wrong choices if not given the right guidance. As sex education is still considered a taboo in our country and no one seems to care what sort of information adolescents have access to thanks to the smart phones, tablets and high speed internet, it is not usual for teenagers to lose their thrive for a better life and indulge in premature sexualisation and immorality.

The enormous amount of adult content high school children have access to, via smart-phones is mind boggling but it is equally important to understand the culprit behind the scene. To know why the multi-billion dollar internet pornographic industry is so popular we must first understand the Coolidge Effect.

Coolidge Effect

‘Males of all species exhibit renewed sexual interest if introduced to new sexual partners even after refusing sex from prior but still available sex partners.’ In simpler terms, greater the number of willing female sex partners stronger the urge for sex in males. When the Coolidge Effect was materialized by the adult film industry it experienced an enormous boost in profits. The average teenager of today has access to more women on the internet in one hour then all his ancestors put together. This unending novelty fuels his brain cells to produce a chemical neurotransmitter called dopamine in abnormally high levels and for damagingly long durations.

This leads to another question. What is dopamine and how does it affect the brain’s capacity to function?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released by the brain that plays a number of roles in humans and other animals. Dopamine in pleasure reward seeking behavior Dopamine is the chemical that mediates pleasure in the brain. It is released during pleasurable situations and stimulates one to seek out the pleasurable activity or occupation. This means food, sex, and several drugs of abuse are also stimulants of dopamine release in the brain

Dopamine and drug addiction - Cocaine and amphetamines inhibit the re-uptake of dopamine. Cocaine is a dopamine transporter blocker that competitively inhibits dopamine uptake to increase the presence of dopamine.

Dopamine levels and psychosis - Abnormally high dopamine transmission has been linked to psychosis and schizophrenia. Both the typical and the atypical antipsychotic drugs work largely by inhibiting dopamine at the receptor level.

The teenager who has succumbed to porn addiction will have the following symptoms:

  1. Lower reactions to porn sites
  2. Erectile dysfunction. [Inability of the male genital organs to be aroused by sexual stimulation]
  3. Addiction related brain changes can cause severe depressive symptoms: sleeplessness, irritability, guilt, concentration lack, appetite loss, low self esteem.

Unfortunately the teenager does not realize that he is in trouble until he develops erectile dysfunction. Why the erectile dysfunction? Numb brains produce weaker and weaker messages to sex organs therefore inhibiting erectile response

Do sexual stimulants work in erectile dysfunction? They do not work in erectile dysfunction as such drugs are only capable of maintaining the erection process but not initiating it.

Who are most vulnerable to the porn effect and why? Teenagers are most vulnerable. The brain’s dopamine levels are highest during teenage years.

If for example an adult male requires 2-3 months to fight porn addiction, a teenager may need 4-5 times the same amount of time and that means complete abstinence and difficult life style modifications.

It’s plain and simple. Parents have to be proactive about what their children are doing on their cell phones and how best to prevent inappropriate internet content from slipping into the hands of teenagers. We wouldn’t leave a magazine with explicit content next to the toilet and tell our kids not to look at it when they go to the bathroom. Nor should we hand our kids a smart phone that hasn’t been secured, to keep it from becoming “pocket porn” in the hands of a curious child. 

K9 Web Protection Browser: The K9 Web Protection Browser is doing well to block adult content from emerging on the screen. It is present in the app store and after its downloaded and installed, security settings have to be adjusted so that no other browser can be used for web browsing.

Disable Installing Apps: Unless this is done children and teenagers can easily add another browser from the app store which has no filter.

Disabling You Tube: Children and teenagers enjoy watching videos on You Tube but unfortunately once on the You Tube they are only a few clicks away from watching inappropriate content.

In spite of all precautions and preventive measures teenagers can and will make the wrong choices every now and then and as parents, it will be heart wrenching to deal with such terrible mistakes and forgive them, simply because the child in question is their flesh and blood.

But to allow teenagers specifically boys to use smart phones unsupervised, can be equated to allowing them to brandish lethal firearms in a supermarket without the safety switch turned on. The information highway is a highway like any other and parents must be protective of their children so that they don’t lose their identities or hurt themselves in more destructive ways then can be fathomed.

The writer can be reached at w.t.raphael@gmail.com