Addiction in General

Here is some general information about addiction. Understanding Internet porn addiction means understanding addiction mechanisms. Porn addiction changes the brainAll addictions involve hijacking of the same neurocircuitry, and run on the same neurochemicals. A basic physiological principle is that drugs do not create anything new or different; they simply increase or decrease normal brain functions. In essence, we already possess the machinery for addiction (mammalian bonding/love circuitry), and for binging (yummy food, mating season).

Top researchers agree that all addictions involve the same pathways and mechanisms. Here are a few FAQs from renowned addiction researcher Erik Nestler (Nestler Labs).

Q: How can you reverse the changes in your brain?

A: There is no evidence that changes in the brain associated with drug addiction are permanent. Rather, we believe that these changes can be reversed. It can take a long time, often many years. The reversal requires “unlearning” many of the bad habits (compulsions) associated with addiction in general.

Q: Do these changes occur naturally in your brain without the influence of a drug of abuse?

A: It is likely that similar brain changes occur in other pathological conditions which involve the excessive consumption of natural rewards.These include conditions such as pathological over-eating, pathological gambling, sex addictions, and so on.

Q: Are the different types of addictions related? How? (Drugs, gambling, etc)

A: There is increasing evidence from clinical studies that some of the same brain regions (brain reward pathways) are critically involved in mediating drug addictions and the so-called natural addictions.

This section on addiction in general contains both lay articles for the public, and research articles. If you are not an expert in addiction, I suggest starting with the lay articles to get a better understanding of addiction mechanisms. The letter “L” marks which ones they are.