Teen Porn Addiction Similar To Drug Addiction

Many people are often unaware of the effects of watching porn has on the brain. Porn addiction shares many similarities with drug addiction.

The reward system in the brain’s neurochemistry and in particular, dopamine which is the chemical secreted in our brains when things are pleasurable to us, like eating delicious food and sex, makes us want to do it over and over again.

Drug addiction hijacks pathways in our brains flooding them with Dopamine, which therefore motivates the user to continually crave for more regardless of any consequences.  In reality the user is not addicted to the drug but the dopamine rush instead.

It should not come to any surprise then that watching pornography also hijacks these pathways and floods them with dopamine levels similar to having sex. Porn addicts will want to watch more and more porn and will develop a tolerance leading to destroyed relationships and other consequences.

Teens And Pornography

The teen brain is a “work in progress,” and while the “reward” pathways are established fairly early, the higher reasoning centers, such as the Neo Cortex hasn’t fully developed. This is the reason why so many teens are susceptible to porn addiction.

Teen porn addiction is increasingly becoming an epidemic. Some studies have shown that the majority of teens have not deliberately sought after porn but instead have been exposed to it by pop-up advertisements whilst online. The average age of first exposure to porn is currently at 11 to 12 years old but falling.

Effects of Porn On Young Minds

In 2005 a content analysis of the most popular pornography videos revealed that almost nine out of ten featured some form of physical aggression, overwhelmingly perpetrated by males toward females, and other research has shown the impact this can have.

In 2016 the American College of Pediatricians found that young people’s exposure to pornography resulted in-

  1. Male subjects demonstrated increased callousness toward women
  2. Subjects considered the crime of rape less serious.
  3. Subjects were more accepting of non-marital sexual activity and non-coital sexual practices such as oral and anal sex.
  4. Subjects became more interested in more extreme and deviant forms of pornography.
  5. Subjects were more likely to say they were dissatisfied with their sexual partner.
  6. Subjects were more accepting of sexual infidelity in a relationship.
  7. Subjects valued marriage less and were twice as likely to believe marriage may become obsolete.
  8. Men experienced a decreased desire for children, and women experienced a decreased desire to have a daughter.
  9. Subjects showed a greater acceptance of female promiscuity.

What Parents and Carers Can Do To Help Their Teen with Porn Addiction

  1. Gather evidence of the addiction. Check your teen’s browser history and make a printout of it without any embarrassing images.
  2. Acknowledge the addiction in front of them as you present the evidence. Also reassure the teen that they’re not in any trouble but your there to help.
  3. Show love and concern. Let you teen know of your concerns without any judgments. Your teen needs to know that you will be available to assist him or her no matter what the recovery process turns out to be.
  4. Explore treatment options with your teen. Include your teen in finding the best therapist to engage with.
  5. Explore alternate, healthy behaviors that could meet your child’s emotional needs. Help your child to discover the variety of healthy, positive activities and hobbies that can satisfy one’s emotional needs and contribute to one’s emotional health.
  6. Keep it all confidential. Respect your child’s privacy. There’s a lot of shame involved with porn addiction especially at a young age and your child’s trust could easily be breached if your discuss it with anyone else without their permission.
  7. Set scheduled times in the day to access the computer. Restrict night surfing on the Internet.
  8. Download some porn filters onto your child’s laptop or home computer that restrict access to porn sites.
  9. Educate your teen on the negative effects it can have on their brains and in relationships.
  10. Keep communication lines open. Be in constant connection with your child’s feelings as they go through the difficult process of overcoming an addiction.

 

Sources:

American College of Pediatricians – June 2016