Addiction is a chronic brain disease.
“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.” NCBI
Get the facts about how addiction affects our bodies, our brains, and our behavior, while learning about the biological and psychological factors that often drive addiction.
What is addiction?
The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.1
In the United States, 8–10% of people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol or other drugs. That’s approximately 22 million people.2 (Cigarette smoking is also an addiction that kills people.)
Addiction is chronic—but it’s also preventable and treatable
When a disease is chronic, that means it’s long-lasting. It can’t be cured, but it can be managed with treatment. Other examples of chronic diseases include asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.
It is critical that treatment simultaneously addresses any co-occurring neurological or psychological disorders that are known to drive vulnerable individuals to experiment with drugs and become addicted in the first place. Otherwise, the best addiction treatment in the world alone is not effective for those with co-occurring illnesses.
Addiction is a disease
Respected institutions like the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine define addiction as a disease.3 Studies published in top-tier publications like The New England Journal of Medicine support the position that addiction is a brain disease.4
A disease is a condition that changes the way an organ functions. Addiction does this to the brain, changing the brain on a physiological level. It literally alters the way the brain works, rewiring its fundamental structure. That’s why scientists say addiction is a disease.
Although there is no cure for addiction, there are many evidence-based treatments that are effective at managing the illness. Like all chronic illnesses, addiction requires ongoing management that may include medication, therapy, and lifestyle change. Once in recovery from substance use disorder, a person can go on to live a healthy and successful life. Addiction is treatable, and recovery should be the expected outcome of treatment. Read More Here…
What is the Effect of Porn and Sex Addiction on the Brain?
A new study out of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin has found an association between watching pornography and the volume of gray matter in a particular region of the brain. (Read about the study here)
Recent research is telling us a lot about the brain when it comes to watching porn.
Over a decade ago, Dr. Judith Reisman called porn an “erototoxin,” theorizing that the brain itself might be damaged while watching porn. She speculated that future brain studies would reveal that the surge of neurochemicals and hormones released when someone watches porn has measurably negative effects on the brain.
The Online Article “Brain Chemicals and Porn Addiction states, “Recent studies are validating her theory about brain chemicals and porn addiction.”
Cambridge Neuropsychiatrist Valerie Voon was featured last year in the UK documentary Porn on the Brain. Her research demonstrates that the brains of habitual porn users show great similarity to the brains of alcoholics. A brain structure called the ventral striatum plays a significant role in the reward system of the brain—the pleasure pathways. It is the same part of the brain that “lights up” when an alcoholic sees a picture of a drink.
Dr. William Struthers, author of Wired for Intimacy, sounds a similar alarm, teaching that viewing pornography and masturbating actually weakens the region of our brain known as the cingulate cortex—the region that is responsible for moral and ethical decision making and willpower.
How Does Porn and Sex Addiction Effect the Family?
The more devastating effect of porn and sex addiction is on marriages and families. That is the purpose of this blog, to shead light on how this addiction destroys the family, causes betrayal trauma, the loss of trust and safety to all concerned.
A recent article in the Deseret News says, Today, 47 percent of families in the United States report that pornography is a problem in their home, according to the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families, an Ohio-based nonprofit organization working to promote Christian values.
It is no surprise, considering the breadth and reach of pornography; according to Enough is Enough — a Virginia-based nonprofit organization formed in 1994 with aims to make the Internet safer for children and families — worldwide pornography revenue is estimated to be more than $97 billion dollars with $13 billion of that spent in the United States. The porn industry in the U.S. rakes in more money than ABC, NBC and CBS combined. Every second, 28,258 viewers are watching pornography and 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines. Every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is made in the United States, according to Enough is Enough.
Jill C. Manning, a marriage and family therapist in Colorado who testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on the harms of pornography in 2005, said when a North American woman — who views herself as her husband’s equal — learns he has been viewing multiple images of other women, it is a sexual, emotional and spiritual betrayal.
“We have ceremonies called weddings that give witness to the exclusivity of that relationship,” Manning said. “We are to cherish and honor one another. The sexual relationship is the one thing that makes that relationship different than any other relationship.”
She said pornography use is not just a bad habit, but something that has systemic rippling effects.
“We know that pornography is intricately linked to organized crime, prostitution, sex trade, sex tourism and it forms an evil web of oppression and abuse and crime that too often we don’t discuss because we’re uncomfortable associating — linking — this pornography use to those wider spheres of effect,” Manning said.
At home, she added, it destroys families.
“I do not understand how human beings can be using and denigrating women in one area of their life and claiming to love and cherish a woman in another area of their life.”