Will Brain Recover After Porn Addiction? (Speed Up Healing)

Will My Brain Recover After Porn Addiction?

Most people out there are now starting to grasp that overconsumption of porn can mess with the brain's reward system, as well as cause other addiction related brain changes.

The good news is that the brain can recover after overcoming a porn addiction, no doubt.

This is also nothing new.

Recovery can take up to a year or even longer…

However, not that many people are aware of the fact that for some people it takes a really long time for the brain to recover, after they have stopped using porn.

If they have been struggling with a really severe addiction, it can sometimes up to a year, or even longer.

That said, those who find their recovery process stretching out way past a year often times have some other issues going on in their life as well, affecting the healing process.

What you'll find in this blog post…

In this blog post we are going to take a deeper dive into the whole recovery length, while we also explore some things that might potentially help speed up the brains recovery process – after a person has stopped using porn.

I will also share a few things that might be preventing, or prolonging, the brain's recovery process. This in order for you to know what you should avoid, or at least be a bit more careful with, going forward.

Disclaimer: I, Scandinavian Bob, the author of the post, am not a neuroscientist or a brain expert. I'm just a guy who has recovered from my own porn addiction and who has been involved in the porn addiction community for 10 years by now. I have seen and read a lot and that's why I feel I have something to share, but again, keep in mind that I'm not a neuroscientist. 

How To Speed Up Brain Recovery After Porn Use

So, is there a way we can help the brain with its recovery?

Most likely, yes.

In fact, there might be several ways.

But, if you find yourself in the category of people who are seeing little to no progress on the porn rebooting journey, let's first start with what might potentially be holding you back.

Watch out for other super-normal stimuli as well as drugs & alcohol as they might prolong your recovery…

Online porn is so stimulating for your brains reward system that it tends to desensitize you and dial down your sensitivity to dopamine.

Think of it like this…

…You go outside on a sunny day and you happen to look towards the sun for a few seconds. If you then go back inside right away, everything looks very dark in there, even though it's in the middle of the day. The sun was so stimulating for your eyes that your eyes dialed down their sensitivity to light. A similar thing can happen with online pornography, it is so stimulating for your brains reward system that it dials down its sensitivity to dopamine. This is called, desensitization.

When considering the above example, luckily enough your eyes go back to normal after just a couple of minutes…

…but if you desensitize your dopamine system, that desensitization can linger for quite a long time.

We are talking weeks to months here, depending on just how hard you been going at it.

The difference between the sun example and desensitization of your dopamine system are many…

  1. A desensitized dopamine system can linger quite a long time even after you stop blasting your brain with high dopamine stuff.
  2. Desensitization does not affect your eyes, like in the sun example, but many other things.

This desensitization can cause…

  • It can cause less drive and motivation for everything in life (except your drug i.e porn).
  • It can give you short term memory problems and an inability to focus…
  • It can cause low mood, depression and even anhedonia…
  • It can make regular sex feel grey and boring – even to the point of you having trouble climaxing, or getting it up with a real life person.
    A real life person simply can't provide as much stimuli as your brain is used to get by clicking from video to video, perhaps with multiple tabs open in your browser, while you explore all kinds of weird categories.

Today's online porn is what we call “a supernormal stimuli”…

A supernormal stimuli is something that is more stimulating for the brains reward system than what can ever be found in nature. Or an exaggerated version of what can be found in nature….

…exaggerated by modern worlds manipulation of it.

More examples of so-called super stimulus…

  • Social media – especially those platform who makes you jump from one thing to the other with only a few seconds in between.
  • Today's high stimulating video games – especially online gaming
  • Online gambling
  • Online porn tube sites where there are suggested videos – making you jump from one video to the other, spending just a few seconds on each video.
  • Online chat / masturbation / cam sites
  • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Junk food – especially where fat and sugar are combined to create the so called “bliss point effect”.

The above are all things that can hammer the brains dopamine system, making us a bit desensitized, if become addicted to them or if we just engage in them way too much on a regular basis. You can become desensitized even without being an addict.

Although, desensitization is one of the 4 major brain changes that happen in any addiction, it is important to note that you don't have to be an addict in order to become a bit desensitized.

To learn more about what happens in your brain when you become desensitized, take a look at a video I made on my YouTube channel Project Stronger Self, a while back.

Watch the video and then continue reading the article to discover how not to prolong your recovery…

Pretty interesting, huh?

Now, the title of the video is “Porn Makes You Beta?” – but don't let the title scare you away, the video does a great job of explaining the desensitization process.

By the way, if you found the video informative, consider checking out my YouTube channel here.

If your brain's not getting better after quitting porn…

Now that you watched the video and have a pretty good understanding of what desensitization is, we can move on to the important stuff here.

If you feel that your brain is not getting any better after you've quit, or that it's just taking way too long, then you need to ask yourself the following question…

…”are there some other things (besides porn) that I keep doing on a regular basis, that may hammer my dopamine system to the point of it not recovering?”

Some examples…

Let's say you've have a history of binge watching porn for hours on end.

Heck, sometimes you even kept fapping for 6-8 hours -with some rests in between- clicking from video to video , with multiple tabs open, searching for the perfect one to finish on.

This is the worst kind of fapping sessions as it keeps your dopamine levels sky high for hours at end.

Well, then when you get off porn you have quite a lot of healing to do before your dopamine receptors up-regulate and you regain your dopamine sensitivity.

Do you keep hammering your brains reward system with other stimuli?…

If you then during that recovery phase make sure to stay off porn, but instead you…

  • Eat junk food almost every day
  • Spend 5-7 hours online on aimless browsing (mostly on social media)
  • Drink quite a lot of alcohol every week, (especially on weekends)
  • Play video games all day long…

…well, even if you've given up your beloved porn, going at it like this might actually be preventing your dopamine system from recovering.

Why?

Simply because all those things are also hammering your brains reward system, and in the beginning of your reboot, when your dopamine receptors are about to start growing more dense again, you might be extra vulnerable.

Some brains are more vulnerable than others…

Your brain might be more vulnerable to the negative effects of instant gratification than other peoples brains.

We are all different.

If you're not making any progress, then you might start considering cutting way back on all those ‘low value' dopamine activities I just listed.

Now, it's not like you can never enjoy junk food or get a bit buzzed by alcohol again. Or that you can never gamble, use social media, play video games or simply engage in some other, pleasurable, instant gratification stuff.  It's just that, you might be extra vulnerable to low value dopamine activities in the beginning of your reboot, now that your dopamine D2 receptors are just about to start recovering.

So, if you feel like your not making progress, I suggest that you conduct a small, personal, experiment here…

Try THIS experiment for 30 days and see if you'll make any progress…

Since you might be extra vulnerable to stimuli in the beginning of your porn reboot, you could try doing 30 days in a row where you expose yourself to as little supernormal stimuli as possible.

For 30 days – try to…

  • Eat as clean as possible (little to no junk food)…
  • Limit recreational internet surfing. Especially social media…
  • No alcohol…
  • No candy…
  • No online gamin…
  • No online gambling…

I know it sounds boring, but if you try this experiment you will quickly see whether or not it is your dopamine system that is lagging in your recovery.

By elimination, or at least drastically reducing those high stimulating things, the dopamine receptors are much more likely to start up-regulating at a faster pace.

Is 30 days enough?

Even though 30 days is a good amount of time it will probably not be enough to fully fix you. However, it might very well be exactly what you need to start seeing results. And once you do, it'll get so much easier to keep the reboot going from the sheer increase in motivation and realization you've got from figuring things out.

Again, I want to remind you that this is not about eliminating all pleasures from your life forever. It's about reducing the amount for a month or so, just to see where you're at. And it's not like you have to eliminate everything, even during your 30 day experiment. Just do the best you can. It's not black and white, on or off. We're talking more of a spectrum here.

After the experiment, it's up to each and everyone of us to decide how much instant gratification stuff we want to be engaging in. There's certainly nothing wrong with moderation and, again, aiming for a life without any instant pleasures is hardly worth it…

…so, don't develop a dopamine phombia here.

Be flexible…

If you ,when you start introducing more internet and social media again, feel that you keep making good progress then all is fine and you can keep enjoying your recreation. Same goes with all the other stimuli.

However, if you feel that you are constantly taking two steps forward, but then backsliding three steps on those weeks you're parying a bit too much, then yes, it might be time for you to reconsider your lifestyle a bit going forward.

You need to be flexible and willing to experiment.


Discover>a good online course for quitting porn<


Some good habits that may speed up your brain recover after quitting porn…

As an opposite to the negative things that we just talked about, that may hold your back, there are some positive things you could try to implement that may actually help speed things up.

Some of these are actually releasing dopamine, but don't be fooled by that. It's not like dopamine is inherently bad.

Far from it.

We need dopamine, and some of these activities release it in a healthy way, without desensitizing your rewrad system. In fact, they have even been shown to help with up-regulation of those small, dopamine, D2 receptors.

Some healthy things that might potentially help speed up your recovery…

  • Intermittent fasting
  • Physical exercise (in particular h.i.i.t)
  • Meditation
  • Cold showers
  • Socializing

To be able to provide you with as much helpful info as possible, I aske the subscribers of my YouTube channel Project Stronger Self to participate in a poll. A poll where I asked those who felt healing had taken a very long time, what activities they've found to be most beneficial for speed things along.

Here's how they answered…

What activity do you think finally made the biggest impact on your recovery?

As you can see, almost 2000 people voted.

  • 19% said cold showers
  • 46% said physical exercise
  • 5% said fasting or intermittent fasting
  • 7% said doing a lot of socializing
  • 22% just trying not to worry so much

I'm a bit surprised at the results because, as I told you in the beginning of the article, I have personal experiences from having to recover from my own porn use. And I found fasting to be one of, if not the most powerful tool for me.

Now, of course we're all different, and I'm not saying the guys pressed the wrong button there. But some of them might perhaps not have given fasting a decent chance. Perhaps many of the voters simply lack experiences in theworld of not eating for while.

My personal experience with fasting and brain recovery after porn…

I personally found doing a few 48 hours fasts to do wonders for my brain.

I especially remember one fast where, after I was done with my 48 hours, everything just felt so, well, it all just felt better and more intense.

Music sounded better, food tasted better, jokes were funnier, and my thinking was way sharper.

Experiencing life in HD…

It was like all my senses suddenly operated in high definition.

This feeling didn't last forever, but I definitely think it lifted my recovery up at least two or three notches in general. To me it seemed like my baseline level of dopamine sensitivity was a bit improved after each fast.

Warning: now, don't just jump into fasting with your head first here if you're not used to not eating for a while. You need to build it up slowly. Start by doing some shorter fasts, of 14-16 hours or so and build from there.

You might also want to check with your doctor first. This is especially true if you're having any kind of health issues or are on any kind of medications.

Also, read and educate yourself about how to do a proper fast. An excellent book for this is the book Complete Guide To Fasting, (check on Amazon) by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore.

Physical exercise and brain recovery after quitting porn…

In addition, I do agree with my subscribers on the physical exercise.

And here there are even studies made on meth addicts showing how an 8 week exercise regimen helped with up-regulation of dopamine receptors far quicker than for the control group, who didn't do any physical exercise.

This is something I talk more about in the article, can the brain really heal after quitting porn.

But to put it short, if physical exercise can significantly speed up the brains healing process in meth addicts, if will for sure also do so in porn addicts, as meth is far more damaging for the brain than porn.

Will the brain recover to 100% after quitting porn?

So, will the brain recover fully after quitting porn?

Like, to 100% of what it was before?

Well, as far as the desensitization goes, the good news is that will most likely reverse and heal to 100% just as long as you live an otherwise healthy lifestyle, where you try to limit your exposure to other supernormal stimuli.

Just as a side, however, I personally think that most of us are a bit desensitized just because of the shere amount of stimuli we are constantly bombarded with in today's modern world. But let's say we only get our dopamine system buzzing to about, let's just say 95% as an example, who's to say that's not good enoug, right?

However, when it comes to addictions, there are more brain changes going on that just desensitization.

To learn more about these, I recommend you watch my 2 part YouTube series called NoFap and brain changes. 

Some of the other brain changes, like for example sensitization, will unfortunately always bee there to some extent. But, even here you will see progress. Or, to put it a bit better, in the case of sensitized pathways, they get weaker or fall asleep after some time, so to speak.

If you are worrying about anything, or if you have any questions about this, or just would like someone to talk to about it all, feel free to book a 1 on 1 online session with me through my coaching page right here. 

How long does it take for the brain to recover after quitting porn?

This one is highly individual.

As a general answer I used to say that most people will feel decent improvement by the 90 day mark. But there are also those of need far longer than that.

Some unlucky people even seem to need a bit more than a year to fully recover, however, what I've seen from all my online coaching is that many of those long term rebooters seem to be struggling with other issues as well, that might be prolonging their recovery. Things like depression, worry and anxiety.

Now, then this question arises…

…”are they depressed because recovery is taking so long, or is recovery taking long because they are depressed?”

It's a good question, and a difficult one.

Some people will most likely get depressed by the seemingly never ending reboot. But from my own personal experience I do also know that depression will for sure slow things down. So, for some it might be a combination of both. For others, one or the other.

This is also why, in the poll a few paragraphs above, I included the option “just trying not to worry so much”…

…which is a good advice to adapt for pretty much anything in life.

Thanks for reading!

-Scandinavian Bob-

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Will Brain Recover After Porn Addiction? (Speed Up Healing)
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