man dealing with porn addiction withdrawal symptoms

How to Deal with Porn Addiction Withdrawal

Is porn addiction withdrawal a thing? Yes, as with any addiction, it is absolutely a real thing. And there are plenty of practical ways to work through this stage in your brain’s healing. Here’s how to get started.

Realize that porn addiction withdrawal is the first step toward healing.

Withdrawal symptoms can tell you two really important things about your situation:

  1. You are truly addicted to porn
  2. You are fighting back

Withdrawal symptoms are your brain’s way of throwing a temper-tantrum. It wants its hit of dopamine, and you just cut off its main supply. “When a brain that has become accustomed to chronic overstimulation stops getting that overstimulation, neurochemical changes in the brain start happening. As a result, many users report withdrawal symptoms. (Source: Avena, N. M. and P. V. Rada. “Cholinergic modulation of Food and Drug Satiety and Withdrawal.” Physiology & Behavior 106, no. 3 (2012): 332–36.) This might sound bad but it is actually very good. Like a bodybuilder who learns to love the burn because it is tearing their muscles down to grow stronger, we can anticipate and welcome the pain of recovery. Withdrawal sucks and it can be frustrating, but it means our brain is changing. Instead of looking at withdrawal pain as evidence of how messed up you are, think of it as painful healing or soreness after a workout.” –Fight The New Drug.

You can fight withdrawal symptoms by rewiring your brain.

You can quite literally hack your own brain by helping it to rewire in a more healthy way during this stage of withdrawal. As you now know, what your brain wants is dopamine. So here’s the trick: when you are craving porn, replace that with something else that can give your brain a similar hit. Here are some activities that produce dopamine:

  • Eat a carby or sugary snack
  • Exercise
  • Play video games
  • Sleep
  • Work on a goal
  • Call a friend or watch a video that is guaranteed to make you laugh

While some of these are not particularly healthy habits, they are healthier than porn addiction and can help you get over the hump of the withdrawal process.

Don’t isolate yourself.

Surround yourself with healthy, positive people. Go out. Get outside. Go on a date. Hang out with friends. Go for a run. Go to church. It is so easy to isolate when you’re fighting the symptoms of addiction withdrawal, but it’s much harder to fall back into bad habits when you are surrounded by healthy people who care about you.

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