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Neuroplasticity and Rewiring the Brain, How Long Will It Take?


It can be super overwhelming when you are dealing with an addiction. The good news is that the brain can be restored to its pre-porn state. The question is, how much time it will take? The answer will be different for each person and depends on their age, how long, and how severe the addiction was, and even the methods used for recovery.  In some cases, it “may take as little as a few weeks” and in other cases, it could take “several months or even a year or more.”2. The key is to be committed and know


it will happen as you work on it.

 

Finding a good counselor who can help and support you is important and can help you succeed in overcoming a porn addiction. Joining a group is also helpful and provides a sense of community and connectedness. It also provides companionship and others to talk to who understand what you are going through.

 

So, how is it done?

 

Porn addiction is complicated and isn’t just a lack of willpower. Porn is addictive and changes the brain’s reward system. It can lead to a “re-wiring of neural pathways, making it challenging to break free from its grasp”2. Unsurprisingly, research has shown that porn addiction can affect mental health, and often individuals become depressed, or anxious, and have “intense cravings.”2. It also causes difficulty in relationships, particularly with intimacy and trust.

 

According to Kellot, porn addiction with its “repeated exposure to explicit content”, affects the brain’s reward center and desensitizes it. This results in the need for “increasingly explicit material to achieve the same level of pleasure. Over time, this leads to a diminished response to natural rewards and an increased reliance on pornography”2.

 

The brain works by neuroplasticity, which means it has the ability to make changes and adaptations as necessary. Many people who have had injuries to their brains can regain their previous brain function by rewiring and exercising it1. This is good news for those who need to rewire their brains from pornography.

 

Healing from pornography needs more than one approach. Therapy and a support group can help by being safe places to explore other issues that may need addressing and are instrumental in teaching more effective ways to cope. Hobbies, sports, and mindfulness are all helpful in the rewiring process. Mindfulness means really being ‘in the moment’ with whatever you are thinking or doing. One recovering addict, known only as ‘Mark’ said he realized that porn addiction was not just about self-control but resulted from ‘actual changes in my brain’3, and understanding the scientific cause “helped me approach recovery with more compassion and determination”.

 

By being intentional about rewiring the brain, people can take control of their lives and find better activities that will bring them happiness and recovery and support good mental health. You got this!  

 

References:

1 Aswathi, B., & Mantri, S. (2023, April 3). Neuroplasticity: How lost skills can be regained after injury or illness. Science in the News. Harvard online. Blog

2 Kellot, T. (2024, February 13) (Updated 2024 February 9) Retrieved 17 May 2024.

How long to rewire brain from porn addiction. Science of Mind online.

3 Mark, n.d. “Recovering porn addict” in Kellot, T. (2024, February 13).

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