It’s no secret anymore. Porn is addictive.

There is a ton of research that points to this conclusion. And those trapped in the vicious cycle of porn addiction know all too well. They know how hard it is to walk away from pornography when it seems to be the only thing that makes them feel good. They know how damaging it is to relationships, and know how isolating of a behavior it is, even when they’re surrounded by people who love them. Many people feel like there is no hope for the future, like porn has inflicted permanent damage and that it is impossible to break free.

That is simply not true.

Here at Fortify, we have the mission to help people who are already struggling and let them know that there is hope. An addiction to pornography CAN be overcome. Permanently. And here’s why:

Your brain is plastic.

“Plastic” comes from the Greek word plastos, which means molded. When something is plastic, it means it can change shape.

Scientists used to think that once the human brain reached a certain part of development, it stopped growing and changing. They believed, as the old saying goes, that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

As it turns out, Harvard research shows that it is possible for the brain to change and develop no matter how old it is. The brain is an ever-changing thing. Your brain is made to change.

Check out this study as an example:

Researchers took a group of regular people and taught them to play a five-finger piano exercise, causing them to develop new motor skills and use different parts of their brain. They had to learn how to do the exercise perfectly and at a regular tempo. At the end of each practice, they had to take a test.

Before and after practice each day, the researchers would place a large electromagnetic coil against the subjects’ foreheads to stimulate parts of their brain with electric currents. Their fingers would naturally respond to these currents by twitching or making small movements.

As the subjects continued to practice the piano and develop that part of their brains, it required less electric stimulation for their fingers to respond, and their fingers would respond to a greater degree even though they were being stimulated less.

Basically, their brain had changed. By continuously doing something, (in this case, playing the piano) it was activating new parts of their brain and new pathways were being formed.

Pretty cool, huh?

Well what’s not cool is that porn also changes your brain, in a negative way. Continued exposure to porn will make you want more porn. You will gain a dependance to it. You will need more of it. You will need more hardcore versions of it. Your brain will encourage you to go back to it because it knows that it makes you feel good. All these things happen because the brain has been changed due to porn use. And before you know it, you are having a hard time stopping.

But the brain can change. Through continued practice and effort, you can change your brain back. And it can be a lasting change. Due to nueroplasticity, the harmful effects of porn will fade away during recovery and eventually disappear all together. It is a process, and it takes commitment, but it can be done.

Bottom line: your brain can heal and recover. No matter how hard it may seem.

Keep at it, Fortifiers. We got your back!

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Sources:
[1] Pascual-Leone, Alvaro, Amir Amedi, Felipe Fregni, and Lotfi B. Merabet. “The Plastic Human Brain Cortex.” Annual Review of Neuroscience 28.1 (2005): 377-401. Print.

[2] Pascual-Leone A, Nguyet D, Cohen LG, Brasil-Neto JP, Cammarota A, Hallett M. 1995. Modulation of muscle responses evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation during the acquisition of new fine motor skills. J. Neurophysiol. 74:1037–45