Using Brain Chemistry to Inhibit Compulsions and Reboot Easier

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by modernstore99, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. modernstore99

    modernstore99 Fapstronaut

    Porn addiction is driven by dopamine, just like all addictions. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter in your brain that tells you "this feels good, let's do it again" when encountering natural rewards, such as food, sex, money, and material possessions.

    Modern internet porn, with its endless novelty, shocking material, and ease of access, is a supernormal stimulus, which causes significant changes to your body's dopamine levels and absorption ratios. You can find a more thorough explanation of these processes in this YBOP article: Evolution has not prepared your brain for today’s porn. Searching "Your Brain on Porn dopamine" into Google will also bring up plenty of results.

    The bottom line is that your brain has irregular dopamine levels and has extreme dopaminergic reactions, causing intense compulsions and behaviors when rebooting.

    How can we counteract this?

    The problem is dopamine, so we need to find ways to limit or stabilize it. A neurotransmitter that seems to have a negative correlation with dopamine is serotonin.

    Serotonin and dopamine are both called the "happy" chemical, but they are extremely different. Dopamine tells you "this feels good, let's do it again", while serotonin tells you "this feels good, I've had enough".

    While one can anecdotally say dopamine encourages "seeking or wanting" and serotonin encourages "contentment or fulfillment", studies show that there is also a direct negative correlation between the two; if dopamine or serotonin is high, the other is low. Below the quotes from the papers I give 1 sentence summaries, so feel free to skip.


    "Serotonergic dysfunction in the PFC also appears to underlie the comorbidity of impulsive aggression with depression, substance abuse, and suicidal behaviors. A modified diathesis-stress model has been proposed, in which a biological diathesis is regarded as a serotonergic deficiency in the ventral PFC. This deficiency can lead to dopamine hyperactivity as a result of reduced serotonergic control over the dopamine system. These pathological processes may result in a failure to regulate emotion, leading to impulsive and aggressive behavior towards the self and others. Additionally, dopamine hyperactivity resulting from deficient serotonergic regulation can promote substance abuse and other addictive behaviors. Further, individuals with impulsive aggression are vulnerable to depression as a function of low serotonergic activity. The presence of depression may contribute further to self-directed aggression or suicide during severe depressive episodes or under significant life stressors."

    This study's conclusion is saying that serotonin deficiency can lead to dopamine hyperactivity, which increases the risk and severity of addiction.


    "The primary ascending serotonergic neurons originate from the median and dorsal raphe nuclei (see Fig. 2B) (Dahlstroem and Fuxe, 1964, Azmitia and Segal, 1978) and make extensive connections with a number of structures involved in the regulation of impulse control, principally the ventral tegmental area (VTA), substantia nigra (SNc), nucleus accumbens (NAcb), hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex (Dalley et al., 2011, Hayes and Greenshaw, 2011). At the synaptic level 5-HT regulates the activity of many neurotransmitters including DA-containing neurons in the VTA and SNc (McMahon et al., 2001, Fink and Gothert, 2007, Bubar et al., 2011) and interactions between 5-HT and DA reportedly contribute to the expression of certain categories of impulsivity (Winstanley et al., 2006a) and may even have a bearing on the aetiology of ADHD (Oades, 2002, Oades, 2007).

    Early studies in rats assessed the effects on impulsivity of globally depleting 5-HT in the brain with the neurotoxin 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT) infused directly into the cerebro-ventricular system. Depletion of 5-HT was accompanied by a selective increase in premature responding on the 5-CSRTT (Harrison et al., 1997) and impaired behavioural restraint on a go/no-go task (Harrison et al., 1999). Consistent with these findings, rats administered the 5-HT depleting stimulant, parachloroamphetamine, showed impairments on a go/no-go task (Masaki et al., 2006) and global 5,7-DHT lesions increased impulsivity on a variant of the 5-CSRTT (Winstanley et al., 2004). Thus, manipulations that reduce 5-HT function impair the capacity of subjects to inhibit the initiation of a pre-potent response, a tendency that is exaggerated when subjects must avoid responding on explicit no-go trials."

    This paragraph is showing that serotonin regulates dopamine neurons, and lowered serotonin levels directly correlate with impaired behavior restraint (impulsivity).


    "The selective lesion of DA neurons elicited by 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) decreased the spontaneous firing activity of dorsal raphe (DR) nucleus 5-HT neurons by 60%, thus revealing the excitatory effect of the DA input on these 5-HT neurons."

    This section from the abstract is showing how increases in dopamine reduced the firing of serotonin neurons, showing their inhibiting effects on each other.

    We can conclude that serotonin deficiencies and dopamine hyperactivity go hand in hand, making addictions much more frequent and severe. Therefore, boosting serotonin levels and regulating dopamine will make quitting porn addiction much easier and much more effective.

    Regulating dopamine irregularities is done by NoFap's bread and butter: the reboot. If you spend enough time away from porn, you will see your dopamine levels spike (the initial super-horny phase right after quitting), then plummet (the flatline), and then normalize over time (after 90+ days when paired with positive activities).

    How do we increase serotonin though?

    You can find countless ways to increase serotonin on the internet, but these are my favorites:
    • long distance aerobic exercises
      • running, swimming, hiking, biking, etc
    • high carb and protein diet (natural and unprocessed foods!)
      • pastas, bread, rice, whole wheat products, vegetables
      • chicken, eggs, fish (salmon and tuna), lean beef, yogurt
    • getting lots of sunlight
    • lots of time spent in nature/outside
    • massage
    • lowering alcohol intake or not drinking at all

    Knowledge is the ultimate weapon in the fight against porn addiction. I know things like running and eating right are pretty standard for helping quit porn, but understanding why they help is really important! Understanding what's happening to you helps you craft solutions and plans to help quit instead of shooting in the dark. Regulating your dopamine and increasing serotonin will make your reboot much easier, more effective, and set you up for a fantastic sexual lifestyle.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
  2. Brasshopper

    Brasshopper Fapstronaut

    This is great! Thanks for providing sources, I checked them out, the science lines up that we need to try and better regulate our brain chemistry.

    Another natural increase of serotonin mentioned in literature is self-induced changes in mood. So simple things like looking at a picture of loved ones, remembering a happy memory, or your favorite food may help increase serotonin.

    Source: "The study by Perreau-Linck and colleagues36 is the first to report that self-induced changes in mood can influence serotonin synthesis." From:
    E31, Quezatolah and modernstore99 like this.
  3. kumarach

    kumarach Fapstronaut

    thanks for posting this,i have been going through withdrawl since the last 2 days.
    i know now how to counter it
  4. Anonymous86

    Anonymous86 Fapstronaut

    Does porn affect serotonin levels?
  5. kumarach

    kumarach Fapstronaut

    yess it does,porn makes u crave more dopamine causing decrease in serotonin levels,thereby causing u to lookout for short term instant gratification,serotonin causes u to go for long term long reward activities,our brain is designed to seek pleasurable activities and repeat them. irrespective of how........that's the issue
    going for dopamine(through PMO or anything else),trains your brain to look for dopamine only and that too in a very short duration coz it doesn't last long.
    serotonin release causes opposite,due to increased time span between action and reward
    modernstore99 likes this.
  6. hmmm, interesting post, now I am contemplating how I spend my day, I barely have 5mins of sunlight, 0 mins of nature and most of my day is spent in front of screens. . Maybe this is the cause of my love and porn addiction . My brain chemistry is surely fcked up. I keep procrastinating, doing nothing.
    I am going to run everyday and spend sometime in nature.
    What I found was if you keep doing boring stuff and cut of overstimulation , NoFap is waaayyy easie

    Nice, I wish I could save posts here though
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
    Anonymous86 and modernstore99 like this.
  7. modernstore99

    modernstore99 Fapstronaut

    Yeah if you're not getting outside ever, not getting any sun, and spending your day in front of screens you're not going to feel well. Humans evolved to be outside and take in the world. I know modern life requires a lot of sedentary, inside activities, but you gotta placate your ancient human brain in order to feel healthy.

    If you watch the thread, you'll get notifications anytime any user comments on it, likely popping it into your notifications every now and then!
    cato-the-younger likes this.
  8. Quezatolah

    Quezatolah Fapstronaut

    I lift weights but I need to start running, the other stuff is more or less covered or outside my control.
    modernstore99 likes this.
  9. kumarach

    kumarach Fapstronaut

    like the posts and visit the liked section of ur account,a way to save the posts.
    modernstore99 likes this.
  10. GreenManLeaf

    GreenManLeaf Fapstronaut

    Very useful, thanks!!! this is why I joined this community for.

    Another long term gratification could be art don't you think?
    modernstore99 likes this.
  11. Brasshopper

    Brasshopper Fapstronaut

    Wow this is awesome! How are y'all gonna get more sun? I"m thinking of joining a local running/biking group, tired of running by myself tbh! :)
    modernstore99 likes this.
  12. Koli Pratham

    Koli Pratham Fapstronaut

    I've read YBOP months ago, Just gave it a read but This time I'm gonna read the book again, make notes and understand the concepts also I'll revise it from time to time. Best Book to Learn About PMO addiction.Thanks to Garry Wilson. Nice post btw
    modernstore99 likes this.
  13. hollyman

    hollyman Fapstronaut

    really helpfull thanks
  14. Brooke_Lynn

    Brooke_Lynn Fapstronaut

    This WHOLE post is full of amazingly good advice and information. Thank you so much for taking the time to post it...I have read it 4x today and will likely refer to it weekly!!

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