Saturday, November 14, 2009

Visual Addiction: Pornography & The Brain

The CITIZENS FOR DECENCY group organized a workshop on the medical side-effects of pornography addiction. The keynote speaker was one of the country's most renowned neurosurgeons, Dr. Donald Hilton from San Antonio, Texas. It was fascinating. I wish I had the time and energy to share all of my notes on this blog, but the bottom line was that from a neurosurgeon's medical point of view, CT scans from active addiction vs. healthy non-addict's brain are astounding. The scans from the porn addict show the same damage to the frontal lobes of the brain as a meth or cocaine user. These brain scans show how the brain shrinks. Addiction actually causes injury to the brain. It shrinks the brain. He showed spent a great deal of time teaching us about the chemistry and dopamine's (our brain's excitatory transmitter or 'rocket fuel' if you will) role in the Nucleus Acumbus bonding. (He shared a lot of scientific/medical information that I can't articulate very well--my apologies!) In short, pornography is like heroin injected through the eyes straight to the brain. The only difference is, porn is protected by the constitution... If anybody defends the porn industry or it's harmful effects, they are either addicted to it or profiting from it.

Dr. Hilton has done extensive, EXTENSIVE studies on addiction's effects on the human brain, and another interesting point he made was that it takes 18 months of sobriety before the brain heals and is restored back to it's normal size with healthy white matter function. (I'm not sure what that is exactly???)

He also spoke of legislation efforts to create a bill for mandatory internet filters in public schools and libraries in our state. (you mean there isn't already? yikes!) State Senator Dean Mortimer gave introductory remarks with our legislature's progress on these efforts in Idaho. Also, Dr. Hilton and his wife emphasized the hope that comes through addiction recovery intervention.

For more info, go to or

If you know me, I never tire of raising my voice against this new drug of the millennium. Why is it so pervasive, you may wonder? Simply put, it's the 3 A's: Pornography and the Internet are Accessible (free if you have internet), Anonymous (addiction loves isolation), and Addictive (viewing porn & masturbating produce the same chemical reactions in your brain as using any hard street drug.) The Mister and I have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with it on both sides of our family. If you are reading this and you breathe a sigh of relief, thinking you are so grateful you don't know anyone with this addiction, you are mistaken. I can guarantee any reader that they know someone struggling with this addiction. You just don't know you do. So start a dialogue with your spouse, your children, and get involved in your schools and community. (Visit the Citizens for Decency website if you need ideas for volunteering and contributing in this fight against porn.)

Also, the Mister and I highly recommend Dr. Hilton's book, "He Restoreth My Soul", available at Deseret Book.

"There is nothing in nature as perfect or as powerful as the human nervous system--the nervous system fires every human act, drives every human moment."
~ David Noonan


Natalie Darling said...

Thanks Annalee. That was a very informative post. It is amazing how many struggle with this problem, and especially surprising to note that those struggling are not ones you would generally peg as someone who might have the addiction. It's great that there is so much more awareness and help now.

Kristine said...

Thanks for sharing your notes, we weren't able to make it. I'd love to hear more!

Sharee said...

WOW! Thank you for the information. I am sure that was a very interesting class to attend. It is amazing how much more the church is openly talking about this topic. I am always amazed at the stories I hear from people who have dealt with this through a family member and how this is destroying families. There need to be stronger laws against websites.

Jason said...

We have just completed creating a foundation that focuses on finding help for those that suffer from Pornography / Sexual Addiction. We have teamed up with a leading Neurologist who has written on wonderful book that presents the case on why Pornography is so addicting. Even more addicting then Alcohol or Drugs. You can learn more by going to

Jason said...

Thanks again for this great article. Donald L. Hilton author of He Restoreth my Soul just recorded a video for parents and youth on the impact of pornography on the brain. You can find here.