Important Information for Rewire your Mind by Adioz

Hey everyone,
I am here in this forum since 21st November 2019… (last year 2018 I was active here @neveragaintw supported me alot)
Till now I have completed 8days(current) + 10day(last highest streak-- after joining the forum again).this is all because of my beliefs, I switch my mindset to positivity…
{sorry guys if I am not able to convey my thoughts to you }

I have seen many people relapsing “even me” due to our own pre-developed habit, which we don’t know when it happened.?
So, when I joined the first time I feel like… we gained a lot of motivation by reading the success story of people who got success in beating this monster inside them… but we don’t know the struggle they have gone through… we try a few of their techniques… it worked for a few days but later we no longer continue this habit it’s just because of consistency problem or demotivating problem.
I will add this later…why we lose motivation which we received by reading other stories?

Let’s come to the Habit, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic or 66days exact <- according to the Psychologists.

How we can develop/replace a habit?
it’s very important to create a routine(by setting a time for that habit) for at least 66days(or 2 months) so that habit makes an effect on our life. consistency is a must(it looks so easy but it’s really hard to stay on track), no matter hows your day went at least how much time you allocated for the habit you should do that anytime that day (in the evening, in the morning & afternoon is busy) you know better how you will manage your time.

Which habit we have to choose to develop/replace the habit with fapping addiction?
it depends on person to person likes and dislikes, in which activity he feels enjoyment or where he feel bored? but it’s very important if you choose any habit it must be physical or mental activity.

So, previously I develop a habit of exercise, I went two-three days, I feel excited i am improving day by day. when I got the satisfaction that “I am improving” I Stopped there only because I felt that I got enough motivation how much required. Now the energy I am feeling I should use it somewhere, I felt urge same day that was so strong… I lost the fight with the Urge(fall into trap of manipulative thoughts) & relapsed… after relapse, I lost all hopes that…I can become, what I thought I will be one day
now I thought, Its time to go, then suddenly I got a few replies… @Forerunner @tuku @Martial_Beast @Special_Bird and @Aragorn <- from these companions they show me a light in the darkness, there is still possiblity that you can do it… everyone knows this motivation last for few hours or a day max. but every time when they say anything I take it seriously… then every time when I come to the forum I read their replies… to remind myself that they believe that I can do it then why I can’t?
actually, we don’t build a belief in change, instead of reminding ourselves of why we think we can’t change? Some people just don’t know how to approach changing beliefs system. So mostly We are always gathering Knowledge in life, but learning requires rapid actions. this is the reason we mostly lose motivation after a few days from reading other success stories.
Unless you get down and do it, your knowledge is never tested and never learn.


Now lets talk about “NEW HABIT”…

When I started noticing my routine for a few days, what I do whole day the thoughts murmuring inside my mind, I write everything in a rough paper.

Proper questioning is the basis for directing change towards our immediate growth

I found a few similar questions murmuring inside my head,

Questions we should stay away from:-

  • Why Can’t I do that?
  • Why I am so Unlucky?
  • Why does this always happen to me?
  • Why are all girls /guys the same?
  • Why can’t I enjoy life like others?
  • Why am I the only one faced with so many challenges in life?

I have Learnt this:-
When you change the way you think, you change the way you feel. when you change the way you feel, you change the way you work. when you change the way you act, you change your life. It starts by changing the way you…??

now I started thinking deeply, questioning about Who am I? sounds a little confusing but its the root of every solution. I ask myself what type of person I am deep down, regardless of the decisions I made in the past? it’s just a process of self-reflection.
so here it goes,

Questions I asked myself - after Who am I?

  • Am I a loving person?
  • Am I respectful?
  • Am I compassionate?
  • Am I generous and sharing?
  • Am I honest?
  • Am I grateful?

After going through these questions my mind automatically reminds me of times that I am not that person.
instead, I change the question When was a time I did display this quality?
Now I feel energetic and feel proud. Now if I will go with the question How can I be followed by some questions I will instantly flood by the ideas.

The challenge isn’t knowing who you are as a person, it’s having the courage to act like the person you are.

then I swap that question to I am from Am I? now it gives me more clarity. now I understood
knowing that my great qualities could shape my life just as much as the bad ones that I use to focus so much onthe more you focus more it grows.
So when I read the same Questions(I Am…) whenever I am sad it gives me boost. or else we can do this on a daily basis right after when we wake up.

Are you really being who you know you are?

We usually think what others are thinking about us…

what others are thinking about us Questions :-

  • What are they going to think when I do this?
  • What they are looking at?
  • What makes them laugh?
  • How do I have to be to fit in?
  • What can I do to impress them?
  • What would people say about me?
  • How would they remember me after I die?
    (it’s obvious that people are going to remember whatever legacy we leave behind. Make sure you leave the best.)

it’s usually subconscious reaction because we repeated it throughout our life.

If you don’t know who you are, how can you make yourself happy? think about it.
initially, I might feel a bit uncomfortable with some answers because my ego tries to stand in the way of getting the real truth out.

it’s easy to tell a lie but it feels like hell to live one. I know, when I am lying to myself… because that answer does not satisfy me and I feel unfulfilled.

Keep on Probing Questions here they are:-

  • Does a loving person really judge others?
  • Do I respect myself enough to make the change?
  • Do the things that I am doing now reflect the real person I am?
  • Am I truthful to myself when a certain situation arises?
  • Do I allocate some time for me, even if its 15minute a day, to really focus on how to improve my life? (Most Important Question)
  • Do I usually focus on the worst in life rather than the best things about it?

I got the answer all “No” but its never too late to make a change… so I am still trying to make myself better.

While watching P every day from the last 15years, I build some distorted beliefs… I tried to make myself believe that Watching P contributed to my happiness. Obviously that’s not the truth, but I would refuse to probe deeper in order to get the real answer. I did this because I thought I found comfort in doing it.

I had made it that way that I didn’t allow myself to see the truth until I went through a deep process of questioning.

Now I am questioning myself, Does addiction of P(which is the same as taking drugs) really make me happy?

Is taking drugs(addiction of P) stopping me from getting what I really want of my life?

No area of my life weighing me up, so I know I had to take start making Massive changes.

These questions please focus on finding the answers… If you to want too change your life…!

Life-Changing Questions are as follows:- (most important)

• What drives you everyday and what is the basis of your decisions?
• What are you going to do today that was different from yesterday which will ultimately shape who you are tomorrow?
• What are the life changing decision you are committed to making today that will produce the result you so desperately want?
• What’s at least one thing that you can change about your life right now that will prevent a lifetime of pain and generate never ending supply of pleasure?

(*I am working on… finding the answers of these questions currently)

these questions allows for response that will benefit your current situation rather than asking “why can’t I…?” - a question that continually reaffirm to yourself that you can’t create a life you desire. “How can I…?” forces you to come up with the answer that will drive you.

How can I…

• Be healthy and fit?
• attract that person of my dreams?
• get that Rush in my life?
• experience different emotions?
• get a car?
• take control of my life?

Are you really comfortable where you are in life or are you settling because you don’t believe you can get anything better?

People really admit when they arent doing too well and believe that they can take cover behind lying to others and themselves. there is one fact we can acknowledge: We can’t run and hide from our self because everywhere we go there we are.
The first thing I would say is facing it, rather than running is the first step towards the change

many people fall into the trap of giving up when they have made a mistake so “Why so many people become disheartened on the journey to create extraordinary life?” they really look at the progress they have made but will always notice what’s wrong.

No matter how badly you think you screwed something up, you can’t change it, but you can learn from it. and if you are judging yourself for doing something “Wrong” then logically you are acknowledging that you can do it differently next time.

The more you ignore and disregard your ability to reason with yourself, the more energy you are putting towards a life you don’t want to live.

No one is going to just come along and drop fulfilment into your lap… if that is our case then the great life would be a lot easier to achieve.

In order to see your action as a “negative”, you must be able to identify the flip side

Now, these conversations I am going to tell you I had experience recently in my mind and I was thinking this way…

Are they really the challenge, or is it just that you, are unaware that you have always been in full control of your own emotional state?

The control has always been there for your life sometimes you just choose not to use it

You are walking along singing and all of the sudden you STOP ! It hits you, you finally realize that you have been traveling a different path than you mean to this whole time. The thought starts rushing through your mind, questions being to appear and panic takes over your emotional state. Then you snap out of it and recognize that you had better pull yourself together.

just think:
If you never had that feeling of being lost who knows where you would have ended up

Why is that people usually find true direction in life at a time that seems the most confusing? my opinion is that when all roads seems to be blocked there is one way and that is through

“When one door closes another opens but we often took so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has open for us”

There is a quote told by someone which I usually remind myself whenever I complain about anything…

Whenever I cry just to write down everything that I was grateful for my life. I wrote it in a rough paper and always carry with myself. It’s my true inspiration.
Actually the gratitude list make an immense effect on one’s life…

“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words.
But to live by them.”

We search around in the dark looking for happiness that has been with us our whole life. Ignoring what we are already have is major factor I see in our unhappiness.

So stop complaining and start appreciating what you have…
Appreciation is the key to letting your spirit take over your life…

What hope are you giving to improve and what incentive is there for life to give back if you disrespect it before you have even started your day?

So, just after you wake up first thing to start your day with grateful list… rather than complaining about unnecessary things happened in your life.
And try it for three consecutive days… You’ll feel the change in your thoughts…!

*everything i wrote mostly i personally practiced it … :point_up_2:

Read more :- :point_down:

Screenshot of some important information written by me last year…
[ Important Information for Rewire your Mind by Adioz ]

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I didnt read the whole post … i am liking this for your 7 days effort.
Whatever you are doing … just

Keep Going

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There are many valuable questions in this post that we should ask ourselves. It will strengthen our soul. Thank you @Adioz and like you mentioned we should not waste our time in complaining instead be grateful​ for what we have and what we can do about it. :blush: All the best!

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Now i can clearly see that u r gonna make a new higher streak.

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Brother… Wow!!

This post is amazing :clap::clap::clap:

When I read that you were thinking about saying some advice I was not sure what you meant but I see now…

Brother I have taken much learning from this post and as I read I got super excited because I was thinking of new ways to approach this addiction and the rest of my life. I started writing down answers to your questions as I realized I have not been asking those questions outside and inside my addiction.

Tonight I am going to write down these questions, answer them and continue to ask myself how I can answer them each day. I will pin them up somewhere in my room for me to see.

As brother rockisrock said, I think it won’t be long before we see your 90 days clean post brother. I have full faith in your ability to get out of this trench :muscle:

I love this post, I will share it whenever I can :fire:

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Kindly write down what you’ve learnt from my post? It will be beneficial for all new comers… And describe the new ways to approach the addiction as you think…! Which questions outside and inside of addiction you haven’t asked before…? @Special_Bird
Thanks for your support… brother.

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It’s not like that brother @rockisrock … I only wrote my strategy… Which might help everyone in this journey.

Even your support is also counted on this journey brother…

Can you mention that valuable questions which you think strengthen our souls? @tuku
Thanks for your support… brother.

Sorry brother, I wrote bymistaken 7days about y’day’s streak.
Actually it’s is 8days & now I have completed 9days.
Hoping that I will complete x10 of current streak… Don’t want to fall down this time.
Thanks for your encouraging words… @Sahas

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I think every question is valuable in this post. When someone is about to relapse just ask these questions to yourself and you shall get the answers.

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The biggest questions that struck me were the Life Changing questions and the Probing questions. They directly asked me things that I should have been asking myself awhile ago, they spoke to my current situation in terms of productiveness but also how much more time I am spending on researching this addiction, I realized I need to do more.

I also found that the Questions We Should Stay Away From were questions I asked myself often. I have changed a lot since the beginning of fighting this addiction, but there was still residual and useless negativity that was constraining me. I was living some areas of my life with a “why can’t I” mindset instead of a “how can I” mindset as you talked about. I wasn’t carrying over those valuable lessons from my addiction into the rest of my life.

I found it interesting that yesterday and today I did not get much sleep at all, yet because I decided to change my mindset and be appreciative of my time, I did not feel nearly as tired or weak as I used to feel I was when sleepy. I felt ready to go and ready to learn in my daily tasks.

So there was indeed much learning for me brother. I will also post my answers to some these questions in my journal when I get the chance.

Thank you for this post, it has been very helpful for me.

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@Special_Bird
I appreciate that you took out few minutes from your precious time for me… I grateful for your comment…!
Thank you very much for supporting me in every way.

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Last Year I research what is side effects of Masturbation the whole process.

here is some important information which will help everyone :

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How often do we let our Limiting Beliefs prevent us from taking Action in life?

Some common Life Restricting Beliefs that I have been Guilty of having in the Past:-
• I can’t be as great as those achievers.
• I can’t change.
• Every girl/guy is the same.
• Life is a misery.
• All people are rude.
• I have got serious bad luck.
• No one would want me.
• It’s too late
• I am too young/old to do this.
• I am useless.

:point_up_2:t2:_I am sure we are all aware that there are times when we have believed something that turn out to be very far from truth…_

All the Beliefs that are currently shaping your life have been built by you. that means you have the power to create and built new belief that will change your life forever.

When you say “I can’t do that” or “That’s Impossible”, you must immediately command a physical and verbal alternative. Build up your state of mind and demand with all your power that you take control. Instead of saying that It’s better to repeat “I can do it, I can do it, I can do it” and “Nothing is Impossible, Nothing is impossible”.

"The more you Repeat it, the more you Believe it."
Acknowledge what you’re doing, when you’re doing it

What you Think, you Believe. What you Believe you Create…

Conflicting Beliefs

Why is it that sometimes we know exactly what we want have a plan, but for some reason don’t take appropriate action?
I couldn’t count how many times I have heard someone say “I just don’t know what’s holding me back”.
it seems that when we think of empowering direction or something that will satisfy our wants, we automatically shift our focus to what we want sacrifice to get it. Really do we remain focused on what we are actually gaining hence many fall back into the trap of procrastination.
if you remain focused on the benefits it become apparent that you actually sacrifice nothing. But on so many occasion we neglect this aspect of success and submit to the weaker reproach.

Let’s go through some common conflicting beliefs:-

  • I want a partner but if I get one I will lose my freedom
  • I want to be successful but I still want to sleep until 1:00 p.m. and drag through the day.
  • I want to get fit but that equals to pain
  • I want to follow my passion but if I charge people for it they may think I am all about the money.
  • I want to do what I love but if I do my parents will think I am worthless.
  • If I become wealthy the people around me will feel worthless and not trust me.
  • I want to sell my services but I don’t want to give off the impression that I am just doing it for the money.
  • I want to relationship but I don’t really want commitments.
  • I want to be healthy but I want to continue to eat junk food on regular basis.
  • I want to make message changes in my life but I want my friends to still like me.
  • I want to make a lot of money, but if I do, it mean I am not spiritual and religious anymore.
  • I want to be healthy, but I still want to smoke and palace myself with alcohol.
  • I want to own my own business but I don’t want to be embarrassed if it doesn’t do well.
  • I want to stop smoking but I want to release stress.
  • I want to leave my job, start my own business, and do what I love, But if I do, people think I am stupid or it may be difficult.
  • I really want to go and chat with homeless person, but there are people around and it may be embarrassing.
  • I want to apply for a better position but I fear rejection.

There are few conflicts which we came across in our time… it’s like one thing is pulling us one way while something as is tugging on the other side. With all this confusion how can we ever get what we want?

He is an extremely effective strategy when you find yourself in one of these situations.

  1. IDENTIFY:- First, you must discover and get to the bottom of the conflict. Have are clear indication of what you want and be aware of of what other beliefs are stopping you. An example would be the list we went through.
  2. QUESTION:-Next, you need to question what you have identified. Which one is more important to you? Which one is going to have more meaning in your life? Which one can enhance your quality of your life?Which one helps you to create more energy and take action towards the bigger picture? What is going to help you grow and progress in life? Which out of two who do you value more? Will you ever intimately be happy if you don’t choose the fulfilling option? Which one can add more value to your life? How will your life look in the future if you do not face your fear? How will this decision ultimately make you feel about your self once it’s made? Could choosing the disempowering option affect future decisions you have to make?
  3. ALIGN:- from the questions give enough great answers for belief that is obviously going to fulfill you align yourself with this belief and reinforce them once you are lying yourself with the empowering beliefs associated with your real wants, you will hit your target there is nothing pulling you on the other side anymore because you have overpowered it with enough emotion.
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This post helped me to see what I need to do this week and how I can prepare for my future brother. I have been struggling with procrastination and laziness, but you have given me the necessary motivation to push through this bro, thank you for writing this stuff here!

These are wise words brother, very wise :pray:

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IMPORTANT THINGS WRITTEN HERE :point_up_2:t3:

If you follow this there are more chances that will change your way of thinking…!

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Unwiring & Rewiring Your Brain: Sensitization and Hypofrontality

Intro to Neuroplasticity

A few resources:

Brain Plasticity: What Is It? by Neuroscience for Kids

Norman Doidge, MD on P***ography and Neuroplasticity from the best selling book “The Brain That Changes Itself“

Research review by the head of NIDA, Nora Volkow, covering sensitization, desensitization and hypofrontality

Techniques for Dealing with Flashbacks and Cravings

Rewiring and unwiring refers to neuroplasticity or brain plasticity. Neuroplasticity is the lifelong ability of the brain to reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences.
Neuroplasticity does not consist of a single type of brain change, but rather includes several various processes that occur throughout an individual’s lifetime.
Brian plasticity occurs on multiple levels and includes (but is not limited to):

Increase or decrease in myelin sheath (white matter): Covers nerve fibers to increase the speed of nerve impulses.

Increase or decrease in number of dendrites (gray matter): These branch-like fibers are where nerve cells communicate.

Increase or decrease in the number of synapses: Helps to determine strength of pathways, information flow, learning and memories.

Increase or decrease in the strength of a synapse: Same as above

The above mechanisms are at work during brain development, learning, memory formation, and the development of addiction.
Neuroplasticity works in two directions: it can weaken or delete old connections as well as strengthen or create new connections. In a very simplified model,
the major addiction-related brain changes include:

Desensitization: Weakening of circuits related to natural rewards (e.g. food, s**, etc.)

Sensitization: Formation of Pavlovian memory circuits related to the addiction

Hypofrontality: Weakening of the impulse control circuits

Altered stress systems: CRF, Amygdala, and HPA axis

A guy rebooting:

The above short quote encompasses three of the major neuroplastic changes found in addictions: hypofrontality, sensitization and desensitization.

  • I don’t like p***” and “too bad after that it sucks” reflect hypofrontality. His more rational frontal cortex wants to recover from p***-induced ED and expects to feel like crap after a p*** binge, but loses the battle to cravings.
    With hypofrontality, frontal cortex gray matter and functioning decrease, reducing impulse control.
    Now, in the tug-of-war between long-term goals and short-term relief, the urge to watch p*** usually wins this battle.

  • I like the initial high” and “better than anything I’m experiencing now” reflect sensitization. Addiction pathways associated with p*** use are now the easiest and most reliable way to activate the reward circuit.

  • which at this point is better than anything I’m experiencing now” is due to desensitization. Low dopamine and dopamine (D2) receptors make natural rewards boring, nowhere near as stimulating as the Internet p*** to which he is sensitized.

SENSITIZATION

Is sensitization the core of addiction?

Although sensitization (hyper-reactivity to cues) is covered in my videos, most viewers envision desensitization (a decrease in dopamine and opioids, and their receptors) as the core addiction-related brain change.
Although controversial, many researchers actually view sensitization as the core change that leads to compulsive consumption. Either way, the endpoint is a familiar constellation of addiction-related brain changes.

Addiction terminology is confusing. Desensitization refers to a general dialing down of responsiveness to all pleasure…a baseline change. Sensitization refers to hyper-reactivity/excitement—but only in response to the specific cues your brain associates with your addiction.

If these two neuroplastic changes could speak, desensitization would be moaning, “I can’t get no satisfaction” (low dopamine signaling), while sensitization would be poking you in the ribs and saying,
“Hey buddy, I got just what you need”—which happens to be the very thing, overconsumption of which caused the desensitization. Over time, this dual-edged mechanism has your reward circuitry buzzing at the hint of p*** use, but less than enthused when presented with the real deal.

You may have rebooted your brain and returned your dopamine signaling to what’s normal for you, but the sensitized pathways may never entirely disappear. They are likely to weaken, however. For example, an alcoholic who has been sober for 20 years may no longer get triggered by beer commercials.
Yet if he drinks a beer, his sensitized pathways would light up, and he could lose control and binge. Same thing can happen to former p*** users. They need to be mindful of cues for a long time, especially powerful ones.

Here’s a more technical explanation of sensitization, taken from drug use:

[quote]“Drug sensitization occurs in drug addiction, and is defined as an increased effect of drug following repeated doses (the opposite of drug tolerance). Addiction may also be related to increased (sensitized) drug craving when environmental stimuli associated with drug taking, or drug cues, are encountered.
This process may contribute to the risk for relapse in addicts attempting to quit. Such sensitization involves changes in brain mesolimbic dopamine transmission, as well as a molecule inside mesolimbic neurons called Delta FosB.“[\quote]

In other words, the addiction has created strong neural pathways in your brain, basically memories, that are easily activated by anything associated with prior use (images, computer use, etc.) Put simply – activation of sensitized pathways equals cravings.

The Mechanics: Your higher brain forms a feedback loop

So exactly how does sensitization arise in a brain that is simultaneously growing numb to normal pleasure? In simple terms, sensitization involves two very normal brain mechanisms taken too far: long term potentiation (LTP), which is the strengthening of synapses, and long term depression (LTD), which is the weakening of synapses.

Long term potentiation (LTP) is the basis of learning and memory. It can be summarized as “nerve cells that fire together, wire together.” Memories arise in two steps. First, your reward circuitry signals that an experience is important by sending dopamine to your prefrontal cortex (PFC). The more dopamine the more importance your brain attaches to an experience.

fig01

Second, the PFC responds to your “This is important!” signal by (1) knitting together everything associated with the reward, and (2) forming a neural feedback loop heading back to the reward circuitry. Thereafter, any thought, memory, or cue associated with that particular reward activates the pathway, and sets your reward circuitry a buzzin’.
It could be smells associated with your favorite burger joint. For a tomcat it could be the hole in the fence that led to a female in heat. For a bird it might be seeing the guy who fills the birdfeeder. It’s evolutionary purpose is to help you remember the who, what, where, when and how of s**, food and rock ‘n’ roll.

Importantly, the feedback loop doesn’t run on dopamine. It runs on glutamate. Both neurochemicals have the power to activate “Go get it!” signals in your reward circuitry. Glutamate stimulation is why p*** can still ring your chimes even when your reward circuitry has stopped responding to dopamine and real partners.
Reward circuit (dopamine) → PFC (associations formed) → feedback loop (glutamate) to reward circuit.

Sensitization: Creation of a super-memory

So far, the process is business as usual. Sensitization, however, transforms this normal PFC → glutamate feedback pathway to the reward circuitry into a super-memory in three steps:

  • With sensitization, explicit memories (such as learning facts and events) transform into habits, which are known as implicit memories. Example: knowing how to ride a bike without thinking. Addiction-related implicit memories are like Pavlovian conditioning on steroids—very hard to ignore. When a recently sober alcoholic walks by a bar, all the sounds of laughter and smell of stale beer can whip this sensitized circuit into a frenzy, setting off strong cravings…and possibly eliminating all resolve.

  • LTP strengthens the feedback pathway such that a little squirt of glutamate is all you need to fire up the nerve cells that signal, “Gotta have this now!” Sensitized pathways are a non-dopamine mechanism for activating reward-circuitry neurons—come hell or high water. This sneaky feature seems to be at the core of all additions. Traffic jam on the main dopamine highway keeping you from feeling pleasure from real s**? No problem. You have another way to get home, but it’s only allowing one type of vehicle (stimulation): P***.

  • Continued use of your addiction activates a third mechanism in the sensitization process: long term depression (LTD). The reward circuitry’s innate braking system (GABA) weakens, further amplifying the “Go for it!” glutamate signals. Instead of normal brain operation, which is more like city driving where you check for oncoming traffic at every intersection, your sensitized p*** pathway is the autobahn. There are no traffic lights and p*** is the only BMW M-5 on the road.

sensitize_1

  • The autopilot thing is definitely familiar to me. It’s like being possessed by a p***-crazed demon, and then once you’re finished, your real self returns and wonders what the hell just happened and why you just wasted all this time looking at disgusting videos.

Same master switch for s**/food as for drug addiction

The master switch that triggers these addiction-related changes is the protein DeltaFosB. High levels of consumption of natural rewards (s**, sugar, high-fat) or chronic administration of virtually any drug of abuse cause DeltaFosB to accumulate in the reward center.

Note that addictive drugs only cause addiction because they magnify or inhibit mechanisms already in place for natural rewards. This is why the American Society of Addiction Medicine unambiguously states that food and s** addictions are true addictions.

DeltaFosB’s evolutionary purpose is to motivate us to “get it while the getting is good!” It’s a binge mechanism for food and reproduction, which worked well in other times and environments. These days it makes addictions to junk food and Internet p*** as easy as 1-2-3.

DeltaFosB not only initiates addiction, but also helps to sustain it for a prolonged period. In fact, it hangs around for a month or two after you stop using, making relapse more likely. Moreover, the sensitized memories (and associated physical brain changes) it triggers linger for an unknown amount of time. In short, p*** cues may electrify you for a long time.

Addiction neuroplasticity can be summarized as: continued consumption → DeltaFosB → activation of genes → changes in synapses → sensitization and desensitization. (See The Addicted Brain for more detail.) It appears that desensitization eventually leads to loss of executive control (hypofrontality), another major feature of addictions.

Sensitized pathways and withdrawal…ugh

Let’s say you decide to make the ultimate sacrifice and stop using p***. You’ll probably feel rotten for a while. Remember, your brain initially perceived your heavy p*** use as a genetic bonanza. It thought you were making babies with each climax. It laid down the super-memories so you wouldn’t abandon your “valuable” bevy of beauties (or whatever you were climaxing to).

Now, as you defy your brain by abstaining, your already low dopamine/sensitivity to drops further. Also, libido-squelching brain stress hormones CRF and norepinephrine shoot up. Your desensitization is in overdrive, so a real partner doesn’t stand a chance. No wonder most guys experience such intense withdrawal symptoms. They’re feeling less pleasure than ever in response to normal stimuli, feeling more anxious, and trying to quit the one thing that can still goose their reward circuitry. There are solid physiological reasons why addictions are so tough to beat.

Worse yet, during abstinence the sensitized “goosing” pathways grow even stronger. It’s as if your pleasure center is screaming for stimulation…but only the addiction can hear the call. The branches (dendrites) on nerve cells processing addiction-related reward signals become “super spiny.” This overgrowth of little nubs allows for more synaptic connections and greater excitation. It’s like growing four extra pairs of ears while being stuck at a “Spinal Tap” concert. When cues or thoughts (glutamate) hammer your reward circuit, the craving scale hits eleven.

During recovery, it’s easy to mistake an activated sensitized pathway for true libido. This is particularly true if you experience the typical radical drop in libido at some point in your recovery. During this “flatline” phase, a p*** cue may still fire you up, and even trigger an impressive erection. This can fool you into thinking that p*** is the cure for your sluggish libido.

The real cure is to patiently wait for structures in your brain to catch up with your new direction. Meanwhile, all other stimuli, including your partner, are less arousing.

Recovery turns sensitized pathways into paper tigers

Despite their enormous power, sensitized pathways eventually lose their grip as your brain returns to normal, and everyday pleasures become more satisfying. Staring at pixels begins to register as an empty exercise, and eventually the brain allows the sensitized pathways to weaken at the same time it strengthens the pathways related to other promising rewards (such as real partners).

Here, guys describe what this shift feels like. Keep in mind that most of them have been through a tough withdrawal phase and a month (or several months) of avoiding p***/Masturbation.

[quote]Guy 1) Eventually I decided to masturbate to some p***. One thing was strange: I didn’t seem to get the same enjoyment from the p*** as I recalled. Even finding favorite scenes didn’t seem to deliver. P*** was a bit boring in some way. Even though it wasn’t as “good” as I remembered it, I was still drawn back to it. Since the p*** was not nearly as great as I remembered it, not going back will be easier.

Guy 2) The first time I started masturbating again, I felt my brain looking for the p***. This is going to be hard to describe…there was a spot in my brain where the p*** junk went (memories, cravings, etc). When I denied the p***, I literally felt a collapse or an empty feeling in that part of my brain. Like it just did not exist anymore and my brain realized it. It was like when you clap your hands. My brain was expecting something in between the hands, but then it realized there was nothing in between except air.[/quote]

HYPOFRONTALITY

Another aspect of the rewiring process involves strengthening your executive control, which resides in your prefrontal cortex (behind your forehead). Assessing risk, making long-range plans, and controlling impulses are under the control of the prefrontal cortex. The term hypofrontality is often used when describing how addictions weaken and inhibit these self-control circuits. It takes time, and consistency, to return these circuits to full working order.

A few resources:

Hypofrontality in addiction – Easy to understand five-minute video by addiction expert

Ominous News for P*** Users: Internet Addiction Atrophies Brains – Psychology Today blog post

Two research reviews by the head of NIDA – Drug Addiction and Its Underlying Neurobiological Basis: Neuroimaging Evidence for the Involvement of the Frontal Cortex and Addiction: Decreased reward sensitivity and increased expectation sensitivity conspire to overwhelm the brain’s control circuit

Functions of the prefrontal cortex:

Compared to other primates, humans possess a well developed prefrontal region. In charge of abstract thinking and analysis, it is also responsible for regulating behavior. This includes mediating conflicting thoughts, making choices between right and wrong, and predicting the probable outcomes of actions or events. This brain area also governs social control, such as suppressing emotional or s**ual urges.
Since the prefrontal cortex is the brain center responsible for taking in data through the body’s senses and deciding on actions, it is most strongly implicated in human qualities like consciousness, general intelligence, and personality.

The tasks our prefrontal cortex perform are referred to as executive functions:

  • Abstract thinking
  • Motivation for goal-directed activity
  • Planning and problem-solving
  • Attention to tasks
  • Inhibition of impulsive responses
  • Weighing consequences of future actions
  • Flexibility of responses (rule shifting)
  • Reflective decision-making

Normally their exists a balance of power (picture to the right) between our urges/desires and our awareness of consequences of our actions

What is hypofrontality?

Hypo mean less than normal or deficient. Frontal refers to the frontal lobes, or prefrontal lobes. Alternately the terms frontal cortex or prefrontal cortex are also used.
However, cortex refers to the thin outer layer of densely packed nerve cells, which appears gray.Hypofrontailty means the the frontal lobes are under performing.
Structurally, this manifests as:

  1. Decline in gray matter (the cortex)

  2. Abnormal white matter (the communication pathways)

  3. Decreased metabolism or lowered glucose utilization

Simply put, addiction-related hypofrontality is a decline in executive functioning, which manifests as:

  • Impaired decision-making arising from direct interference with reasoning, logic, and the ability to weigh consequences.
  • Drives, impulses, and craving are not inhibited because of direct compromise of brain-reasoning ability.
  • The mind overvalues reward, fails to appreciate risk, and fails to activate systems that warn of impending danger.
  • The mind misjudges using one’s addiction as “worth it” by being unable to appreciate adverse consequences.

For an addict, it’s an imbalance of power: Weakened self-control systems (hypofrontality), are overwhelmed by the cravings emanating from sensitized addiction pathways and a desensitized reward circuit.
In other words – your willpower has eroded.

What Causes Hypofrontality?

sensitize_1

Examine the simplified reward circuit to the right, or this representation. Notice that the circuit starts deep within the primitive brain (VTA) and runs all the way to the prefrontal cortex.
The key point is that the VTA produces the dopamine that supplies the prefrontal cortex. It is believed that a decline dopamine and dopamine D2 receptors, as occurs in desensitization, adversely affect the prefrontal cortex.
Eventually, desensitization can lead to the frontal lobe changes associated with addiction: abnormal white matter, loss of gray matter, lowered metabolism, and altered connectivity between the reward system and the prefrontal cortex.

  • Studies reporting poorer executive functioning (hypofrontality) or altered prefrontal activity in p*** users/s** addicts.

  • Approximately 150 brain studies have found evidence of hypofrontality (altered prefrontal functioning) in Internet addicts.

Reversing addiction-induced hypofrontality

If desensitization leads to hypofrontality and weakened willpower, then restoring reward circuitry sensitivity and dopamine levels is the key to recovery. The quickest way to reboot is to give your brain a rest from artificial sual stimulation—p*, p*** fantasy and masturbation. Most guys eliminate or drastically reduce orgasms during their reboot period.

Time heals best, but what you can do assist this process is to exercise and meditate. Aerobic exercise is the one thing that increases both dopamine and dopamine receptors. – which are related to hypofrontality. Exercise increases executive function in overweight children. Executive function is a term use to encapsulate the major functions of the frontal cortex, and obesity is related to hypofrontality.
Exercise also improves ADHD symptoms while altering functioning of the frontal cortex. Exercise also reduces cravings and eases depression. One study reports that meditation increases dopamine a whopping 65%. Another study found far more frontal-cortex gray matter in long-term meditators.

Studies also show that brain training can increase dopamine involved in working memory and decrease consumption in alcoholics. As one study pointed out, one can train the prefrontal cortex as one would a muscle:

TECHNIQUES TO ASSIST REWIRING

  • Watch this excellent talk by Dr. Mark Schwartz as he reviews what can be entailed in rewiring, and explains which risk factors indicate who might benefit most from professional help.

“Rewiring can also refer to re-training your response to p*** cues. In this regard, you could try this technique, which is described in Doidge’s The Brain That Changes Itself. Although Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz developed the technique for OCD patients, he has used it successfully with all kinds of compulsions. (OCD is closely related to the reward circuitry and its dysregulation.)

Again, some of the process is time-dependent. Said one guy after about six weeks of no PMO:

The emphasis is on what you do, regardless of how you are feeling. In other words, no matter how much resistance you feel, if you don’t fall back into your old habit, you begin to rewire your brain.

Your effort speeds the process. One guy said:

P*** addiction is a learned behavior, so your challenge is to unlearn p*** use as an automatic response to stress, anxiety, boredom, loneliness and so forth. When the urge to look strikes, stall for time. Tell yourself that you won’t look for at least 15 minutes, and immediately distract yourself by turning your attention to a pre-selected alternative activity. Examples: a breathing exercise, a physical exercise routine, meditation,
making your favorite healthy snack, putting on some music you like, recording your thoughts in a journal, taking a cold shower or rinsing your genitals in cold water in the sink Whatever.
It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something you can do immediately, and automatically, instead of looking at p***. Be prepared to repeat it as often as necessary.

If, for some reason, you can’t do the alternative activity, imagine yourself doing it, step by step with full attention. See “The Power of Visualization” below.

At first turning to the alternative activity will require a mighty exercise of will. However, when you consciously direct your attention to something, it grows easier to turn your attention to it again in the future. You are actually rewiring your brain. Each time you turn your attention away from your cravings, toward your chosen activity, you strengthen the new pathway in your brain, and weaken the automatic response.

NOTE: a former p*** user will remain hyper-sensitive to any cues his brain associated with p***, for a very long time, and possibly indefinitely. This means that even a casual peek can activate your brain’s old response and increase inner conflict. Stay away from p***. Resist the urge to test yourself by “just looking” to gauge how you’re doing.

There are techniques for turning your thoughts away from p*** below, and below “I relapsed or am in danger of relapse. What now?”

Here’s how one guy contrasted a normal urge to masturbate from an addiction urge:

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