Finally! Cambridge University brain study finds porn addiction is real

Marnia's picture
Submitted by Marnia on
Printer-friendly version

FIRST ARTICLE: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/...

Pornography addiction leads to same brain activity as alcoholism or drug abuse, study shows (The Independent - UK)

Cambridge University scientists reveal changes in brain for compulsive porn users which don't occur in those with no such habit

People who are addicted to pornography show similar brain activity to alcoholics or drug addicts, a study has revealed.

MRI scans of test subjects who admitted to compulsive pornography use showed that the reward centres of the brain reacted to seeing explicit material in the same way as an alcoholic’s might on seeing a drinks advert.

The research by Cambridge University assessed the brain activity of 19 addictive pornography users against a control group of people who said they were not compulsive users.

Lead scientist Dr Valerie Voon, an honorary consultant neuropsychiatrist, told the Sunday Times: “We found greater activity in an area of the brain called the ventral striatum, which is a reward centre, involved in processing reward, motivation and pleasure.

“When an alcoholic sees an ad for a drink, their brain will light up in a certain way and they will be stimulated in a certain way. We are seeing this same kind of activity in users of pornography.”

The study is yet to be published, but will feature in a Channel 4 documentary called Porn on the Brain, which will air at the end of September.

The findings, which tally with recent but unconfirmed reports in the US that porn addiction is no different from chemical or substance addiction, will be seen as an argument in favour of David Cameron's proposals to limit access to some pornographic websites.

They come as a three-day conference for adult website operators began in London today, with talks including “State of the Industry: The War on Porn”.

Women’s rights activists plan to protest outside the meet at the Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Hotel today, wearing overalls and masks in defiance of an industry which they describe as “toxic”.

Dr Julia Long from the London Feminist Network said: “At the very moment we are having a national debate on the harms of pornography, and not least the enormous amount of porn in teenagers' and children's lives, XBIZ is holding sessions specifically aimed at combating any attempts to curb access to internet pornography.

“Pornographers don't care about the damage their industry does. Their only concern is profit.”

Conference organisers said the debate – featuring panellists from the adult industry – would look at the Government's plans.

Industry lawyer Myles Jackman told the conference website: “Successive governments have mounted a sustained campaign against the UK porn industry and now's the time to fight back.”

 

SECOND ARTICLE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2428861/Compulsive-pornography-users-shows-brain-activity-alcoholics-drug-addicts.html

Compulsive pornography users shows the same brain activity as alcoholics and drug addicts (The Daily Mail - UK)

  • 'Addiction' part of brain flashes when 'porn addicts' viewed x-rated material
  • The results are expected to open up debate on porn as an addiction

Regular porn users show the same kind of brain activity as drug addicts and alcoholics, scientists have claimed.

In a new study, scans have revealed how the part of the brain which is stimulated when drug users and heavy drinkers indulge in their addiction is also activated when those hooked on porn watch x-rated images and videos.

In an alarming set of results, this effect was not present in those who don't use porn regularly.

Addict: The Cambridge University study has revealed worrying similarities in the brain activity of porn addicts and those hooked on alcohol and drugs

The research, carried out by Cambridge University used MRI scans to study the brains of 19 participants who came forward for the experiment, admitting that they had a problem with their porn habit.

Speaking in the Sunday Times, Dr Valerie Voon, the principal researcher in the study and a neuropsychiatrist at Cambridge, said: 'We found greater activity in an area of the brain called the ventral striatum, which is a reward centre, involved in processing reward, motivation and pleasure.'

According to the study, the same part of the brain is 'lit-up' when drug addicts or alcoholics see a sign that they could be about about to feed their addiction, such as a drug taking partner or an advertisement for booze.

A group of people who took part who were not addicted to porn did not show the same signs of stimulation when they were shown similar triggers, or actual porn.

Dr Voon said: 'When an alcoholic sees an ad for a drink, their brain will light up in a certain way and they will be stimulated in a certain way. We are seeing this same kind of activity in users of pornography.'

The Sexual Recovery Institute, an American sex-addiction clinic, said: 'Similar to someone with a chemical or substance addiction, porn addicts tend to replace important relationships and commitments with pornography.'

Brain waves: Addicts of substances such as drugs and are stimulated when they see triggers such as a situation where they may be able to feed their addiction. Porn users showed the same kind of brain activity while viewing x-rated material

The study will feature in a Channel 4 documentary 'Porn on the Brain' and is expected to spark debate about the seriousness of porn addiction.

The programme, due to be screened at 10pm on Monday September 30, is presented by Martin Daubney, former editor of the 'lads' mag' Loaded.

The journalist, who is known for introducing 'laddism' to the mens' magazine, now considers publications like Loaded to be a gateway to harder porn use.

There have, however, been few studies looking at the brain patterns of heavy users of pornography.

Dr Voon's study, which is one of few which has looked into the effects of porn addiction on the brain, is yet to be published.

Although the researcher says heavy porn users show similarities to drug and alcohol addicts, she believes more research is required before distinctions can be drawn.

By Aaron Sharp | View comments

 

THIRD ARTICLE: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Society/article1317209....

Brain scans find porn addiction (The Sunday Times - UK)

COMPULSIVE users of pornography show the same signs of addiction in their brain activity as alcoholics or drug addicts, a study has revealed.

In the first research of its kind, scans showed that a central portion of the brain which is stimulated in drug or alcohol addicts also “lit up” when compulsive pornography users watched explicit material. There was no such effect in the brains of people who were not habitual users of porn.

The Cambridge University study will increase pressure for tighter control on porn. Researchers used MRI scans to analyse the brain activity of 19 users of pornography who said they had a problem with their habit.

Dr Valerie Voon, the principal researcher in the study and a neuropsychiatrist at Cambridge, said: “We found greater activity in an area of the brain called the ventral striatum, which is a reward centre, involved in processing reward, motivation and pleasure. ...