Abstinence and stuttering

Submitted by fieldsikov on
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My background is as follows: I have a mild stutter which became worse after I started in my first job one year ago. I was searching for some tips for self-treatment and three months ago I found a thread at stutteringforum.com by a guy who acquired full control of his speech after two months of abstinence from masturbation.

It's an established fact that adults who stutter, as a group, have excessive dopamine in the striatal (sub-cortical) regions of the brain (=overactive regions that modulate verbalization). At first, I have been looking into some dopamine antagonists, mainly antipsychotic drugs, but the side effects scared me. I'm currently using something called Zenbev, which contains tryptophan to stimulate serotonin release, which in its turn should dampen dopamine levels, also very relaxing.

Btw, I was masturbating around 20 times a week at that time. I tried to quit this habit and saw a huge improvement after one and a half week of abstinence -- a record which I still have not beaten since, because I keep relapsing.

Anyway, I'm interested to know about long-term endocrinology of abstinence, not the two days effect of prolactin fluctuations etc, but what actually happens after 6-8 weeks of abstinence...

We'd all like to know this

And I'm happy to say that there are men on this forum who actually tell me they are choosing future professions that will let them look into the neuroendocrinology of orgasm, abstinence, bonding, etc.

In short, earlier generations made the mess...and it's going to be up to you guys to sort things out. Wink

This past week I've been exchanging emails with a psychiatrist/professor, and I'm about to write him again. I'll mention your situation and ask if he has any relevant research to suggest. I doubt he does...but at least it will alert him to the possibility of another symptom related to dopamine dysregulation.

Meanwhile, what can we do to support you in experimenting with a longer period of abstinence so you can find your way to a balance that works for you? (Remember, sex with a partner can be soothing, too!) Have you looked at this wiki article?

Your Brain on Porn

I've enabled you to blog, so you can keep us informed on your progress. Whether or not the research you are seeking has yet been done, there is nothing to keep you from continuing your own experiments. Internet porn is a new, hyper-stimulating drug, and it can be doing all kinds of things that researchers won't discover for some time to come. And it may also be that frequent masturbation itself dysregulates dopamine. My husband says he now thinks it was contributing to his former chronic depression. All kinds of symptoms can be related to dopamine dysregulation.

Thanks, Marnia. I'm

Thanks, Marnia.

I'm currently on my 8th day of abstinence. My initial goal was to bring the frequency down to once a week -- in fact, I even believe a completely sudden change in habit like many people on this site are trying to do is setting the bar too high for yourself. I am in favor of what you can call a phase out approach. After weeks of failing and relapsing, this is what one ends up doing anyway.

I no longer have uncontrollable erections or trouble falling asleep like I had in the beginning. I could write pages about the things I've discovered about myself during the last months -- the blissful sensations I experienced while watching porn after first week of abstinence (which I no longer can reproduce for some reason), interestingly also post coital sadness, which I never had in my life before, and simple things like being aroused by a woman's voice.

Anyway, now that the speech is better, turns out I'm a really fast talker, so I have still some issues in that area. I'll update you on the progress.


a really interesting report. Thanks for sharing.

Just to clarify, the purpose of abstaining completely for a time isn't "to set the bar high," it's to give the brain a complete rest...with the hope that it will ultimately make it easier to come up with a workable middle ground.

A once-a-week schedule can be hard for some people to start with, because they have trouble with "just one" ejaculation. Before the brain has returned to balance, that single ejaculation can trigger a binge, rather than offering lasting satisfaction.

That said, the ultimate goal is finding a balance that works...one that doesn't escalate. That probably means not using porn either.

Keep us informed on what you notice. Everyone's experiments are valuable.

Glad to hear your voice is out there in the world. You'll find the right rhythm. Smile

High where, low where?

I don't know much about stuttering, but I checked a bit.
For others reading this - It's important to realize the complexity of neurotransmitters. And just like in housing prices, it's location, location, location.

High dopamine (or overstimulated D2 receptors) in the basal ganglia is not so simple as it sounds. The basal ganglia has endless parts with complex functions, and dopamine affects most of these functions. (and there are 5 types of dopamine receptors)

The part of the basal ganglia involved with muscle movement and speech, and thus stuttering, tends to get its dopamine from a different place (substantia nigra), than the dopamine for the reward circuit (VTA).
Those are the 2 main dopamine circuits - and they overlap a bit.

The substantia nigra pathway is the one affected by Parkinson's disease.

In other words the "high dopamine" doesn't tell us about the reward circuit dopamine - which is main one affected by sex, drugs and rock & roll.
And there's a lot of feed back from other neurotransmitters to both dopamine circuits:

Just to show how complex it is:
1- some stutters improve with dopamine stimulants (cocaine, amphetamines, etc.)
2 - some improve with dopamine receptor blockers (antagonists)
I guess it may depend on the type of stuttering?

So how would giving up masturbation (or slowing it down), or giving up porn affect dopamine? As Marnia said, who knows? It'll be years before all the interplay between the dopamine circuits and other neurotransmitters are figured out.
So we always sing the same song - try for balance and see what results you get.

I would love to know how

I would love to know how you've been going fieldsikov. I too have a stutter and am on my 4th day of abstinence. I've had none of the usual withdrawal/side effects such as depression etc. but every now and then I get the sudden intense intense urge to give masturbate but so far I've been just able to reign myself in just in time.

Hello all, Here are some

Hello all,

Here are some patterns I have noticed over the last months:

1. First of all, I become stutter-free only after 2-3 weeks of abstinence, but I still talk very fast. It is no longer an issue of fluency, but more an issue of controlling your thoughts. With book-reading (reading aloud from a book for 30 mins in the evening) I'm 100% fluent.

2. I do notice that stuttering comes back somewhat after a relapse (by choice), and esp. for the two following days after ejaculation, but still my speech is considerably improved if compared to 4 months ago.

3. I can maintain a very good level of fluency with one ejaculation every week. Keep in mind I have been on this regime for a few months, about 9 weeks, gradually getting better, because I just couldn't abstain from masturbation altogether. So if you just started, I would recommend to be patient. As always there are always good and bad days, esp. if you under-sleep etc.

4. In general I notice that stuttering correlates not only with ejaculation but to some degree also with sexual stimulation. Esp. during abstinence: I stutter if I watch porn in the morning (no masturbation).

5. Stuttering is considerably better in the end of the first week of abstinence (at least for me), gets a little worse during the second week as the tension rises, and then disappears more or less after 2 weeks.

Things to consider:
I'm bilingual, living in a foreign country since the age of 14. I did not really stutter until the age of 20 (!), or at least I wasn't aware of it. My dad had a stutter, and stutter is known to have a hereditary link, so I guess I will always be predisposed, sort of.

Btw, 4 days is nothing

Btw, 4 days is nothing really. I remember in the beginning I could barely abstain for two days -- now I'm only satisfied with myself if I can abstain for at least a week and a half. I'm not sure about the process behind this, but I understand you have to gradually dampen the mechanism of arousal, and build up your serotonin levels.

Check out these threads:

Thanks for that update. I

Thanks for that update.

I know 4 days aint much, but aren't the withdrawal effects supposed to be the worst during the first couple of weeks?

Anyway, now I'm on day 5 which is a new record for me. Stutter hasn't reduced at all and my mood is not fluctuating as much as last time when I abstained for 5 days. But after getting past a verrrry tough day 4 it has motivated me to at least get to week 3 before looking at any of the results.

Wow that link you gave me

Wow that link you gave me from the poster 'dannleb' is EXACTLY the same as me. I am also 22, I also started masturbating and stuttering at 12-13, I also have silent blocks, I also usually masturbate 2-3 times a day, I also have that hand shaking thing sometimes.

Almost creepy.

Interesting. Ive noticed an

Interesting. Ive noticed an improvement in all kinds of thinking. I think that its because I have less inner anxiety and self doubt. Its interesting to think that these things like anxiety and stuttering are triggered from a withdrawal.

Courage is knowing what not to fear.

This is really interesting, guys

I'll bet dopamine holds the key. I read the links with interest, but couldn't post on either. Oh well. It was also interesting to see how adamantly some of the posters dissed the experimenters' experiences although they know nothing about brain science. The meme that "guilt" explains all sexual disorders is strong that it has become blinding. Too bad it's flawed. Sad

Day 7... My sex drive and

Day 7...

My sex drive and need for masturbation has probably hit its lowest point in years. Thinking about hot woman I would usually masturbate too aren't exciting me at all. Plus my stutter was probably the worst its been for a while.

Anyway, I'm going to keep going on. My aim is 3 weeks but hopefully I can get past that too.

Keep it up, its worth

Keep it up, its worth it.

Everybody's cycle seems to have different themes for some reason, but one symptom of withdrawal that's consistent for everyone is that it is just plain painful. No real way around it. Keep trying your best and you'll learn to navigate with this and you'll start to include better behaviors for yourself.

Congrats on the 7 days, thats a big step

Courage is knowing what not to fear.

Day 8. Still no negative

Day 8.

Feeling really depressed today. However, my urge to masturbate has almost disappeared though I totally expect it to return soon. No improvement in stutter, no need to be more socially active or anything like that. I keep aiming for the 3 week mark but I feel like I could get way past that with the way I'm feeling now.

I know it can be

scary to go into this "dead space" where you see no improvement and can only visualize a bleak future. But it looks like the grass actually does get greener on the other side. Smile

Have you experimented with exercise or meditation or time in nature to see if one of them improves your mood?

Haven't done much exercise

Haven't done much exercise recently because I recently faractured my ankle playing basketball. Also, I've found it really really hard to meditate since I stopped masturbating. I used to meditate for 20 mins a day but now I'm finding it hard to sit down for 5 mins. I don't think its a coincidence.

I'm also noticing I get grumpy very easily. I find myself shouting at someone and then suddenly thinking 'Whoa what am I doing?"

Day 9 Probably the lowest

Day 9

Probably the lowest point yet. Feel extremely depressed about nothing in particular. Even when i was masturbating daily I was prone to depression but I feel that was more about specific things. Now I'm just pissed off at everything and everyone. Have had like 3 outbursts today that came out of nowhere which surprises me because I'm usually a very good at biting my tongue.

No real urge to masturbate. I was feeling so down today that I offered myself a chance to masturbate and in my head I was like "Meh. I don't feel like it" which is weird for someone who masturbated 2 times a day for the last 10 years up until last week.

I'm studying for exams right now and my concentration is worse than usual. I feel tired and just feel like locking myself up in a room and crying.

Not doing good now as you can tell. Hope something changes soon.

It would be great

if you would start your own thread over on your blog. Instructions: http://www.reuniting.info/resources/bloggers

I'm really sorry to hear things are so horrible right now. I know it's tough with exams, but it's important to find some ways to regulate your mood. What are you trying?

Withdrawal is different for everyone, but a "dark tunnel" phase is not unusual. If you have a long list of things to do, try offering yourself a little treat of some kind (even doing an errand, or going outside for a few minutes to smile at people going by) after each one. Stimulation raises dopamine, which can be very helpful right now (in small doses Smile ).

Did you try this meditation? http://www.reuniting.info/download/misc/06Track6.wma

I'm not trying much right

I'm not trying much right now just because I've been swamped with exams and because of my injured foot. Because of that I haven't even gone out with friends much over the last few weeks. But I have tried meditation (which has been really hard recently for some reason) and I have checked out that hypnosis link that you gave me.

I know its still early in my recovery but I have been disappointed that so far there seems to be no improvements at all. I'm angry that I got my hopes up that my stutter would go away since it hasn't changed at all. I know it might seem far fetched that there would be such a direct link between stuttering and masturbation but I just thought it would be more than a coincidence that I started stuttering the same year that I started masturbating and it has generally gotten worse the more I masturbate.

Anyway, I'm going to stop with my constant complaining, its getting tiring lol.

A friend of mine was also in

A friend of mine was also in a worse scenario than you. He has stopped mst for 14 days and feels as if his brain will explode but he is still persisting with his strong WILL. So keep it as it will develop in a strong WILL POWER which is a great asset in future and you will evolve from a primitive instinctual primate to a intelectual man and finally to an enlightened person.

statistical significance...

[quote]I know its still early in my recovery but I have been disappointed that so far there seems to be no improvements at all. I'm angry that I got my hopes up that my stutter would go away since it hasn't changed at all.[/quote]

Not sure what you're studying in school, but I'm sure at some point you've been introduced to the concept of statistical significance. For example, if you polled 10 classmates to see if they prefer late night pizza or late night burritos after a bar night, and 7 of them said burritos, what could you gather that means about the food preferences of your student population?

Uhm, not anything, really. 10 people isn't enough to mean anything in a population of 40,000.

It's been 10 days or less, my friend. You've already set a goal of 6-8 weeks, which equals 42 to 56 days. I would suggest that you monitor your results, journal about them, but also to release any emotional attachments to them at least until 30 days. Your depression is very difficult, I'm sure. It's the natural consequence of no longer having access to a drug which was soothing you.

I can tell that you badly want to see positive changes in your life. You are doing the right thing by trying something new. It may or may not work out. But you won't know until the end of the study, so in the meantime, it may a better use of your emotional energy to find the roots of your depression rather than worry about the effectiveness of your behavioral change. At least that way, if after 8 weeks your stuttering hasn't lessened, then you'll have wisely used those 8 weeks to explore the source of your suffering, yes?


Everything you said is right

Everything you said is right jman. But I was really really feeling down in the dumps and I found it extrememly hard to feel that way when trying to study for exams. So in other words, I'm back to day 0 again....

Right now I feel much better than I have over the last 2 weeks and suddenly feel more energised. But I am committed to starting from scratch and aiming to reach the 8 week mark. Exams will finish soon so hopefully I'll be in a much better situation to handle the withdrawal effects.


[quote]Exams will finish soon so hopefully I'll be in a much better situation to handle the withdrawal effects.[/quote]

Withdrawal f--ing blows, man. I'm with you there :)



you have to yield to the enemy, for later advance. Smile Glad you're feeling better. No reason you have to conduct your experiment right during exams.

*big hug*

That could be dangerous to our sneaky addict minds

[quote=Marnia]No reason you have to conduct your experiment right during exams. [/quote]

That could be dangerous to our sneaky addict minds that are always looking for a justification Wink Doing this in an academic pressure cooker sucks. Ignoring what needs to be done is trading some of our future for a letter grade that might be no better under our old programming. Best, in my view, to just go easy on ourselves when we slip up. Use the cooker as an explanation, not an excuse.

Looking back on my

Looking back on my abstinence period, and some experimenting afterwards, I realize abstinence from porn had more effect for me, than abstinence from masturbation.

Do as you wish for the first time, as long as you keep porn out of your life. You can continue masturbating, but without porn this will inevitably recede as well.

I did this by installing two parental controls filters on top of each other on my computer, creating a guest account for myself, had password-protected firmware so that I couldn't reinstall the whole OS, and keeping all passwords on a piece of paper at work. (Same for my iPhone. And luckily, I'm too embarrassed to buy magazines or dvds, hehe)

Tell us more

Most guys seem to have to give up masturbation for a while, too, because it throws them back into a binge-escalation cycle. Did you give up masturbation for any period? How often did you do it? Did your frequency change during recovery? Do you think you're rebooted?

I masturbate once a week.

I masturbate once a week. This is the time it takes for the seminal glands to refill themselves completely. I feel no urge at all to masturbate during the week until the 6th/7th day, and after that it sort of becomes nature's call or something.

From the beginning I had this idea to phase out my addiction out, I thought it would make it easier -- and it is, sort of, but you go though a longer loop of relapses. A more sudden change in habit would bring results faster, but it is a very hard thing to do.

"If I am rebooted, should I feel emotionally impotent for any period of time? What level of sexual desire should I have left? Can any healthy young man do a week of abstinence without any sexual urges? Aren't all men "addicted", so to speak, to some degree? Or are these questions just to justify a coming relapse?"
That's where I am now, but it is less important, as my main goal was to gather control over my speech, which I did.

That's great news about your speech

If you have any further details, I'm sure there are guys who will welcome them.

Yes, gradual recovery with weekly masturbation would be ideal for many people. The trouble is that someone who is heavily addicted has brain changes that weaken self-control...and promote binging. They have to take the direct route.

How's the stutter?

I had some voice problems a while back and a beginning stutter. I highly recommend the book Change your voice, change your life by Morton Cooper. You may need voice calibration and training anyway after your stuttering period. Also, voice has a lot to do with psychological aspects. Abstinence and meditation have undoubtedly been helpful for me. I had a break trough one day when I managed to let my voice go, it was like I was scared of it before. Anyway, I'm rambling, check out that book.