What Happens When You Stop Watching Porn? – Dealing with Withdrawal

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What Happens When You Abruptly Stop Watching Porn?

Wondering what happens when you stop watching porn?

When you abruptly stop watching porn, even the slightest discomfort can feel like a serious problem. Without our go-to coping mechanism (compulsive behavior), we tend to overreact and explode. We will be angry with ourselves, we will be angry with others. We might even cry, be afraid, be lonely, and so on.  

So, staying around in the early stages of recovery is not always fun. We must accept pain and use it as fuel for the journey. This is our (mostly emotional, not physical) form of withdrawal.  

We know that if you are going through this process, you need to talk to a supporter who understands sex and pornography addiction and the treatment process about your feelings. Uncontrolled withdrawal symptoms not only lead to the recurrence of sex and porn addiction, but also depression, anxiety, irritability, and similar problems. 

Will I Experience Withdrawal Symptoms If I Quit Porn? 

Porn users in their recovery period are usually intimidated by the severity of withdrawal symptoms when they stop watching pornographic content. This may be due to the widespread blind spot of relying on the false friendliness of online pornography.  

The symptoms are not just physical; you can take over your thoughts and your view of the world (which looks gloomy). However, many of these men reported significant improvement after getting rid of porn for a period of time. 

Some withdrawal symptoms that you may experience when you quit porn are: 

  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders  
  • Anxiety, stress and other forms of fear 
  • Headaches and body pains 
  • Stiffness in muscles, joints, teeth, jaws, genitals and other parts of the body 
  • Lethargy and Weakness Depression, despair and other types of sad emotions 
  • Agitation 
  • Lack of attention/focus (brain fog)   
  • Mood swings   
  • Frustration, irritability, and other forms of anger 

Why Do I Have Such Symptoms When I Quit Porn? 

As we said before, you are not alone. It is comforting when other people report their withdrawal symptoms so that you know what you are experiencing is normal. Some porn users report multiple mild withdrawal symptoms, while others report severe symptoms.  

The symptoms are similar because all addictions have certain neurochemical and cellular changes that affect specific areas of the brain. This does not mean that all dependencies will cause the same changes.  

Alcohol or addictive substances can damage or disrupt additional information delivery systems (for example, the use of opioids reduces the level of opioid receptors in our body). Once you quit porn the reward center generates new nerve cell branches which are related to craving.  Modern science has found that withdrawal symptoms can cause a series of neurochemical disorders, including:  

  • Further decrease in dopamine levels   
  • Further decrease opioids and endorphins  
  • Lower GABA, an anxiolytic neurotransmitter   
  • Increase in the stress hormone CRF and norepinephrine  
  • Increased dynorphin levels which suppresses and weakens your pleasure response after a week.   

If you have withdrawal symptoms, it may be​​ an addiction. However, some men become addicted and have no obvious withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, pharmacists do not include withdrawal symptoms in their addiction tests. 

How Do I Deal With Porn Addiction Withdrawal? 

Even though porn addiction withdrawal can be quite difficult, it can have really good long-term positive effects.  Remember that withdrawal is the first step towards recovery from porn addiction. Curious about what happens when you stop watching porn? Here are a few tips for you to deal with porn addiction withdrawal: 

Realize that you are on the right track 

Withdrawal symptoms can tell you two very important things about your situation:   

  • You acknowledge and realize that you are addicted to porn  
  • You are protecting yourself and fighting back against it. 

Withdrawal symptoms are the way your brain increases anger. Your brain wants dopamine and you have just cut off its main supply.  

When the brain is accustomed to long-term overstimulation, it no longer accepts that this overstimulation is over. As a result, neurochemical changes begin to occur in the brain. Hence, many users report withdrawal symptoms.   

It may sound bad, but it is true. Just like how a bodybuilder who loves to burn because it is tearing his muscles to become stronger; We can foresee and embrace the pain of recovering from sex addiction.  

Abruptly changing your lifestyle can be frustrating, but it just means that our brains are changing. Don’t think of withdrawal pain as a sign of how bad your physical condition is, but as painful healing or a good soreness after exercise. 

Try to distract yourself from the symptoms 

At this stage, you can completely transform your brain and help rebuild healthier connections. As you know, your brain needs dopamine. So here is a question: If you crave pornography, what can you replace it with? You can: 

  • Eat carbohydrates or sugary snacks   
  • Work out   
  • Play video games   
  • Sleep   
  • Strive to achieve your goals   
  • Call a friend  
  • Watch a video to make you laugh  

Although some of these habits are not particularly healthy, they are more beneficial than porn addiction and can help you overcome withdrawal problems. 

Surround yourself with people 

When you are going through withdrawal symptoms, isolation can be your enemy. Get along with healthy and active people. Get out of your house. Maybe go on a date. Take a walk with your friends. Go out for a run. Go to church.  

When you are struggling with the withdrawal symptoms of porn addiction, it is easy to isolate yourself. However, it is much more difficult to fall back into your bad habits. Especially when you have healthy people around you who take care of you. 

You Are Not Alone!

This temporary early recovery period can be hard. But you can get through it. however, obsessive/addicted porn users riding the pink cloud should be aware that if they do not cope with the withdrawal symptoms correctly their urge to use pornography will return and may become stronger than ever.  

It is easy to go back into porn addiction relapse or believe that something went wrong in the healing process but there is really no need to relapse, and there is no problem in recovery. In this process, porn users will only encounter a delayed form of withdrawal. Remember, you are not alone and hundreds of other men go through this phase and come out happier and healthier. 

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