Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update

AUTHOR(S)

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PUBLISHED

2015 in Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 5(3), pp. 388–433.

KEY FINDINGS
  • This literture review article summarises dozens of studies and concludes that the net result of this inquiry has yielded a very large number of neuroscience based studies that support the application of the addiction model to addictive Internet-related behaviors - including pornography addiction.
ABSTRACT
Many recognize that several behaviors potentially affecting the reward circuitry in human brains lead to a loss of control and other symptoms of addiction in at least some individuals. Regarding Internet addiction, neuroscientific research supports the assumption that underlying neural processes are similar to substance addiction. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has recognized one such Internet related behavior, Internet gaming, as a potential addictive disorder warranting further study, in the 2013 revision of... READ FULL ABSTRACT
EXCERPTS
  • "A revolutionary paradigm shift is occurring in the field of addiction that has great implications for assessment and treatment. While “addiction” has historically been associated with the problematic overconsumption of drugs and/or alcohol, the burgeoning neuroscientific research in this field has changed our understanding over the last few decades. It is now evident that various behaviors, which are repeatedly reinforcing the reward, motivation and memory circuitry are all part of the disease of addiction. Common mechanisms among addiction involving various psychoactive substances such as alcohol, opioids and cocaine; and pathological behaviors such as uncontrolled gambling, internet use, gaming, pornography and sexual acting out have also been delineated."
  • "This review investigated the current body of scientific knowledge regarding neural processes of addiction in relation to both broad areas of psychoactive substances and behaviors such as gambling, sex and internet use, as well as the available research supporting specific behavioral aspects and their subtypes. Most of the studies used neuroimaging measures, EEGs, or physiological measurements, although some studies used neuropsychological measures. The common thread was that they all used neural data to tie addiction involving behaviors Internet-related manifestation of addiction (and the subtypes) in particular, to the well-established neuroscience on “substance abuse”. The net result of this inquiry yielded a very large number of neuroscience based studies that support the application of the addiction model to addictive Internet-related behaviors."
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