In 1954 in the United States the specific Society was founded. It is studying the problematics of addiction and researches such problems. Recently, the American Society of Addiction Medicine has mentioned that addiction to sexual stimuli can also be seen as another type of this problem. This statement marked the breakthrough in addictology. See the details below.
A great development has happened in the world of scientific background on addiction. The most recognizable world specialists on the problematics from the Society have published the new, re-developed definition of addiction. This definition shall solve the dispute whether sex or porn addiction is “real”. It is! This is how the most recognizable scientists of the world explain the topic:
The definition has become the objective of multiple years of work and more than 70 experiments, comprising the experiments of recognized experts on the issues. They comprise doctors, biologists throughout the whole world, while some of them are also recognizable foreign practitioners. Within the period of twenty years the best doctors were elaborating and amending this range of problems, which brought the necessity to re-write the definition and to consider all the processes taking place in our heads. The currently-used definition, in the opinion of the specialists, does not depict all the complexity and the diversification of addiction.
The Society has most probably decided like that because another society, this time the Society of Psychiatrists, decided not to add the new information on behavioristic addictions to their Information Bulletin on Diagnostics and Statistics. It is quite traditional that the bulletin comprises diagnoses not based on the initial disease, but rather on the list of behavioristic symptoms. As the Bulletin authors did not agree on the behavioristic symptoms of “Hyper-sexual disorder” (That also includes the failure to control porn addiction), they decided to postpone this question (Bulletin No. 5 has finally included the group of behavioristic addictions, but it was marked “For further investigations”). In the scientific world there were many debates on whether to include the addiction in the Bulletin at all and how to do it, under which definition, as well as whether it is needed to explain different kinds of this so-called disorder, and whether it is a disorder at all. Some of the considerations were incarnated in the present article.
Differently from the Bulletin, the Society “studied the etymology of this addiction, amendments that take place in its work and everything that can cause the external display as the addiction behavior.”
The conclusions of the research may seem surprising at first, however, the outcomes are outstanding. It is the real Revolution in the medical problematics of the topic!
Scientists explain, how both chemical and behavioristic addictions lead to similar significant changes in both the core and the way of brain work. ASAM representative says,
The statement we have recently made does not accept any differences on the topic. The definition eliminates all doubts regarding the fact that any addiction, whether from spirits products, heroine or sex, is initially the same. Doctor Radju Haleja, the Chairman of the ASAM Committee, which has elaborated the definition, mentions, “We are considering all addictions as one imbalance, unlike the ones who differentiate them. Addiction is an addiction. No matter what exactly makes you an addict.” … Addictions of sex, games or food are similar from the medical point of view as addictions of heroine or methamphetamine.
Conclusions are the following:
The addiction, both chemical and behavioristic, causes similar imbalances in our heads;
Addiction is the initial disorder. It is not always brought by the psychological state, the mood or other disbalance. It is fully in line with a way of thinking that the addiction is always the way to “calm down” another deep disease.
Both the behavioristic and chemical addictions cause the same changes in the neurone scheme – hypofrontality, sensibilization, desensibilization. There are also other symptoms of the problem. However, the three mentioned are the most typical.
Regular practices of the “addictive behavior” point out that there are changes in the brain. Some of these changes can be quite harmful for your body. Addictive behavior further becomes unconscious and usual.
The recently developed term eliminates the differences between the addiction and the compulsion, often used for the negation of the process.
ASAM experts in FAQ explain the basics which are common for any addiction:
Question: What is new in this explanation of addiction?
Answer: Formerly, we were concentrating on the substance, which caused the addiction (cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, etc.). The new term explains that the addiction is first of all what happens to the brain. The substance does not make the person an addict, but rather its quantity and the frequency of use. An addiction is what happens to the human brain, when the person influences the system of encouragement with the help of the substance or the behavior. An addiction is connected with the system of brain stimulation and other connected brain structures.
Addicts have similar brain changes, withdrawal and absenteeism syndrome. Currently the brain changes that are present in each addicted individual (desensibilization, sensibilization, hypofrontality) have already been discovered also in the brain of gambling addicted, food addicted, video gamers and finally in 2014 scientists from the Cambridge University discovered these changes in the brains of porn addicted.
The other not less important conclusion made by the ASAM is the fact that nobody can determine the presence of porn addiction according to the time spent watching the porn or on genre preferences. Porn addiction can be determined only having found the corresponding changes in the brain. As it is quite problematic to do brain scanning, ASAM has created the list of five benchmarks which help people determine themselves whether they have changes in the brain. It is similar to determination of diabetes markers.
Below is the extract of interview with the representative:
Question: Well, you have managed to do quite a breakthrough. Does ASAM really consider that different things, like specific dishes and sex may cause addiction?
Answer: It is a well-recognized fact that the drive for gambling has been determined as one of the types of problematics. It is quite hard for addicts just to stop and drop what they are doing, that is why the scientific interest in it was always very high. Actually, fact, the Bulletin No. 5 has already included it in one line with another type, which is substance abuse. The new definition has shifted the equality sign placed among words addiction and the medication abuse. We all know that drugs have been the medication once and until now they are sometimes prescribed for treating severe cases. It describes how the addiction is connected with the behavioristic types, which are considered in our heads as encouragement. Thus, the official statement by ASAM is based on the fact that the addiction can be not only “the addiction of medications or substance”. The term explains that the addiction is connected with the work of the brain and how brain work of people with addiction differentiates from the brain work of people without addiction. It says about the system of brain encouragement and the mechanisms connected with it, but the stress is made on the external manifestation. Food, sexual behavior and gambling can be unified as the “pathological drive towards the encouragement”.
Question: How to see that the person is an addict?
Answer: The special system exists in everyone’s bodies, it is called the system of encouragement, it sends impulses to our brains and recognizes specific actions as being good for us. Actually, this mechanism is one of the survival tools that exists in all humans and some animals. In the healthy brain these mechanisms have specific limitations, which are responsible for the safety and can recognize when we had enough of something. The brain work of the person with addiction is violated and the sygnal which is supposed to be “enough” turns into “I want more!”, which brings the pathological drive towards encouragements by means of substance intake or by the specific behavior.
Shortly speaking, the sexual addiction does exist and is caused by the same violations in the brain function as drug addiction. Finally, drug substances do not provide anything, except the strength or weakening of normal biological reactions. They “steal” neurone connections from the normal types of encouragements, and in the same way the strengthened types of natural encouragements work (like greesy food or Internet porn).
Why do some specialists claim that porn is dafe or even useful?
Modern doctors and medical publicists often do not possess knowledge on the threat and harm effects of Internet porn. The trouble is that Internet porn is not only masturbation. The opinion that they are the same reveals the non-awareness of these specialists of the danger for the brain presented by continuous novelties. Usual masturbation (without porn and fantasies based on porn) beings the sense of sufficiency. Unlike that, porn makes people leave far beyond the natural feeling of sufficiency. This is the direct way to brain violations. Unawareness of that brings up harmful pieces of advice for patients (clients, readers).
ASAM statement is the first step towards changing the approaches of doctors to treatment of addiction of sexual behavior. Some people were incorrectly taught that it cannot happen because of the hyperstimulation of the brain by the specific behavior influence. In the contrary, they were taught to tell the patient that sexual addiction is safe.
Hereby new inventions in the addictology put the responsibility on doctors to help sexual addicts and porn addicts.