Author Topic: Why is the word “addiction” so controversial? (new article about porn addiction)  (Read 618 times)


Psyc Ops

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Hi Mr. Wilson, I cannot stand to leave you hanging, so, response as follows (all in good fun).

Because the word is too small.

Because it is antiquated, outdated, inexact, inapt, and is 2,000 years behind the neuroscience. 

Because, as initially formed, the word has nothing to do with how we use it today.

Because, as utilized, currently, it implies sickness, disease, illness, and malady; something to be cured, something to be treated, and once it becomes defined as a "disease", only doctors can treat it, and they get to charge the insurance companies millions and millions to fix it.

Because it is a billion dollar word.  Billions in profits, potential billions in loss, potential billions for treatment.

When I quit porn, by which I mean, when I quit using porn to (unconsciously, unwittingly) achieve a neurological brain reward/motivation event, it was helpful for me to think of the thing I was quitting as "porn addiction."  Now I know there is no such thing as "porn addiction", and the word "addiction" is too small a word to describe the event.  **If you are reading this and have the problem, it is still helpful to think of it as "porn addiction," but this is not me telling you how to fix it, this is me trying to find words to describe what it is. 

This is what happens when we look backwards to find words for things we never understood, until recently, and, honestly, we have a long way to go and much more to understand about the human brain and the use of porn as a trigger to a reward.

Science needs to develop better linguistics to describe the event, which is actually more complicated than how I just described it.

The implications for regulation and taxation are immense.  We regulate and tax addictive things.  We limit their use.  This is why cigarettes and alcohol are regulated and taxed, and why some drugs are deemed illegal.  I, myself, do not really believe the porn industry is that concerned about whether the word "addiction" is pasted on to the word "porn"; statistically speaking, I think it is a very small group of people that form a relationship to porn use that is troubling or dependent.  But, coupling those two words has huge implications.

Not just regulation and taxation, but medicine. 

I suspect the AA model is the basis for treating what we call addiction like a disease.  Addiction does not occur in nature, because it would be a negative survival trait.  An animal that distracted could not hunt, and would be easy prey.  Humans have altered their environment so much they can survive addicted. 

But addiction is no disease.  Addiction is, actually, the result of training, conditioning.  We can be trained to "like" just about anything, with enough time and enough reward, even if we do it unconsciously.

I think Gabe Deem has said something along the lines of "If I had been taught it could be addictive, I would have not used it."  Well maybe not a direct quote, but, there it is.  Education is key.  If people know, from an early age, that porn consumption can be habit forming, a lot of people who are here, would not be.   

The fix, for one who has become dependent on daily porn consumption, is as simple as you have said:  just quit.  But while it is that simple it is not that simple.  Words, again.  Quitting is not simple.  Quitting is the simple solution, but the solution is not that simple, because once a person has trained their brain to expect that reward event, well, to be Mr. Obvious, their brain expects that reward event. 

This gets into the question of what is the definition of addiction.  Is addiction defined in the consumption of the thing, the trigger?  Non addicts might define it as that.  What I know is that addiction is at least as accurately defined in the response of the individual in quitting it.  You have measured the brains of people we call "porn addicts", and have recorded that their brains light up exactly the same way as drug addicts.  Tru dat.  But, another measurement would be to measure the brains of those quitting whatever thing we have identified they are addicted to.  Are those brain functions identical, as well?  Put another way, the focus of most academics studying this problem is measuring the brains of those using or anticipating using; is there a way to measure the brains of users going through withdrawals.  What goes up must come down, and we have focused on the take off, not the landing. 

Where I am going with this coronavirus rant is that the word addiction, like the concept of addiction, may need to be altered or expanded, or shrunk. 

Addiction is not a disease.  It is a trained, learned, conditioned, a response to stimulus. We do not "catch" it; we do it to ourselves, and if we knew we were doing it to ourselves, a lot of people would not do it.  Being aware of what we are doing is both key to avoiding the problem, and, then, quitting it.  Don't get me wrong, I like tits as much as the next guy, and, honestly, I pride myself on liking them a bit more than the next guy, but once I understood I was watching tits to get a dopamine high --  thanks to you --  it became substantially more easy to quit what I was addicted to, and I was not addicted to watching pixel tits, I was addicted to the dopamine high I was using them to achieve, by generating a sexual thought.  It is not what we see on the screen that produces the neurological reward event, but, rather, what we think of it, the brain's response to it.  . And yes, I DID use the word "tits" constructively, in a sentence.  Mother would be so proud.     

The word "addiction" is loaded.  It comes with a whole lot of preconceptions, and not all may be merited.  While many things have been described as addictive, not all addictions are the same, not quite. 

Mr. Wilson, I could not have quit porn, which I used daily, without you, and your writings, and your Great Porn Experiment video, which was brilliant, despite the fact you do not feel it was academic enough.  For the record, porn addicts don't need to be neuroscientists to quit; they just need a basic understanding of what the problem it, and that video gave us that. Thank you.

But, respectful observation, you are pushing hard to put "porn addiction" into the DSM, and it does not belong there, not IMO, not as such. 

The problem is not you, not your neuroscience studies, not the concept of "porn addiction", not your definition of porn addiction; this is no criticism of you.  The problem is the DSM, and the first word of the DSM, which is "Diagnostic", which flows from "diagnosis."  Words, again.  Diagnosis defines the identified event as an "illness".  Coronavirus, for instance, is an illness.  We catch it.  The phenomena we call "porn addiction" is not something we catch--yes some people are more prone to it--but it is the result of training one's brain to achieve a neurological reward/motivational event.  There is no treatment for it, the solution, as you have said, it "just quit."  Of course, quitting does result in withdrawals, but your solution is the only solution.  I think any definition of "addiction" cannot rely on observing compulsive, repetitive use, but must also involve observing and, if possible, quantifying the the withdrawals that come from ceasing consumption. I don't think anything can, correctly, be deemed an "addiction" unless the user gets withdrawals when they quit, and (it appears) more often than not, people can consume a lot of porn, and do, and a lot of people who consume a lot of porn, for a long time, can put it down, easily.   

But, what we call porn addiction, is different from some other things we call addiction, such as drug addiction. 

So, I Googled "death by overdose", just for fun, (I know, my fun is not your fun) and the first statistic was that in 2018, 67,367 people died by overdoses.  Not one of those was by porn.  As much as I am sure a lot of us would love to overdose on porn, not one person has, ever.  I then Googled "death by withdrawals".  Statistics here not so specific, but, yes, people can die from drug withdrawals, and alcohol withdrawals.  Not one recorded case of porn withdrawal death.  Nor cigarettes, nor gambling, nor sex. 

Does this mean that the concept of porn addiction is inaccurate or incorrect?  No, at least not for these reasons.  I think the words are too small to accurately describe the event; people can become dependent upon the use of porn to achieve that neurological reward/motivational event; but it is not, exactly, the same as other addictions.

This distinction need not be a point of toxic contention--not that you have ever done that, because you have not--others have, such as she who shall not be named (never say her name, she can hear it and put the cruciatis curse on you, which is quite mild compared to porn withdrawals).  But the neuroscience of what we are calling porn addiction is new.  We find ourselves at the beginning of the conversation, not the end.  In 100 years, what we think we know now, might look like voodoo then. 

Similar, but not exactly the same....I actually did not figure this one out until the end of the video...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsRjQDrDnY8

Keep up your excellent work, and also keep your sense of humor; "a little song about internet porn".  We are talking about the most absurd animal on the planet:  Us.  Only we could figure out a way to devise a computer then stream sexual images while rubbing one off, over and over, for years, and still survive.  It's a strange fucking world full of strange fucking people, because, by definition, people are strange.   Jim Morrison, a rock star, said that.  He died a long time before most of us here were born, and way before the invention of High Speed Internet Porn.  A true visionary. 

The reality is, whether it is porn, or something else, we will find ways to trigger the neurological brain reward/motivation event, and the technology is on the horizon to allow us to put an electrode in our brains to do it, with no artificial trigger.  For those dedicated to experiencing the neurological brain event, at any cost, that is the way they will, eventually, get their high. People always want a thrill, even if it is a stupid one.  A friend came to my house not ten minutes ago to show me a picture of a stacked, nearly naked, blonde he is having a phone conversation with.  I hated bursting his bubble by telling he she is actually a 78 year old filipino man, with no teeth, trolling the internet for money.

Much love.