Porn addiction changes the brain: Study

(dubassy/shutterstock.com)

(dubassy/shutterstock.com)

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, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

A new British study finds that addiction to pornography leads to similar brain activity patterns found in alcohol and drug addicts.

Researchers from Cambridge University found that MRI scans of 19 addictive pornography users showed that the reward centres of the brain reacted to explicit images in a similar way that an alcoholic might respond to liquor or beer advertisements.

"We found greater activity in an area of the brain called the ventral striatum, which is a reward centre, involved in processing reward, motivation and pleasure," lead scientist Dr. Valerie Voon told the Sunday Times in the U.K.

"When an alcoholic sees an ad for a drink, their brain will light up in a certain way and they will be stimulated in a certain way. We are seeing this same kind of activity in users of pornography."

The study is yet to be published, but U.K. viewers can see it featured in a Channel 4 documentary titled "Porn on the Brain," airing 10 p.m. on September 30.

Preliminary findings in a separate study from the University of Sydney find that porn addiction is on the rise, due to the ease of access via the internet and other new technologies, researchers say.


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