Porn Increases Social Anxiety (Dr. Trish Leigh)

Trish Leigh talking about how porn increases social anxiety
One more way example of how pornography use damages real-life relationships.

A lot of people take for granted that pornography increases social anxiety. However, have we ever stopped to ask ourselves why that is the case? Today, I’ve transcribed a simple, insightful clip in which Dr. Trish Leigh addresses that very question. Dr. Trish argues that pornography use at a young age structurally and functionally interferes with brain development and socialization. In addition, pornography use in anyone can create chemical imbalances that trigger a heightened energetic response to being in social situations. Dr. Trish’s second main point is that a pornography habit, and other self-isolating coping behaviors, train the brain to view being alone as a safe space; and, inversely, that being around people is dangerous. These two factors contribute to a hyperactive brain response around people, which leads to subjective feelings of anxiety.

The obvious takeaway, if you want to decrease social anxiety, is to stop using pornography. There are many causes of social anxiety, but kicking porn can eliminate one of the more powerful and well-known ones. If pornography use is also being triggered by anxiety—in a negative feedback loop— then quitting the habit can create space for deep healing to take place.

I have embedded the full video below and the transcript I created for the first half of the video (the part I found most interesting).

What also happens is that when you escape into the screen, you’re teaching your brain that isolation is safe. That connection and socialization is not safe, so your brain goes into a vigilant mode to protect itself because it’s basically red-alerting danger. This is not safe, because what is safe is escaping and isolating and being by yourself. If you think about a lot of the behaviors, escaping into the screen to consume videos, to consume explicit videos, to play video games, just trolling on your phone, where you’re just looking at other people on different social media. It puts you in a position that you’re not using those socialization skills, plus you’re slowing your brain down.

Dr. Trish Leigh

If you like this article, check out How To Heal Your Brain From Pornography Use (Dr. Trish Leigh). For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.

Transcript:

Porn increases social anxiety. I’m Doctor Trish Leigh. Let me tell me you how, what happens in your brain, and, most importantly, what you can do to decrease social anxiety. OK, let’s dig in.

Number one, what causes social anxiety? Well, we know from the science that social anxiety is, in fact, a brain-based challenge. What happens in the brain when it struggles with anxiety is that it’s using more fast high-energy called high-beta. If you’ve seen any of my other videos, you know I’m talking about the brain and how it uses electrical energy all the time, because that’s the important piece for us. So when your brain is anxious, down here on this side of the continuum, [it’s] using very fast high energy. On the other end of the continuum is slow energy. In the middle is medium energy. So when your brain is going very fast, it will make you feel anxious. And, of course, in terms of social anxiety, when you go into social situations, you have a spike in that high-fast energy, so it will make you feel even more anxious.

How is this related to porn use? We know, when someone develops a porn habit early, usually in childhood or adolescence, it delays development of the brain. If you don’t believe me, look it up. But it delays, especially, development of the frontal lobe. We also know that with continual porn consumption, it knocks the frontal lobe out structurally and functionally. What that means is your frontal lobe doesn’t learn how to socialize in the way that it would if you hadn’t consumed pornography. In fact, what happens is it’s using a lot more of that slow energy, so then when your brain is running extra slow with the hypo-frontality, as it’s called, then when you go into social situations, you get this spike in high-fast energy to compensate for all the slow energy that porn has been creating. And so when you go into social situations, it spikes, and you feel more anxious than you would if you didn’t consume pornography.

What also happens is that when you escape into the screen, you’re teaching your brain that isolation is safe. That connection and socialization is not safe, so your brain goes into a vigilant mode to protect itself because it’s basically red-alerting danger. This is not safe, because what is safe is escaping and isolating and being by yourself. If you think about a lot of the behaviors, escaping into the screen to consume videos, to consume explicit videos, to play video games, just trolling on your phone, where you’re just looking at other people on different social media. It puts you in a position that you’re not using those socialization skills, plus you’re slowing your brain down.

So the next time you’re in front of a real live human being, those danger bells go off.

Leave a Reply