Do you feel worse now that you’ve stopped looking at porn?
Knowing what to expect when you’re going through porn addiction withdrawal is crucial to fighting temptation. When you understand what your body is going to throw at you, it’s a lot easier to say, “This is normal and I just have to get through it.”
If you know anyone who’s ever tried to quit smoking, these withdrawal symptoms will look pretty familiar. Studies have shown that withdrawal from porn and masturbation is just as severe as withdrawal from heroin or cocaine.
As you continue reading, you’ll get a day-by-day walk-through of the most common stages of porn addiction withdrawal.
1 to 7 Days Without Porn
The first thing that happens when you quit is that your Dopamine levels take a nose-dive. As you learned about in the Porn Addiction Symptoms article, Dopamine is the chemical your brain surges into your system every time you look at porn.
In these first few days, your brain is literally in shock.
Many men start experiencing these withdrawal symptoms within 48 hours of quitting:
- Grumpiness – Every little thing will irritate you. For me, I became extremely cynical about everything around me.
- Mood swings – As your brain tries to rebalance itself, you’ll feel like a teenage girl having her first period… Happy one minute and on the verge of tears the next. Seriously.
- Headaches – I didn’t ever experience intense migraines like some men report, but I did get subtle pressure headaches that lasted for hours at a time.
- Anxiety – Some men have legitimate panic attacks, but I experienced this more as a general feeling of stress. From the first three days for the next three months, I always felt like I had way too much to do.
- Pornographic Thoughts – Temptation during the first week is extremely intense. This is because your last pornographic experience is still fresh on your mind. We’ll talk more about this below.
The Seven-Day Craving
Can you quit looking at porn for an entire week?
For most men reading this, the answer is no. The classic test of addiction is whether or not you can make it a full seven days without even looking at porn. That’s because of the Seven-Day Craving, a classic pitfall for first-time quitters.
The Seven-Day Craving is exactly what it sounds like… You’ll usually experience very intense cravings around Day 7 without looking at porn. For some men, you’ll get your 7-Day Craving at Day 21. For some men, it’ll come at Day 5 and last ‘til Day 10.
Read more: [How to resist temptation to look at porn.] (coming soon)
1 to 3 Weeks Without Porn
Congratulations! You made it past the first week. You’ve still got a long road ahead of you, but you should still pat yourself on the back for making it this far.
These are the most common symptoms men report after the initial one-week hump:
- Zombie-like State – Because your brain has been deprived of its regular Dopamine highs, it’s common for abstainers to enter a sluggish, zombie-like state. Expect low energy levels to last anywhere from two weeks to two months.
- Unable to Focus – I could not work efficiently in the first few weeks after I quit. The constant fatigue somehow made me feel restless, and things that normally took 30 minutes were now taking an hour. I had no motivation and no focus.
- Social Awkwardness – It’s hard to accurately describe this symptom, but many men echoed that they felt awkward or exposed in social settings. It feels like you constantly have your foot in your mouth.
- Low Sex Drive – You might expect your sex drive to be bursting at the seams after going without porn for a week or two, but many men report the exact opposite. Although porn will still ignite temptation when you think about it, any other sexual activity may not sound appealing while your brain reboots.
- Loneliness – This website is mostly tailored towards married men, but you single men especially will have trouble with this one. You’ll experience loneliness, and you’ll want to escape it with porn. Don’t give in!
4 to 8 Weeks Without Porn
28 days without any porn or masturbation is when about 50% of men start feeling the initial porn addiction withdrawals start to go away.
For the rest of you, keep going, you’re relief is just a few weeks away!
Heavily addicted men will probably need another month or two. Even if you still struggle with withdrawal symptoms, by now you’ve at least gotten used to going through each day without porn. Looking at it is no longer a habit.
Here’s what’s happening in your brain right now:
The “layers” of addicting Delta Fos-B which built up in your brain due to repeated Dopamine overdosing are starting to disintegrate. Your brain is it essentially re-wiring itself to function with normal levels of Dopamine.
Here are some specific withdrawals to look out for from days 30 to 60:
- Random Temptation – There have been so many times that I’ve made it to four or five weeks without looking at porn, only to have a single bad day that sent me hurtling back into relapse.
- Bursts of Overwhelming Emotion – You may be reading a book, looking out the window or lying in bed when suddenly you feel yourself tearing up about nothing in particular.
- Insomnia – Men who were heavily addicted to porn for a long time are the most likely to experience insomnia in this stage of recovery. Insomnia due to withdrawal is nearly impossible to treat, and over-the-counter sleep aids probably won’t do much to help.
- Depression – Again, not all men will suffer from depression, and some may experience it much earlier in the withdrawal process. It’s not uncommon for this depression to last several weeks, but it always goes away eventually.
2 Months & Beyond
If you’ve made it two solid months without looking at porn at all, then you’re starting to notice some definite improvements in your life.
- You’re starting to feel happier
- Your sex drive is coming back in a healthy way
- You have more energy and focus than ever before
- Your marriage actually feels fulfilling and your wife looks gorgeous
The longest that I’ve ever heard porn addiction withdrawal symptoms last without any relapse is seven months. That was in a 45 year-old man who’d been looking at porn multiple times a day for thirty years.
For me, four months without porn was the turning point for my withdrawal symptoms, but it took me two miserable years to get there.
That’s why there’s one thing that you absolutely must remember at all times:
Let Your Guard Down
Temptation could come at any turn, and years down the road you may still face a spark of temptation every now and then. But if you can keep yourself away from porn without any relapse for a full two months, I guarantee you’ll start noticing some changes.