52.7 F
Denver
Monday, September 20, 2021
HomeLocalBrain science helps addicts recover from porn obsession, program founder says

Brain science helps addicts recover from porn obsession, program founder says

The co-founders of a Catholic pornography recovery program that utilizes brain science to help addicts say the message missing from effective therapy is two-fold: porn is like a drug and healing is possible.

Bruce and Jeannie Hannemann of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis. founded the online Reclaim Sexual Health program in 2012 to apply studies on the drug addict’s brain to the porn addict’s brain while sharing the hope-filled message that complete recovery is possible through Christ.

“What we see is there’s so much condemnation of people who have that problem,” said Jeannie, 61, a former teacher and graduate of Regis University. “Satan really gets a hold of them and they see themselves not as children of God.”

Rather than the adage of “once an addict, always an addict,” the Hannemann’s emphasize in their program faith in Christ means redemption from the clutch of sin. They also encourage regular participation in the sacramental life and prayer for a true recovery, they said.reclaim_sexual_health

As a confessor and spiritual director, Father Joseph Hearty, F.S.S.P. of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Littleton said the program’s approach of faith and science is needed in today’s world.

“As human beings we must always address the necessity of healing of body, mind and soul. When one of these is suffering than the others often suffer, too. This program addresses the needs of a healthy body, mind and soul to recover and rise above the tepidity of our world today,” he wrote.

Reclaim sets to reestablish God’s plan for sexual health through 22-hours of video content—focused on pornography, masturbation and unhealthy sexual behavior—based on research showing pornography triggers brain activity mirroring that of drugs on the drug addict’s brain.

A study published by the University of Cambridge’s psychiatry department revealed sexually-explicit videos heightened activity in specific brain regions of 19 male subjects, similar to those activated in drug addicts when shown drug stimuli.

University fellow Valerie Voon said in the study, “There are clear differences in brain activity between patients who have compulsive sexual behaviour and healthy volunteers. These differences mirror those of drug addicts.”

She added, “Whilst these findings are interesting, it’s important to note, however, that they could not be used to diagnose the condition. Nor does our research necessarily provide evidence that these individuals are addicted to porn—or that porn is inherently addictive.”

Although estimates are unknown, previous studies suggest as many as one in 25 adults is affected by compulsive sexual behavior, or an obsession with sexual thoughts, feelings or actions; with pornography being the main feature of such obsession.

Former chemistry professor Bruce Hannemann, 62, said recovery from his pornography addiction since the age of 9 didn’t begin until he used brain science to overcome his habits. A sexual relationship with his wife did not rid him of his addiction as they anticipated, he said.

“When you’re married and you have a sexual relationship, you really don’t need it anymore. That’s far from true,” Bruce said. “Pornography isn’t about sexuality—it goes much deeper than that. A lot of it is based on the brain chemistry.”

He called masturbation during pornography a “hijacked form of sexuality” that attempts to satisfy the natural drive for reproduction. Endorphins released to the brain in the form of morphine become addictive.

“God’s original plan of course was that he wanted us to become addicted to our spouse. He gave that as part of the reward and pleasure system of martial intimacy,” Bruce explained.

Rather than find pleasure from masturbation over an image or fantasy, Bruce said the program teaches anonymous participants to develop healthy connections with live human beings.

Through its “face it, replace it, connect” training, Reclaim helps participants to face the addiction, replace it with a healthy activity or interaction with another—such as exercise or a random act of kindness—and make a meaningful connection.

“They can learn that normal everyday interactions in life … provide all the chemistry God has given us to need.”

Therapy and porn recovery programs, while it helped with sobriety, didn’t solve the root of the problem for Bruce. Real progress came after he used brain exercises to retrain his thought and habit process.

“That’s when finally the pornography monkey was lifted off my back, and I was able to start living a whole, healthy life again,” he said.

The online program, with a personal coach, support group, and forum, is available for $49 a month. Learn more at http://reclaimsexualhealth.com.

 

 

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular