"According to Voon: It's important to note the findings could not be used to diagnose the condition or provide evidence that porn is inherently addictive."
London, July 13 - Porn addiction triggers same brain activity in people as if they are on drugs, significant research reveals.
People with compulsive sexual behaviour -- an obsession with sexual thoughts, feelings or behaviour which they are unable to control -- behave in the same way as patients with drug addictions, according to researchers from the University of Cambridge in Britain.
The patients in our trial were people who had substantial difficulties controlling their sexual behaviour and this was having significant consequences for them, affecting their lives and relationships, explained Valerie Voon from the department of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge.
In many ways, they show similarities in their behaviour to patients with drug addictions, he added.
During the study funded by the Wellcome Trust, 19 participants were shown a series of short videos featuring either sexually explicit content or sports while their brain activity was monitored.
The researchers found three brain regions -- ventral striatum, dorsal anterior cingulate and amygdala -- were more active in the brains of the people with compulsive sexual behaviour.
These are the regions that are also particularly activated in drug addicts when shown drug stimuli.
Patients with compulsive sexual behaviour showed higher levels of desire towards the sexually explicit videos.
Excessive use of pornography is one of the main features identified in many people with compulsive sexual behaviour.
Voon and colleagues also found a correlation between brain activity and age -- the younger the patient, the greater the level of activity in the brain in response to pornography.
According to Voon: It's important to note the findings could not be used to diagnose the condition or provide evidence that porn is inherently addictive.
The study appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.