This post was updated on 10/09/2021
In this post, we take a closer look at the withdrawal symptoms of NoFap.
What to be expected as NoFap withdrawals and how to alleviate those symptoms so that they won’t overpower you and lead to your relapse.
So, this article would go a long way in helping you reach your NoFap goals.
NoFap withdrawals are not to be taken lightly if success is to be achieved in NoFap.
What a withdrawal symptom is in the first place
Your brain doesn’t like to change.
Because if your brain wasn’t built this way, you wouldn’t be able to stick to your core beliefs, ideas, and the values that make you; you.
And without these components to your existence, life would lose its meaning.
This brain set-up is all well and good until you need to break a habitual way of life—to live a better life.
So, when you tell your brain you want to stop watching porn, it doesn’t care it will be a good thing for your life.
When a change signal is sent to your brain, either through a resolution (or a commitment), at first, the motivation circuit of your brain is switched on.
After all, something new promises excitement (dopamine).
You get psyched, excited, and ready for whatever the challenge might be.
But this excitement phase doesn’t last for more than two days.
Since this commitment (or resolution) of yours contradicts the status quo, the fear circuit—primarily the Amygdala (which is located in the Limbic system of the brain) also switches on.
This is a mechanism that’s built-in to protect us from harm.
But since the brain’s language of harm is CHANGE, regardless of how necessary it is for you to change, the fear circuit gets into high gear anyway.
The brain tasking the neurological and physiological part of you
Think of it as a battlefield where you are fighting the villain called your brain.
In this scenario, your brain is the bad guy and it can use all the other parts of your body against you.
Because your brain controls all the other parts of your body, whenever there is a perceived discomfort (change), it sends pain signals to different parts of your body.
All in an attempt to get you to reverse your commitment/resolution.
Your brain starts by giving you some mental discouragement.
If that doesn’t work, if you are still motivated to follow through on your commitment/resolution, a small burst of dopamine is secreted when the thought of the old habit crosses your mind.
Since your brain automatically seeks more dopamine, a huge craving cycle is triggered.
If the cravings still don’t get the job done, other withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nauseation, fever, serious mood fluctuations, and other symptoms are triggered as well.
So basically, your brain uses withdrawal symptoms to resist change.
People are different, so don’t be scared
What Mr. A would experience as withdrawal symptoms would be different from Mr. B’s.
You might experience a ton of NoFap withdrawal symptoms while another person might be battling just one or two.
The intensity (and duration) of the NoFap withdrawals you get also depends on your level of addiction to PMO.
But what I have found is that across the board, the symptoms are similar and alike.
Except for some rare cases where the symptoms tend to be extreme.
10 withdrawal symptoms of nofap you should know
It’s time to dig into what to expect during your NoFap challenge.
These withdrawal symptoms are normal. And if you’re having these symptoms (one or more), it signifies that NoFap is working for you.
Porn flashes and huge cravings
This is the cream de la cream of NoFap withdrawal symptoms.
And this withdrawal symptom is the single reason why 90% of porn addicts relapse.
This is where your willpower and your resolve will be tested the most. But unfortunately, in most cases, it’s not always enough.
People can’t and don’t know how to manage these porn cravings when they start happening.
The seductive pull or urge to watch porn is called craving. Initially, a craving starts with a stimulus.
Scientists refer to this stimulus as a trigger.
A trigger can be internally generated—for instance; porn thoughts or images you recall.
Triggers can also be externally generated—seeing erotic images or a sexy girl walking down your street.
Porn triggers have been found by a study (through PET scans) to cause the brain of the addict to release a small burst of dopamine similar to actually watching porn.
What this means is that those porn thoughts you have will spike dopamine in your brain—causing strong cravings since your brain is wired to seek more dopamine.
“What many do not realize is that cravings are false messages from the brain that have been conditioned and reinforced over the years.
One thing to be conscious of about cravings is that they will come at some point whether you try to stop them or not. The more you try to resist or suppress them, the more reinforced they become.”
- Dr. Childress.1
This is when you experience very low libido and your john john can’t get up for $50,000.
This is the most common signal from the brain that NoFap is working.
You wake up in the morning, nothing (no erection).
You see a sexy girl in real life, nothing again (no erection again).
Apart from the low libido that comes with the NoFap flatline, you’ll observe that you’re also bored, fatigued, and nothing excites you.
The flatline usually starts after 5-7 days into NoFap.
It scares a lot of people (who don’t know that it is a normal thing that happens on NoFap) into relapsing.
People relapse just to test if their penis is still working. I owed my first relapse to the flatline.
“OH GOD, MY D**K IS NOT WORKING ANYMORE. THE WORLD IS GOING TO END”.
If we are being realistic, this is to be expected and well prepared for.
Because after all those years of programming your brain to get an erection by watching porn, you suddenly stop and expect to wake up the next day to an early morning boner?
Some people claim they never experience the flatline, but I don’t see how that’s possible if you are not stimulating yourself to erotic thoughts.
I like the flatline. As a matter of fact, I love the flatline.
It gives the mind and body peace. Instead of fighting the flatline by trying to get a hard-on, it’s best to just ride it out like a wave.
For me, I found that flatline helps the whole NoFap process. It allows the concentration of the mind on something more productive.
If you can’t get an erection for the next few weeks, just move on.
The benefit of the flatline through these weeks is that you won’t have to be dealing with random erections that resulted from a wild porn thought.
How long does the nofap flatline last?
It varies from individual to individual. But based on this NoFap timeline, the flatline usually subsides around Day 45.
But again, I have seen people that still experience flatline 4 months into their nofap. Just know that it’s part of the process of your body healing itself.
But if you’re the type that your flatline is taking more than two weeks, and you’re in a relationship, or wants to get in one, you can try the following to speed up the process;
- Do physically intense exercises constantly. Exercises like weightlifting, playing a team sport like football, basketball, and so on. This boosts testosterone levels and testosterone increases libido/sexual interest. To boost your testosterone in a much higher level, so that you can have energy to support your exercise efforts, build lean muscles effortlessly, and supercharge your libido/sexual drive and erections, you can try this all-natural product. It has helped me in the past.
- Hang out with friends and people you just met (more). This takes your mind off the whole my-dick-is-not-working thing. And while you’re out, maybe you realize that sex isn’t all there is to life and that the world doesn’t revolve around your dick.
- Engage in activities you’re passionate about.
Emotional Highs and Lows leading to mood swings
Forming a porn and (or) masturbation addiction came about as a way of coping with some underlying emotions.
So, when you go on NoFap and remove PMO from the equation, those emotions that have been suppressed for so long start bubbling to the surface.
It’s common for people on NoFap to experience strong emotional feelings about a trivial matter.
A little issue might cause a lot of anger. The sight of a dog might cause tears trickling down the face. Recalling a memory might bring a lot of unexpected happiness.
These highs and lows leave you in a mood rollercoaster.
One minute you might be feeling extremely joyful and glee. And the next minute, you might be angry at nobody in particular.
The first step to deal with this emotional rollercoaster is to identify these underlying emotions and address them.
Being mindful of one’s emotions is a skill that’s cultivated with time.
Mindfulness meditation and deep breathing are tools that can be used to get proficient at it.
The aim is to identify the emotions, acknowledge them, and if there is something that can be done on your part to make it better, do it without adjournment.
If it’s something that’s out of your control (as most emotions are), accept that you can’t control everything and let go of the emotion.
With time and practice, the ability to be in touch with your emotions will start breeding inner peace and the emotions will start regulating.
This withdrawal symptom stems from masturbation and orgasm addiction.
After some days on NoFap, there is a tendency to start feeling like there is a ticking bomb inside of you that might go off any second.
You start feeling so tense as the sexual energy starts building up and you feel like you are about to implode.
You feel like you desperately need the release and you start feeling the need to let it out like you constantly do in the past.
“Something might happen. I might develop prostate cancer. It’s been two weeks”.
All these mental chatter and tensed feelings are just your brain adjusting itself to the new reality. Some people fall victim to a relapse at this stage when that “need” to release flood their brain.
Recognizing it as just a mental dialogue that it truly is, helps to triumph in this situation.
This is the perfect opportunity to channel this energy and tension into other activities. The activity that works best for this process is to engage in a form of High-Intensity Exercise.2
If the HIIT can’t be done for one reason or the other;
Other options to relief tension when you’re on NoFap include;
- take a walk outside,
- go for a run,
- or start doing some house chores you’ve been putting off.
The goal here is to involve in a form of physical activity whenever this symptom shows up.
When the brain has been trained to only get dopamine hits from porn, other activities won’t give that level of dopamine to the brain.
When you’ve watched porn for a very long time, that continuous act has been flooding your brain with dopamine. Due to this, the D2 receptors in your brain has been reduced.3
As a result of this, your brain has become numb to most of the other activities that are supposed to give you pleasure and be fun.
In the first two months of NoFap, if there is no change in routine, there is a high tendency to be feeling bored a lot of the time.
Until the D2 receptors are re-calibrated, being bored might be a very common thing that occurs from time to time.
During NoFap, you might be amidst a crowd, or engaging in other activities that are supposed to be fun, but, since it’s not porn, your brain would not register those activities as fun.
This is why it’s very important to incorporate some D2-receptor-building activities into the day while doing the NoFap challenge.
Some D2-receptor-building activities you can do;
- reading a book,
- learning or playing a musical instrument,
- listening to music,
- cooking, or learning to cook a new recipe,
- learning a new language,
- going out and socializing more and so on.
The key here is to avoid leaving that new time-slot (time which you used to watch porn and masturbate) empty.
Make sure you consciously fill it up with a positive and empowering activity that has a form of learning involved.
It doesn’t need to be an elaborate activity as you can see from the examples I gave above.
This does not happen to everybody while they are on NoFap. But when it does happen, it starts around day 30 and it lasts for a month.
Again, this is due to the reason why addiction started in the first place.
Those emotions that have been bottled can start coming to the surface. And they might be leading to a form of sadness.
This doesn’t happen to everybody, but it does happen to a considerable number of people.
The best way to deal with NoFap depression is to face those feelings head-on and try to engage in mood-lifting activities like watching your favorite comedy or hanging out with people that lift you mentally.
Headaches and fever
Cases of headaches and fever have been reported by some people on NoFap. This is not a very common occurrence also. It happens very rarely.
These types of headaches are called Withdrawal headaches. The cycle of these headaches are usually short, but they can last for days in some cases.4
You need to be able to recognize this type of headache and fever when they occur because they can be easily mistaken for migraines.
The best action to take when experiencing this is to see a physician to help rule out any other form of a disease that might be hiding under the hood.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder where you have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep.
It can be a medical condition on its own, but it’s also a common NoFap withdrawal symptom that a lot of people experience.
People that experience this most are those that usually PMO right before they go to sleep.
When they’re on NoFap and they stop PMOing, they find it difficult falling or staying asleep.
NoFap insomnia starts early (around day 2-7), but once your body adjusts to NoFap, you find it easier and easier to fall and stay asleep.
If you’re experiencing insomnia as a NoFap withdrawal, you can try the following things to cure the withdrawal symptom as soon as possible;
Ways to get better sleep when you’re on NoFap
- Get to bed early and make the time consistent.
- Cut off caffeine from your diet. If you must consume caffeinated products, don’t drink it after 2 pm.
- Stop using any electronic device one hour before your bedtime.
- Do breathing meditation when you get to bed. This calms your nerves and kind of hibernate your brain. This allows you to fall asleep more easily.
I know what you’re thinking; “isn’t brain fog supposed to reduce on NoFap?”
Normally, it should. But some people experience more brain fog as a withdrawal symptom in the first month of their NoFap.
Brain Fog on NoFap is when you have a muddled-up mind, where you can’t seem to think straight.
Experiencing brain fog as a withdrawal symptom or not when you’re on NoFap is hugely dependent on your anatomy.
Another factor that can influence it is your lifestyle choices. If you have other addictions that are affecting your prefrontal cortex.
But with time on NoFap, the brain fog will start lifting.
So, if you start finding it difficult to focus and concentrate when you’re on NoFap, here are things that can be done to improve your focus;
- Focus on one task at a time.
- Stop other habits that shrink your prefrontal cortex. Habits like excessive video gaming, consuming too much sugar, and so on.
- Reduce the distractions in your environment to the barest minimum.
NoFap wet dreams
Once you start NoFap, and you’re no longer ejaculating every day. This leads to semen accumulating in your body.
Your body thinks of ways to discharge the excess, spoilt, and worn-out semen. Hence, when you’re on NoFap, you experience wet dreams more.
Contrary to popular beliefs, getting wet dreams when you’re on NoFap is a sign that your reproductive systems are working efficiently.
Here’s a video explaining how to control wet dreams on NoFap:
You should also check out this post on NoFap wet dreams to go deep into the world of wet dreams and learn everything you need to know about wet dreams.
On a final note: NoFap Withdrawal Symptoms
Whenever you get any of the above symptoms, CELEBRATE!!
POP A CHAMPAGNE!!
Because Nofap is working!!!
Your body is detoxing and your brain is dumping the porn pathways!
If you have experienced a different kind of withdrawal symptoms from nofap that you would like to share, please drop it in the comment section below.
STAY HEALTHY, STAY WEALTHY, STAY BLESSED.
Sources and Footnotes
- Lead researcher on a study of cravings. Prelude to Passion: Limbic Activation by ''Unseen'' Drug and Sexual Cues of Drug and Sexual Cues.
- HIIT exercises is a round of intense workout, followed by a short rest, then another round of intense workout. There are different variations to it though. I personally like HIIT exercises because it releases bursts of naturally-rewarding dopamine and endorphins. These are different HIIT workout routines you can try.
- A 2016 Neuro-imaging study conducted in Germany confirmed that the brain changes observed in other addictions are also present in porn addiction. One of those brain changes is the reduction in D2 receptors in the brain:Ventral striatum activity when watching preferred pornographic pictures is correlated with symptoms of Internet pornography addiction
- A complete headache chart courtesy of the National Headache Foundation