After my first week of giving up masturbation, NoFap depression set in.
NoFap made me worse!
But I hung in there and got better slowly.
Here’s what I learned about the No Fap depression cycle and how I coped with it.
Follow my tips and you’ll feel better, too!
- Companion video
- My account of NoFap and depression
- Chemical reason for NoFap anger and depression
- Psychological reasons for NoFap depression
- Tools for coping with depression
- Main solution: Replace short-term coping with long-term thriving
- Tool 1: Be around other people and help them
- Tool 2: Leverage hedonic adaptation
- Tool 3: Leverage willpower rather than antidepressants
- Tool 4: Keep yourself busy or productive
- Tool 5: Get enough rest to renew willpower
- Tool 6: Keep feeding your mind with uplifting information
- Tool 7: Build awareness about NoFap depression
- Beat NoFap depression more easily
Check out the companion video if you don’t want to read:
My account of NoFap and depression
I’ve had a mild addiction to PMO (Porn, Masturbation, Orgasm) since childhood.
It provided a convenient escape from feeling bored or facing a challenge.
But I also hated the feelings of guilt and regret that came with it.
So I said, “No more!” and started NoFap.
6 years later, the answer to the question “Is NoFap legit?” is crystal clear to me.
It absolutely is. I’d never want to go back and give up all the exciting NoFap benefits.
But getting to this place required willpower and coping with depression.
One week later, I experienced these NoFap withdrawal symptoms:
- Lack of motivation to do anything
- Intense mood swings between euphoria and depression states
What caused them?
Chemical reason for NoFap anger and depression
No matter how happy you feel about going NoFap, your brain will still give you a hard time.
Here’s why it does this.
Downregulation of dopamine receptors
PMO floods your brain with the neurotransmitter dopamine associated with pleasure and motivation.
High dopamine levels cause the number of dopamine receptors in the brain to decrease.
This is called downregulation: more masturbation leads to fewer dopamine receptors.
As a result, your capability to feel pleasure from anything decreases. You need more and more stimulation. That’s why people go for more bizarre porn or use stimulants for a stronger orgasm.
Upregulation of dopamine receptors
When you start NoFap, a reverse process happens.
On NoFap, dopamine receptors upregulate.
You get more of them.
As a result, you become more susceptible to dopamine.
So if you’re wondering, “Does NoFap make you happier?”, that’s the answer.
You don’t need masturbation to feel terrific.
With more dopamine receptors, you start feeling pleasure from simpler things.
What do I make of these processes?
Here’s the tricky part.
Downregulation happens quickly but upregulation is a slow process.
That’s why we develop cravings and addictions almost immediately.
But overcoming them takes much more time.
And while you’re in the beginning stages of No Fap, depressed might become your normal state.
Depression is the way our brain fights for high levels of dopamine it’s used to.
That’s when you find yourself wondering, “Is NoFap worth doing?”
The most important thing at this point is to keep at it. I know it’s difficult but make sure you don’t fap during depression. If you persist long enough, the NoFap first-week depression will go away inevitably.
Psychological reasons for NoFap depression
Addiction to PMO makes us predisposed to depression:
- We already feel guilty about masturbation.
- We regret the time and effort lost.
- We hate the feeling of not being in control.
For me, going NoFap was a bittersweet experience. I liked how I exercised the willpower to quit masturbation. But I also felt depressed because of those feelings of guilt, regret, and being weak in the past.
Opening our eyes to problems
Another common reason for depression is facing our problems. PMO is an easy way to escape our challenges.
But when we go NoFap, we open our eyes to those problems. And this realization hits us hard.
For example, when I stopped masturbation, I realized I wasn’t doing my best as a husband and a father.
That left me feeling depressed and wanting to masturbate to escape this feeling.
Tools for coping with depression
The good news is that now that you gave up excessive masturbation, depression won’t last long.
As your brain rewires itself from PMO, you’ll feel calmer, happier, and more motivated.
But I know sometimes it’s really hard not to give up.
For me, it was always something challenging, e.g., at work, that tempted me to masturbate.
Because I already felt depressed, tackling other challenges felt too tiring.
But I pressed on, and soon enough, my depression on NoFap went away.
Now let’s go over one major solution and a few minor tools that helped me cope with it.
Main solution: Replace short-term coping with long-term thriving
8 years ago my wife divorced me. She broke up with me and I felt broken. I felt depressed.
I watched porn as a coping mechanism for my depression. Searching online and looking for that perfect scene.
But it was just a quick escape, just for a few short minutes. I felt fantastic but then I would feel even more depressed.
Now I know that with porn being such a huge overstimulation, the higher I got the harder I crashed. Until I desensitized myself to porn and wanted more intense and more evil stuff.
At that point, I realized that this coping mechanism just doesn’t work for me. The solution was not in looking for spikes of happiness but in finding a level where I would feel content all the time.
Instead of coping, I wanted to thrive. Thriving for me meant working on the root cause of my depression. I had to fix my loneliness.
I went to work on my dating skills. Even though I didn’t get many results at the beginning, I already felt better because I was growing.
And then I found a girlfriend.
Coping doesn’t work long-term — whether you’re depressed on NoFap or because of anything else. It only gives you a short-term escape that comes with opportunity cost and more pain.
Opportunity cost: you know you’re wasting your time and potential.
More pain: the higher you go with porn, the harder you crash. Every single time, you’re more and more depressed.
The solution is to replace short-term coping with long-term thriving.
Find your root cause:
- Get a girlfriend
- Get a job you like
- Hit the gym
Working on these things will make you feel content even if you don’t get results right away. And when you do get results, you’ll thrive.
Now, be a hero who thrives, not copes.
Tool 1: Be around other people and help them
When we’re depressed, being around other people makes us feel better.
When I was alone, I was stuck in my head, feeling sorry for myself.
But talking to other people helped me stop being egocentric.
I realized there was more than just myself and my depression.
And if I was able to help somebody, I felt even better.
That said, if you’re a loner, then the fourth tool will help you.
Tool 2: Leverage hedonic adaptation
Another tool that helped me was reframing my depression as hedonic adaptation.
Humans have this ability to adjust to our current level of comfort.
Although it does take time and patience, we can be sure hedonic adaptation will happen.
I knew it worked because I had used it to beat my sugar cravings once.
I gave up sugar almost completely over a period of a few years.
In the meantime, I developed a craving for broccoli!
That’s hedonic adaptation: I let my receptors adjust to a less stimulating source of pleasure and still felt happy.
So when I had NoFap depression, I knew hedonic adaptation would occur eventually.
This helped me reframe negative thoughts more positively.
Tool 3: Leverage willpower rather than antidepressants
I’m not a doctor so use my advice with caution.
I never used antidepressants because the very idea seems counterproductive to me.
When I went NoFap, I wanted to take control of my dopamine levels so that I felt great on less dopamine.
But antidepressants such as norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors do the opposite.
They increase the amount of dopamine in the brain!
These drugs would’ve messed up with my neurotransmitters.
They wouldn’t have let my brain rewire healthily.
That said, I’d leave antidepressants for situations when you feel incapable of life.
Otherwise, fuel your NoFap motivation instead to keep going.
Tool 4: Keep yourself busy or productive
Urges come mainly when we don’t have anything to do and feel bored.
But when you keep your mind focused on an activity, it has little space to trick you.
Focus is one of the three parts of Tony Robbins’s Triad.
The other two are physiology and language.
Here’s an example of how to use all three:
- Physiology: Get out of your house. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Go on a hike. Discover a new place.
- Focus: Focus on the activity and your urges will decrease.
- Language: Catch yourself saying disempowering things to yourself. You could be saying, “I want PMO so badly. Why can’t I have it?” Replace it with an empowering incantation, e.g., “The old me is dying and the new me is rising from the ashes like a Phoenix.”
Tool 5: Get enough rest to renew willpower
When you feel tired, your willpower is lower.
For example, when I do dopamine fasting, my willpower drains slowly.
At the end of my fasting day, I’m hungry and I feel I don’t have any willpower left.
But after I wake up the next morning, my willpower is renewed even though I’m still hungry.
Tool 6: Keep feeding your mind with uplifting information
When you get off porn, you create a void in your mind where porn was. Because of that, your brain starts to crave it twice as much as it did before.
Now, you need to give your brain something instead of porn. A good place to start is replacing it with uplifting content.
Here are a few things that help people:
- Listen to audiobooks such as Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson.
- Watch NoFap videos on YouTube constantly. Do it first thing in the morning.
- Read a NoFap blog like mine.
These things will give you something positive to fill your mind with. And you’ll find yourself craving porn less.
Tool 7: Build awareness about NoFap depression
A follower Brent Hurley feels depression on Nofap and wants to do a PMO session. But after he succumbs to an urge, he feels even worse.
He realized that he regrets relapsing too much. Even though he had really bad flatlines, none of them were as bad those times when he relapsed. These were the truly worst times of his life.
That’s because he catches himself in the negative cycle of porn:
Depression on NoFap or anxiety → Porn Dopamine as a coping mechanism → More depression or anxiety
When Brent became aware of this negative cycle, it’s become easier for him to break it.
After all, awareness is half the cure.
A good start is to listen to this podcast I did recently with Kingsley Moyo:
Why do I feel depressed on NoFap Day 10?
No Fap depression is real. If you feel depressed on the 10th day of NoFap, it’s normal.
I was addicted to porn and jerking off for 17 years. Each time I watched porn, I got so much dopamine from it. My brain got so addicted to that easily accessible dopamine.
And then suddenly I went NoFap, cutting access to all that free dopamine fix. My brain went bonkers—it wanted dopamine back.
But because there was none, my brain made me feel bad: unmotivated, angry, sad. That’s why I know that No Fap depression is real. With that depression, my brain pushed me to crave porn dopamine 2x.
I realized that losing access to dopamine so quickly was too difficult. I allowed myself to have a NoFap relapse after 7 days instead. But I promised to make my next NoFap streak 8 days.
I wasn’t giving up on my Hero’s journey. I was being strategic. No Fap depression is real and not a joke. I had to respect it
Why No Fap transforms you for life❓
I had depression before doing No Fap. And when I started NoFap, I got even more depressed.
But then I saw how fapping was holding me back from seeing the psychological deficit behind my depression. Instead of focusing on healing the depression, I was focused on my mental war with PMO.
When I took a step back from PMO, I finally had the mental firepower to see my psychological deficit. It was my loneliness. I craved intimacy and love after my wife broke up with me.
The next step was working on that root cause while also continuing with NoFap. I started developing social skills.
I learned the theory of social success and started to go out to practice. My journey was brutal at first and I got rejected a lot. But eventually, I got better socially.
Finally, I got an amazing girlfriend. She was one of the most beautiful women I ever met. That’s when I started to believe that I can deserve a great partner.
With that success and confidence, I healed the root cause of my depression—loneliness. And I changed for life. These social skills help me every day. They make me certain that I will never return to that loneliness.
And I won’t need to fap to soothe my depression.
Beat NoFap depression more easily
There you go, my NoFap experience with depression. Having been there, I know exactly how you feel. And my goal is to help you through depression during NoFap.
When it hits, it’s good to have someone who has been there and understands you. One way I can help is by sharing my story and best tips for making it through a 90-day brain reboot.
Heal your brain from pornography in one month
Get my Free Porn Detox Course now. Make your porn brain rewire easier.
65 thoughts on “NoFap Depression after Week One (And Easy-to-Use Tools for Coping with It)”
I fall into a feeling of strong depression after two weeks no PMO. I have not yet broken through the depression feeling on a long PMO streak. My brain is wanting to feel pleasure, and I must get past this hurdle.
Thank you for your honesty.
Feeling depressed after starting NoFap is totally normal.
Keep staying “clean” so that your mind rewires itself. And then depression will go away.
Thank you for giving tools to handle depression.
How to control the itching of PMO in weeks of depression?
Thank you for reading.
One thing that works very well is to do one specific thing that you like when an urge comes. Let’s say, you like a particular TV show. So watch it every time an urge comes. But deny yourself the pleasure of watching it at other times.
Please let me know how it worked.
How long did it take for you to begin to feel better mentally ? I’m guessing now you feel the things that were once problems no longer bother you.
I started feeling better after 3 days of NoFap. NoFap depression was difficult, but it didn’t last long. Keeping your mind busy is key to this.
Is it normal to feel a complete lack of energy on day 7? I have a ton of things to do today but I can’t get myself up to do them and I’m sitting in my car. I’m tired and I have no energy ie I’m really lazy.
Thank you for your question.
Yes, it is normal. It’s your brain giving you a hard time because you took away such a major source of raw pleasure. For most people, it doesn’t last long.
Thank you sir, am so much depressed on my ongoing 2 week of nofap challenge, after reading this i feel a bit relaxation i will fight and win ??❤️?
Yes, I know you will win! It gets easier.
God bless you, good man, for this blog! I will try my best not to fail this time! I am young but still my depression is eating me, soaking my energy and happiness. Now I fell that NoFap is worth any sacrifices. Sorry for my english.
Thank you for sharing your situation. I totally understand how you feel.
Do you feel depressed all the time or just on NoFap?
Thank you for your reply. To speak the whole truth I have to admit that my depression always appears when I am on NoFap. All the guilt, shame, anger and hopelessness, caused by missing many social opportunities etc., combine and I feel horrible. However, I have had failed too many times already to give up this time. I say NO. At all costs. I will take as much embarrassment as I deserve! I won’t stop till my addiction is dead. Now I have the encouragement to not give up, thanks to your blog! Day by day it is getting worse in my head, my mind is trying to persuade me to jerk off justifying it by saying that “it will be fun”, that “I will relax” and “all my friends do it”. I know clearly that I have to keep my head up. I feel like I have the power to stop this horrible addiction.
Thank you for helping others, Mr. Roman!
I see, thank you for a detailed explanation.
I like your resolve. With that kind of commitment, you’ll definitely stop jerking off.
How old are you, by the way?
(And thank you for your kind words.)
Hi, when I am writing this I am 16 years old. (I had my birthday in April.)
What’s interesting, I have slept wery well today for the first time in this week!
That’s your depression coming to a close. Keep going, Andrzej.
Hello again! Although it is still a hard time and I feel an urge (thanks to my “rebuilding” testosterone level”, I suppose) to fap one by another, it is getting easier. I went to a meeting yesterday and despite I didn’t know some people there I still had enough confidence to talk to them! I can’t say that I feel like a superhero or a young god, but I can easily see the first “small” benefits. I am looking forward to hearing again from you again, as it helps me to cope with my addiction A LOT.
Andrzej, increasing your testosterone level and confidence are exactly the results you should expect on NoFap! So, you’re doing great. Keep going. You are stronger than this “addiction.”
I feel good with myself. Now I dont feel like a pefedic loser, but like a man who can deal with mamy difficulties. I forgot on which day of nofap I am exactly, probably 12. The urges, surely, exist but now I just ignore them! I am starting to feel like the best version of myself.
Your blog is changing my life!
Thank you for the kind words, Andrzej! It’s an honor to serve you.
“I feel like a man” — I love that!
Can you describe exactly how you feel?
Hi! It is quite easy to describe. I feel more confident, enthusiastic and I have more energy. What’s more, I also feel healthier and way more attractive. I have a twin brother (he probably doesnt do pmo) who was always described as a bit more handsome, but now I get compliments too! Oh I forgot that I feel lighter, like literally. I’ve already lost almost 3 kilograms! (thats one of the results of having more energy)…
Andrzej, you are a role model of NoFap. I think it literally transformed you.
Now that you know about all these personal benefits, how does it motivate you to do another streak?
Hi Mr. Roman. I must change the topic. I am so ashamed to admit that I jerked off yesterday. Fortunately without watching porn. An powerful urge caught me so I kept doing my homework and when I had nothing else to do I fapped. But thats not the end I will give 100% effort on the second NoFap. Damn! It didnt even give me pleasure! I now that I can do better… I should have had played a game or something. But dont think about me as a weak person I will pass this time. I will write to you every day
Yes, that hurt. And I like your positive attitude to this failure: you’re not afraid to start over. This time you’re not starting from scratch but from experience.
By the way, check out my free NoFap tutorial for practical ideas about resisting urges: https://romanmironov.com/contact-nofap-subscribe/
This was very helpful, thank you so much!
My pleasure, Han! How did it help you exactly?
Hello SIr Roman,
Thank you for this amazing teaching through your video. i Started fapping when i was 11 12 years, currently i am 26 yrs old, i made my decision to noFap 2 weeks ago, I do sometimes feel the urge to do it when i feel depression, can you help me with that and how long will it take to come out of this stage of lust and depression. Awaiting help.
Thanks stay safe sir.
Thank you for sharing your NoFap story. I respect you for taking action.
My free NoFap tutorial is a good start: https://romanmironov.com/contact-nofap-subscribe/
You can also subscribe to my Instagram where I post a lot of practical tips and bits of motivation: https://www.instagram.com/be20ofyourself/
Please keep me updated.
The way you describe the depression like something logical and actually positive and finally disappear makes it more easy to continue and not have a relapse
Yes, that’s a healthy way to reframe that challenge.
I am glad it helps. What’s your best streak so far?
Hey , this info really helped me a lot , I’m 8 days clean and I’m beginning to feel depressed , any idea of how long till I can feel a break through of a boost in my happiness?
Thank you for reading and asking a question.
You can get rid of it in a week as long as you use the suggested tools!
Thanks a lot sir. I’m on day 11 and I almost gave in yesterday because I was feeling so depressed. But i came across this article and it really helped. My brainfog has started to clear but the only problem I’m facing is feeling sleepy all day despite of taking 7-8 hours of sleep. How long will it last?
Thank you for sharing, Pushkal. On average, these symptoms go away in a week. You also want to make yourself busy — that helps deal with depression a lot.
I did no fapfor 6 months effortlessly 2 years back when I was deeply loving a girl and always thinking of her. Although i doesn’t know if she loves me or not. But now I found that there is no way we can be united so I stopped thinking about her. Now again i am back to masturbation. I do weekly atleast 1 or more times. I want to stop this and get back to healthy state and experience benefits of no fap . Please help
Hi Sai! Thank you for reaching out and being honest about your PMO habit. Let me get back to you over email.
I was really feeling down and your post gave me the long-term encouragement to stick it through. I’ve been low-key on and off no-fap for several years, not thinking it was really a problem. I’d always find a way to convince myself that fapping is fine.
However, the dopamine connection you make did something no other blogger/influencer has done for me, and I am very thankful for your willingness to write this.
All the best,
Thank you for your feedback — it means a lot to me.
Yes, we need to give our body time to upregulate dopamine receptors at the beginning of NoFap.
I feel so sad but I know it’s part of the process, I hope my sadness will go away soon and that I will be happier later. I really miss my mother and my siblings, sometimes I look up to them and my dad. Sometimes I feel alone like REALLY alone, but then I remember that I have my family with me. How long will this sadness last?
It will last as long as you let it be your focus. Shift your focus to your life purpose, and it will go away immediately
How many times will brain take to go to the normal situation
from depression during no fap???please answer.
30 days on average. Depends on how active you are shifting your focus to positive activities
I don’t know how to focus and maintain the consistency for my exam preparation and this nofap making me lose the motivation.Does this nofap journey eliminates concentration ? Please suggest.
I think it helps with concentration after a few first days
Hi there i have fully understood the dopamine mechanism.Could you guide me that why i want to resort to pmo after 4 days of nofap even if i don’t have any urge?? I didn’t feel any urge yesterday but i was doing an uphill task and then i inadvertently got up and did it even without having any urge.
Is it cuz my brain has become habitual of seeking pleasure through pmo?
Yes, I believe so
I’ve just started NoFap/ No PMO I find myself seeing almost every woman attractive. I’ve been trying to fight the urges to masturbate it has worked. But I find myself feeling empty as well almost like depressed.
Amazing! Keep going and find your woman
i need a help for real my mind is empty of negative thoughts and even suicidal all of this came from porn addiction since i was 13 till now with my 18 years old , everything looking dark for me i can ‘t speak around people and espacily around girls i’m not that funny guys anymore , and i’m scared of people and i don’t know why maybe it gets complicated like this because of my overthinking i want to stop this please i need help i want to live my life and enjoy it 🙁
I am on day 30. Having depression, sleep and concentration problems along with stress.
Thank you for sharing, Jan!
30 days is a very impressive streak.
Keep going and inspiring us!
I am about 100 days of nofap and i relapse 4 times….now i have a fear of faping… always the fear of faping goes in in my mind and thats makes me unhappy…my self confidence decrease..thats why i can’t trust my mind…and after relapsed my withdrawals seems severe..is it normal in nofap?..please reply sir and i hope you understand my english….
Thank you for sharing, Ssd. Relapsing is normal. We are not perfect. The idea is to understand what triggered you this time and avoid it next time.
Sir after some days of nofap my sexual energy built up and i cant study…i am tensed and frustrated and relapse again…..how to tackle this situation…
I would be grateful for that energy and rechannel it into a productive activity.
Ive tried doing no fap several times but always relapsed. Im worried now that if i go on no fap it would be too late to upregulate back to a healthy normal again. Im 22 female. Thanks.
Did you use any of the tools mentioned?
I hate myself it’s like I’m addicted to depression or addicted to what makes it im wasting years of my life over this addictive life and that makes me sad and angry and wishing I was dead like why did I have to get addicted to pmo why not any other drug why this literally you need will power because it’s connected to our body part and we use our phones everyday so why god why does this have to happen to me I could imagine my self at 30 years old and being addicted and alone that would be a truly sad life to be beaten by your mind if I had one wish it would be to exterminate every addiction in everyone’s life anyway im just speaking my mind everyone is different but sometimes I don’t understand why a urge could control someone body like I get defeated by a urge and it hurts. But why does that happen in the first place why do we lose why can’t we be able to beat an urge without willpower couldn’t we just simply say no and not do it maybe it’s possible. But either way you see it the only way to stop is to just stop plain on simple theres no other way it’s either you fap or you don’t fap there’s no middle there’s no let me do it once a week you’ll end up having depression once a week. Honestly everyone should just try to control their selves but that’s easier said then done. If your reading this right now I hope you get through this because to me we’re in hell right now and if there is a hell im pretty sure it wouldn’t be too different then what im going through right now so suicide isn’t a option and crying isn’t one either im just going to quit plain Ole simple 🙁 that kinda hurts to say I wasted so many years and life force if I died right now it wouldn’t be happy it would be truly sad. It’s easier to fap but not nofap even if our brains create urges shouldn’t we be able to say no why do we get up and do it as I speak im getting a urge telling me to go to the bathroom and masturbate watching p but sitting down meditating hurts badly because why is that honestly im willing to go thru depression right now I don’t care how much it hurts I’m going to go through pain anyway hey who cares anymore I’ll quit and go through this pain one thing I’m starting to understand is that god wants strong people and being depressed and still going is as strong as I can think of idk what’s stronger than that so everyone quit and be depressed be the most depressed person in the world because being depressed you’ll know your going down the right path. Who said being happy was the right way I’ll be the most depressed person call me king of depression!
Thank you for sharing honestly. Dre
I feel for you
What’s your single motivating factor to break free if I may ask ❓
It’s all about six months gone that i left masturbation addiction but currently i could not focus on my study and normal activity even i can not enjoy normal things even i feel guilty about my past that i was habit of this 4 years and currently i m 20 and I leave completely but i don’t enjoy my life low confidence less motivation good thoughts not come in my mind related carrier and important that is it normal then you watch any sexual videos and don’t masturbate means during 6 months i had watch many times 3 or 4 times per month but i feel not interested and not joy and i do not feel pleasure at that time so if you know that does is happened because I quit masturbation and during 4 years i do daily masturbation so is it difference that when you stopped so in future is need not worry about fertility ? Currently I’m 20 please reply
Very difficult to understand your message. Note that using commas and periods has been scientifically proven to help with NoFap 🤣
Do you mean you’ve been on many months of semen retention ❓
Hi, I am 46 days into my nofap journey and still suffering from days of depression. I do have good days where I feel normal but then right when I think this is behind me I get hit with a very low low day. Is this normal? I am 39 and I had a mild addiction to PMO for probably 20 years.
Thank you for your question ❗
Usually, at this point, it’s no longer a NoFap-caused depression.
Could there be another, deeper reason for your depression❓
It’s possible to connect with you directly?
I leave my email.