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Old 12-19-2008, 06:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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What Makes an Addict?


An addict is an addict way before he/she ever makes the first contact with a drug or alcohol. Addiction only is a symptom of a difference in brain chemical make up.

In all of my years of dealing with addictions and knowing so many good people who are addicts I find that addicts are the most intelligent, creative, and sensitive of the whole population. Without them life would not be as beautiful or colorful. Unfortunately the treatments implemented for them does not help a very large number of them. I think taking a look at the stats on addiction will show that recovery success rates are low.

I think it is terrible that so many people end up in jail because they have not been able to get a handle on their addictive behaviors. What if society decided that having cancer, heart disease, kidney disease or any other serious condition needed to be treated with prison confinement? People would be outraged and we as addicts and the loved ones of addict ought to be outraged as well....

I believe that main factor in recovery success or failure is being grossly over looked. The brain of an addict is different from the very beginning of their life. When they do make contact with a substance or behavior that raises the levels that are less in their brain this begins the cycle.

Unfortunately the drive to make contact with the addictive substance or behavior is unconscience in the addict.

Fortunately recovery can happen when a person caught up in the symptom of addictive behaviors are trained to recognize these differences and are taught how to deal with it and how to accept and be conscience of drives that happen on a sub conscience level.

After an addict goes through detox and their bodies have recovered they are over half way home.

The limbic brain of a person with addictive behavior problems has a different balance in their brain than other people. This difference does not have to be medicated. The person with the problem needs to be informed of this difference.

Raising the levels of certain neuro-transmitters with chemically reproduced neuro-transmitters serves as a temporary solution with harmful side effects that can affect devastating change on the personality of the individual especially in younger people. This is not the solution.

I know there are many dedicated health care professionals working with individuals with addictions. That is to be commended. Still they are treating the symptom rather than the cause. They are doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Addiction is not a disease it is a symptom of a difference in the limbic brain.

Thank you for reading this.
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I agree that is true for many. Also, people who have mental disorders are more predisposed to seek chemicals to self-medicate. And I believe using too much can throw the limbic system out of wack as well, thus creating an addict.

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Old 12-19-2008, 08:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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"An addict is an addict way before he/she ever makes the first contact with a drug or alcohol. Addiction only is a symptom of a difference in brain chemical make up."

No truer words have been spoken. I have said it many times that there was a reason that I was an alcoholic and my friends never became one. We all partied the same and drank gross amounts of the stuff, but I'm the one it carried over with. Not feeling sorry for myself, but always knew there was a difference. Thanks again Splendra.
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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How true that an addict is an addict way before they make contact with alcohol or drugs.

I didn't start drinking til almost 30 years old. But I dated a recovering alcoholic when I was 26 for a few months. After we dated for a month or so he told me I could be an alcoholic. I said no way, I couldn't ever be an alcoholic, I don't even drink alcohol.
Now look at me 20 years later. I have wondered thru the years what was it about me that he had me pegged for an alchy.

Interesting stuff.

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Old 12-19-2008, 12:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have known about my addictive personality since a very young age. In 5th grade I remember coming home from school and going into the garage and sniffing gas all afternoon. Even younger than that...I loved to spin around and get dizzy alot.

I dont agree that addicts getting jail time should in any way be compared to someone with cancer. Most people with cancer dont commit crimes behind their disease.
Yes they should be mandated or offered treatment for their addiction instead of strait jail time. But I do believe if you do a crime..You pay with time. Regardless of why you did it.
My brother is in prison now for a crime behind his drug use.
Should he be excused from jail time because he is an addict. I dont think he should. Nor would I feel tat way even for myself.
But I do think they should take that extra step and get them help as well.

I dont want to sound mean.,.But I think alot of times..people like to pull that "I'm an addict" card.
I know I have done it myself. But for me..And I am speaking only for me. That it was always a bunch of BS. I was using..But I was fully aware of what I was doing and what the consequences would be.
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I am an addict and now that I am clean and sober I see my addiction coming out in other ways..such as over exercising, spending sprees, dieting, becoming co-dependant to SO and his behaviors.

I am learning a lot from NA...and one is that addicts are extremely bright, creative, intelligent, talented and industrious people. (when clean) We can also be manipulative, cunning, calculating and more (in active addiction) I am new but I have listened to addicts who went from "park ave to the park bench" and the NYC ballerina who wound up stripping. It is raw. I have been moved to tears by stories of people who truly recover...and after taking all those hard knocks I think you truly are a sincere person and a valuable friend because you know without that you have nothing.

Another thing I learned from a CASAC course I took in the fall was that addicts have to surrender to their inner addict. The inner addict wants control. Once you give up you can then give yourself to your higher power and the inner addict has no more power.

I named my inner addict "Gretchen". The instructor who held the workshop is a drug counselor at a prison, so I figured he knew a few things..a very fascinating and informative day.

The addict inside will always try to find a way to keep addiction alive. I am new but I think arming yourself with knowledge and information and even taking some workshops. It's my life and this is my disease, I want to know all I can to manage it..and share as much as possible with anyone who wants it.

Good topic!
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A point that I am trying to make is that addictive behavior is only a symptom. It is not the drug or the behavior that is the disease.

The disease has to do with the limbic brain. The limbic brain controls emotional response, behavior, the sense of smell and long term memory. It consist of these structures:

* Thalamus
* Hypothalamus
* Amygdala
* Hippocampus

In an addict the limbic system is low functioning. When an addict makes contact with a substance or behavior that raises which ever neurotransmitter levels that they are deficient in and bam they become addicted. The Drug of choice will raise the levels of the neurotransmitter that the person is lacking.

An addict on a mission to get their drug of choice is essentially not conscious of what they are doing.
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Are you speaking of tetrahydroisoquinoline or thiq for short?
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Old 12-20-2008, 11:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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So yesterday when I was filling my cart at Walmart with everything that delighted me..with our credit card burning a whole in my pocket...that high rush I experienced was
what you describe above? When I go into the beauty/cosmetic section my eyes are probably as big as saucers lol

OMG. The bill is the real buzz kill. We can handle it..but I have made some mistakes b4 with money because of this. Maybe we should make shopping a family thing so I don;t put myself in too deep. I won't do this so much with SO around.

Thanks for the great info as always.
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Old 12-20-2008, 12:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Are you speaking of tetrahydroisoquinoline or thiq for short?

What concerns me about the medical profession putting their hands on this is the drugs they may use to treat it. I think the medical profession needs to have a close look at dosages and consider making the molecules much smaller and the doses much less.

People who have addiction problems are on a good track with the 12 steps. I think issues are given a little too much credence and getting too into the issues may bring on relapse. I believe that once a person is thru the detox process they are well over half way home. Detox is the hardest adjustment.

I think families ought to be allowed more involvement in the recovery process and that nobody ought to be abandoning their family to go to meetings. Every NA and AA meeting ought to have an alanon or naranon meeting going on right along side of it unless it is a singles only meeting. Something that really gripes my butt about especially AA is that a blind eye is often turned to the 13th stepping...and this is very bad for families.
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Are you speaking of tetrahydroisoquinoline or thiq for short?
It was the Ohlms study when the chemical was discovered accidentally in alcoholics while studying heroin addiction.

I can't post a link since I have too few of posts. Google Ohlms and thiq and it should bring back the study for you to peruse.
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:47 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I have only read about thiq studies as they pertain to ADHD and ADD however I do believe that ADHD and ADD are somehow connected to addiction.
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:00 PM   #14 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=splendra;2028879

Raising the levels of certain neuro-transmitters with chemically reproduced neuro-transmitters serves as a temporary solution with harmful side effects that can affect devastating change on the personality of the individual especially in younger people. This is not the solution.
[/QUOTE]

I found your post very interesting but I find this part quite puzzling. What are neuro-transmitters????

Thanks
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
I agree that is true for many. Also, people who have mental disorders are more predisposed to seek chemicals to self-medicate. And I believe using too much can throw the limbic system out of wack as well, thus creating an addict.



When a pyschologist at the intake crisis unit at Behavioral Health made an

initial diagnosis of severe bipolar type II...4 months after I was clean

and sober..I refused to accept it. No, not me! I knew I had problems, sure.

A lot of wreckage...some compulsive behaviors..anxiety...periods of

depression. I sat there, bawling my eyes out, and asked for another diagnosis.

I got it..a week later..with my current psychiatrist. Severe BP type I !!!!

I had been climbing the walls for a week, and the mood swings...so

rapid. She explained that I probably had been self medicating my moods

for quite a long time. I looked into her compassionate eyes and saw..the truth.

And acceptance kicked in.

Looking back...my first depressive episode was at puberty.

My first drink..at 12. It made my stomach burn, my bones ache..then I felt

goooood. Then I asked for another please. Didn't get it. One glass of wine.

It knocked me out.

Explains a whole lot, looking back....

Thanks Splendra.
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:14 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I found your post very interesting but I find this part quite puzzling. What are neuro-transmitters????

Thanks
basically Neuro-transmitters are chemical messages made by the brain that the brain uses to communicate with glands and other structures of the brain..
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:22 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I wonder, if my brain were scanned, if these deficiencies in the limbic system would still be present? Is the 12 step model of recovery a means to change brain chemistry? Because, though I'm still prone to overdo things (give me a can of Pringles and I'll demonstrate), my thought processes are nothing like they were in active addiction.

I have used no chemicals to treat my chemical deficiencies.

Where I get very nervous in the whole science of addiction is the countering of one substance with another, however temporary or permanent. I get nervous because the scientific solution to our problems leaves little room for the power of the human spirit.

At the time I got clean, I was on many other chemicals besides those I felt to be a problem. I took heart medication, hormone replacement therapy, allergy medication, and anti-depressants, among others. Today, I take a calcium supplement, black cohosh, vitamin E, and a B-complex. I'm healthier than I've ever been without the so-called "health-sustaining" medications I was told I'd take for the rest of my life. Now, I wouldn't suggest anyone just up and quit taking their meds, and I did consult with a holistic-minded doctor before I did. I sit here still amazed, thinking of the years I was tethered to a prescription bottle.

There's too much in this thread to address all at once, and I have a meeting to get to. It's one that has an Al-anon meeting running at the same time, as well as a supervised playroom for the kids. We have fellowship and socializing every Saturday night with whole families--though that meeting did need an interested spouse to get things started. AA and Al-anon, though cooperative with each other, are separate fellowships without affiliation. It's the responsibility of the spouses and family members to develop their own fellowship network. We have been fortunate that some folks took that initiative.

Peace & Love,
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:25 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I get very angry whenever I hear about people who have drug or alcohol problems given punishment through prison time or other psychologically damaging alternatives. They are suffering from something, not hurting others.

And I have researched these brain drugs that alter the chemistry of the brain. At this point in time, I believe it is very dangerous to accept any diagnosis given from the DSM4. Thes psychiatric medications can have very serious side effects including suicide and death. I believe the number of adverse reactions are being suppressed by the Pharmaceutical industry who seems to own many in government and the FDA nowadays.

I hope one day we can find solutions to addiction problems but curing a drug problem with drugs seems a little ironic.

And putting a poor sap in prison for self-medicating seems like you are just kicking someone who is already down. Seems to me that prison and experimental brain drugs could send someone who already has a problem into a bleak future. These things might be what ruins a person that might have had a chance.
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:25 PM   #19 (permalink)
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glad I am in recovery and I no longer need to have all the answers, instead I do what works, get on with life and enjoy the mysteries that abound and am grateful that there are mysteries in my life.

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Old 12-20-2008, 04:14 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The Doctor at the out-patient clinic I had gone to diagnosed me with OCD. He put me on Celexa. I hated it and felt like a zombie in quicksand. I stopped taking it on my own and had horrible mood swings for a few weeks, then the relapse, now I am feeling good.
A staff member confided in me that the Dr diagnoses EVERYONE with OCD and prescribes celexa to them. It is pretty alarming. I am no fan of anti-depressants from personal experience....but I needed help and I prayed and I thought this Dr and those pills were the life raft.

I just needed to learn to swim. Still treading water though!
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