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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:28 pm 
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Jackcrack said, "What they need to do is figure out how to manufacture the feeling of withdrawal in a pill so people can try it out and see what it feels like.". My family and friends would often ask what is so bad about withdrawal and I finally came up with a way to show them. It only takes about 20 seconds.

Tell them to let all of their breath out until they can let no more out and they have to hold it for 20 seconds. At about 5 seconds they would be experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms. Around 10 seconds it's worse. If they make it to 15 they should be twitching and severely agitated. I've actually had no one make it to 20.

Anyway, I then explain to them how their brain was demanding Oxygen and look what your brain was able to do to you in 15 seconds time. You could think of nothing else but getting Oxygen, your body was flush, heartrate jumped, etc. The only difference is our brain is screaming for opiates...producing many of the same symptoms.

Not an exact replica for withdrawal, but the people I had do it seemed to all of a sudden understand a lot better.

Jackcrack and Junkie, nicely written posts. I enjoyed reading both and could relate all the way through. It's nice to know that were not alone.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:21 pm 
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Very interesting discussion with great comments from many. As to Romeo's example, I think the lack of oxygen is a good way to try to demonstrate what it's like - although I'm not sure it represents withdrawal as much as it does craving. I have talked to a few people who really don't know much about addiction and have suggested to them to think about what they would feel like if they had been in the dessert all day long - walking in the hot, hot sun, with no water, barely able to take their next steps. All they can think about and focus on is getting some water to drink. Then think if water was not legally available at any faucet or tap or for purchase at many stores. What might they do at that point in order to get some water? What crimes might they commit? What actions might they take? Would they even think about the consequences of their actions or would they be solely focused on quenching their thirst and ending the suffering. They sometimes start to understand what it was like for me with opiates and how I could actually take the risks and do the things I did.

In Junkie’s case with the earth people, it still somewhat baffles me to this day how I used to be one of them. For a dozen years I was able to have a supply of percocet or vicodin in the drawer that I would only use a few times a month (for fun – not for pain). No matter how awesome I felt - and in those early years I clearly had the best of the best highs - I can't think of one time when I said "that felt so great, I have to do it again. I have to take another one tonight or right now." Yeah, I would be like "this feeling is awesome" and then wait a week or two to do it again - not unlike eating my favorite foods or having an awesome desert and not needing or wanting to have more the very next day. How/why was I able to do that for so long and then somewhat slowly not be able to stop until once a week became twice a week then three times then every other day, every day, then every four hours, and finally just about every two hours. And even stranger, it was back when I only had opiates once a week that they worked the best and did the most for me. I without any doubt had much better highs once a week than I did once every four hours. I even remember at the five or even 10 year mark thinking “these things are clearly not as addictive as people say they are. Look at me, I’ve gone all of this time without any [physical] addiction.” Had I been able to stay at once a week, I may never have even ran into trouble. Of course, I was already physiologically addicted, even though I didn’t know it. At least I’m pretty sure I was.

But still it all changed and I can't ever go back to being an earth person again - although I don't care to either. I don't even wish I could. I only wish I didn't have the risk of relapse and the need for treatment for the rest of my life.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:08 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:45 pm 
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Thanks for catching that, Don. I didn't, but I did go ahead and delete them.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:17 pm 
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I came across some more information about addiction and wanted to add it to this thread.
The following is from: http://www.methadonetreatment.net/Opiat ... -Brain.php

Opiate Addiction and the Brain

Drug addiction has plagued humanity for thousands of years, but it's only in the past few decades that scientists have begun to discover the real reasons for addiction: Rather than being a moral or spiritual failure, addiction is a physical illness. It causes deep, long-lasting changes to the brain that can be extremely difficult to reverse.

But this knowledge is only a first step, and there is no simple solution to treating an addiction to drugs such as opiates. With the number of prescription opiate addicts growing every year, addiction treatment professionals have their work cut out for them.

Hijacking the Reward Response
Most forms of addiction are roughly the same. Whether it's opiates, nicotine, alcohol or any other addictive substance, addiction is closely tied to the chemical dopamine. When these addictive substances are ingested, dopamine floods the area of the brain that makes one feel a strong sense of reward. This is the same part of the brain that makes us feel good when we accomplish something, eat a large meal, earn money or win a competition. It's part of an evolutionarily developed survival mechanism that keeps us focused on getting the things we need to live.

Drugs like opiates take advantage of this system. With habitual use, the brain becomes reliant on this foreign substance to produce dopamine, and the natural reward system becomes increasingly incapacitated. Addicts require higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect, while their ability to enjoy other aspects of life is diminished. That's why opiate addicts are often unmotivated and incapable of taking pleasure in anything else. The drug becomes the sole stimulant of their internal reward system.

Automatic Emotional Associations
But the dopamine response isn't the only thing that keeps people addicted to opiates. Through long-term drug use, addicts also begin to associate the drug with positive emotions, and these associations eventually permeate all aspects of life surrounding the drug.

For example, if a heroin addict always injects the drug in a certain room, he or she will forever associate that room with being high, even years later. This is why relapses can be so unexpected and irresistible. The recovering addict may, for example, see a hypodermic needle, and suddenly feel an overpowering compulsion to go out and do heroin. The associations are not always so obvious. They may also be related to things such as music, seasons or even certain indescribable moods.

This happens as a result of the brain's natural tendency to make habitual associations even when they're not logical. These associations are made deep within the subconscious mind, which makes them almost impossible to reverse. In this sense, addiction is very similar to any type of learning. As children, we learn that certain things are safe, dangerous or pleasurable, and these associations eventually become so deeply buried in the subconscious mind that they're practically a part of us. It takes real mental heavy lifting to reverse a learned response, and most former addicts never quite get past their associations.

Genetic Predisposition to Opiate Addiction
Addiction is also very much determined by our genes. While life factors do play a role, studies have shown that susceptibility to addiction is at least 50 percent hereditary. Individuals vary in their ability to release dopamine, and there are also vast differences in individuals' abilities to learn new behaviors and to push back against powerful internal impulses.

In other words, some people are born with the natural ability to resist their urges and to use substances in moderation. Others are born without those internal safeguards against excess and repetitive behaviors.

It's also been determined that mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia are genetic. As any treatment professional will tell you, a substance abuse addiction often goes hand in hand with such illnesses.

Thus, when it comes to addiction, there are varying levels of seriousness. Less serious addicts may not have a natural predisposition to addiction, which makes their treatment relatively easy. On the other hand, people who are predisposed to both addiction and mental illness tend to have a very rough time beating an addiction, especially when their problems go untreated for years.

Why Is Treatment so Hard?
Since we know so much about how addiction works in the brain, why can't doctors come up with drugs to counter these natural reactions? The problem is that addiction tends to be a complex problem, and it must be treated on multiple fronts.

In order to counter the effects of opiate addiction, these hypothetical drugs would have to profoundly tamper with the brain's natural reward circuits in much the same way that opiates already do. Understandably, doctors don't want to go down that path. That is why addiction treatment professionals often tend to advocate traditional treatments methods.

In other words, knowing about how addiction happens doesn't make things like support groups and drug treatment therapy obsolete. If anything, this knowledge just makes these aspects of treatment work better. In the past, when addiction was thought of as a personal flaw, recovering addicts were made to feel guilt and shame over their weaknesses, and they were encouraged to help themselves through things like religion. Today, in contrast, addiction treatment programs can approach addiction as what it really is -- an incurable problem that one must always live with.

There will be no simple cures for opiate addiction anytime soon. For the foreseeable future, addicts will have to rely on personal strength, the support of friends and loved ones, and competent doctors and treatment professionals to help them stay sober in the long term.

The perpetual danger of relapse is part of life for a recovering addict. Fortunately, we do have drugs like methadone and Suboxone, which, when used under careful doctor supervision, can allow recovering addicts to live normal lives without intense cravings for illicit drugs. These drugs may not get rid of one's emotional opiate associations, but they can take care of the physical side of addiction, which is a good start.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:52 pm 
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Damn, that's a great post.

I could identify with everything said. One of the points that really hit home with me was "For example, if a heroin addict always injects the drug in a certain room, he or she will forever associate that room with being high, even years later." Not as often today, but for a LONG time I would walk by our kitchen island, pause and wait like I was supposed to be doing something there. I did this a few times a day sometimes. The reason, the kitchen island was always where I kept my medicine bottles with OC or Lorcet. I had developed such a deep habit of going to the kitchen island to 'get high' that some of the after effects still linger today.

Thanks for the info Hat. I really, really like reading stuff like that and understanding just a little bit more of why I did/do the things I do. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to addiction.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:03 pm 
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I agree - great article. The notion of subconscious emotional associations is very compelling. The experience I had over the holidays is an (albeit perverted) potential case in point. My home base over the holidays was with a family member who has a beautiful home where we take a vacation in the summers. I look forward to these visits precisely because I associate them with complete relaxation. In retrospect, I think my pain and medication use would seem to ratchet up some during the time I was there "relaxing." So this article has helped me consider that maybe merely being there was creating a subconscious trigger for some of the cravings I was having over the holidays, in addition to the conscious stress and pain I was having. Perhaps it was even a contributor to the extra stress and pain I was having.

The perverted part is that perhaps now I have to consider that this place of relaxation that I so love has turned somewhat toxic for me. Then again - perhaps the fact that I have now raised this knowledge from my subconscious to my conscious mind will resolve it going forward. I can now consciously spot the trigger and prepare for it.

Very interesting....


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:09 pm 
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I read this interesting article the other day, it talked about addiction and relapse pertaining to full agonists. It was a relatively short article/study and the results were summed up as follows:

Addicts will consistently underestimate the strength/power of the drug they are considering while at the same time they consistently overestimate their ability to control that drug.

A double whammy!!

Now there's a recipe for disaster! Underestimating the drugs power and overestimating our abilities.

Once again, our addiction will try to trick us at every turn!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:32 pm 
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I can readily believe that addiction is hereditary. My mother is a recovering alcoholic and opiate addict, (on a maitence dose of Suboxone now for a few years), and my father, whom I've only "met" online as he and my Mom divorced when I was three and he lives in another state with his second wife and my half-sisters, is also a recovering alcoholic and opiate addict and one of my half-sisters on my Dad's side is a recovering opiate and methamphetamine addict and also my deceased full-blooded brother was both an opiate and a methamphetamine addict. When I was four or five years old I remember having to spend a lot time in the hospital for testing because something was up with my liver and my Mom told me years later that I should probably stay away from alcohol as my liver was bad or something and that I'd be pre-disposed to becoming an alcoholic because both my parents were. This was before she started up with the pills but I bet she would have warned me against them as well. I never "picked up" drinking because I didn't like the way it tasted or made me feel but the few times I would drink I could wake up without a hangover every time and I heard that was proof that one could become an alcoholic real fast if it got out of control. Anyway, like I said, I can readily believe that addiction is hereditary; here I am a 36 (37 in May) year old now-recovering opiate addict with opiate addicts and alcoholics on both sides of the family tree and even in family I've never even MET before.

Sincerely,


~Ami


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:35 pm 
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Romeo wrote:
Damn, that's a great post.

I could identify with everything said. One of the points that really hit home with me was "For example, if a heroin addict always injects the drug in a certain room, he or she will forever associate that room with being high, even years later." Not as often today, but for a LONG time I would walk by our kitchen island, pause and wait like I was supposed to be doing something there. I did this a few times a day sometimes. The reason, the kitchen island was always where I kept my medicine bottles with OC or Lorcet. I had developed such a deep habit of going to the kitchen island to 'get high' that some of the after effects still linger today.

Thanks for the info Hat. I really, really like reading stuff like that and understanding just a little bit more of why I did/do the things I do. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to addiction.



I know exactly what you mean! I actually got rid of my kitchen table because it was a huge trigger for me. I don't feel that way with the new table, though.

~Ami


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:55 am 
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I don't believe that addiction is strictly hereditary, but it does have a genetic component. I know there were some alcoholics among my ancestors, but neither of my parents had any problem. There is still much to learn about the disease.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:10 pm 
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Hey Romeo and others,

As some of you know I am starting with a counselor next week. In our introductory meeting this week, he told me his theory of addiction. He believes, and claims there is research to back it up, that people who get addicted to opiates are born with dysfunctional dopamine systems, somewhere between a normal person's brain and the brain of a schizophreniac (sp?). That's why, according to him (he is an MD and CADC and former addict and methadone patient) when people like us try opiates, we get a much higher high than the person who has a normal dopamine system. This of course results in a much bigger fall, resulting in the craving and addiction cycle we know so well. He also thinks we deal with dysphoria our entire lives, if not full blown depression.

Not to bore anyone, but my case is kind of unique when looking for a cause. I was adopted at six days old and the parents who raised me were an alcoholic father and depressed mother. So because there was no genetic link to these people, I have to wonder if part of my addiction is a learned behavior from my adoptive dad. Funny enough though, when I found my birth mother when I was 40, I learned she is afflicted with chronic depression. So maybe the combination of genetics plus learned behavior was a cumulative effect to my addiction.

As my counselor said, until we find opiates we are always searching for that missing something. I drank a lot and smoked a lot of weed before finding opiates. Once i found opiates, guess what, I didn't need weed or drink anymore! He said this has to do with opiate's primary effect on the dopamine system, whereas weed and drink have a secondary effect on the dopamine reward system.

I don't know what to make of it all yet, but I do wonder, if I had never tried opiates, if I'd still be drinking and smoking like I was before opiates. I do know that once I found opiates, like many of us, it was that warm blanket of comfort that had been missing my whole life.

Obviously its very complicated and it is probably a combination of factors that lead to full blown addiction. I hope to learn more about myself as I get into counseling with him and what led me down this road. It's my nature to blame myself for this but if I can start believing I was maybe born with a dysfunctional brain that helped me along, it will be easier to come out the other end.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Jimmy


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:54 pm 
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Jimmy,

I said a big Holy Shit when I read your post.

I'm of the same opinion that opiates are the drug I was looking for my whole life. I started smoking weed at 17. Dabbled in all the other drugs in that "class" as well as doing acid many times. Around age 26 I started into coke, man that shit is hard on your system. Anyway, did the coke/crack thing until I was 29. At age 29 I fell out of a friggin' tree of all things and broke my ankles real nice and got on opiates......ahhhh, now that was the stuff!! I mean it was like being lost for years and years and finally finding my way back home.

Slowly, too slowly, addiction is being studied and researched more and more every day and the knowledge base is growing. Unfortunately, even today, addiction is still a horribly misunderstood disease.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:14 pm 
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OMG i dont know whether to feel relieved that I understand more now after reading this thread in that i could be pre-disposed to this addiction. Or do I just feel wrose knowing that this problem i have is so deep rooted and will i ever find a way out of it. I dabbled with other drugs earlier in my life and they never took a hold or took over my life - could take or leave it. i don;t drink alcohol at all really. But I have always sufffered with depression and yes, looking back i have always felt maybe something was 'missing' in me. and yes, when i got into smoking heroin it was like a warm blanket wrapped around me. felt numb to all the hassle and stress that normal living throws at me. I feel totally helpless at the moment.................


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In my non-clinical opinion, I think addiction is at least in part the result of trying to fill a void in one's mental health. So, if you grew up without a strong loving relationship from parents or maybe there was abuse, that sort of thing. Or really, it's more about trying to escape that void.

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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 10:44 am 
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This is an old discussion from last year that I thought merited a bump up to current status. New members, there are some great articles worth reading in this thread that you might find interesting with regard to addiction.

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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 11:11 pm 
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THANKS HAT!!!!!!!!!!!

this is an awesome read.......VERY interesting......

I can totally relate to a TON of whats posted in here. Ive said it before,,,, I too felt like "where have these pills been my WHOLE life???"
Or, how we may have a 'disposition' for opiate abuse already, "feel" it more than others, I can remember 'sharing' a few pills with a guy a worked with, he'd just take'm whenever I offered one or two, he NEVER asked, and he was always just "take it or leave it" kinda attitude, and I was like GOTTA HAVE MORE MORE AND MORE.
My husband, was the same way. He took them on "occation" and thats it. One day he just stopped, he was like "i think this is becoming a problem, amber. Im not taking ONE MORE PILL, ever."
I was like, HOPE you dont think that means IM STOPPING

Just had to say, thanks for bringing this back to 'life'
wherever you found it!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Romeo wrote:
Damn, that's a great post.

I could identify with everything said. One of the points that really hit home with me was "For example, if a heroin addict always injects the drug in a certain room, he or she will forever associate that room with being high, even years later." Not as often today, but for a LONG time I would walk by our kitchen island, pause and wait like I was supposed to be doing something there. I did this a few times a day sometimes. The reason, the kitchen island was always where I kept my medicine bottles with OC or Lorcet. I had developed such a deep habit of going to the kitchen island to 'get high' that some of the after effects still linger today.

Thanks for the info Hat. I really, really like reading stuff like that and understanding just a little bit more of why I did/do the things I do. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to addiction.


Something interesting about that. A study found that because of this subconscious association of places to use, heroin addicts have less chance of overdosing after they inject if they use in an environment they're familiar with using in. It's almost like an addicts body prepares itself to become intoxicated when it's in its usual using environment. So a heroin addict who injects in public toilets is safer if they keep doing it that way.

Quote:
Environment Contributes To Drug Tolerance
ScienceDaily (Oct. 12, 2000) — COLLEGE STATION - Tolerance is a major aspect of drug addiction, and one Texas A&M University psychologist believes the setting in which drugs are taken can be just as big a contributor to developing a tolerance as the drugs themselves.

For more than a decade, Texas A&M psychologist Antonio Cepeda-Benito has studied how learning facilitates the development of tolerance, and he says the environment in which a drug is consumed plays a large role in the drug's effects.
"If the same amount of a drug is administered in one context and later in another different and distinct context, then the effects of the drug are different," Cepeda-Benito says. "The drug has a much greater effect in a novel context rather than in a context that is associated with the administered drug."

Cepeda-Benito, who has studied morphine and nicotine's effects, terms this phenomenon "learned tolerance," and says gradual desensitization to a drug can be developed not only by repeated use of the drug, but also through a learning process that involves recognizing the environment.

In other words, a person consuming a drug in a setting where he or she usually consumes the drug or even expects to consume it will be less likely to feel the full effects of the drug, he says. However, if that same person takes the same amount of the drug in a setting where he or she doesn't normally take the drug, then the person is likely to feel a greater effect from the drug.

He says a familiar context can mean any familiar environment and/or actions, as well as timing. He also notes that the longer the interval between episodes, the greater the chance is of developing a learned tolerance.
Cepeda-Benito says this could possibly explain some drug overdoses in which the person didn't take a greater amount of the drug, but instead, took the drug in an unfamiliar setting, making the term "overdose" a misnomer.
"These are physiological changes mediated by psychological aspects," he says.

Much like a butcher working in a meat freezer who isn't affected by the cold while at work but can feel cold at home, Cepeda-Benito says, the body, over time, begins to prepare itself, through learning, for the environment it is used to consuming the drugs in, resulting in a lessening of the drug's effects.

"This is important because we know that tolerance is a symptom of drug dependence, and when you become tolerant to a drug, then you need to take more of the drug to get the effect you want," Cepeda-Benito says. "The more of the drug you take, the more physiologically dependent you become."


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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 7:17 am 
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That's exactly right, TJ. And it goes along with what you quoted. The body recognizes the familiar place and "prepares" for the drug use and is "ready" for the tolerance, so to speak. I remember learning about this stuff in college, many many years ago. The effect works in the opposite way in a new environment. (I just re-read what you posted and it says the same thing, so I guess there's no need for me to continue.)

It is some interesting shit though.

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Genetic Science Learning Center
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How does genetics affect our lives? Online activities, labs, experiments, and workshops for students, teens, and all others curious about genetics
I guess even in recovery addicts still think & behave alike, lol! We study genetics/behavior/family & find it FASCINATING!!!!This is a great site to learn about genetics, the brain & addiction. I even had a ROFL moment playing with the mice on drugs. I haven't gotten to "meth mouse " yet. Also there is a ton of info on cloning that freaked me out, could be... some of you may also enjoy a good "Scientist did WHAT?????!!!!!!!!! "

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