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 Post subject: What is Addiction?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:25 pm 
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What the hell is Addiction and why does it make me behave the way I do? Am I a bad person because I can't seem to control my impulses like a 'normal' person can. Am I a normal person with poor self control? If I just set my mind to not being an addict anymore will that be enough?

I believe that we as addicts should do what we can to understand the true nature of addiction. I think that would give us a unique perspective to help ourselves instead of just feeling hopeless about this disorder that we suffer from. I know the material that I have read on the subject has given me much insight into the problem and helped me quite a bit.

It is my understanding that addiction is a brain disorder. For some reason our switch that says "enough" doesn't work properly. This leads to repeated behaviors that are unacceptable and eventually re-write the neural pathways in our brains making it easier to keep performing those undesirable behaviors. A seemingly endless loop.

I have also read that addiciton takes place in the mesolimbic area of the brain. The area responsible for sex drive, appetite, body temp control? Have you ever tried just giving up on having sex, what about eating...how long can you go without eating before you find yourself chasing that mouse around like they do on survivor. The brain simply overpowers our will and forces us to do what it wants. It does seem strange talking about ones brain in the third person doesn't it?

If you have any useful information or links on the subject please share with us. Thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:21 pm 
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Great discussion, Romeo. Yes, from everything I've read, opiates do activate the reward system in the brain. This is from opiates.com/opiates:

Quote:
Within the reward system, the morphine activates opiate receptors in the VTA, nucleus accumbens, and cerebral cortex ... Research suggests that stimulation of opiate receptors by morphine [heroin] results in feelings of reward and activates the pleasure circuit by causing greater amounts of dopamine to be released within the nucleus accumbens. This causes an intense euphoria, or rush, that lasts only briefly and is followed by a few hours of a relaxed, contented state. This excessive release of dopamine and stimulation of the reward system can lead to addiction.


I also thought this was interesting (from the same site):

Quote:
There are several types of opiate receptors, including the delta, mu, and kappa receptors. Each of these three receptors is involved in controlling different brain functions. For example, opiates and endorphins are able to block pain signals by binding to the mu receptor site. The powerful new technology of cloning has enabled scientists to copy the genes that make each of these receptors. This in turn is allowing researchers to conduct laboratory studies to better understand how opiates act in the brain and, more specifically, how opiates interact with each opiate receptor to produce their effects. This information may eventually lead to more effective treatments for pain and opiate addiction.


It's my understanding that a person can have a genetic predisposition to opiate addiction. When that predisposed person takes an opiate for the first time, it's like a switch was thrown in the brain. People WITHOUT this predisposition can use/abuse drugs, but eventually their body/brain tells them to stop. The addict's brain, however, doesn't have that "stop" feature. I've read that predisposed people already have altered brain pathways before they even use/abuse drugs. I also think I read/heard somewhere that as long as we are putting opiates (including suboxone) into us, that our brain is no longer making it's own endorphins, because we are getting them artificially from the opiate. Again, nothing to back that up.

Here's a good article/document about addiction and the brain: http://archives.drugabuse.gov/PDF/Persp ... urobio.pdf

I'm going to do some more research and bring anything good I find back to this thread. Thanks, Romeo for initiating this awesome discussion. I should have made the effort to learn this stuff way before now. Better late than never though!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:47 pm 
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Thanks for the link Hat, I'm going to read it in a minute.

I had another thought about the pre-disposition to being an addict, for a long time I didn't necessarily believe this to be true...then guess what happened??? I found out both of my grandfathers died as a result of being alcoholics...it wasn't cirrhosis of the liver, but something similar. Well, that helped to convince me of the validity of the pre-disposition theory. I now believe some of us are born all primed for addiction, like a keg of dynamite looking for a spark!

Another thing that convinced me that addicts 'think' different was using various drugs with friends over the years and discovering that some of them would use once a week, maybe twice or much less. That floored me...from my first joint at 17 I wanted to use everyday (and did). I couldn't understand how these people could use so sparingly. I eventually asked some of them, "Don't you enjoy getting high?" and they said "of course". So I asked "why don't you do it all the time like I do?" and they basically said they didn't have the desire to use constantly...can you believe that!! They didn't have the desire to use constantly?? I was stunned to hear that they enjoyed getting high but didn't want to be that way ALL THE TIME. It was a completely foreign thought to me. How can you NOT want to be high all the time, how can you get enough of this feeling?

Then it dawned on me, it's a dis-function of my brain that I have precious little control over. It's just the way God built me.

I just got this from the article,

This release of DA into the NAc causes feelings of pleasure. Other areas of the brain create a lasting record or memory that associates these good feelings with the circumstances and environment in which they occur. These memories, called conditioned associations, often lead to the craving for drugs when the abuser reencounters
those persons, places, or things, and they drive abusers to seek out more drugs in spite of many obstacles.


Been there, done that.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:28 pm 
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Opiate addicts tend to go to great lengths to obtain their drug. We've all done things that we're not proud of. Well, apparently that's a function of what's going on in our brain. (Based on the article I linked to.)

"The cognitive deficits model proposes that PFC [prefrontal cortex] signaling to the mesolimbic reward system is compromised in individuals with addictive disorders, and as a result they have reduced ability to use judgment to restrain their impulses and are predisposed to compulsive drug-taking behaviors."

I know I bolded and underlined it, but let's repeat that: IN PERSONS WITH ADDICTIVE DISORDERS, THEY HAVE A REDUCED ABILITY TO USE JUDGMENT.

OMG...I can't believe that. See, we're not losers. Are brains are wired and working in such a way that it's failing to inhibit our impulses. Also from the article:

"The PFC [prefrontal cortex] is important for regulation of judgment, planning, and other executive functions. To help us overcome some of our impulses for immediate gratification in favor of more important or ultimately more rewarding long-term goals, the PFC sends inhibitory signals to the VTA DA neurons of the mesolimbic reward system." This is from the Cognitive Deficits Model

Romeo, I'm SO glad you brought this up. Again, I never would have looked this shit up. Addicts have so much shame, not only from just being addicted, but also because of what we've done to get those drugs. Yet according to the Cognitive Deficits Model, our brains made it more difficult than that non-addicted person to use good judgment.

Obviously we have a certain amount of responsibility for our actions. But how much is our responsibility and how much is literally what's going on in our brain and thereby not our fault?

This is some interesting shit....

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:20 pm 
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One more thing and I'll shut up. I was looking into what is the basis for a genetic predisposition to addiction and found the following:

"The genetic predisposition to addiction to opioids and other substances is transmitted as a complex genetic trait, which investigators are attempting to characterize using genetic linkage and association. We now report a high-density genome-wide linkage study of opioid dependence. We ascertained 305 DSM-IV opioid dependent affected sibling pairs from an ethnically mixed population of methadone maintained subjects and genotyped their DNA using Affymetrix 10K v2 arrays. Analysis with MERLIN identified a region on chromosome 14q with a non-parametric lod (NPL) of 3.30. Secondary analyses indicated that this locus was relatively specific to the self-identified Puerto Rican subset, as the NPL increased from 3.30 to 5.00 (NPLCaucasian = 0.05 and NPLAfrican Amer. = 0.15). The 14q peak encompasses the NRXN3 gene (neurexin 3), which was previously identified as a potential candidate gene for addiction. Secondary analyses also identified several regions with gender-specific NPL scores greater than 2.00. The most significant was a peak on (10q) that increased from 0.90 to 3.22 when only males were considered (NPLfemale = 0.05). Our linkage data suggest specific chromosomal loci for future fine-mapping genetic analysis and support the hypothesis that ethnic and gender specific genes underlie addiction susceptibility."

This is an abstract only that I found at http://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/content/1 ... 7.abstract

So it could very well be a chromosomal abnormality that accounts for a predisposition to addiction. Very interesting. Just wanted to share that. Now, like I said I would, I will shut the hell up about it. (At least for now.)

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:27 pm 
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Hat,

That article is so kick ass I read it twice! Barely understood it the first time, hell the second time too! HAHA. Look forward to a few more readings of it so I can fully understand it. It is, by far, the best and most comprehensive article I have read and it's got to be pre 2002 because they talk about Suboxone being released to the public soon.

The discussion on reduced ability to use judgement was FASCINATING! I agree with you totally though, it doesn't mean we addicts are not responsible for our actions.

While I was reading the parts of all the balanced chemical interactions I couldn't help but think of the guy at the circus who is balancing all those spinning plates (the brain) and I pictured me walking up to this guy and smacking the living fire out of him (taking drugs) causing him to drop all the finely balanced plates. He then starts all his plates spinning again (the brain trying to do its job) and I smack the living crap out of him (taking more drugs) causing him to drop all his plates again, etc ad nausea. No wonder why the brain gives up and says piss on you. Now, 5 months later I have the gall to wonder why this guy won't get all his plates spinning again...he isn't done smacking the living shit out of me yet!!! HAHA. I hate revenge. :)

Knowing this delicate chemical balance that exists gives me additional pause before I use any drugs. I wish they'd teach this shit in school instead of trying to scare kids with commercials about frying eggs...this is your brain on drugs. Give them the truth not some bullshit propaganda.

I can't believe how quick you found those smoking hot articles...are you some kind of research savant? :)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:39 pm 
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:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: You made me laugh...A research savant...too funny. I guess I do have a knack for honing in on exactly what I'm looking for. I'm glad you like it and it was what you were looking for. I hope others get something out of it as well.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:11 pm 
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I was thinking of taking a stab at condensing that article. It is probably longer than most people would be comfortable with, thought about trying to simplify it some too. It might take me a month, but I think I'm going to give it a shot.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:59 pm 
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hatmaker510 wrote:
Great discussion, Romeo. Yes, from everything I've read, opiates do activate the reward system in the brain. This is from opiates.com/opiates:

It's my understanding that a person can have a genetic predisposition to opiate addiction. When that predisposed person takes an opiate for the first time, it's like a switch was thrown in the brain. People WITHOUT this predisposition can use/abuse drugs, but eventually their body/brain tells them to stop. The addict's brain, however, doesn't have that "stop" feature. I've read that predisposed people already have altered brain pathways before they even use/abuse drugs. I also think I read/heard somewhere that as long as we are putting opiates (including suboxone) into us, that our brain is no longer making it's own endorphins, because we are getting them artificially from the opiate. Again, nothing to back that up.

Here's a good article/document about addiction and the brain: http://archives.drugabuse.gov/PDF/Persp ... urobio.pdf

I'm going to do some more research and bring anything good I find back to this thread. Thanks, Romeo for initiating this awesome discussion. I should have made the effort to learn this stuff way before now. Better late than never though!


In my family there is a definite predisposition for abuse, not just drugs but alcohol, which IMHO is the worst drug. When I went to the lecture that Dr Voklaw gave she spoke about and used visuals of the predisposed brain and the normal brain. There are many types of addiction, gambling, alcohol, shopping, what ever you cannot stop doing. I think this is a great thread to start, to get other opinions, and research that we find as well

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:07 pm 
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I agree, darkeyes, I think this is a wonderful thread. Things have been a bit quiet around here, but I'm really hoping more people will take part in this discussion. I'm pretty sure there are some people here with way more knowledge and understanding about the neuro-biological aspects of addiction and I'm looking forward to their input.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:28 pm 
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This is a very interesting, somewhat fascinating, discussion. I can relate to so much of it but it also makes my own specific, personal, situation so much harder to figure out. I have learned how us addicts often think that we are "special" that we are different than others, that we don't fit into the mold. I actually thought that as well for a while. Since learning that it is not the case, I have tried to always remember that I am not special - that I am like every other addict. The thing is, at times, things will come up - like this discussion - that seems to fly in the face of that. There is no doubt in my mind that I'm addicted to opiates and will always be. Much of me fits that mold. However, much others does not. For example:

Romeo made the comment "Another thing that convinced me that addicts 'think' different was using various drugs with friends over the years and discovering that some of them would use once a week, maybe twice or much less." That actually was me for a dozen years. When I first started all of this, I was that exact person. I would take a percocet or a Vicodin on a Friday night and then take nothing for a week or two. If I was planning on just "relaxing" at home with a Perc and friends called and said, "Hey come out and meet us," I did. I saved the Perc for another night. That is not like most addicts, and this went on for many, many years.

Then it comes to family history. I have none. No one in my family has suffered from alcohol or drug issues. Not my parents, not my grandparents, my brother, uncle, none of them. Why me?

I have never even tried pot, coke, speed, meth, any of it, a single time. I have never smoked a single cigerette in my life. I rarely drank and still rarely do. If I drink a dozen days out of the year it would be a lot. Actually half a dozen is likely more accurate. I have no interest in any of this - just keep me away from the pain pills.

So why this problem with opiates? Such a complex issue. And to make it even more complex, just as much as I don't fit the mold with the things I've just relayed, I most certainly do fit the mold with many other things including trying to quit on my own, doing things I would never otherwise do (lie, steal, cheat) in order to get opiate drugs. Put my health and my life in serious jeopardy - all for drugs.

And even perhaps all of this is still not unique. There very likely are many other people out there just like me that fit this mold. To say this whole issue of addiction is complex and extremely difficult to understand is an understatement!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:18 pm 
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Dark Eyes, you attended a lecture by Dr. Voklaw. She is THE guru of understanding addiciton as far as I know. That must have been great.

Donh--I don't know why 12 steps teaches us that we're not special...I believe we are, not just as addicts, but in general as people. Everyone on the planet is special. Anyway, I wanted to mention that I as well have no trouble with alcohol, I can't stand the crap. Gambling...hate it. I am not a sex addict although I do enjoy the hell out of it :), benzo's...didn't get anything off of them, Meth...no dice there either, just didn't turn my crank. I don't think being an addict means that every drug known to man is off limits to us. I also believe there are degrees of addiction, as with many other diseases or disorders. For example I am colorblind--reg/green deficiency, so is my brother, but he can see way more colors than I can. How can that be if we are both colorblind?? My degree of colorblindness is slightly worse than his.

Bottom line, addiction is so horribly understood that I have no doubt about your confusion, although I have to admit that I found it amazing that you could put that perc down when your friends called. Maybe opiate dependence would be a better descriptor for you??

Oh yeah, a lack of family history doesn't necessarily mean you can't become an addict.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:01 pm 
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hatmaker510 wrote:
I agree, darkeyes, I think this is a wonderful thread. Things have been a bit quiet around here, but I'm really hoping more people will take part in this discussion. I'm pretty sure there are some people here with way more knowledge and understanding about the neuro-biological aspects of addiction and I'm looking forward to their input.


I don't know much about the neuro biological aspects of addiction, just links that have been provided, and they were very helpful. I hope as well that people that have more knowledge about this one aspect of addiction post as well, any links to read would be most helpful.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:29 pm 
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For many years it has fascinated me as to why I tried drugs for the very first time. I had been taught all my life about how bad they were. I had seen other drug users who looked like scum bags and I definitely didn't want to be like them. Policemen came to our school and warned of the dangers of drug use. I knew drugs were bad and yet I put that first j in my mouth and took a hit. Was this just a kid being incredibly stupid? Was it peer pressure? Was it the fact that the guy who got me started looked nothing like a druggie?

Maybe a little bit of all of these? So, a few minutes ago I think I ran across one of the last pieces of the puzzle. In a nutshell it says we as adolescents will underestimate the power of the drug. I believe that's due partially to a lack of understanding of the true nature of addicition.

The offical summary of the findings are below.

"Individuals who are in treatment may think that they will be OK out of treatment. However, if they underestimate the power of drugs, they may be surprised that they relapse," Bickel said. "Similarly, adolescents may think that they can try drugs without ill consequence. But they may underestimate how powerful a drug is and therefore expose themselves to the drug."

To prevent recovering addicts from relapsing, they must be taught to anticipate, recognize and cope with situations in which they will be tempted to use drugs, Loewenstein said.

Now you tell me :x


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:38 am 
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Romeo wrote:
Dark Eyes, you attended a lecture by Dr. Voklaw. She is THE guru of understanding addiciton as far as I know. That must have been great.

Donh--I don't know why 12 steps teaches us that we're not special...I believe we are, not just as addicts, but in general as people. Everyone on the planet is special. Anyway, I wanted to mention that I as well have no trouble with alcohol, I can't stand the crap. Gambling...hate it. I am not a sex addict although I do enjoy the hell out of it :), benzo's...didn't get anything off of them, Meth...no dice there either, just didn't turn my crank. I don't think being an addict means that every drug known to man is off limits to us. I also believe there are degrees of addiction, as with many other diseases or disorders. For example I am colorblind--reg/green deficiency, so is my brother, but he can see way more colors than I can. How can that be if we are both colorblind?? My degree of colorblindness is slightly worse than his.

Bottom line, addiction is so horribly understood that I have no doubt about your confusion, although I have to admit that I found it amazing that you could put that perc down when your friends called. Maybe opiate dependence would be a better descriptor for you??

Oh yeah, a lack of family history doesn't necessarily mean you can't become an addict.


Two of them actually, every time she comes to my alma mater, I go to the lectrue. she is very powerful and passionate about this subject, it would be great if we coud u tube her. She is the head of NIDA right? Anyhow she really knows her stuff, and the first on blew me out of my chair.

And your right you do not have to be predisposed to addiction, some people just like the way it feels. I knew a person who's whole family never did anything, when I asked him why he said "Because its fun". (please note signamture change),

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:41 pm 
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Just a random thought,

We addicts all seem to have such common themes to our addiction, starts out innocent enough then BAM...your fucked...your a full blown addict before you know what hit you. It's all so mental, it's like the brain hides from your view how bad your getting until it's too late and then the brain pulls the blinders off so you can see just how messed up you are, but it's too late to do anything about it...why would our brains have evolved such an idiotic response to drug use?? Its like were pre-wired to fuck up...what possible evolutionary benefit could that serve!! We addicts must be way better at something than the general public is, I just don't know what the hell it is.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:47 am 
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As far as most addicts I know, they started using drugs to self-medicate, myself included, maybe because they felt they didn't fit in or wanted to do what the "cool" kids are doing hoping that they will be invited as part of the group. My entire family are drug addicts. From pill-poppers to full blown alcoholics. In fact, I'm going to see my uncle in a little while, who is in the hospital dying of liver failure from alcohol. What do we all have in common in my family; anxiety and depression. It runs through our family like cancer. Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and grandparents. We all self-medicate and use the drug(s) that help with those fellings we don't want to handle. Lots of them doctor-shop. For someone like me w/anxiety problems, opiates are THE magic bullet for getting rid of those problems. No need for anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, CBT therapy, etc. Opiates help with all those problems in one drug, better than anything offered to us legally. It also doesn't help when the govt. is lying to us, sending out movies like "Reefer Madness". The damn thing's a comedy now. In my case, when I tried my first joint I thought, "this isn't so bad. I wonder if the government is lying to us again about other drugs being harmful", and if you have a "type A" personality like myself, you're gonna try them, and I did. I too was one of those who could take a hit or two from a joint, then put it down and let it go out. It would last me a few days. I had friends that smoked an oz of GOOD pot every week. The last time I bought an oz, it lasted me 15 MONTHS. I think we all have our weakness, whether drugs, (including booze), sex, jealousy, lack of self-esteem, depression or just plain old curiousity. As for answers, they're are some out there. When I would be standing in like at the methadone clinic or talking to old friends and this topic came up, I would always tell people if they want to get a handle on what is going on in their lives and they don't want to see a shrink, go to Barnes and Noble, or any book store, grab a coffee and go to the section on medicine and psychology, grab a book and start reading. The answers are out there, you just have to look. People on the net just give their opinion on things that they may be dealing with or have dealt with, and a lot of it contradicts what others have said about that same topic. I feel better if I get info from a few books written by actual doctors in which everyone agrees on the same thing. Sometime the internet can be "information overload".


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:07 pm 
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A very short article about possible addiction gene: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/162933.php

Another: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/Addictions/3078

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:06 am 
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This an awesome topic. I went to a surgeon yesterday for an ongoing elbow problem. I used to be ashamed of my addiction. But over time and with this site, and educating myself, I quite proudly told him. He asked why I was on the suboxone and if it was because of my HS and I plainly informed him that I started taking it because I became addicted to my pain pills. Went off for a while and went back on for pain issues. I spoke of this without feeling an ounce of shame. I just felt like it was another medical problem and he is a doctor and he ought to get it. What was interesting is that he didn't seem to blink an eye or give me a funny look or start asking questions that are really accusations. It also helped him understand why I want to fix a problem that is only on a pain scale maybe a 3-5 at worst - ever - and sometimes only a 1. I can't take narcotics. I already have 2 chronic pain conditions I can't get rid of so I don't need a third, even if only pain of 3-5 at worst. I highly and whole heartedly believe this is a medical, genetic, biological disease that I couldn't have controlled if I tried.

I too was able for YEARS to take all kinds of mind altering substances without issues. I could keep weed on me no problem. I never drank until I was 21 and then did go on a binge but I got off the binge. I did methamphetamines in an experimental stage but didn't seem to have any issues when I decided it was interfering with my future. I just quit. I even did crack for 3 months straight one summer (the only summer I ever took off from college) and when it was time to jump back into rush for the sorority (drugs highly unacceptable and punishable by expulsion), I broke up with my boyfriend and went back to school, was the president of psi chi (honor society) and moved on. I actually used morphine for a week to get through the withdrawals and never went back for more morphine.

When my medical condition came on, I went 10 years without taking any pain killers for it. Then I took pain killers normally for at least a year or two before I just started feeling like I needed them for everything. Life was stressful and I was angry that I had this medical condition that was not only horribly painful and physically limiting but was also highly disfiguring. I felt like I shouldn't HAVE to live my life in pain and it became a battle against the doctor who was under-medicating me. I hated the way they made me feel when I had these obviously painful objective findings that they couldn't cure and I felt like I shouldn't have to live my life in pain. In fact........I shouldn't have to have pain at all. By this time I was extremely successful in my career. Owned my own business. Was making money hand over fist. I was invincible and I had a ton of disposable income. I didn't feel I should have to shame myself into asking for narcotics and ended up just getting them from a friend. After all....I could always stop before when I wanted to and had taken vicodin off and on for years without getting addicted to it. I wasn't afraid. I didn't believe the addiction warnings. I didn't really understand what "addiction" was because even with 3 months of being a crack addict, I could always stop.

I think opiates have a whole different set of properties than any of the other drugs in my opinion. Or for me anyways. I swear I became addicted within 3 weeks of solid oxycontin use and from then on out, it was this strange mind battle of realizing what had happened and trying to figure out how to get it back to normal. But the longer I took trying the worse it got and I just couldn't get a grip. I even intentionally went without and kicked it old school sweatin' it out upstairs for three frigging days just miserable. If only I had been afraid.

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. A couple days of that would scare the shit out of anyone into being careful with narcotics.

I have a family of addicts to some extent. My mom shops. My aunts both drink and smoke week like crazy. My grandfather was an alcoholic. It goes way back, except not on my dad's side. My sister tried a lot of the same drugs I did, but she always had a more automatic "stop" button than I did. Always. To this day, she can take pain killers normally. She never went on binges that I did. She could do cocaine for just a day. Not me. I always did it in a binge and then abruptly discontinued when I was just on the verge of things getting scary or out of control. With opiates.....I just went over the line and couldn't come home.

It isn't just with drugs that I was like this. It was with lot's of things. Getting in trouble at school. My big mouth. Work life. At home when we were kids I would do all kinds of things to my sister like put hydrogen peroxide in her hairspray, gel on her toothbrush, hide her car keys before work, let the air out of her tires.....but never slashed the tires or did anything permanent. I just always lived right on the edge of disaster from like age 2 (hit the babysitter over the head with a chair) forward.

Anyone who wants to suggest my "stop" button might be broken, I would have to agree with. Anyone who might say my judgment is off, I would have to agree with. I have always been plagued by depression and anxiety - since I can remember. I always felt separate from others as a kid. I always felt alone in a room full of people. I remember this when I was 2 or 3 even. Maybe, like with many things, my stop button was malfunctioning and after pressing it, holding it, messing with it, turning it on/off, on/off trying to test it out and get it to work, one day it finally just broke. It wore out.

I would love to know exactly what it is that causes addiction and how that process works. I do highly believe there is a big inherent personality difference between addicts and non-addicts though. All I know is the more they learn, the greater my chances of being vindicated in that I am not some shit bag who is irresponsible or doesn't care and the greater the chance they will figure out a cure before I die. I would love to be free or to know what that is before I die. I don't think I have ever been truly "free" from it.

If anyone actually read this....hahaha....you must be done with your Christmas shopping. :-)

Cherie

_________________
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

- Winston Churchill


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:01 am 
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This is a great topic, and a lot of people have already given some very thoughtful and insightful posts. I have always thought that addicts are not "made" they are "born" In other words, while it is certainly possible for a non-addict to become physically dependent upon opioid medication, the likelihood of that dependence morphing into full-blown addiction (again, for the non-addict) are slim. Typically, they can either taper off and quit, and just experience a few days of discomfort followed by a period of PAWS, or many of them will just stop taking stuff, "sweat it out" and then get on with their lives.

I've seen my wife do this after having been prescribed Percoset for neck pain. At one point, she took them daily, for about 4 or 5 months. Every single day, she took at least 2 or 3 percs, I think they were 5mg each. At the time she was in physical therapy for the neck injury and as time went on she began feeling better and better and started taking less and less of the percs, until one day she just stopped taking them. She admitted to me that for about 3 or 4 days she felt like shit (typical withdrawal symptoms) but after that she was fine, and never looked back. And here's the kicker: When she quit, she left about a dozen pills in the bottle. For WEEKS! Who the hell does THAT? :lol:

And that's my point: My wife is NOT an addict. She can take opioid medication for short or even long periods of time, then stop taking them and stay stopped. She experiences no compulsion to continue using. She doesn't obsess about the pills and she doesn't find the withdrawal from taking them to be all that difficult.

I call them "Earth People"

People who can take opiates without developing addictive behaviors. Earth People.

My brother-in-law, who is also my best friend and was my best man at my wedding is an Earth Person. Even at the ripe old age of 65, he still uses drugs recreationally. He smokes more pot than anyone I have ever met in my life, he drinks, beer and hard stuff too, and he uses percs and oxys and vicodin, but not daily. He's the kind of guy who can get his hands on 6 percs, take 2, then leave the other 4 in his drawer for weeks at a time. I just don't get it. I could NEVER do that! But he does it all the time, and he's been doing for as long as I've known him, which is well over 20 years now.

Earth People. It's something we are not. For whatever reason, we just are not wired that way. It's not our fault. Nobody purposely becomes an addict. Many people who don't understand this disease roll their eyes at addicts and say things like, "yeah, well, if you never took drugs in the first place, you would have never got addicted to them! So don't give me that disease crap!" The lack of compassion and empathy for addicts from Earth People stems from their inability to understand how anyone could become addicted in the first place, since most of them would not become addicted if they were to partake.......they simply don't get it. They don't understand it.

We've all seen the disdain and eye-rolling that accompanies that drunken uncle or friend who gets wasted at every family event or every company party, or whatever.....you know, that guy that can't stop drinking. The one that's the first one there and the last one to leave, the life of the party, until he's slurring his words, knocking things over and becoming more and more belligerent as the night goes on........you ever notice how everyone looks at that person with a sort of disgusted look on their face? How often do you see anyone looking upon that person as they would look upon a cancer patient who is in the throes of agony from their disease?

Earth People. They just don't get it. And we can't expect to, because they're just NOT going to get it. Not unless they are extremely open-minded and perhaps in a committed relationship with one of them (husband/wife/mother/father/sister/brother). My wife is an earth person. And she'll never fully "get it" but she tries very hard and now that she's had a chance to see suboxone in action in my life, it's helped to open her eyes more widely to the disease aspect of this illness. If a pill can have such a profound and immediate impact on such a wide array of symptoms, how else do we classify the condition that the pill has treated?

With all of that said, we, as addicts, must be careful not to count ourselves as completely blameless. I have always said, when you are an addict, you are not "responsible" for the things you do in active addiction, you are, however, "accountable" for those things.


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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