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Tue Mar 29, 2016, 03:28 AM

My journal about addiction

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by Stuart G (a host of the Addiction & Recovery group).

I am starting to write again. Hopefully more and with a more stable production, than so far. I feel I have something of value and I want to have no regrets about not making the needed effort. And looking at the bullpukky that is published about addiction, I feel that a restoration of our understand of addiction is gravely needed.

I want it to be a combined journal about my work ethics and the progress in explaining how addiction works. Explaining it to myself and anyone who would find value in that kind of understanding.

I wont write much about my own period of drug addiction because it is far in the past and because I tend not to think about it.

My main focus is self control, because that is how my brain is wired. But first step needs to be a detailed exploration of the causes, connections and process that keeps addiction running, the causal chain of addiction, so to speak.

I want to start by taking a look at food addiction and then make a detailed comparison with addiction to "hard drugs", ei. heroin, cocaine and other drugs that directly affect the dopamine systems in the limbic brain.

I hope this is not against any rules of this forum, but if it is, please do as you see fit.

So checking the box for "Add this thread to My Journal" for the very first time...

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply My journal about addiction (Original post)
Jemmons Mar 2016 OP
notawinger Mar 2016 #1
Jemmons Mar 2016 #3
Jemmons Mar 2016 #4
Jemmons Mar 2016 #2
notawinger Mar 2016 #5
Jemmons Apr 2016 #7
Jemmons Apr 2016 #6
Iggo Apr 2016 #8
Jemmons Apr 2016 #9
Iggo Apr 2016 #10
Jemmons Apr 2016 #11
Jemmons Apr 2016 #13
Electric Monk Apr 2016 #12
Jemmons Apr 2016 #14
Jemmons Apr 2016 #15
Jemmons Apr 2016 #16
notawinger May 2016 #17
Jemmons May 2016 #18
notawinger May 2016 #19
Jemmons May 2016 #20
Stuart G Jun 2016 #21

Response to Jemmons (Original post)

Tue Mar 29, 2016, 11:09 AM

1. Awesome

I would love to hear your thoughts. Coming from a former user provides valuable insight, although everyones path is different, I think there are commonalities. It is good to hear from those who have overcome addiction.

My son told me I just don't understand why he can't quit using. I believe the mind is a poweful thing, if you truly want to quit you can. Maybe I'm wrong and I don't understand. I look forward to your thoughts.

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Response to notawinger (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 29, 2016, 02:30 PM

3. This is why i want to "write in public":

It makes it easier to get stuff done, when you feel more connected to the people who could make use of the progress made!

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Response to notawinger (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 29, 2016, 02:34 PM

4. And to comment more specifically on your statement:

"if you truly want to quit you can"

The plan is to explore in great detail the link and lack of link between the "want" and the "can" in that understanding.

This is off course the whole subject of self control psychology and self control physiology.

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Response to Jemmons (Original post)

Tue Mar 29, 2016, 02:24 PM

2. First a bit of "tetris": Turning bits of science to make them fit and build from the ground up

The desire for some researchers (Davis et al., 2011) seems to be to make food addiction an instance of a general class of addictions, so that food addiction shares chemical mechanisms with ´conventional addictive drugs´. In this view the task is to uncover the causal path from overeating to changes in brain chemistry or brain physiology that will support an ongoing addiction.

The problem with this strategy is that it presupposes:

a) That conventional drug addiction is in fact supported by changes to the brain that are caused by the addictive drugs themselves.
That this is not the case needs to be argued separately.

b) That we for food addiction can map out a similar causal path

c) That there are no other valid explanations for food addiction

The alternative strategy that we are going to explore is based on the view that food addiction is not primarily supported by changes that are specific to the intake of food - ei. not the effect of changes that can be traced to chemical or physiological effects of the food items ingested.

Instead of assuming that, we are going to have a look at the energy circuits (mainly glucose metabolism) that eating feeds (in the most literal sense) and the consequences that different states of energy supply or depletion has on brain function in general and on self control in particular.


In simple terms the strategy is to explore food addiction for a general mechanism that can be applied in explaining the wider scope of addictions, including those that are now seen as caused by effects of the addictive substance. Instead of treating food addiction as a subspecies of drug addiction we are going to treat drug addiction as a subspecies of resource addiction, or more loosely a kind of food addiction.




Davis, C.ab , Curtis, C.a, Levitan, R.D.b, Carter, J.C.c, Kaplan, A.S.b, Kennedy, J.L (2011) Evidence that 'food addiction' is a valid phenotype of obesity, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21907742

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Response to Jemmons (Original post)

Tue Mar 29, 2016, 04:57 PM

5. This is fascinating

I believe I have read eating a poor diet makes the brain crave unhealthy foods even more. It stands to reason drugs would do the same, it changes the brain. I believe the changes can be reversed by changing the behavior. Easier said than done but not impossible. It would probably be easier to change ones diet than to give up hard drugs, but addiction is addiction. I could be wrong but I do believe like you stated self control plays a major part.

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Response to notawinger (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 13, 2016, 05:07 AM

7. The importance of food addiction is that it is a model of general addiction that is easy to

research and understand and can provide a general model of how addiction to drugs, medications, gambling or shopping works. We are all addicted to oxygen, food and sex because these items sustain us as individuals and sustain the human race. Same is true for other species and any species in our evolutionary past. Addiction to drugs like heroin depend on activation of compulsive behavior patterns that in their original form are promoting survival and procreation.

This is the reason why rational thinking is not a strong antidote to addictive behavior: Instinctive behaviors are promoted by brain structures that are not under the control of our rational mind. If you want a person to act compulsively you need to hijack some instinctive behavior pattern and inject the action as an instance of that biological compulsion.

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Response to Jemmons (Original post)

Wed Apr 13, 2016, 04:57 AM

6. What is the four stroke model of addiction?

What is the four stroke model of addiction?

The Four Stroke Model of Addiction describes addiction as a “vicious circle”. Specifically addiction is described as based on four phases that in a cyclic pattern enhance the influence of each other. These are:
Drug taking or other short term coping strategies
Changes to the personal environment including change that are consequences of short term coping strategies
Stress exposure, including stress exposure due to changes in personal environment
Stress reactions and changes to the state of your brain that favors short term strategies

This model is an adaptation of the model of stress reactivity proposed by Jon Kabat-Zinn

from
http://www.resourceaddiction.com/faq/

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Response to Jemmons (Original post)

Sat Apr 16, 2016, 05:43 PM

8. Yes. Be very careful about putting your "war stories" in your journal.

As the old joke goes....

Q: What's another word for Journal?
A: Evidence.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #8)

Sat Apr 16, 2016, 07:26 PM

9. Yes. I understod exactly nothing in your post.

Perhaps more words would make it clear what you mean?

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Response to Jemmons (Reply #9)

Sat Apr 16, 2016, 07:28 PM

10. Have a wonderful day!

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Response to Iggo (Reply #10)

Sun Apr 17, 2016, 02:29 AM

11. Jokes aside...

The four stroke model makes it easy to understand how things not drug related in general can enhance drug addiction. In the case that your drug taking history involves either "war" as in violent conflicts and/or crimes against the law, it will affect your ability to represent yourself openly, accurately and honestly. That is turn has consequences for the levels of support, understanding and motivation that you have at your disposal.

This would come under the heading of:
Changes to the personal environment including change that are consequences of short term coping strategies
Leading to
Stress exposure, including stress exposure due to changes in personal environment

Stinking up your own environment in subtle and less subtle ways is to me a core part of addiction.
This is also reflected in the "anonymous" part of the AA movement. It is not clear to me if they have a program that effective counters it or if they just take advantage of the dynamic to "grow the business".

But dealing with this side of addiction is probably one of the things that gradually moves you from having a strong risk of relapse to being stable in your abstinence over time (say 5 years).

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Response to Jemmons (Reply #11)

Sun Apr 17, 2016, 03:08 AM

13. Masturbation Is A Direct Path To Satan

Last edited Sun Apr 17, 2016, 06:51 AM - Edit history (2)

Another point about this is that shaming is mostly counterproductive if the goal is not exactly to socially shame, exclude and weaken the target. If you pile on the shaming as in the "Christian" message in the headline you will fuel the cycle of stress exposure and short term thinking that you want to be seen as a savior from. How this kind of skullduggery gets away with labeling itself and christianity is beyond me. But the christians are not the only ones being hypocrites in exactly this way. You can argue that the "was on drugs" is modeled over the same dynamic, just amped up with actual laws, actual trials and actual sentences on top of the moralistic nonsense. In this light the war on drugs is in no way an honest mistake but a brutal system of oppression on black youth and who ever else is straying from the totally arbitrary line of demarcation.

The real fuel for the war on drugs might turn out to be the instinctive and irrational feeling that "our kids are better" and should inherit the world while all other kids can just go to hell.
It is not really so christian viewed from this angle then.

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Response to Jemmons (Reply #9)

Sun Apr 17, 2016, 02:55 AM

12. Folsom Prison Blues

 

might get taken literally?

I woke up in a strange place with a head full of cotton more than once, with no idea how I got there and no plan on how to get home, fwiw. It kinda sucked. Sobriety is much safer, for sure. Much more detail would probably be TMI.

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Response to Electric Monk (Reply #12)

Sun Apr 17, 2016, 03:20 AM

14. First thing I ever heard about China White was a story about a guy who woke up totally blacked out

about anything between waking up and taking the drug. Totally blacked out but with a real strong urge to repeat as soon as he could get his greedy fingers on more of the drug. A good reminder that we are in control of just a small part of our brain and informed about even less.

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Response to Jemmons (Original post)

Sat Apr 23, 2016, 03:35 AM

15. Self control in the tank

The traditional view on self control is that some people are just better and do exert more self control because this is a “trait” or some kind of natural ability. This model of self control has also been part of the support for the slightly more extreme view that some people exert more self control because they are better human – that is better in some moral capacity.
In this view self control springs eternally from a well of moral righteousness or rectitude, ie. from the assumed fact that your actions are justified and that you are leading a life that is pleasing to God. And in this model it makes sense to spend time on bible studies in order to gain more control over your urges and behaviors. This is clearly getting quite far away from any scientific thinking – past or present – but has nevertheless informed attempts to deal with alcoholism and other addictions...

More at:
http://www.resourceaddiction.com/self-control-tank/

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Response to Jemmons (Original post)

Fri Apr 29, 2016, 06:01 AM

16. Whacamole Advice Waste

When you get some really good advice you might want to follow it. If it really is good advice, then you should follow it. Right?
So why dont we improve upon getting good advice? Are we just dead set against getting smarter? Are we deliberately trying to sabotage ourselves? Are we just stubborn? Viewed from an ordinary perspective this might be a bit puzzling. But viewed from any advisers perspective, this is really a problem. And hard to explain.

Why would people who need to change their behavior be more resistant to advice than people who dont really have such a need? That is: Why would an addict be especially prone to rejection of advice? Is this an effect of addiction or a cause of it?

http://www.resourceaddiction.com/whacamole-advice-waste/

Still needs some work, but almost there...

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Response to Jemmons (Reply #16)

Mon May 2, 2016, 02:48 PM

17. I enjoy your posts Jemmons

They make one think! I sure wish there were easy answers to addiction it would certainly improve the lives of many.

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Response to notawinger (Reply #17)

Tue May 3, 2016, 08:02 AM

18. Thx! Its not ever going to get easy. But it is not impossible either. Well at least not if you dont

stumble around in complete darkness as seems to be what happens a lot.

Having moved the site yesterday (server problems..) i'm now back to writing and rewriting again.

I am going to have a go at the 4 stroke structure from a slightly more technical angle:

DD -> EFC -> RE -> ST -> DD....

Where:
DD = Delay Discounting or the tendency towards short term thinking/acting
EFC= Emotion Focused Coping or the tendency towards mending mood instead of mending practical situation
RE = Reduced Environment, or the tendency to make your life situation worse by your actions, and
ST = Stress, that shift your brain into short term thinking and DD.

The more technical version of the four phases will allow me to draw upon more established sources and give the model a better anchoring in biological and psychological thinking.

I also want to have another go at the link between shame and addiction: After just a quick glance is not at all clear why these should be connected, but when you start to consider that pretending and other "appearance management" is a big drain on regulation resources it becomes a bit less strange.

I was also reminded about the work on "Stigma" by Erwin Goffman way back in the 70'ties. My feeling is that the present models of addiction have big glaring hole just where the impact of your personal environment should be. KabathZinn and his stress model does a bit to help fill that gap, but he is a bit short on details. Perhaps I'm missing something, but at least I'm on the hunt for a better alternative.

In the medical model of addiction you don't need to account for any impact of the personal environment, because on that model addictive drugs are what makes you addicted.

So a central thing to argue is the impact of environment vs. the impact of drugs on self regulation capacity. As most people don't know much about brain physiology or executive function the medical model has won favor rather unopposed. That could change though.

So much to do.....











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Response to Jemmons (Reply #18)

Tue May 3, 2016, 08:01 PM

19. Definitely looking forward to it


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Response to Jemmons (Original post)

Sat May 14, 2016, 07:42 PM

20. Dependency Addiction and Causes



....when you get into addiction territory the opinions starts to differ with regards to what the causes of addiction are. Or more precisely: What is the cause of the deficit of self control in relation to the task. Why would an addict not be able to break the dependence on drugs? There are three basic flavors of theory for this:
1. Drugs are just so physiologically addictive that is takes more self control that most people can muster.

2. Drugs do damage to the brain that will weaken the level of self control sufficiently that there is no way back out of addiction. Or at least not an easy one.

3. A lack of self control from a variety of causes (including drug related ones) will tend to make any drug dependence an addiction. While this does not exclude physiological damages from addictive drugs playing, these are just seen as part of a broader picture and perhaps not very important ones.





http://www.resourceaddiction.com/dependency-addiction-causes/
Needs more work....

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Response to Jemmons (Original post)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 03:18 PM

21. About this journal...it seems to violate the purpose of this group

Purpose of this group........

"A supportive resource for people recovering from addictions (drugs, alcohol, over-eating, gambling, etc.) which negatively affect all areas of their lives, and for friends and family of recovering or active addicts. "

A close look at the comments and discussion seem to point to a series posts which violate this principle..Indeed it seems to me that this is about a self analysis in the writers view of what is and is not an addiction and his view. It goes against the purpose that this is for recovery and not deep analysis of chemical and non chemical roots for addiction.

This group is not about deep brain analysis, but for people who are recovering...We rarely talk about.."self control" as a means of recovery..I have been a "food addict" for a very long time...I have been in Overeaters Anonymous for over 35 years. Sadly, I see very little about recovery in this series of posts...for friends and family of recovering or active addicts.....or for the still struggling addict.. Deep analysis of "self control" is not a goal of recovery.

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