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Gambling Relapse Prevention Part 2...

Posted by kitcatlyon
kitcatlyon
I live life in Recovery, but my PASSION is writing and blogging to help others a
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on Wednesday, 12 March 2014
in Gambling Addiction 0 Comments

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Seekers,


Here are parts 2 & 3 to round out mt series on "Gambling Relapse Prevention" and it can be used for all types of addictions. In early recovery, we MUST have a "Daily Plan" ready at any time when we feel a build up, triggers, or urges come our way. It's a really good idea to start a daily journel as well. With journaling, you'll be able to loook back at them later on in your recovery and SEE hoe much growth you achieve on your journey. And remember to Live in the Moment, don't dwell on your past, and ODAAT!....*Cat*
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Now I know many may think, WHY is she doing all this? I’ll tell you why. I shared in my book about “WHY” I started writing again to begin with. It was a newspaper story I read about a woman at an “Indian Casino Hotel.” She had a room there and must have had a very bad Relapse or Slip, because she shot herself with a shotgun in her room. There was a note left, but police only disclosed a part of the note, “and please tell my family I’m sorry, I had relapsed and could not stop my gambling.”
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When I read that, a tear came down my cheek, as I could feel that woman’s pain. I knew exactly how she felt when she pulled that trigger. It’s because I almost was her, and could have been her! So I swore I would do all I could to help others who suffer, and who are stuck on the” INSANE CYCLE” of compulsive addicted gambling. NOT one more person should ever feel that “SUICIDE” is the only “OPTION” to quit your addicted gambling. I’m tired of all the loss of precious LIFE from Suicide from ALL TYPES of ADDICTIONS.
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*WE NEED TO REMEMBER~WE ARE A WORK IN PROGRESS*!!

So get your tool box out and a notepad for PART 2 of Relapse Prevention….
I happen to read an article about Addiction & The Brain. There is a little part that I’ll share here, because it explains how the brain gets involved in the confusion of addicts and addictions….”Courtesy from http://www.azccg.org Which is a fantastic resource for Gambling Addiction help and information, “Arizona Council Of Compulsive Gambling.”
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“Individuals who are more biologically at risk for addiction are likely to have a neurobiological basis for deficits in experiencing pleasure, reward and satisfaction. Additionally, they are more likely to be emotionally unstable and impulsive, or experience either over- or under-arousal. Addictive substances and behaviors act in some ways to “fix” such neurobiological risk factors. However, the addictive “cure” only serves to intensify the problem, by further aggravating the underlying biological problems.
Taken alone, this discussion of addiction in relation to the biology of the brain probably seems disheartening. But the mind is a component of the addiction equation, as well, and next month I’ll discuss tools for reducing our subservience to the brain’s neurotransmitter systems.

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Inhalant Awareness and Education

Posted by Allison Fogarty
Allison Fogarty
Allison Fogarty is an interventionist, Registered Addiction Specialist intern an
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on Tuesday, 11 March 2014
in Drug Addiction 0 Comments

March 16th marks the beginning of the week for National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week!

I work in assisting the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, a contact I made after my episode of Intervention, when I joined Director Harvey Weiss to speak on a panel with others affected by inhalant abuse in Washington DC.  Many of the people that I have spoken with were once inhalant addicts themselves or friends and family (especially parents) of inhalant users who devistatingly passed away while using inhalants. This is an organization that works on reducing, preventing, and making the public aware of inhalant abuse, a goal that we both have in common.

In their most recent newsletter, the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) defines inhalant abuse as "the intentional misuse, via inhalation, of common household, school and workplace products and chemicals to “get high.”  This definition also infers two primary inhalant abuse slang terms:  “Sniffing” and “Huffing.” In a sense the Process of“huffing” defines the slang terms for the Activity i.e. bagging (huffing from a bag); Glading (misusing air freshener); etc."

NIPC also regularly provides the public with updates and facts imperitive to spread the awareness and prevention of inhalant abuse.  Here is an update of some of the most recent facts:

1.  Any time an inhalant is used, it could be a fatal episode.  This could be the first time you ever use inhalants, or the 100th.  NIPC notes that there is research showing that "of those people who died from huffing, about one-third died at first time use."

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"And The Oscar Went To? ~ Relapse Prevention"!

Posted by kitcatlyon
kitcatlyon
I live life in Recovery, but my PASSION is writing and blogging to help others a
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on Monday, 03 March 2014
in Gambling Addiction 0 Comments

Hello Recovery Friends and New Visitors,


Since my last post, I'm Celebrating along side "The National Council Of Problem Gambling" all month long here on my Recovery Blog. As it is "Problem Gambling Awareness Month"....
So I "pledged" my blog to them to write, blog, and Advocate all things gambling recovery!


Yes boys and girls it’s time to take notes and open your “Skills” tool box and fill it with a few more tips on how to stay away from the “Relapse”….. http://www.ncpgambling.org
In my 1st blog post I spoke about the importance of "Step one," (if you follow & work the 12 Steps) and how it truly is the first HONEST step to starting recovery. You need to be willing to admit YOU are an addict as that it IS half the battle of your work.


We also know about “Phone Lists” that You should have one and USE it. I can not tell you how many times  calling another in recovery helped talk me out of my “trigger or urge” to go gamble. Most all the time the person can talk you out of it by reminding you the “HELL” of going out and having to start your time all over again. So lets talk a little about how to not have relapses while in recovery. As you can have none in yours, and if someone tells you otherwise they are full of SHIT! Relapse does NOT have to happen, nor “Be The Norm” as some councilors, therapists,, and specialists tell you. Many recover without a “binge or relapse.”

I have an excellent “Recovery Relapse Prevention Guide” work-book here on my blog on my recovery resources pages that was given to me when I started my long-term recovery 7 years ago. YES, it took me a few tries, 2 binges that almost killed me, and ended up in the hospital twice and in an Addiction/Mental Crisis Center twice, that’s why I rely on a STRONG Relapse Guide. I’ll be sharing from this guide snippets to help you so you won’t have to go through what I did! Here is a little from the guide;

RELAPSE PREVENTION

Relapse prevention is one of the most important aspects of treatment. In a study of many different addictions, approximately one/thirds of the patients relapsed within the first two weeks, sixty percent relapsed within the first three months, and sixty-seven within twelve months.
Most patients relapse within three months of leaving treatment. This is the period of highest risk. Members of Gamblers Anonymous must be willing to do almost anything to prevent relapse. They need to see themselves as clinging to an ice- covered cliff with their recovery support group holding the only rope. The most important thing they can do is go to meetings. Members who are working a daily program of recovery will not relapse. These behaviors are incompatible. Relapse is a process that begins long before making the first bet….
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Now I think we can all agree that those are lousy odds of recovery when we first start out, or if you’re coming out of treatment. But I learned the hard way that IT’S TRUE. The 2nd most important thing after admitting you are Powerless over your addiction is to find a Treatment program. There are many websites that offer Good Treatment Options. A couple that come to mind are, My Addiction http://www.myaddiction.com and http://gambling.supportgroups.com/ on support groups, set yourself up with a user & password and your enter a world of support, some Free treatment options for addicted gambling, and it’s confidential and anonymous! And also Gamblers Anonymous is an excellent resource too:

http://www.gamblersanonymous.org

*Here is a little more from the relapse guide, and feel free to “Copy & Paste” the guide for yourself to use, and it can be used for all types of Addictions*
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The Relapse Prevention Exercise for Gamblers is prevention, and requires working a daily program of recovery. The member must take his or her personal inventory at the end of every day. If any of the relapse symptoms become clear, immediate action must be taken.
Members must develop written plans detailing the exact things they are going to do if they get into trouble. Other people need to check each member daily for relapse warning signs. This can be done by family members, a sponsor, or someone from the workplace. This is a good reason for members to go to daily meetings and hang around other recovering people. Often other people can see what members are unable to see for themselves. The member needs to identify high risk situations that may trigger relapse, and to develop coping skills to deal with each situation. the more a member can practice these skills, the better off he or she will be in recovery. In meetings, members need to discuss high risk situations and help each other develop relapse prevention plans….

Each member will be different, most relapses occur when patients are experiencing the following high risk situations:
Negative emotions: Particularly anger and frustration. This could also be negative emotions such as boredom, jealousy, depression, anxiety, ect..
Social pressure: Being in a social situation where people are gambling, or being directly encouraged to gamble by someone. Interpersonal conflict: This can be a conflict with the parent, spouse, child, boss, friend, ect.. Positive emotions: Something positive happens and the member want to celebrate. This can be a promotion, wedding, birth of a child, graduation, ect..
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Here are some things YOU can do to be more aware and have a PLAN of action to keep YOU safe!;
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RELAPSE PREVENTION EXERCISE:

“DON’T TEMPT yourself, test your personal control and use an Exercise Plan”!!

Using the relapse exercise, members develop the skills necessary to deal with each of the high risk situations, then they practice the new skills until they become good at them. All members must role play gambling refusal situations, with an experienced member, until they can say no and feel relatively comfortable. They must examine and experience all their triggers, see through the first use, and learn how to deal with the euphoric recall.
Members must develop a plan for a slip. What are they going to do if they gamble again? Who are they going to contact? What are they going to say? This must be practiced again and again with other members.
The member must understand the behavior chain. They must also develop skills for changing their thoughts, feelings, and actions when they have problems. The members should know that gambling cravings will pass if they move away from the situation and use their new tools of recovery.


The Relapse Warning Signs
All relapses begin with warning signs that will signal you or your loved ones that you are in trouble. If you do not recognize these signs, you will decompensate and finally return to gambling again. All of these signs are reactions to stress, and they are a re-emergence of the disease. They are a means by which your body and mind are telling you that you are having problems. You need to recognize thirty-seven warning signs of relapse. You may not have all these symptoms before you begin gambling again, but you will have some of them long before you gamble. You must find which Symptoms are the most characteristic of you, and you must come up with COPING SKILLS for dealing with each symptom…..
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Listed below are the thirty-seven warning symptoms.
*Circle the ones that you have experienced before you gambled.*

1. Apprehension about well-being.
2. Denial
3. Adamant commitment to stop gambling.
4. Compulsive behavior
5. Compulsive attempts to impose abstinence on others.
6. Defensiveness
7. Impulsive behavior.
8. Loneliness
9. Tunnel vision.
10. Minor depression
11. Loss of constructive planning.
12. Plans begin to fail.
13. Idle day dreaming & wishful thinking.
14. Feeling nothing can be solved.
15. Immature to be happy.
16. Periods of confusion.
17. Irritation with friends.
18. Easily angered.
19. Irregular eating habits.
20.Listlessness.
21. Irregular sleeping habits.
22. Progressive loss of daily structure.
23. Periods of deep depression.
24. Irregular attendance at meeting.
25. Development of an “I don’t care” attitude.
26. Open rejection of help.
27. Dissatisfaction with life.
28. thoughts of social gambling.

29. Feeling of powerlessness or helplessness.
30. Self-pity
31. Conscious lying.
32. Complete loss of self-confidence.
33. Unreasonable resentments.
34. Discontinuing all treatment.
35. Start of controlled gambling.
36. Loss of control.
37. Overwhelming loneliness, frustration, anger, and tension.
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NOW, here is the “Fun and interacting” part of my recovery blog! I hope you will make this list, then how about you all leave a comment what # warning sign is the most difficult for YOU, and how YOU would handle or what skills would you use to help get you through one of the 37 Warning Symptoms? And since there is a lot to “Relapse Prevention” and I want you to get the MOST out of my blog posts to aid your recovery from addicted gambling, let do this blog post as a 2 or 3 part exercise? So this concludes the 1st part of relapse prevention, and I’ll give you a couple of days to “Comment” your answers. I’ll blog post PART 2 on Tue, March 4th, that evening after 6pm.
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I think this will be a fun idea so we can ALL LEARN a little something new together! And again, please feel free to copy and paste the full guide workbook listed on my Resources Page List! Together WE CAN RECOVER! If your interested, my current book is out NOW as e-book on Amazon Kindle! “Addicted To Dimes” (Confessions of a liar and a cheat) http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485 My true story of my life battling compulsive gambling addiction, living with Undiagnosed Bipolar, my childhood trauma, dark family secrets and Recovery!

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I Thank You all for taking time to come visit my recovery blog, and I appreciate all the LUV & Support TOO!
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GOD BLESS ALL,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

"When we believe in a Power Greater Then Ourselves, anything in LIFE is possible"!


 

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Why You Must File Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Against FMC's GranuFlo?

Posted by StephenBall
StephenBall
StephenBall has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, 03 March 2014
in Drug Addiction 0 Comments

German Medical Giant Fresenius Medical Care (FMC) dominated the dialysis treatment segment in America and probably the world over. It is the largest manufacturer of all the medical dialysis equipments and has several clinics and physicians of its own who administer kidney failure treatments on patients day in and day out. This medical giant came up with GranuFlo and NaturaLyte in the early 2000's. The drugs received approval from the FDA in 2003 and started functioning as the most commonly used dialysate in the process of dialysis. FMS (Fresenius Medical Care) became the leading supplier and completely dominated the U.S market.

Class I Recall of GranuFlo and NaturalLyte

2010 onwards stories started circulating of cardiac arrhythmia, cardiopulmonary arrest and metabolic alkalosis and sudden strokes leading to death among patients who were getting hemodialysis done. Suspicions were raised and lawsuits had started mounting against FMC's GranuFlo.

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Adult Children of Alcoholics: Caught in an Infinite Loop? (Part 2)

Posted by blwood
blwood
Barbara Wood is a licensed psychologist who practices in Bethesda, Maryland an
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on Monday, 03 March 2014
in Co-dependency 0 Comments

 

Increase“Trauma is to mental health as smoking is to cancer.”-Dr. Steven Sharfstein, Past President, American Psychiatric Association

Last week, I posted the first in a series of articles about children of alcoholics who remain trapped in an alcoholic lifestyle as adults. I examined the neurological underpinnings of a compulsive and  “infinite loop” of ongoing and deeply painful  involvements with partners and activities that reproduce the chaos of the addicted family of origin and endanger physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. But while psychologists are increasingly interested in the neurology of compulsive behavior, we tend to believe that it stems from a variety of causes.  Most  of us look for“biopsychosocial” explanations for behavior, including the  compulsion to repeat.  When treating adult children who are recapitulating a  painful past,   one psychosocial angle we typically want to explore is the quality of parent-child relationships in a patient’s family of origin. The nature of parent-child interactions is important for several reasons.  In this post, I will discuss howrelationships with caregivers either perpetuate an adverse infinite loop, or inoculate a child against an alcoholic lifestyle by shaping self-esteem and expectations of others, and by affecting a child’s ability to regulate intense feelings and to process and heal from difficult events.

Nearly everyone understands that our earliest  relationships affect us all our lives because theyprovide a model for us to follow as we engage with people outside the family. From the first moments of life, we form impressions of the world through interactions with our caregivers. Over time these impressions evolve and  are stored in the mind as mental representations of the self and  the other. Characteristic exchanges between self and others are also stored. When we internalizenurturing figures along with a representation of ourselves as loveable, it gives us a huge head start with respect to healthy adult adjustment.  It stands us in particularly good stead  as we strive to form healthy relationships with people outside our families.  The  support, encouragement and unconditional regard we receive from our parents forms the basis for good self-esteem and instills optimism about the world as a welcoming place.  If our parents cherish and love us, we tend to feel that we should be, and are likely to be valued and loved by others. In addition, our positive mental representations of our parents can be recalled and recruited, when no one else is around, to establish a sense of calm and hopefulness when troubling events occur. The ability to self-soothe is a critical resource in life, and it is a source of protection against the abuse of substances and activities that we might otherwise turn to in order to numb emotional pain. (Please continue reading.)

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When is enough really enough?

Posted by Allison Fogarty
Allison Fogarty
Allison Fogarty is an interventionist, Registered Addiction Specialist intern an
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on Sunday, 02 March 2014
in Drug Addiction 0 Comments

Everyone’s bottom in addiction is different.  When I was using I certainly felt invincible.  Or maybe it’s because I felt like I didn’t have anything left to lose.  I had given up, the high was the only thing left that I was seeking. I had no idea the dangers of what I was doing. I had no idea how close to death I had probably become.  Strangely, revolving my day around getting inhalants, sacrificing jobs, relationships, my ethics, being in car accident after car accident, and ending up on a television show focused on my addiction still did not convince me I was at my bottom.  I still had more fight and I’m sure had I not surrendered, that fight would have led me towards and into death.

I work in the field of addiction now and I hear every one of my clients’ stories.  The extremes are different.  Some people end up in treatment because their family demanded it and the client feels they haven’t bottomed out yet, that they have it under control.  Some have nowhere else to go, they’re living on the street and selling themselves and stealing to maintain their habit.  And some are petrified of their addiction, they’ve died before, or have mental impairments from seizures from their use.  I hear a lot: “My life isn’t that bad, I haven’t lost all my money, I’m not homeless, I still have a job, there’s no way I’ve bottomed out.”

Here is where I feel the term “bottomed out” can get misconstrued in our heads.  We want to believe that we’re ok, that we couldn’t possibly be going through this, that we couldn’t be an addict or an alcoholic.  But that’s where I think we are wrong.  Although I still had a beautiful apartment, a family that loved me, and someone paying my bills, I was morally and spiritually bankrupt.  I couldn’t see it, but I was no longer the Allison to be proud of, I no longer followed the path I believed in. I look at the person I am today and I realize that I did bottom out.  I let myself down.  Those physical items, those jobs, that apartment near the beach, the money, none of that compares to the person I’ve become without being active in my addiction, compared to that empty shell of a person I was, the pain I felt, the phone calls of tears, and the wishing for death that I was in the midst of my addiction.  I no longer cause the people in my life pain, I maintain a job of integrity, but most importantly, I respect myself and I can look in the mirror and not see self-loathing, disappointment, and regret.  I abused inhalants for a total of 18 months of my life, but it grabbed on to the pain I was feeling and attempted to fill a void, which took me on a fast track to bottoming out.  And I am so grateful that I was fortunate enough to wake up and surrender, and finally realize that enough is enough.  Everyone’s level of bottoming out is different.  But the results in recovery are all the same.  We become a greater version of the selves we all remember loving before addiction took hold of us.  And it is absolutely worth it.

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Even After 7 Years Of Recovery I Had 2 "Gambling Dreams" WHAT?...

Posted by kitcatlyon
kitcatlyon
I live life in Recovery, but my PASSION is writing and blogging to help others a
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 27 February 2014
in Gambling Addiction 0 Comments

Hello Recovery Friends & Welcome New Seekers!


“So it’s been sometime that I have blogged on a more personal level, and holy crap I have much to share. I keep having “Gambling Dreams”?
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I’m not sure that many of you know that I had celebrated my 7th year in “Recovery” from addicted compulsive gambling last month on Jan 29th, 2014.
I was having a talk with my hubby that I was feeling a little strange. Not like “triggers & Uuges” strange, well maybe. What I told him was, “after having 7 years away from the “Bet” (gambling), I was wondering if I would happen to get “The Seven Year Itch”?….
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Now I think we all know where this “slogan” comes from right? For those who are NOT married, or in a long-term relationship, we say, “if your relationship can pass the “7 Year” mark, then the rest of eternity together will be a “Breeze” and you’ll stay together once you pass that 7 year hurdle! Well, with my recovery, instead of worrying about the 7 year itch, I have had “Gambling Dreams” instead!! And they are very disturbing. So I wondered why after all this time would I have gambling dreams? It’s not like I obsess over gambling anymore. And they are feel SO REAL…
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So I thought I’d do a little research on some of my gambling support websites to find out WHY and HOW this happens. Am I subconsciously thinking of gambling in my head? I know I suffer mental disorders, but now after the second night in a row of gambling dreams has really got me bugging! I have heard people in my gamblers anonymous meeting talk about having gambling dreams, but I thought it was because they were just starting out in recovery, and in treatment we were taught that when you go through “detox & ”grieving” period in recovery, it maybe common to have dreams. But not when you have years of recovery.
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gamblingMachine.jpg
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It’s not that I’m a “must need to know” kind of person either, it bothers in a way that I know how baffling and cunning this disease is. It will lie in wait for a long time, and then out of no where rear its ugly head!
A few of my relapses happened that way. You get 3, 6, 8 months in, then BANG!, your back at out gambling all over again! So again I did search about recovering gamblers having gambling dreams, and guess what? I couldn’t find anything as to why this happens. The closet I got was from a site for women gamblers, and really didn’t mention about gambling dreams at all…
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Adult Children of Alcoholics: Caught in an Infinite Loop? (Part 1)

Posted by blwood
blwood
Barbara Wood is a licensed psychologist who practices in Bethesda, Maryland an
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 27 February 2014
in Co-dependency 0 Comments

Increase

 

The term “infinite loop” comes from the field of computer science and refers to a programming error that leads to the perpetual and unsuccessful recapitulation of an algorithm, or problem-solving procedure. In my book Adult Children of Alcoholics: The Struggle for Self and intimacy in Adult Life, I used this concept as a metaphor for the way in which many adult children seem irresistibly drawn to an “alcoholic lifestyle”.  The alcoholic lifestyle can include compulsive drinking and drugging, ongoing destructive involvements with addicted or enabling parents, and the acquisition of new life partners who reprise important psychic themes of the childhood home, including instability, exploitation, dishonesty, and betrayal.

In recent posts, I’ve talked about genetics, trauma,  and substance-related  changes in the brain as the “usual suspects” behind many addictive problems.  They are also frequently the culprits when adult children–even those who avoid substance abuse and dependence–remain ensnared in the destructive and painful relational dynamics they experienced as children. It is well-known that genetics affect temperament as well as risk for mental illness and substance abuse and addiction.  But environmental factors such as stress and trauma are also powerful factors that influence the development and maintenance of an alcoholic lifestyle.  This is the first in a series of posts aimed at helping ACOA’s with an alcoholic lifestyle  to exit their infinite loop, and it explains how trauma-related changes to the brain predispose them to become mired in it.

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It's Not Personal....It's Strictly a Brain Disease

Posted by blwood
blwood
Barbara Wood is a licensed psychologist who practices in Bethesda, Maryland an
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 27 February 2014
in Alcoholism 0 Comments

Increase

I didn’t really expect the Godfather to figure prominently in any of my blog posts, but I thought that paraphrasing Michael Corleone  here might be a good way to start a discussion about addiction as a disease vs. addiction as a choice.  It is my experience that family members (and addicts themselves) still struggle greatly with the feeling that  excessive drug and alcohol use are essentially moral problems.  So I think it’s always important, in treatment, to look at  the mounting evidence that addiction to substances, as well as certain compulsive activities,  actually change the brain in ways that undermine the ability to make  healthy choices. Learning about the neurological impact of addiction can help everyone affected by it to find compassion for their struggle with a devastating illness.

There is an ever-increasing amount of data, including results  from neuroimaging studies, that support the definition of addiction held by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, which is that,”Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry”.  Today we understand for example, how substance abuse and even activities like gambling, affect the action of dopamine in the brain.  Dopamine is the substance released by  neurons in the reward centers of the brain whenever we do something pleasurable.  The brain has evolved to reward us for doing things useful to the survival of the species–such as  eating and procreating, and a flood of dopamine is the reward we get for participating in these activities.  However, drugs of abuse, gambling, binge-eating  and even excessive internet use can cause the reward centers of the brain to release far more dopamine than we’re used to getting, and if this  happens on a regular basis, the brain remodels itself to defend against the flood of  dopamine it’s receiving.  It begins to produce less of the stuff on its own and it becomes less sensitive to  it as well.  As addicts develop this “tolerance” to their drug or activity of choice, they need more and more of it to achieve the pleasure they’re used to getting from their habit, and the brain’s reluctance to produce dopamine on its own means that they also feel less pleasure from doing the things that used to make them happy. Consequently, drug rewards eventually become more important to addicts than anything else. I believe addicts when they tell me that their need to get high  actually makes them stop thinking about other things, including food and including people, that are otherwise important to them.  I believe them because what they’re saying is completely consistent with changes that technology now allows us to  see in the reward centers of  addicts’ brains.

Other parts of addicts’ brains change too.   In addition to this malfunction of the reward circuitry, there is a weakening of the executive control mechanisms in the pre-frontal cortex.  This is the  part of the brain that  helps people to regulate emotions and impulsive behavior.  So heavy drinking (including intermittent binge drinking) undermines the very functions that are needed to make healthy decisions about future drinking. Moreover,   the brain isn’t so quick to heal once someone abstains from alcohol and other drug use. A recent study of current and former cocaine users for example,  found that even after 4 years of abstinence, there were abnormalities in some brain regions involved with reward processing.

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Establishing Emotional Honesty in Alcoholic Families

Posted by blwood
blwood
Barbara Wood is a licensed psychologist who practices in Bethesda, Maryland an
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 27 February 2014
in Co-dependency 0 Comments

Increase

Last week I wrote about the power of one parent who remains emotionally sober to preserve the mental and emotional well-being of children growing up in a family struggling with addiction. A colleague,Glenn Richardson who is a trainer and consultant in Texas, responded to my post noted that 12 step guidance about emotional honesty, openness and willingness points the way for parents who are striving for emotional sobriety. I agree with Glenn that emotional honesty is a crucial pillar of emotional sobriety. But what exactly does emotional honesty in an alcoholic family look like? Two things come immediately to my mind.

First of all, there is the classic matter of acknowledging the elephant in the room. Are you (or the family you’re treating) discussing addiction as a central fact of life (perhaps the central fact of life) in the home? Recovering parents often ask me what…or if…they should speak at all about the problem. In fact, I think they must speak and must offer age-appropriate explanations of the addiction, just as families should openly and honestly discuss any other medical disorder that is affecting a loved one. Children who don’t receive important information about problems that are afflicting their parents are left to their own devices to explain the problem and the troubling events that stem from it. They will invent explanations using their own immature cognitive and emotional resources to do so. Children are “ego-centric” in the sense that, lacking the capacity to see the big picture, they seem themselves as the center of most family events. This leads them to believe that they are responsible for the problems–that the adults they love are experiencing distress and behaving badly because of them. This can cause real damage to the sense of self and self-esteem.

Another important aspect of emotional honesty is a willingess on the part of the adults in the family to express their own feelings about important events in the family–in a contained and proportionate way of course. Sadness and anger are natural things to feel about illness of any kind in a family. Children know when their parents are unhappy and worried, even when parents think they are concealing it well. Parents are often surprised at their childrens’ responses when they finally admit that they are sad/or angry about the circumstances the family’s facing. I remember well what happened when one father, who had been keeping a stiff upper lip about his separation from his drug-addicted wife, finally told his young son how sad he felt that his wife had left the home. His normally reserved son began to sob about his own grief. This dad had always believed that his son was temperamentally quiet and limited in his ability to express feelings. However, now it seemed that what he’d needed all along was his dad’s permission to grieve openly about his mother’s departure.

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