Brains of Addicts Are Inherently Abnormal

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posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 07:01 AM
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Two more things I'll add to this:
In days, up to and including the Victorian period

1. People would need to rely on alcohol to kill bacteria in drinking water.

2. People would rely on opium or opiates for their analgesic and antidiarrheal properties.




posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 08:53 AM
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Originally posted by lostviking
This article demonstrates why addicts self-medicate and would be beneficial in a court hearing. It is ridiculous in this country that instead of helping and rehabilitating the mentally ill or addicted, that we imprison them and further destroy their lives with criminal charges.



I agree. But there is so much money involved in the lucrative prison industry that I find even with new knowledge of the human brain, society's 'burning of witches' mentality of the mentally ill will likely be slow to change. My state massively cut funding for mental health and seems to be increasing it's capacity to lock up the sick rather than offer any real help.

Again, the more one learns about the role of the brains neurotransmitters and what it takes to maintain levels necessary for adequate functioning, the more one can learn what needs to be done to help mediate the situation rather than to simply make it worse. The most common answer now to try and restore low sertonin or dopamine levels seems to be to have every doctor on the planet rush to write out a script for another SSRI. In a society who's 'leadership' at the top chimes 'just say no' as the offical policy, it seems odd it is pushing these new *legal* drugs as fast as it can. Millions of kids on Ritalin and other synthetic drugs, I work in a professional setting and it is amazing the number of my colleagues on doctor prescribed SSRIs.
edit on 5-2-2012 by Tecumte because: spelling correction



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 09:09 AM
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Originally posted by type0civ
reply to post by MarlboroRedCowgirl
 


Seems to me you need to break open that big book again.

And I don't buy the genetic predisposition theory either. I know lots of addicts who are the first and only in their family.


Yeah so? Like genetic mutations don't occur? Anyway, an addict is just a patient like all patients. Problem is that rehabs are about making money and totally healed addicts are no income. Years ago there were already ways of rewiring addicted brains so that the natural balance would be returned (as in enough of the right neurotransmitters at the right time).



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 09:29 AM
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Originally posted by MarlboroRedCowgirl
Drug abuse can cause short term brain abnormalities, however I have never heard of a case where drug abuse alone caused a complete re-wiring to think and act a certain way.

Neurogenesis is the process by which the brain re-grows brain cells that have been damaged. When an addict comes to recovery and abstains from use any damaged cells will eventually regenerate.


This just isn't true. I think you're confusing neurogenesis with neuroplasticity.

Neurogenesis happens in our youth, and to cells related to memory throughout our lifetime.

If someone sufficiently damages an area of their brain from heavy drug use, the original neural networks will be permanently dead. What can happen is through very hard work, someone can recruit neighboring brain regions to take over some of the processes which are needed for daily activities and interests. It may or may not do the task as well as the original. It may also bring about savant-like abilities and talents.

We can grow more axons, dendrites, and glia, but the genes required for neurogenesis is mostly deactivated after a certain age.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 09:34 AM
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Hmm I am not sure I have stated my opinion correctly previously. The "some are predisposed, some aren't" argument has some validity to it. However, my thought was that that this thread was in reference to drug adicts. Now, I have met many individuals in my life who exhibit impulsive behavior, have an unmanageable life, and regularly if not daily use some sort of harmful substance. Life is difficult, I don't need to tell anyone that; and during especially stressful, difficult seasons in life some turn to drugs or alcohol for comfort. When that particular season ends and things get better, the harmful substance abuse ends as well.

In my belief, if you can take it or leave it, you are not an addict. You may exhibit addictive behavior (everyone does,) but there is a clear-cut difference in my mind. Why? For me, when things are going fantastic and the world is rosy and wonderful, I want to use. When things are terrible, awful, and hard; I want to use. When things are just normal, I want to use.

I have seen people try drugs known to be the most addicting and they have not become addicted. If I use that drug, it takes to me like butter on pancakes. Simply because a drug is addicting does not mean everyone who tries it becomes addicted.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 09:44 AM
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reply to post by unityemissions
 


You do have a good point. However, I was basing that article on Fred Gage's fairly recent findings on neurogenesis in the adult brain. You can find a review of his work here. Salk's Fred Gage
His research has found adult neurogenesis to occur in the hippocampus, but not in the cerebral cortex; which is why I say your argument is founded. I still believe that the brain, like any organ, does recover from damage. Trust me, I have seen my share of people I am certain drugs have practically lobotomized. However, they are still able to function, they simply think and behave on a different wavelength; which makes social interaction difficult.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 09:55 AM
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reply to post by MarlboroRedCowgirl
 


A friend of mine is in the same situation you describe. Started real early, and only recently stopped alcohol and marijuana. He did hard drugs from age 13-18, trying out just about everything.

After quitting hard drugs, depression, agoraphobia, panic attacks, and the like haunted him for several years. He switched his diet, started taking nutritional supplements, and attacked various cognitive skillsets to rewire his brain.

Now, he has no agoraphobia, panic attacks, and the depression is but slight. He scores high marks on most cognitive tests, but still is "on a different wavelength". He doesn't get a good chunk of simple humor. Facebook one liners are beyond him. He doesn't find joy in the simple pleasures most other people do, but is okay to sit and ponder the big picture, and start up companies to try and push his ideas into the limelight.

Over a month ago, he quit alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes cold turkey, and started doing crossfit (high intensity exercise) and olympic weight lifting. His remaining delusions, and anxiety subsided, and he feels content being "off".

Judging from his friends who took the same route as he early on, most don't fare so well. I believe genetics and upbringing interact in a very complex way, and the end result is someone who makes it as a recovering drug-addict, or a recovered drug user.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 10:17 AM
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Originally posted by DerepentLEstranger
so elephants eating fermented fruit
and getting drunk are doing so cause of brain abnormality?

reindeer eating fly agaric have a brain abnormality?

and little kids that whirl around to get dizzy have brain abnormalities?
better ban swings and Sit 'n Spins as they pander to the abnormally brained.


sure ...

now tell me what a normal brain is supposed to look like.

good luck with that one




I think you need to read up on the word addiction. You can use drugs without being a drug addict just like how you can go out for a drink without being a alcoholic.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 10:41 AM
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reply to post by unityemissions
 


"After quitting hard drugs, depression, agoraphobia, panic attacks, and the like haunted him for several years. He switched his diet, started taking nutritional supplements, and attacked various cognitive skillsets to rewire his brain".-ue

Yes, I'm absolutly convinced applying methods such as these can be a foundation for trying to help in the recovery from any destructive addiction and their lack of implementation and the 'just say no' mentality (without the proper support in place) IMo causes absolutely dismal failure rates for those trying to lead more 'normal' lives wihtout the use of their crutches. I would so love to see policies based on good science take the place of polices based on profit and the witch hunt mentality.




edit on 5-2-2012 by Tecumte because: spelling



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 12:59 PM
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Originally posted by mainidh
reply to post by The GUT
 

What a shame... I had a copy of the Big Book and never picked it up for the fact I am not religious at all and putting my faith in God does not sit well with me..

I just picked it up.

Every second chapter is about how God saved them.... it's like going to church. Just annoys the hell into me.

ugh, shame.. I kept it for so long after the meetings I used to go to told me that it does not have to be God... but a god by any other name is still a god...

Are you, God? If not: What the heck are you carrying on about? Don't get your drawers wedged. Breathe deeply and work on your reading comprehension.

Some find the God of the Bible, others imagine the group as a higher-power for awhile or forever. Some the eternal ideal of Wisdom.

What most alcoholics/addicts find is that they can't do it themselves on will power alone. There are Atheist A.A.s you realize, right?

I'm not an A.A. fanatic. I appreciate it though. I don't think Bill W was a perfect saint before or even close after alcohol. I don't think A.A.--or the Big Book--is for everybody. Or perfect.

I do think as a whole--and wholly reflected in the book--is a wisdom that far exceeds yours at this point.

Good luck, hope you're doing well. And about that extreme touchiness at the mere mention of God or god or Higher-Power...you should probably delve into the genesis of that dynamic within your psyche. Appears there's some damage there...a lot of us have been there and worked through that.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 01:09 PM
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posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 01:39 PM
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Originally posted by The GUT


I'm not an A.A. fanatic. I appreciate it though. I don't think Bill W was a perfect saint before or even close after alcohol. I don't think A.A.--or the Big Book--is for everybody. Or perfect.

I do think as a whole--and wholly reflected in the book--is a wisdom that far exceeds yours at this point.


I could not agree more with this quote. There is no one way to recovery. Every addict seeks out their own path. I enjoy AA, I appreciate the fellowship, comradery, and healing that occurs there. i am also by no means an AA fanatic, and I have met a few. As a matter of fact, I believe AA can be taken a little to far. It is a program that is to be worked thoroughly, however my husband and I met someone who went to 8 meetings a day and drank untold pots of coffee and smoked two packs of ciggeretes. My husbands best advice for him was "go home man, you've had one to many meetings today."

Everything in life can be taken to excess, even positive things. Does it mean those things in and of themselves are inherently evil? No, of course not. AA is about building a collective conciousness based on unity, service, and recovery. This is what makes up the Big Book, which is why it is such a powerful tool for the newcomer.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 04:09 PM
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reply to post by predator0187
 


A predisposition is just that.

A PREDISPOSITION.

Maybe it accounts for 10% to 20% or so of the dependence on substances.

A predisposition still does

NOT

at 15:30 on a Thursday afternoon

FORCE

anyone to put a dopamine enhancing substance into their bodies.

IT merely makes resisting such urges more challenging.

We all have challenges resisting doing what's unhealthy, unwise, sinful.


Folks tend to give-in first in their minds. Their behavior follows through.

We are artists as well at making excuses, rationalizations for ourselves.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 04:48 PM
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Originally posted by BO XIAN
reply to post by predator0187
 


A predisposition is just that.

A PREDISPOSITION.

Maybe it accounts for 10% to 20% or so of the dependence on substances.

A predisposition still does

NOT

at 15:30 on a Thursday afternoon

FORCE

anyone to put a dopamine enhancing substance into their bodies.

IT merely makes resisting such urges more challenging.

We all have challenges resisting doing what's unhealthy, unwise, sinful.


Folks tend to give-in first in their minds. Their behavior follows through.

We are artists as well at making excuses, rationalizations for ourselves.



Hi Bo, I understand where your coming from I think, it seems your are addressing the issue of addiction from a punishment perspective rather than from a healing perspective if I read you right. While perhaps many focus on this, my posts above were more to try and understand it from a chemical/biological perspective.

I'm not sure where you get your 10 to 20% figures but my life experience with the many addicts I've known of seems to indicate to me many are simply trying to self medicate from some other type of underlying disorder such a PTS, bi-polar, severe clinical despression, OCD, etc. While perhaps to those who have never experienced any of these full blown, I would certainly understand how you could feel the way you do, it might well look like 'making excuses' to them.

I am not suggesting those who drink alcohol occasionally or use other drugs occasionally are like this I'm talking more about hard core addicts. What I'm interested in is how science can help, I work in the sciences for a living and I also hear daily about addicts and their lives, I'm close to communities that have massive disfunctional problems compounded by meth and severe alcoholism, and I recently lost a friend of an aquaintance who hung himself in prison who was there for his addiction that I think could have been saved by professional and competant treatment.

I'd just like to see us move out of the dark ages and stop using these sick people as economic fodder, and really try and help addicts recover rather than to try and beat them into submission.With what we're learning about the science of the brain and how it affects behavior, much of what is employed now seems to me barbaric and I just don't think that is working very well.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 06:59 PM
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reply to post by mainidh
 


That was me ten years ago.. its a spiritual recovery not religious. Read the chapter to agnostics and the personal stories in the back ...heck your a member ere on ATS so you have an open mind...open it a little more.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 11:58 PM
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reply to post by Tecumte
 



Didn't mean to come across as more interested in punishment than healing.

Rather than punishment--there needs to be some way to make folks accountable for their choices and behavior with natural consequences tailored to the behavior and the context.

Personally, I think that all addicts have serious degrees of ATTACHMENT DISORDER.

Given that what we think about A LOT and speak about A LOT can change even our DNA . . . it is plausible to me that stinkin thinking can change biochemical dynamics in key structures in the brain.

The 10-20% biological predisposition . . . is just an guesstimate on my part from bits and pieces of studies here and there on this or that addiction.

I agree with Henry Wright as well that all addictions have a serious root in a lack of love or insufficiency of quality of love from a loving father at early key ages of development.

Those of us with serious degrees of attachment disorder actually have damaged brains wherein the centers of our brains involved with forming lasting attachments to other people are lastingly damaged. It can take a lot to overcome that deficit. And many people resort to self-medicating as a solution for the resulting feelings of isolation, worthlessness etc. from poor relationships; conflicted relationships etc. . . . as you alluded to or stated.



posted on Feb, 6 2012 @ 12:02 AM
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reply to post by Tecumte
 


Another astute observartion. Drinking/using drugs is never the cause of the problem, it is a symptom. There are underlying emotions and unresolved conflict at work.. Simply abstaining from drug use can be compared to treating cancer by removing a tumor when it has already metastasized .

Dealing with the underlying issues driving the need to self-medicate is at the heart of nearly every reputable recovery program.



posted on Feb, 6 2012 @ 06:50 AM
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Yes I think you are both right, as Bo said I too agree that being in an environment completely devoid of 'love' likely plays a part in aggravating the depression cycle that cause some to find 'happier' feelings generated from substances. But I don't think this explains the whole picture by far.

My mom was diagnosed with severe clinical depression in her 40's, along with all sorts of other mental diseases, she never touched a drug including alcohol in her life, she wouldn't even take synthetic meds when offered, it eventually killed her and she developed alzheimers and cancer as well. My grandmother the same, no drugs or alcohol but severe chronic debilitating depression, she had to, back then, be committed to a psych. ward where they used electroshock at the time. I see the same pattern in my daughter who has never touched a drop or drug, I worry for her. I fully believe there is some underlying genetic/chemical/insufficiency/pathogenic mechanism at work. I am affected as well.

I see this in others too, people that seem to need to self medicate *to the point of addiction* seem to me to have chemical/bilogical conditions that make feeling even remotely 'happy' inside IMPOSSIBLE no matter what is occurring on the outside, Having said that too, I do not believe self medication is unnatural, in fact I think it is very much the normal, it seems to span humanity thoughout the ages as well as into the animal kingdom. I think it can become hurtful though rather than helpful when one reaches a stage of addiction when the attempts start causing damage to the life rather than aiding in the functioning of the individual. It's a fine line IMO.

All in all I really believe our society and world is becoming physically more unbalanced, our immune systems (and minds) are becoming overwhelmed from all manner of toxic and destructive substances. People with underlying predispositions (insufficiencies) need to work very hard to make sure their bodies and minds have access to all of the various metabolic tools that the system needs to build serotonin, dopamine, etc. and one of the simplist aids to maintain reasonably smooth functioning I have found for myself is to work hard to keep a stable blood sugar. It took a long long time for me to even learn just how disastrous for me an unstable brain glucose level was. Sugar is a terrible drug for me, in some ways worse it seems than even a carb like alcohol.

In the end I think it's all about trying to find the right balance to be able to function at a level where I am not manic or depressed but trying to stay within the middle. It has gotten much easier the more I learn and employ, I can feel for others who have this problem, I can definately relate, I've walked in their shoes.



posted on Feb, 6 2012 @ 10:58 AM
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reply to post by Tecumte
 


EXCELLENT POINTS.

FWIW . . .

1. I'd find out all I coudl about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and either teach it to my daughter or get her to a PROVEN excellent therapist of that ilk. ASAP.

2. She CAN learn to overcome such and fight such tenaciously and effectively with lasting results and live above it. I know from personal experience as well as a therapist.

3. If you are at all open to Christianity . . . I'd seek out discerning perceptive prophetically gifted folks who are BALANCED AND BIBLICAL and not wild-haired . . . with a good reputation all around . . . usually an individual or group--better a small group of 2-3 or so called to such . . . who would take a good family history . . . and discern if there's some spirits of depression following the family line down . . . as very often is the case. And would then deal with it accordingly. Most Pentecostal/Charismatic churches should know of such a group but ask them lots of questions to insure a balanced and potent group with a good reputation.

Prayers for you and your family. Dreadful about your mother etc.



posted on Feb, 6 2012 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by BO XIAN
 


Regarding a Christian Recovery Program. I attend AA as well as Celebrate Recovery, which is based on AA as well as Biblical principals. Not trying to push any organization on anybody, just saying I personally know that the people at CR are open, loving, and nonjudgmental. Whats cool about CR is they have recovery groups for pretty much everything, and they all meet at the same time(in different rooms of course.) It's in 17,000 churches, to find one here is the website: www.celebraterecovery.com... There are so many recovery programs out there, seems like there is one for everybody.





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