Why is it,
If you have an itch and you scratch it,
You want to do it—even more—
Until you break the skin and it bleeds
And becomes infected?
But if you’d ignore it, you’d forget it.
The same goes for wanting a beer,
If you drink it, you’d want more,
Until you’re drunk.
But if you’d resist it, you’d still feel loved,
Instead of losing all feeling,
Because you’re numb!
By: ElRoyPoet © 2017
How Childhood Trauma Leads to Addiction
Commentary: The addict remembers the positive experiences associated with the drug or activity, and in times of stress this motivates the individual to take the substance or repeat the behavior. Ironically, his family remembers the negative experiences, the suffering, and the fear that the abuse will never stop.
“You often hear that pot leads to harder drugs. But I think alcohol is what leads you to everything, because it takes away the fear. The worst drug experimentation, I ever did was because I was drunk, and didn’t care.” By: Chris Cornell, Frontman for the Soundgarden Rock Band (1964-2017)
Addicts want something after they have ceased liking it, even if they realize it’s harmful effects. Addicts tell their doctors: “I hate this drug and it doesn’t even give me much of a high anymore. It is just that somehow it seems like I can’t be without it. And I keep hoping that my next high will be a good one, like my mind remembers, it was in the beginning!”
The brain is tricking the addict. The reason the high was so good in the beginning, was because it was medicine for whatever illness was afflicting the subject (stress, anxiety, depression). Now he has a different condition (addiction) and consequently a different therapy is required.
While we can’t control the feelings and thoughts that pop into our heads, we can control what we do with them. Bricker’s work using acceptance and commitment therapy in smoking cessation programs suggests we shouldn’t keep telling ourselves to stop thinking about an urge; instead, we must learn better ways to cope. The same applies to other distractions like checking our phones too much, eating junk food, or excessive shopping. Rather than trying to fight the urge, we need new methods to handle intrusive thoughts.
Use this 4-step method to handle unwanted thoughts that can derail your focus.
Step 1: Look for the Discomfort That Precedes the Distraction, Focusing In on the Internal Trigger
Step 2: Write Down the Trigger
Step 3: Explore Your Sensations
Step 4: Beware of Liminal Moments
Excerpt from How to Disarm Internal Triggers of Distractions
The Danger of Self-medicating: “Cravings can repeatedly override plans and resolutions to moderate or abstain from drug use, and this can be a disruptive, frustrating, demoralizing and traumatizing experience for those who battle these cravings—an experience that for some lasts a lifetime.[…] While there are various interpretations of the exact role of dopamine, it is well established that psychoactive drugs cause artificially high bursts of phasic dopamine to be released by midbrain dopamine neurons. […] When drugs are encountered, dopamine is released in anticipation of reward, but then the drug itself—due to its chemical effects—causes an additional dopamine boost when ingested, signalling that the drug is ever increasing in value. The result, on this mainstream view, is that these boosts in dopamine trigger cravings that overestimate the amount of reward that is expected, and so explain the excessive motivational pull of cravings.[…] People who use drugs want to numb out, to feel alive, to feel accepted or socially connected, to be freed from mental or physical pain (including withdrawal symptoms), to not feel anxious, to feel included. These emotional experiences themselves can become the objects of the desires driving addiction, and drugs are a vehicle to satisfy them, at least temporarily. A craving for a cigarette can be a desire for control and order in a stressful environment. An alcohol craving can aim at feeling comforted and safe. A craving for ketamine can be a desire to feel relaxed and relieved from worries. In severe addiction, a craving might aim at a feeling of complete self-annihilation, to be freed, no matter the cost, from the painful conditions of daily life. […] Cravings are sensitive to emotional and psychological needs and values, and this helps to explain why they are so motivating. Imagine a mundane craving to check Instagram or Twitter. Built into that craving, one might also find a desire for attention, validation, social connection or interaction, a cure for loneliness, emotional numbing, maybe the self-punishing urge to compare and despair, or for what the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau called amour-propre, a form of self-love that is constituted by the recognition or approval of others. Next time you find yourself having a craving, reflect on how you experience it. Is it your brain anticipating a spike in dopamine, a flood of pleasure? ” Excerpt from Why we crave