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Addiction is a complex process with numerous variables at play, but trauma may be one of the most important of those variables. By understanding the connection between trauma and addiction, problems can be better treated
Unfortunately, the mental health field didn’t adequately recognise trauma’s impact on mental health until the last century. The problem drew more attention once mental health professionals saw more and more “shell shocked” soldiers after World Wars I and II.
Since then, we’ve come to understand that trauma isn’t limited to soldiers. Particularly in the last 30 years, we’ve learned that children of abuse or neglect, those who experience domestic violence, rape, and even random events such as car accidents can spark a similar patterns of mental health symptoms in people of all ages and backgrounds.
General Effects of Trauma
With better research, we’ve learned more about how trauma affects mental health functioning. Trauma can cause a variety of problems, including:
Neurological changes: Studies have found trauma has physical effects on the brain, at the microscopic level. For example, children who suffer neglect in their first 2-3 years — long before they have clear memories of such trauma — are more likely to have trouble regulating emotions and behavior.
Physical brain damage: We know direct brain injury sustained through violence or an accident is a physical problem, but such injuries also affect mental health. Brain injuries can result in confusion, impulsivity, depression, aggression, and other symptoms that affect all areas of a person’s life.
Poor interpersonal functioning: When we’ve experienced a trauma, particularly if it was an attack by another person, our ability to relate to others changes. We can become more guarded or fearful. For some people, relationship boundaries blur, resulting in impulsive or unhealthy behaviours when choosing friends or partners.
Poor emotional regulation: Trauma makes it hard to process emotions effectively. Situations that don’t bother other people very much might cause severe anxiety, sadness, or anger in individuals with a trauma history. On the other hand, trauma may also cause emotional numbing, leading to more sensation-seeking behaviours.
Low self-worth: Depending on the nature of the trauma, sufferers can be left with long-term emotional scars that make them doubt their value in the world. Chronic self-doubt makes it hard to believe you deserve good things in life.
via www.talkspace.com/blog/trauma-addiction-causes/ ... See MoreSee Less
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Timeline PhotosAfter completing our Clouds House residential treatment programme in November 2019, Tom wanted to try and give back. In September of 2020, he completed the Cotswold 113; a half-Ironman distance triathlon 🚲 🏃 🏊♀️
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Timeline PhotosOur will is powerless over the force of someone else’s addiction. It’s hard enough to break our #addiction to our own unhelpful behavior patterns. Remember the #AlAnon slogan: “You didn’t cause it; you can’t control it; and you can’t cure it!” bit.ly/3ttE4js Get #Codependency for Dummies. amzn.to/2m3ef8L ... See MoreSee Less
Gambling Addiction kills -
Not all serious addictions are addictions to chemicals. Gambling addiction has the highest suicide rate of all addictions. Partially as it can be hidden until losses mount up. Like those addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, problem gamblers start with a little bit. Then, over time, they experience the same progressive loss of control as any addict. They start “using” regularly — then keep going as losses mount.
Increasingly, serious consequences don’t stop the behaviour. At the end, these men and women lose the power of choice altogether. The obsession to “win it back” takes over. Many lose everything. In this, chemical dependency and gambling addiction are the same.
Some characteristics unique to gambling seem to increase its addictive power. While alcohol and other drugs offer a predictable effect, gambling doesn’t. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Psychologists call that “a variable reward schedule, and it’s one of the most powerful ways to get a subject to repeat a maladaptive behaviour over and over despite the consequences. This is exactly what gambling does.
The brain chemistry (dopamine and adrenalin) of compulsive gamblers changes in pleasurable ways just by thinking about winning and what it feels like. It’s so compelling that they will destroy their financial lives, homes and reputations chasing that moment.
And it does feel great: winning — even fantasizing about winning — releases adrenaline and dopamine, two very powerful pleasure neurotransmitters in the brain. The problem is that the odds are always with the house. As a dealer once told me, “stay here long enough and the house will get all your money.”
Compulsive gambling also seems to follow the intense feeling patterns associated with methamphetamine use. The highs of winning are very high, while the lows are very low; so low, in fact, that suicide after losing big is not uncommon.
Problem (pathological/compulsive) gamblers have likened it to a collar that tightens as losses mount. A sense of urgency grows. Most people respond to this by stopping the behaviour. Not compulsive gamblers. They don’t withdraw — they go deeper. “I’m going to win it back” becomes the mantra.
Gambling also is different from alcohol and other drugs in that it is encouraged by government. Yes, we’re all reminded to “play responsibly.” But at the same time, we’re never allowed to forget how lottery funds are used for good causes, particularly education. And who wouldn’t want to help with that?
In the face of this, it’s important not to lose hope. It is possible to quit gambling, and to live without it. Success stories are many. But like any other powerful compulsion, it’s virtually impossible to stop alone. In some cases, inpatient treatment is required. There are now psychologists and counsellors who specialise in gambling addiction as well.
Others have found recovery from compulsive gambling in 12-step programs such as Gamblers Anonymous, where the power of the group is connected to spiritual principles. They can, and do, work. The first step is to realize how tremendously powerful gambling addiction can be and that we’re powerless over it, just like other addictions. Copyright .©Addiction Actually ... See MoreSee Less
The disease of addiction has a target organ known as the mid brain. @Addiction Actually
The cause is regulatory dysfunction of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. The effect is a common group of symptoms seen in each and every alcoholic and addict known to have the disease of dependence: loss of control, craving, and persistent use despite adverse consequences.
Many alcoholics and addicts have been accused of selfishness, of choosing their behaviours for a reward or pleasure, since that portion of the brain targeted by alcohol has often been called the reward or pleasure centre. This impression of hedonistic behaviour or on the part of the addict has for a long time caused inappropriate judgment, bringing shame to the one who suffers with this disease.
The family is very affected by the disease of addiction because the alcoholic or the addict will violate so many boundaries to get to his or her drug of choice. Often they cast aside job, family, health, relationships ~ to get to the top of their survival pyramid––their drug of choice. Drug of choice could include a process addiction such as sex, gambling, co-dependancy, exercise, shopping or work.
The disease of addiction, like other diseases, is chronic and organic. It sites the brain as its target organ. It relapses. It remits. It is a progressive and fatal illnessl, but treated one day at a time, lasting recovery is possible for each and every alcoholic or addict afflicted. All that is required is that they have the willingness to recover @Addiction Actually ... See MoreSee Less