Feb, 4th, 2020- written by- Joyce C Wood, chhc (7 min read)
I get it, if you are. I have been there many times. In my last post, I shared extensively about my experience between prescribed drug taking to recreational drugs to escape my life.
One doesn’t just get addicted to drugs/alcohol to be an addict. You could be addicted to self abuse; allowing others to disrespect you; to overworking at meaningless jobs; staying in dysfunctional relationships; living out of balance by eating poorly- not sleeping well or caring for your financial well being..
These are real challenges that everyone experiences from time to time or your experience feels like its a never ending story of life for you. There are reasons for this and Solutions!
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing a friend of mine I’ve known for over 10yrs.
Mr. Martin Nyberg, Certified addiction therapy professional and personal change coach. He currently resides in California. His own personal journey with addiction/recovery began long ago.
As a professional he taps into his own experience combining compassionate listening and caring.
He relayed many stories of courageous personal challenges and solutions with me that are really exciting. In this post he will share more.
I hope you find value and enjoy his story.. There is a special GIFT for you at the end..
The New Science on the Cause of Chronic Addiction
Written by: Martin Nyberg, Certified Addiction Therapy Professional and Personal Change Coach-(7min read)
Do you or a loved one struggle with change?
Changing from the person we are to the person we’d love to be?
In our deepest depths we, or someone we love, may be attempting to release a stubborn attachment / addiction.
We are calling for a renewed sense of compassion for this challenge. We call for a paradigm shift – in how we perceive the problem of addiction, to anything from: drugs, alcohol, behaviors, video gaming, food…
The question arises –
“Why is he/she/ or I, apparently willing to damage health and life by being addicted to…. _______? ” fill in the blank.
There is a very old adage that goes:
“If you try to treat an illness without knowing its cause, you will only make it worse.”
In the case of addiction, the cause has finally been found. But denial by many, and especially those with financial interests in the medical insurance and the pharmaceutical industries are having the hardest time accepting the truth;
The cause of chronic addiction is early developmental trauma and stress
Why is this so hard to accept for some people?
Because in order to fully accept it, it requires all of us to examine ourselves and our families, as we simultaneously consider the broader implications for society, and our struggling loved ones. It requires us to look courageously and compassionately at suffering. It is that simple.
Stress and trauma in the young brain can leave long term effects –
Specifically, in 3 essential brain circuits / systems.
- The stress / pain management circuit
- The motivation and reward circuit
- The impulse control circuit
"These first two circuits involve the production of essential hormones/neurotransmitters."
Stress / pain management involves Endorphins … our bodies own opiates – which literally reduce pain on a minute by minute basis… and get this… BOTH emotional AND physical pain are involved. Endorphins are also the “love chemical” because they are the most prominently stimulated in our bodies and brains when we Love. Without endorphins we would not seek or give love. For children, this can be dangerous and inhibit all other growth.
Motivation and reward systems involve Dopamine... the chemical we must have to feel like ourselves – to like being ourselves, to formulate hope for the future, to focus on making that future reality – and connect us to other human beings.
Each of the 40 trillion (approximately) cells in our bodies have receptors for these chemicals that are produced by our hypothalamus and pituitary (respectively) – and if there isn’t sufficient production, the receptors are not grown in the cells in the number that is optimum for stress/pain management or motivation and reward processing.
The impulse control circuit is impaired at the same time, reducing the capacity to use the prefrontal cortex, the seat of our conscience, to motivate us to NOT act on impulses.
In short, chronic addiction doesn’t only reduce Free Will, but also, a Free Won’t…. “I won’t do that because I know it would be unhealthy, or might be risky, or might even hurt me, or someone else.”
Imagine what this means.… People, both youth and adults, who experience severe trauma while their young brains are developing fast, may not have yet developed the physical and emotional ability to literally feel much happiness… love… motivation (confidence). NOW, imagine this person comes to experience a massive increase in endorphins or dopamine, as happens with the use of drugs or alcohol, or certain other behaviors, and this may be the first time they feel “normal”.
Who wants to tell the person now addicted to opiates (boost endorphins) or stimulants like methamphetamine or cocaine (boost dopamine), or alcohol (boost both), to “Just Say No”… without offering any other solution? Or, worse, tell them they must go to prison… judging them harshly, they are told they are “stupidly making bad choices and mistakes”. This person who feels normal now, won’t want to quit – until these addictions become so severe that the accompanying brain disease that is inevitable when substance abuse occurs. Or the addiction creates so much chaos and disconnection from their loved ones, that something must be done.
The good news; the advances in brain science are filled with hope – our bodies and brains can recover and heal… and new dopamine and endorphin receptors can be grown throughout the brain and body. Change always requires effort – but it also requires compassion and love. Shame and blame has no place in this new paradigm. We all need to turn around our perception of addiction and many mental illnesses… whatever form it takes.
Let’s do this. Another piece of good news; it is proven scientifically, that acting and thinking compassionately, brings YOU good health and gratification.
Drop the judgement… Drop the resentments. Just do it. You will live longer and more joyfully!
I invite you to meet with me for a FREE consultation to share your story
There is no judgement. Only a safe space to unload and together maybe we can discover a path that will help break free of the suffering and experience more joy in life.