Peaceful – Even For A Moment

May 27, 2012

ImageI want to be peaceful, if only for a moment;
to turn off the pain for a little while;
to stop the ever-present chattering of my mind.

These are the things that most addicts want. The only thing they know that will give it to them is their drug if choice. At first it works well, right whenever the addict uses it.  Then, like a fickle friend, the drug of choice plays the ultimate trick.

The addict needs to use more and more to find that moment of peace! It takes less and less to release the monster of intoxication. All too soon the drug of choice stops working and starts destroying. It becomes a problem instead of a problem solver. It causes pain instead of taking it away. It creates inner turmoil and destroys any chance of finding the peaceful state that it originally promised. The big lie of alcohol and drugs becomes clear – they will not permanently peacefulness to the troubled mind. They will not take away my pain or solve my problems.

My drug of choice no longer gives me what I want, but the pain and emptiness of stopping seems unbearable. I am addicted. Trapped by that which once set me free. This is the reality of addiction. It is a game for losers who want to believe in the quick fix and the easy way out. It’s easy to start and difficult to stop. Admission is free but addiction makes you pay a big price to get out.



The Mind Is A Powerful Thing

May 13, 2012

The mind is a powerful thing. It grows and changes in response to our experiences and willful choices. The concept is known as brain plasiticity. The brain grows and changes in response to our experiences throughout the entire human life cycle.

As a result of brain plasticity, the mind – within a set of limits not yet known – can heal the body . We push those limits by focusing our conscious thoughts upon setting goals, developing plans, and working hard to actualize those goals. We do it by thinking, imaging, and creating a vivid and compelling vision of what we want to become. By this imaging or vivid re-imaging process, we expand the capacity of our mind-brain and actually rewrite our programing and our potential. This is how we actualize our dreams. To actualize means to make real through action. 

The brain is the physical foundation of the mind. The mind is the non-physical aspect of human consciousness that makes us self-aware or self-conscious. This self-awareness makes us capable of not only knowing who and what we are, but knowing that we know. Self-awareness gives us the capacity to grow beyond the limitations of genetic programing.

This capacity for self-awareness is called the higher self, or the observing self, or the silent witness. This capacity to detach, observe ourselves, and make decisions to change gives us the capacity to grow beyond our previous programing and our previous limitations. It does not happen on its own. We must make the choice and take the steps to make it happen.

The way we anticipate what tomorrow may bring, sets the power of our mind-brain to work. Tomorrow always comes, bringing with it both new promise and new challenges. The way we practice anticipating tomorrow trains the brain to respond as if it were so. In this way, we condition the brain to create, again within limits unknown, the tomorrow we anticipate and mentally prepare for, rather than the tomorrow we desire.

There is always something to be grateful for. gratitude focuses the mind on the positive experiences of the past, and by doing so, trains the mind in the present, to reproduce the object of gratitude in the future.

A Gratitude List, therefore,  Is a powerful tool for focusing the mind on what really counts. As we focus our mind, the brain will slowly follow. As the brain follows, the body heals. Like a boat well made, the mind and body are self-righting mechanisms designed to stay afloat during storms, and even if turn over, to right themselves. The ability rebalance is built into the design. This is why I believe that the mind is a powerful thing! 

Read: Straight Talk About Addiction
by Terence T. (Terry) Gorski
http://www.relapse.org – www.cenaps.com


Chemical and Process Addictions – Simalarities

May 4, 2012

<Previous Blog in this Series> 

CHEMICAL AND PROCESS ADDICTIONS

By Terence. T. Gorski

Addictions can be organized around different triggers that activate the Core Addiction Syndrome. These activating triggers have one  thing in common – they activate an addictive brain response. This means that the brain is flooded the brain with pleasure chemicals that create a unique sense of euphoria while being inhibiting form producing warning chemicals which cause the feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, and panic.: As a result when people expose themselves to addictive triggers, their brain responds with an addictive brain response which positively reinforces them to keep hitting the addictive trigger. When people stop hitting the addictive trigger they experience dysphoria,  The triggers for the addictive brain response can be classified into two major groups:

  • Chemical Addictions to mind/brain altering substances (which include alcohol, illegal/illicit drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medication)
  • Process Addictions to mind/brain altering behaviors (which includes food, sex, gambling, work, and money).

A large number of people switch from one addiction to another. This often goes unnoticed because of problems with language. Most people, even most professionals, think only of chemical addictions when they hear or read the word addiction. Many people describe process addictions as compulsions or else describe them in the contet of DSM using words like sexual disorders, eating disorders, etc. The idea of a process addiction doesn’t even come into mind.

Most people have an addiction of choice. In other words, they receive treatment for a chemical addiction, and then in sobriety, they crossover or migrate to another addiction, often a process addiction. The negative consequences of the process addiction causes pain and problems in “sobriety” that can lead back to the use mind/brain altering chemicals. This progression of pain and problems in sobriety are often called Early Relapse Warning Signs.

The switching of addiction –from chemical to process and then back to chemical –is a common but not universal phenomena. This raises the questions of whether chemical dependent people with a process addiction have independent and co-existing disorders, or if there is an underlying core addiction syndrome that drives them both. This is, of course, black-and-white thinking, which is not always helpful. Perhaps chemical addictions and process addiction share some things in common yet have significant difference.  This is a reasonable position, especially in light of a long history in the addiction field of defining different types of addiction.

Let’s begin by looking at some things that chemical and process addictions share in common. This will allow us, in the next blog, to look at the differences between the two. For the purpose article the shared characterizes will be called The Core Addiction Syndrome. The critical differences will be described in the next blog as Addiction Specific Symptoms.

The features of the Core Addiction Syndrome are:

1,. Need driven use (The person feels a strong and sometimes uncontrollable urge or desire to use the drug or the behavior.)

2. Euphoric response when the chemical or behavior is used.

3. Tolerance (It takes more and more of the chemical or behavior to get the release of the euphoria).

4. Dependence (People come to rely on the chemical or the behavior in order to function or get relieve from pain.)

5. Pattern 0f Compulsive Us leading to social or occupational dysfunction or severe subjective distress.

6. Repeated failure to stop using of the addictive chemicals and behaviors.

7. Denial, resistance and psychological defenses.

8. Shame, Guilt, Acting Normal: Attempts to hide the chemical or process addiction I order to appear normal. The addiction is usual drive by shame, guilt, and stigma based upon a personal and social lack of understanding the disorder.

These traits can be summarized as using for relief, dependence, obsession compulsion, addiction seeking behavior, using in spite of commitments not to, low self-esteem and self- efficacy.

The next blog will explore the idea of significant difference between chemical addiction and process addictions.

Terence T. (Terry) Gorski

 <Previous Blog in this Series>



Chemical and Process Addictions

May 4, 2012

<Previous Blog in this Series> 

By Terence. T. Gorski

Addictions can be organized around different triggers that activate the Core Addiction Syndrome. These activating triggers have one  thing in common – they activate an addictive brain response. This means that the brain is flooded the brain with pleasure chemicals that create a unique sense of euphoria while being inhibiting from producing warning chemicals which cause the feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, and panic.: As a result when people expose themselves to addictive triggers, their brain responds with an addictive brain response which positively reinforces them to keep hitting the addictive trigger. When people stop hitting the addictive trigger they experience dysphoria,  The triggers for the addictive brain response can be classified into two major groups:

  • Chemical Addictions to mind/brain altering substances (which include alcohol, illegal/illicit drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medication)
  • Process Addictions to mind/brain altering behaviors (which includes food, sex, gambling, work, and money).

A large number of people switch from one addiction to another. This often goes unnoticed because of problems with language. Most people, even most professionals, think only of chemical addictions when they hear or read the word addiction. Many people describe process addictions as compulsions or else describe them in the context of DSM using words like sexual disorders, eating disorders, etc. The idea of a process addiction doesn’t even come into mind.

Most people have an addiction of choice. In other words, they receive treatment for a chemical addiction, and then in sobriety, they crossover or migrate to another addiction, often a process addiction. The negative consequences of the process addiction causes pain and problems in “sobriety” that can lead back to the use mind/brain altering chemicals. This progression of pain and problems in sobriety are often called Early Relapse Warning Signs.

The switching of addiction –from chemical to process and then back to chemical –is a common but not universal phenomena. This raises the questions of whether chemical dependent people with a process addiction have independent and co-existing disorders, or if there is an underlying core addiction syndrome that drives them both. This is, of course, black-and-white thinking, which is not always helpful. Perhaps chemical addictions and process addiction share some things in common yet have significant difference.  This is a reasonable position, especially in light of a long history in the addiction field of defining different types of addiction.

In the next blog we will look at the simalarities between chemical and process addictions.

Terence T. (Terry) Gorski

<Next Blog In This Series>



The Core Addiction Syndrome

May 4, 2012

By Terence. T. Gorski

I recently found an article on the internet by Floyd P. Garrett, MD, who presented the following definition of the term Addictive Process

“The addictive process is a recognizable psychological and behavioral syndrome that expresses itself in a particular individual in regard to specific substances or processes but which exhibits a striking similarity and commonality among addicted individuals regardless of their specific circumstances and particular addictions.”
~ Floyd P. Garrett, MD

To understand this definition and put it together with my previous understand I hade to take this definition apart. Here is how I thought it through:

1.      The addictive process is recognizable. I agreed with this statement and it matched with my experience. Patients have many disorders that have a great deal of similarity to the original symptoms of alcohols as presented Jellinek and other models of drug addiction. I also see that there are critical differences that set them apart.

2.      The addictive process is composed of recognizable psychological and social system. I agree with this statement as far as it goes. In my opinion, however, it is incomplete. In my experience, there are also neuropsychological problems based in abnormal brain chemistry that are a critical part of the addictive process. On a physiological level The use of certain mind-altering chemicals (often referred to as a drug of choice) and the use of certain mind-altering behaviors activate an addictive brain response in predisposed individuals.  When the addictive brain response is activated by use of an addictive drug or behavior the brain has an automatic addictive response. This automatic addictive brain stimulates the brain to over-produce pleasure chemicals and inhibit the production of warning chemicals that reduce stress anxiety and fear. As a result, when the addictive brain response is activated people feel a strong and pleasant sense of euphoria and do not feel stress, anxiety or fear. Reference: Straight Talk About Addiction by Terence T. (Terry) Gorski

3.      There are many similarities among all conditions related to this addictive process, whether if focus is chemical or behavioral.  I agree, but again I believe that this definition is incomplete there are also critical differences among the different manifestation of the addictive process. In my opinion both the similarities and the differences need to be recognized in order for effective treatment and recovery plans can be developed and implemented.

The term used by Garret, the Core Addictive Process is a good one, especially because it highlights that the response caused by addiction to addictive chemicals and behaviors are both processes that share a core of similarities. I believe, however, that the term Core Addictive Syndrome is more useful in the context of a total lexicon or system of language. A Syndrome is a group of identifying signs and symptoms; a group of signs and symptoms that together are characteristic or indicative of a specific disease or other disorder; a group of things that form a pattern that can be recognized and distinguished from other patterns.

The term Core Addiction Syndrome will establish both chemical and behavioral addictions firmly into the lexicon of medical terminology which will be required for its acceptance into the community of behavioral health providers.

My next blog will focus upon taking the concept of the Core Addiction Syndrome and examining the common mind altering chemical and behaviors that can activate the syndrome.

FOCUS HealthcareTerence T. (Terry) Gorski


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