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Addictive Behaviours Discuss and receive support for addictions not related to substance use, such as gambling, Internet, sex or work addictions, in this forum.

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Am I An Addict. - October 28th 2017, 02:28 AM

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Okay so I dont know if I am technically and "addict"

So my behaviors are

Smoking
Cutting
and Sex

its not that I am omg I have no cigarettes im dying or omg I havent had sex in 4 hours.

I crave it when ever I can that is me.

But I dont really know if I am an addict. But I been doing these thangs for a while I try to quit but yeah no.

Like I said I been doin it for sometime now, within the last year I was very heavy on drugs and drinking, that fucked my life up and but my loved one through hell

So im like really confused. Im not really addicted to sex, drugs, an alcohol.... I just like them

Am I technically an addict?


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Re: Am I An Addict. - October 28th 2017, 03:34 AM

It's hard to really determine if someone is an addict because none of us here are professionals.

It is, possible, that you could be an addict even if you don't feel as though you are one because there are plenty of addicts who don't think they have a problem. One of the first steps towards recovery for a lot of addicts is acknowledging that they have a problem.

This is a complicated question for a number of reasons; there are plenty of people who are addicted to the things you listed but they are considered functional addicts and they hide it well. Of course, there are people who, simply, like a number of the things that you listed.

The fact that, at one point, your drugs usage and drinking caused some issues in your life could be an indication that there is a problem since a lot of addicts do struggle with spiraling out of control and messing with their life and their relationships.

That being said, I would suggest that you talk to a professional about all of this. If you are an addict, they might be able to help you find some resources that you could use to overcome the addiction.



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Re: Am I An Addict. - October 28th 2017, 09:03 AM

Thank you for writing and asking.

I wondered what addiction was for a long time, until someone I know was really addicted to drugs, and I had to learn everything I could about it to help him. That's when I learned about the brain and what addiction really is.

Addiction is when a person decides they want to stop, and then discover they can't stop.

This can be very confusing for the person, since they've decided totally that they want to stop, knowing dire consequences if they don't stop. Maybe a judge will throw them in jail, or they will lose their children, and lose their family, and lose their job, and lose everything, so naturally they decide they want to stop, and are determined they are going to stop. And then they discover they literally can not stop!

It's because the part of the brain that can imagine different possible futures and
makes rational decisions, is not the part of the brain that becomes addicted. The part that becomes addicted is the midbrain, where our more primitive emotions are based.

Anyway, that's my latest understanding of what addiction is.

I also have this totally unscientific theory that if a person can stop using or doing whatever they want to stop doing for a week, and that's no problem for them, then they are not addicted. If, on the other hand, they discover this is very difficult for them, or even impossible, then they have discovered they have a problem.

(Of course this doesn't count for things like breathing air, which hopefully we don't want to stop doing, and there are no negative consequences if we continue to breathe.)

In your case I notice you mention cutting, which indicates a serious depression medical issue. Everything else can be explained as ways of dealing with this depression issue. Smoking, drinking, drugs, sex, they're all ways of trying to deal with this underlying depression issue. They kind of sort of work, a little, but only for a short time, and there are of course long term negative consequences for endlessly relying on smoking and drinking and drugs and sex to try and treat this underlying depression problem. In the long run they tend to just make the problem worse and more difficult to treat.

Smoking cigarettes is of course highly addictive, and very difficult to stop. It can be done. But I'd focus on treating the underlying depression first. Get that properly treated by a medical doctor, and then the rest will be much easier to treat and deal with.

Drugs are of course bad. And smoking is bad (though there are places in the world where everybody smokes, making it much harder to stop.) People who quit drugs are 9 times more likely to be successful at quitting and staying clean if they also quit smoking. (heard that from a doctor. I've no idea where he got that from. Probably some "scientific study". The old idea was quit one thing at a time. The new idea is, quit drugs and smoking at the same time, quit them all, and you're much better off, and more likely to succeed.)

Sex of course is normal. And I wondered if it was really possible to be addicted to sex. Apparently from what I've read they're really are people addicted to it, but like everything else that people become addicted to, it's really just to cover up something else they don't like about themselves or the world around them. i.e. they are depressed and trying to fix it by having lots of sex, and their midbrain eventually learns that sex is what you do when you are feeling stressed, or depressed, or anything unpleasant. Soon the midbrain takes over, and the person finds themselves having sex all the time, even when they choose not to, because it's no longer their rational frontal cortex making the decisions, it's their more basic emotional midbrain saying "Oh my gosh I feel so stressed like I'm being chased by a tiger! This may be a matter of life or death! What is going to fix this bad feeling? I know, sex will fix this bad feeling, get me some of that sex! It's a matter of life or death!"

(It's like a rider on a horse. Who is really in charge? The rider, or the horse? Usually the rider directs the horse and the horse obeys. However, if the horse gets spooked, the horse will run away dragging the poor rider along with it. The rider is the rational frontal cortex, the horse is the midbrain that takes over when it gets scared or stressed. The key to addiction recovery is then to learn how to mitigate stress so the midbrain doesn't take over.)

(Oh, also, the midbrain lies between the frontal cortex and the spine, so any decision the rational thinking frontal cortex makes has to go through the midbrain and be approved by the midbrain in order to get to the rest of the body. This also allows the midbrain to take control of the body without the consent of the frontal cortex. The midbrain just takes over and vetos anything the frontal cortex says. Like a rider on a runaway horse.)

Also, I tell my addicted friends, "Don't call yourself an 'addict'. Call yourself 'a person who has a problem with addiction.' There's a huge difference! It's the difference between having a problem, and being the problem. If you have a problem, then the problem can be addressed. If you are the problem, then there is no cure other than to get rid of you.

We are not our problems.

We are people who have problems, but we are still people.

Anyone recovering from addiction eventually learns this. And they learn they can't run away from their problems, or cover them up with drugs or alcohol or sex or cigarettes or anything else. The only way to deal with their problems, is to join a group of accepting people, who accept you as you are, problems and all, because they too have similar problems, so they understand, and know you are not your problems, they are not their problems, problems can be dealt with, problems can be expressed, and one very helpful thing is to tell other people who will listen, about your problems. This doesn't fix the problem itself, but one feels better afterwards.

Turns out there's actually two problems: there's the original problem, and there's a person's emotional reaction to this problem. That's two problems. The first one may not be fixable. The second one is. We can feel better about our problems. We still have problems, but we're no longer having such an emotional reaction to our problems, because we had the opportunity to talk to someone else about them, to tell someone, someone who listened, and didn't try to solve our problem, because they understood the cure was the listening itself. (This may not make any sense until you've experienced it.)

Sorry this was so long. I suppose I could have just given the short answer: No you are not an addict; you are a person who has problems, but you are still a person.

(There are no addicts in the world, only former addicts, and people with problems.)

Best wishes! I hope you can see a doctor and get that depression treated. The rest will fall into place once you fix that.
   
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Re: Am I An Addict. - October 28th 2017, 01:53 PM

I read what you said, I do have serious depression, along with other mental disorders, I have Bipolar, ADD, Anxiety, Split Personality Disorder, Social anxiety, and PTSD along with OCD.

They like to think I am "Crazy"

But anywho, I have quit alcohol and smoking cigarettes for sometime, over the summer, but I was isolated so I had not a valid reason to start once more, I am in high school now so every morning before I go on the bus, I smoke some weed or a cigarette or 2. I always had the feel I need sex. Ever since I was around 11 or 12, I been a very sexual person since.

I have stop some of what I listed for a while like I said before, its all the sudden now I to re open this problem again. Same thing happen in middle school. I been do drugs since I was 11 or 12, cutting since I was 10, and sex since I was 11 or 12. I don't believe I have an issue cause I have stopped before, its just now, I want more of it.....


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Re: Am I An Addict. - October 28th 2017, 02:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by del677 View Post
Thank you for writing and asking.

I wondered what addiction was for a long time, until someone I know was really addicted to drugs, and I had to learn everything I could about it to help him. That's when I learned about the brain and what addiction really is.

Addiction is when a person decides they want to stop, and then discover they can't stop.

This can be very confusing for the person, since they've decided totally that they want to stop, knowing dire consequences if they don't stop. Maybe a judge will throw them in jail, or they will lose their children, and lose their family, and lose their job, and lose everything, so naturally they decide they want to stop, and are determined they are going to stop. — And then they discover they literally can not stop!

It's because the part of the brain that can imagine different possible futures and
makes rational decisions, is not the part of the brain that becomes addicted. The part that becomes addicted is the midbrain, where our more primitive emotions are based.

Anyway, that's my latest understanding of what addiction is.

I also have this totally unscientific theory that if a person can stop using or doing whatever they want to stop doing for a week, and that's no problem for them, then they are not addicted. If, on the other hand, they discover this is very difficult for them, or even impossible, then they have discovered they have a problem.



Addiction is so much more complicated then all of this. Yes, this is how it is for a lot of people but there can and is more to it then this for others. I have dealt with a number of alcoholics and drug addicts in my life and addiction is not one size fits all. There are people that are functional addicts and these people can, sometimes, not do the 'drug' of choice for a time to try and seem like they aren't addicted etc. The basics are that addicts can't stop utilizing the thing they are addicted too and that is true to an extent but there are varying degrees of this as well. I have family that drinks every night. They admit that they are an alcoholic but they can easily stop drinking for a time being.

Also, there are people who are quite addicted to something BUT that addiction does not impact their life...some of it can be due to the fact that they are more functional. However, I think there might be other reasons as well. My boyfriend's dad was an alcoholic, he almost died from his addiction. He was able to maintain a really lucrative job and keep his alcoholism a secret. He was, also, able to stop drinking quite easily when he was told by the hospital that if he continued drinking the way that he was, that he could die.

He was an alcoholic/addict but one size does not fit all.

That is why it is best if OP talks to a doctor or someone who specializes in addiction or, at least, knows a bit about it because addiction is complicated.



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Re: Am I An Addict. - October 30th 2017, 07:27 AM

Thank you ~Abibliophobe~
   
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Re: Am I An Addict. - October 30th 2017, 08:25 AM

C.A.S.P.E.R.R that's a lot of disorders you listed!

I do hope you are seeing a doctor about those.

There is something called "The Dopamine System" or "The Dopamine Hypothesis" which is common to all this stuff. You can learn more about it on Youtube, look for videos by "Dr. Kevin McCauley" he explains it well.

Isolation is of course really bad and can induce depression, drug use, sex, all that stuff.

I have to constantly fight isolation to prevent too much, while at the same time having enough alone time when I need it.

Drugs can also induce pretty much all of the symptoms of all the disorders described above. Sometimes it's just not possible to determine if it's the drugs or not until after the person stops using them and recovers from using them. Then they see which symptoms are still leftover after the brain has recovered from the drug use and go from there.

It's a common pattern you describe, needing to smoke before going to school. People can get into a situation where they need their drug, whatever it is they've become dependent on, just to feel normal, and if they don't take it they don't feel normal, they feel very low, so the idea of stopping and feeling bad for the rest of their life sounds very unappealing.

Problem is their brain has become used to the drug and has literally physically altered itself to adjust to it, so stopping it leaves the person in a low state. The good news is the brain will eventually adjust itself back to normal once the drug is stopped. The not so good news is this doesn't happen overnight. It's a long haul. The person needs a lot of support and encouragement and it's not a smooth road, relapses are common, hopefully they become fewer. The person learns a bunch of skills on how to cope with life, healthy coping skills, things they should teach in school but they don't, (they think knowing how to do algebra is more important than knowing how to deal with life).

Support groups are where one gets the needed support and encouragement to recover. They may also teach useful coping skills. Plus the group itself is useful as it mitigates the isolation problem. Counselors can also provide support and encouragement, and meeting with one again mitigates the isolation problem. Doctors can help too. Sometimes they know of medications that can assist with this recovery phase.

There's no quick fix. People fall into this hole and it's a lot of work climbing out. But it can be done, and has been done by many, and part of their recovery is now passing it on to others.

Oh, and if you're in a hole, stop digging!

Sometimes high schools have counselors, or support groups, because you're not the only one, and you can help others by joining the group and becoming a part of it. If the high school doesn't have a group for teens then the community may have one. Or you can join an adult group. They always welcome people of any age.

I tend to shy away from the term "addict", because of all the negative connotations it has. No one chooses to be an "addict", it's not a career choice anyone makes. No one wants to admit to being an addict. It just happens, as people try to deal with life, and recovery becomes a part of their life too.

You're actually way ahead of many people as you are already questioning if this is a problem. Many people never make it to this stage, or not until many years later.

Best wishes. I hope you can find all the support you need.
   
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