Are You Suffering From Addiction?

Many researchers believe that addiction is a behavior that can be controlled to some extent and also a brain disease. And since some testing with functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) found that all addictions tend to cause nearly the same reactions inside the brain, there could be one type of control model for addiction health-related issues.

Others express the opinion that some of us have an addictive personality and therefore are more likely to have problems than others.

In other words, just as there is one disorder or disease labeled asthma, there would be one for addiction, covering all addictions; gambling, smoking, overeating, drugs, etc. Then one main treatment strategy or plan could be used to treat all addictions.

How addiction works in a nutshell is like this. The brain, the center of the body’s nervous system, handles addiction by increasing dopamine levels in response to increased reactions from behaviors, also referred to as compulsions, like gambling or over eating, and / or in response to increased repeated episodes of substance abuse, like from cocaine or alcohol.

And this addiction affects the three functioning processes of the nervous system; sensing, perceiving and reacting. How? Let’s take a quick peak…

Dopamine, the chemical transmitter to the “pleasure center,” the place where survival instincts like eating and reproduction focus in the brain, activates cells individually or energizes them. Each energized cell in turn energizes another cell, and so on down the line, resulting in a spontaneous process of ecstasy or feelings of elation.

The problem is the brain doesn’t realize what it is that is causing the ecstasy reaction. So when this flutter of activity increases the creation of dopamine for the negative behaviors and substances like drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc., it neglects the natural survival instinct reaction mechanisms, replacing them with the ecstasy instead.

Depending upon the addiction, nervous system functions are altered. So sensing, perceiving and reacting functions of individuals are impeded. For example, alcohol is a depressant and slows down all of these functions. So a drunk driver facing an immediate collision will in all likelihood react slower than a healthy, alert driver.

And whether or not the addictive substances are inhaled, going into the lung system; or injected, traveling via the blood system; or swallowed, entering the digestive system, also affects different bodily reactions, responses and overall health.

One long-term effect is an increased tolerance level with dopamine reaching out into other brain areas that cloud judgment and behavioral considerations and choices. And ultimately depression results, even amidst opposing or negative stimuli, like the negative effects of narcotics on behaviors and on the body / mind and like trying to withdrawal or discontinue use.

Other long-term effects can include changing of the brain’s shape and possible permanent brain damage, depending upon the addiction and length of compulsive activity. And other health problems like cancer from cigarette smoking can result.

Addiction summed up is: compulsive behavior despite negative consequences.

Compulsive Shopping Addiction – Symptoms and Signs of Shopoholism

Compulsive shopping addiction can impact anyone at any time. Just like an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or gambling, shopping disorders are largely a result of an underlying chemical or mental imbalance that is triggered by certain events.

Much like the rush a gambler received after a big win, a compulsive shopper gets the same euphoric feeling when in the middle of a spending spree. Conversely, the impending let down and feeling of anxiety and depression after the even can be severe.

There are numerous signs and symptoms of a problem. While not any one symptom will define a problem, many times someone who shows signs of them indeed does have one. Here are some of the more common symptoms of shopping addiction:

1) Hiding of Purchases – Often, the person will hide the shopping purchases from others in hopes they will not discover the stash of goods they just bought. Of course, over time the hiding becomes more sophisticated and harder to keep from those close to them.

2) Excessive Credit Cards and Debt – Another common sign is running up credit cards and other debt to the point of making minimum payments becomes difficult to impossible. A person with a more severe case will open new accounts, often in just their name, to acquire the additional funds to continue binge shopping.

3) Stacks of New Items Never Used – A closet full of clothes or other items with tags still on them is a sign of excessive spending and compulsive shopping.

4) Depression or Anxiety After Shopping – Often, the person will enter an almost panic stricken state after a compulsive shopping binge.