Resolutions and Addiction

(Post share from the IRATAD Blog)

Addiction is about not being able to maintain boundaries, follow though on commitments and being able to self-soothe in a healthy way.  When we are unable to say no and follow through on the no……(such as over-commiting ourselves to things), when we are unwilling to sacrifice an extra hour of sleep on a cold morning to go to the gym, or when we say “just one more time” or I will start this next week, we are engaging in a dangerous addictive cycle.  We become stuck in the same behaviors to which  Sisyphus was condemned by the ancient Greek Gods.  His punishment for crimes against the Gods, was to eternally roll a large boulder up a hill and upon reaching the summit of the hill with great exertion, the boulder would roll to the bottom of the hill.  This was considered by all to be not only backbreaking work, but the added frustration of the fruitlessness of the effort in the end.

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Motivation and Success

(Post share from the IRATAD Blog)

Through conducting research Dr. Anders Ericsson determined motivation to be the most significant predictor of success. Despite the activity, it could be chess, business, dance, running, or music, the people who experience the most success have the motivation to allow them to stay until success is attained.

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Addiction Treatment and Neuroplasticity

(Post share from the IRATAD Blog)

Neuroplasticity is the alteration of neural pathways due to changes in behavior, environment and thinking processes.  New research is making discoveries about brain functions that were previously believed to be impossible in relation to neuroplasticity. It was not so long ago that the scientific community thought neuroplasticity within an adult brain was impossible.

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What Is Sexual Addiction?

What Is Sexual Addiction?

Sexual addiction or dependency is a compulsive disorder that causes the inability to control ones sexual behavior that affects millions of people world-wide. A person with sexual addiction has excessive thoughts or behaviors relating to or obtaining a desired sexual effect. Those that suffer from this obsessive dependency suffer at work, with personal relationships, and other daily activities.

Some of the criterion associated with sexual addiction includes compulsive behavior resulting in adverse consequences. At first, these activities can be pleasurable. But the continued act becomes steadily compulsive until one becomes addicted. Some of these compulsive behaviors include pornography, multiple anonymous partners, repeated affairs, cyber-sex, prostitution, exhibitionism, and voyeurism to name a few.

The inability to control such sexual behaviors leads to depression, anxiety, and other emotional actions. Emotional coping is one way addicts use their addiction to experience a different way of stimulating the brain. Over time, the person becomes addicted pornography or other sexual stimulation to obtain feelings of gratification. But with that, other related issues like abandonment, fear, shame, or guilt are also linked to sexual addiction. Addicts can’t voluntarily disengage from sexual behavior, ending in consequences that disrupt the normal function of a person.

It’s important to recognize the complications that sexual addiction can impart on a person despite the negative consequences. Just like other addictions, these types of sexual behaviors seem to continue despite the effort to stop. Acting out sexually is usually a way to medicate or manage stress, pain, or even substitute for true intimacy. Some signs of sexual addiction include:

  • Pornography
  • Cybersex or phone sex
  • Multiple Partners
  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Unsafe sexual activity
  • Sexual paraphilia
  • Preoccupation with having sex

 

These types of compulsive behaviors derive from mismanaged emotions which can later end in sexual compulsivity. Most often people don’t realize that there is treatment to manage their addiction, continuing to struggle no matter what the cost.

Holiday Stress And Expectations

(Post share from the IRATAD Blog)

We have all felt it. As the  Christmas Holiday approaches, it seems as though our psychological limits get stretched. We have a chance to see what our psychological stock is really like. The parties, self and cultural imposed pressure to buy the perfect gift and provide exactly what we think another person may be expecting from us. With this, the all to easy method of purchasing the gifts with money that is not ours and that we will likely take the next twelve months to acquire. This is accompanied with a nice little reminder that comes in the mail every month that tells us how far we exceeded our financial limits.

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Gratitude

(Post share from the IRATAD Blog)

We know that gratitude has also been shown to make people have a more powerful connection with people, increases their optimism, physical health, greater energy and people who are more productive and happy in their roles in life.  We also know that gratitude has a positive role in our mental health functioning by reducing depression levels.

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Self Compassion

(Post share from the IRATAD Blog)

Have you ever stubbed your toe, failed a test, or just had a really bad day and all you had to say to yourself was “how could you be so stupid or what’s wrong with you?”  It’s the same voice inside your head that just won’t let go and is content on allowing you to wallow in your own shame and self loathing. We tell ourselves that real change comes from beating ourselves up and being critical of every thought, feeling, or action.  We may feel that if I am not critical then all control will be lost or I am a selfish and full of myself.

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“I’m ok”: How being mindful and compassionate helps to overcome shame and unworthiness

(Post share from the IRATAD Blog)

What keeps many of us from being healthy psychologically, socially, spiritually, and even physically, is a profound sense that we are not ok, that we are flawed and broken in some way, that we are different than others. When things go wrong, it isn’t that we have problems, it’s that we are a problem, we don’t make mistakes, we are a mistake. This feeling of profound unworthiness is often rooted in childhood experiences, and is perpetuated by our western culture that places great value on outward appearances and material wealth which in turn breeds separation and shame. We are constantly bombarded with messages that we cannot be content, that we need to have more, to do more, to be more.

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What if someone I care about Is addicted to Pornography

What Do I Do If Someone I Care About Has An Addiction To Pornography?

Knowing how to deal with someone that has an addiction to pornography can be a very difficult road for many. And most often those affected by this type of addiction happens between a husband and a wife. This behavior can leave one with a low self-esteem, feeling betrayed, alone, and end up with a shattered relationship. Even if the addiction is between friends, relationships will suffer, so the issue shouldn’t be ignored.

Once you have discovered that someone close to you has an addiction problem, talk with them and share your concern. This is probably one of the hardest steps to take emotionally, but can be the most rewarding long term.

Some of you may not know that pornography is a neuron changer. The reason for this is due to the way it floods the brain with dopamine‒ giving the body a rush that eventually rewires the brains reward center. Neuroplasticity is a word meaning brain and change. It works like this:

A neuron is a cell in the brain that is activated by smell, sight, sound, taste, or touch, etc. Every time something good happens, chemicals are released in the brain, telling you how wonderful you feel. Your brain builds pathways like this for everything including emotions, and it does the same for those that engage in pornography. The problem with pornography is that the brain gets overwhelmed by the constant overload of chemicals it’s experiencing, and starts to fight back… eventually taking away some of its dopamine receptors. This begins a numbing effect, causing a result in the brain to find more arousal from pornographic materials, and ultimately becoming addicted, and always looking for something bigger and better to satisfy the addiction. Now, the addict is constantly searching for that dopamine high that they first experienced, and the more they look at porn, the harder it is to find satisfaction, and more difficult to break free from the unhealthy behavior.

Addictions of any kind use these same neurons. Within the last decade, research has proven that addictions cause the brains frontal lobes to start shrinking. This is the part of the brain that controls our logical thinking and basic problem solving. It wasn’t just drugs and alcohol causing this type of trauma to the brain. It is all types of addictions and compulsive behaviors that cause the same damage.

Now that the brain is relying on this chemical response, it suddenly has a new sense of craving that cannot be satiated. Pornography short-circuits the brain since it remembers where the sexual high came from, turning the viewer into an addict.

With this information, there is hope for those you love. Often times you may wonder how you can you assist those you care for who are suffering from an addiction to pornography. This can be achieved with a 30 step task program that was designed by Dr. Patrick Carnes, who has pioneered treatment for sexual addiction. Without identifying the core issues that contribute to the addiction, the ability to overcome and maintain sobriety with an addiction to pornography would be nonexistent.

Anhedonia: The Loss of Pleasure

(Post share from the IRATAD Blog)

As I interacted with clients in various addiction recovery groups I often heard a common theme expressed.  Clients would repeatedly state, “my life is boring”, “nothing is fun anymore”, or “the day is so hard to get through”.  These expressions of opinions got me curious to discover why these clients were feeling no pleasure.  The only explanation given to me for quite some time was, “it is common for people overcoming addictions to not experience pleasure”. This makes sense, right? But what is causing this happen?  Why do people who are not former addicts experience similar symptoms of no pleasure?  The answer is found within one word: anhedonia.

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