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  Addictions / Addictive Tendencies  
 
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Signs, symptoms and indicators | Conditions that suggest it | Contributing risk factors | Recommendations

 

There are several books which can provide insights to help a person overcome an addictive personality.

The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior by Craig Nakken
Willpower's Not Enough: Understanding and Recovering from Addictions of Every Kind by Arnold Washton, et al
Addiction and Grace by Gerald G. May (Paperback)
The Heart of Addiction: A New Approach to Understanding and Managing Alcoholism and Other Addictive Behaviors by Lance M., M.D. Dodes (Paperback)
Life's Too Short!: Pull the Plug on Self-Defeating Behavior and Turn on the Power of Self-Esteem by Abraham J., MD Twerski (Paperback)

Research (late 2008) from Vanderbilt finds that those individuals labeled as novelty seekers by psychologists, face an uphill battle due to the way their brains process dopamine. The research reveals that novelty seekers have less of a particular type of dopamine receptor, which may lead them to seek out novel and exciting experiences - such as spending lavishly, taking risks and partying like there's no tomorrow.

The neurotransmitter dopamine is produced by a select group of cells in the brain. These dopamine-producing cells have receptors called autoreceptors that help limit dopamine release when these cells are stimulated.

"We've found that the density of these dopamine autoreceptors is inversely related to an individual's interest in and desire for novel experiences," David Zald, associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study, said. "The fewer available dopamine autoreceptors an individual has, the less they are able to regulate how much dopamine is released when these cells are engaged. Because of this, novelty and other potentially rewarding experiences that normally induce dopamine release will produce greater dopamine release in these individuals."

Dopamine has long been known to play an important role in how we experience rewards from a variety of natural sources, including food and sex, as well as from drugs such as cocaine and amphetamine. Previous research has shown that individuals differ in both their number of dopamine receptors and the amount of dopamine they produce, and that these differences may play a critical role in addiction. Zald and his colleagues set out to explore the connection between dopamine receptors and the novelty-seeking personality trait.

"Novelty-seeking personality traits are a major risk factor for the development of drug abuse and other unsafe behaviors," Zald and his colleagues wrote. "Our research suggests that in high novelty-seeking individuals, the brain is less able to regulate dopamine, and this may lead these individuals to be particularly responsive to novel and rewarding situations that normally induce dopamine release," Zald said.

Previous research in rodents showed that some respond differently to novel environments. Those who explore novel environments more are also more likely to self-administer cocaine when given the chance. Dopamine neurons fire at a higher rate in these novelty-responsive rodents, and the animals also have weak autoreceptor control of their dopamine neurons. Zald and colleagues speculated that the same relationships would be seen in humans.

The researchers used positron emission topography to view the levels of dopamine receptors in 34 healthy humans who had taken a questionnaire that measured the novelty-seeking personality trait. The questionnaire measured things such as an individual's preference for and response to novelty, decision-making speed, a person's readiness to freely spend money, and the extent to which a person is spontaneous and unconstrained by rules and regulations. The higher the score, the more likely the person was to be a novelty seeker.

The researchers found that those that scored higher on the novelty-seeking scale had decreased dopamine autoreceptor availability compared to the subjects that scored lower. [Dec. 31, 2008, in the Journal of Neuroscience]

However, a genetic risk factor that increases the likelihood that youth will engage in substance use can be neutralized by high levels of involved and supportive parenting, according to a new University of Georgia study.

"The study, published in the February, 2009 issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, is the first to examine a group of youth over time to see how a genetic risk factor interacts with a child's environment to influence behavior.

"We found that involved and supportive parenting can completely override the effects of a genetic risk for substance abuse," says study co-author Gene Brody, Regents Professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences. "It's a very encouraging finding that shows the power of parenting."

Among youth with the genetic risk factor, those who received low levels of involved and supportive parenting increased their substance use at rate three times higher than youth with high levels of parental support. Among youth with high levels of involved and supportive parenting, the difference in substance abuse was negligible - regardless of genetic risk.

"In families that were characterized by strong relationships between children and their parents, the effect of the genetic risk was essentially zero," said Beach, who is also a Distinguished Research Professor in the psychology department of the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "With this study and previous studies looking at environmental risk factors such as poverty, we're finding that in many cases the best way to help children is to help families become more resilient."

Involved and supportive parenting is a very powerful tool, and Brody said it's relatively simple to implement. Some examples include regularly spending time with your child, communicating with them so that you can gauge how they're doing, providing emotional support and helping them with their material and day-to-day needs such as homework.

"We all carry around genetic risks," said Brody, who also directs the UGA Center for Family Research, a unit of the IBR, "but fortunately very few people are impacted by those risks because their environment protects them."
 

 
 

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Addictions / Addictive Tendencies:
 
 
Symptoms - Food - Beverages  No desire/inability to recover from alcoholism or being a recovering alcoholic
 
 

Conditions that suggest Addictions / Addictive Tendencies:
 
 
Addictions  Current Smoker

Organ Health

Counter-indicators:
  Diabetes Type II
 
 

Risk factors for Addictions / Addictive Tendencies:
 
 
Hormones  Histadelia (Histamine High)
 Nutritional treatment for drug and alcohol users will depend on the results of a test for blood histamine levels. In one series of such analysis, all users proved to have high histamine levels, leading the scientist to conclude that this abnormality - with its impact on brain function - is a major force in creating addiction. [Nutrition Guide for the Prevention and Cure of Common Ailments and Diseases, Carlton Fredericks, PhD. p.58]

Lifestyle

  Being a smoker or recently quitting smoking

Metabolic

  Hypoglycemia
 A craving for cigarettes and/or drugs is a possible symptom of hypoglycemia.

Supplements and Medications

  (Past) cocaine use
  (Past) heroin/morphine use
  (Past) LSD use
  (Past) methamphetamine use
  (Past) ecstacy use
  (Past) GHB use

Symptoms - Food - Beverages

  High/moderate alcohol consumption
  (High) coffee consumption
 
 

Recommendations for Addictions / Addictive Tendencies:
 
 
Botanical  Noni
 According to Dr. Ralph Heinicke, xeronine is an alkaloid synthesized in the body & plays a key role at cellular level. When we take in foreign alkaloids like nicotine, cocaine, heroin & caffeine, which mimick xeronine's natural function, the body's proteins adapt to them & alter the need of xeronine to an unnatural need for foreign alkaloids. To overcome this addiction, flood your body with xeronine just like you originally flooded the body with foreign alkaloid.

At present noni is known to be the best source of proxeronine (a precursor to xeronine). Some addictions may be helped by placing a few drops of noni juice under the tongue every hour. This will release proxeronine straight into the bloodstream from the soft tissue under the tongue. The body does not get addicted to xeronine & thus noni is not addictive.

Detoxification

  Sauna Detoxification Program

Diet

  Therapeutic Fasting
 Fasting makes it easier to overcome bad habits and addictions. Many people have overcome tobacco and alcohol cravings, and even drug addictions, by fasting.

Drug

  LDN - Low Dose Naltrexone
 There are a number of practitioners who will use a naltrexone implant placed in the lower abdomen, and more rarely, in the posterior to replace oral naltrexone. This implant procedure has not been shown scientifically to be successful in "curing" subjects of their addiction, though it does provide a better solution than oral naltrexone for medication compliance reasons.

Mineral

  Lithium (low dose)
 See the link between Depression and Lithium.

Using 10 years of data accumulated from 27 Texas counties, researchers found that the incidence of homicide, rape, burglary, and suicide, as well as other crimes and drug use, were significantly lower in counties whose drinking water supplies contained 70-170 micrograms of lithium per liter than those with little or no lithium in their water.

Miscellaneous

  Reading List
 Genetic research has uncovered that some people are predisposed to addiction in general, but not to a specific type. In other words, addiction is a disorder that manifests itself in many different ways.

Overcoming Addiction: Paths Toward Recovery is available for $18 from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School.

The following steps are discussed in the book.

1. Seek help. Although people can recover from addiction on their own, others need advice and support from professionals, peers, or both. Your own doctor, a community mental health center, or a local substance abuse treatment center are good places to start.

2. Set a quit date. It might be helpful to choose a meaningful date like a special event, birthday, or anniversary.

3. Change your environment. Remove any reminders of your addiction from your home and workplace. For example, separate from those who would encourage you to be involved with the substance or behavior. If you are trying to quit drinking, get rid of any alcohol, bottle openers, wine glasses, and corkscrews. If you're trying to quit gambling, remove reminders of your gambling, such as playing cards, scratch tickets, or poker chips. Also, don't let other people use or bring reminders of the substance or behavior into your home.

4. Learn new skills and activities. Instead of giving in to an urge to use, come up with alternative activities, such as going for a walk, to keep you busy until the urge passes. Be prepared to deal with things that trigger your cravings, such as being in an environment where others are using.

5. Review your past attempts at quitting. Think about what worked and what did not. Think of what might have contributed to relapse and change accordingly.

6. Create a support network. Talk to your family, friends, and co-workers and ask for their encouragement and support. Also, consider talking to your health care provider about the method of quitting that is best for you. There may be medications that can ease the process for you, and increase your chances of success.

Nutrient

  TMG (Tri-methyl-glycine) / SAMe
 TMG or SAMe may be especially useful in treating depression associated with drug withdrawal.

Physical Medicine

  EMDR
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended