What Causes Poly-Behavioral Addiction?

The reasons for initially trying different socially acceptable legal drugs (e.g. alcohol, cigarettes, etc.), and/ or illegal drugs, or for that matter any addictive behavior involvement (e.g. gambling, binge-eating, etc.) are multi-factored (e.g. peer-pressure, boredom, etc.). In the twentieth century approximately 65% (Helzer et al., 1990) of healthy American individuals (born in a family–free from … Continue reading What Causes Poly-Behavioral Addiction?

The reasons for initially trying different socially acceptable legal drugs (e.g. alcohol, cigarettes, etc.), and/ or illegal drugs, or for that matter any addictive behavior involvement (e.g. gambling, binge-eating, etc.) are multi-factored (e.g. peer-pressure, boredom, etc.). In the twentieth century approximately 65% (Helzer et al., 1990) of healthy American individuals (born in a family–free from a history of substance abuse for example, and raised in a positive environment with positive values and conditioning) experiment with underage drinking and possibly smoking cigarettes at least once as adolescents or during a college dorm – binge drinking – phase of life.

Because human behavior is so complex, an attempt to understand the reasons individuals continue to use, and/ or abuse themselves with substances and/ or maladaptive behaviors to the point of developing self-defeating behavior patterns and/ or other life-style dysfunctions or self-harm is enormously difficult to achieve. Many researchers therefore prefer to speak of risk factors that may contribute, but not be sufficient to cause addictions. They point to an eclectic bio-psychosocial approach that involves the multi-dimensional interactions of genetics, biochemistry, psychology, socio-cultural, and spiritual influences.

Risk Factors / Contributory Causes / Influences:

1. Genetics (family history) is known to play a role in causing susceptibility through such biological avenues as metabolic rates and sensitivity to alcohol and/ or other drugs or addictive behaviors.

2. Biochemistry the discovery of morphine-like substances called endorphins (runners high, etc.) and the so-called pleasure pathway the mesocorticolimbic dopamine pathway (MCLP). This is the brain center or possible anatomic site underlying addictions at which alcohol and other drugs stimulate to produce euphoria which then becomes the desired goal to attain (tolerance loss of control withdrawal).

3. Psychological Factors developmental personality traits, vulnerability to stress, and the desire for tension and symptom reduction from various mental health problems and traumatic life experiences.

4. Socio-cultural/ Spiritual Factors cultural attitudes, marital, relational, legal, financial, and religious psycho-social stressors (etc.), along with the existence of a so-called drug culture that promotes the availability of alcohol and other drugs and/ or addictive behaviors as tension reducers and/ or pain relievers.

Family genetics, and bio-psychosocial, historical, and developmental conditioning factors are difficult and sometimes impossible to be changed within individuals. The standardized performance-based Addictions Recovery Measurement System philosophy incorporates a bio-psychosocial disease model that focuses on a cognitive behavioral perspective in attempting to alter maladaptive thinking and improve a persons abilities and behaviors to solve problems and plan for sustained recovery. Many healthcare consumers of addiction recovery services have a genetic pre-dispositional history for addiction. They have suffered and continue to suffer from past traumatic life experiences (e.g. physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, etc.) and often present with psychosocial stressors (e.g. occupational stress, family/ marital problems, etc.) leaving them with intense and confusing feelings (e.g. anger, anxiety, bitterness, fear, guilt, grief, loneliness, depression, and inferiority, etc.) that reinforce their already low self-esteem. The complex interaction of these factors can leave the individual with much deeper mental health problems involving self-hatred, self-punishment, self-denial, low self-control, low self-respect, and a severe low self-esteem condition, with an overall (sometimes hidden) negative self-identity.

There are many definitions for addiction as it is a complex phenomenon. The American Psychiatric Association avoids the term entirely. The World Health Organization defined addiction as a state of periodic and/ or chronic intoxication produced by the repeated consumption of a natural or synthetic drug. This state of intoxication is manifested by an overpowering desire, need or compulsion with the presence of a tendency to increase the dose and evidence of phenomena of tolerance, abstinence and withdrawal, in which there is always psychic and physical dependence on the effects of the drug (Gossop and Grant, 1990, p. 20).

Addictive diseases generally have been associated with substance abuse. More recently, the concept of addiction has been broadened to include behavior patterns that do not necessarily include alcohol or drugs. Bradshaw (1990) defines addiction as a “pathological relationship to any mood-altering person, thing, substance, or activity that has life-damaging consequences” (p. VIII). Arterburn and Felton (1992) define addiction as “the presence of a psychological and physiological dependency on a substance, relationship, or behavior” (p. 104). Shaef (1987) defines addiction as “any process over which we are powerless. Addiction takes control of us, causing us to do and think things that are inconsistent with our personal values, and which lead us to become progressively more compulsive and obsessive” (p. 18). She divides addictions into two broad categories: Substance addictions (e.g., alcohol, drugs, nicotine, and food, etc.) and process or behavioral addictions (e.g., gambling, food, religion, and sexual addictions, etc.).

Similar to alcohol and substance abuse disorders, process or behavioral addictions have personality factors that tend to characterize their etiologies, behavioral manifestations, and their resistance to change even though they do not involve a chemical addictive substance. For example, although most people can gamble occasionally, (e.g., Saturday night poker games, betting on major sporting events with friends, and/ or playing a slot machine while on vacation, etc.), an estimated six to ten million Americans lose control.

Pathological Gambling, according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR, 2000) is characterized by recurrent and persistent gambling behavior that disrupts family, personal, or vocational pursuits. It also involves continuous or periodic loss of control; a preoccupation with obtaining money for gambling; irrational behavior; and continuation of this behavior in spite of adverse consequences (Rosenthal, 1992).

People also develop dependencies on certain life-functioning activities that can be just as life threatening as drug addiction and just as socially and psychologically damaging as alcoholism. As noted previously 30.5% of American adults suffer from morbid obesity or being 100 lbs. or more above ideal body weight. Some do suffer from hormonal or metabolic disorders, but most obese individuals simply consume more calories than they burn due to an out of control overeating Food Addiction lifestyle pattern.

Hyper-obesity resulting from gross, habitual overeating is considered to be more like the problems found in those ingrained personality disorders that involve loss of control over appetite of some kind (Orford, 1985). Binge-eating Disorder episodes are characterized in part by a feeling that one cannot stop or control how much or what one is eating (DSM-IV-TR, 2000).

Williams (1993) suggests that religious addicts experience three of the same symptoms as other addicts: craving or the need for a fix; the loss of control; and continual use. Johnson and VanVonderen (1991) define Religious Addiction as the state of being dependent on a spiritually mood-altering system. In a change intended to encourage mental health professionals to view patients religious experience more seriously, the DSM-IV included an entry entitled, Religious or Spiritual Problem (Steinfels 1994). One type of psycho-religious problem involves patients who intensify their adherence to religious practices to an obsessive-compulsive and sometimes delusional mental state of mind. I personally had the unique opportunity of writing my doctoral dissertation on religious addiction entitled, Hawaii and Christian Religious Addiction. During that process, I discovered a significant relationship between self-appointed, authoritarian church leaders and religious addictive beliefs, behaviors and symptoms (Slobodzien, 2004).

Likewise, Sexual Addiction affects an estimated three to six percent of the U.S. population. Sexual addiction takes many forms to include obsessions with pornography and masturbation to engaging in cyber-sex, voyeurism, affairs, rape, incest, and sex with strangers. Though solitary forms of this addiction may not be overtly risky, they can be part of a pattern of distorted thinking and identity conflict that can escalate to involve harming the self and others. An example of a Sexual Disorder (NOS) or Not Otherwise Specified in the DSM-IV-TR, (2000) includes: distress about a pattern of repeated sexual relationships involving a succession of lovers who are experienced by an individual only as things to be used. The defining elements of this kind of addiction are its secrecy and escalating nature, often resulting in diminished judgment and self-control (Carnes, 1994).

The fundamental nature of all addiction is the addicts’ experience of helplessness and powerlessness over an obsessive-compulsive behavior, resulting in their lives becoming unmanageable. The addict may be out of control. They may experience extreme emotional pain and shame. They may repeatedly fail to control their behavior. They may suffer one or more of the following consequences of an unmanageable lifestyle: a deterioration of some or all supportive relationships; difficulties with work, financial troubles; and physical, mental, and/ or emotional exhaustion which sometimes leads to psychiatric problems and hospitalization. Addictions tend to arise from the same backgrounds: families with co-dependency including multiple addictions; lack of effective parenting; and other forms of physical, emotional and sexual trauma in childhood. Since it is impossible to expect treatment for one addiction to be beneficial when other addictions co-exist, the initial therapeutic intervention for any addiction needs to include an assessment for other addictions.

Poly-behavioral dependence is the synergistically integrated chronic dependence on multiple physiologically addictive substances and behaviors (e.g., using/ abusing substances nicotine, alcohol, & drugs, and/ or acting impulsively or obsessively compulsive in regards to gambling, food binging, sex, and/ or religion, etc.) simultaneously.

For more info see: Poly-Behavioral Addictions and the Addictions Recovery Measurement System

James Slobodzien, Psy.D., CSAC, is a Hawaii licensed psychologist and certified substance abuse counselor who earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Slobodzien is credentialed by the National Registry of Health Service Providers in Psychology. He has over 20-years of mental health experience primarily working in the fields of alcohol/ substance abuse and behavioral addictions in hospital, prison, and court settings. He is an adjunct professor of Psychology and also maintains a private practice as a mental health consultant.

The Dolphin Drug

Dolphins are aquatic creatures that have close resemblance with porpoises and whales. As of present time, there are at least forty species seventeen genera of these continental shelf dwellers. From thefamily of Delphinidae, these highly-intelligent critters’ body can expand from four feet up to 50 feet. Meanwhile, their body mass can weigh from 40 kilograms to 10 tonnes. Naturally carnivorous, these sea animals feast on squids and other fishes.
These shallow water dwellers, aside from their intelligence notoriety, can produce vocal sounds using their nasal airsacs located below their blowholes. There are three sounds or vocalizations, that dolphins produce frequency modulated sounds called whistles, burst-pulsed sounds and clicks. While there is still no available explanation for the use of burst-pulsed sound dolphins’ make, whistles and clicks playa pivotal role in a dolphin’s life. Dolphin whistles, which are characterized to be one of the loudest sounds in the sea, are used by these aquatic creatures to communicate. Research proves that a dolphin can distinguish a whistle from another because every dolphin has unique or signature whistles.They can identify themselves from one another using their high-pitched vocalizations. Whistles, which are unique dolphin mechanism, are effective adaptations that dolphins use for finding mate and group identification. Clicks, meanwhile, are used as directional aide which functions as echolocation. Like bats, this specialized dolphin helps them to detect for any object or creature approaching them.
This distinctive adaptation is not only beneficent to dolphinsbut, in a way, proves to be helpful to humans as well. Researches say that dolphin-produced sounds are used to improve concentration, enhance socialinteraction and skills, and as – anxiety medication. Certain studies show thatdolphin sounds, which has a calming effect, are good for lessening anxiety levels and are used as anxiety reliefs.
With the some dangerous complications anxiety medications can bring to one’s health, dolphin vocalizations, accompanied by soothing instruments, are now marketed as alternative anxiety relief.
In an article by Psychology Today, it said that swimming with dolphins can help reduce one’s anxiety level. This form of anxiety relief was further strengthened by the aforementioned study. Clinical Psychologist Nichola Webb PhD, said that the participants who swam with the dolphins developed a greater sense of well-being before and after the swim in comparison to the others who did not swim with the dolphins.
Dolphins vocalizations, however, are now being sold in the market in CD’s and DVD’s for us to have a first hand experience of its supposed calming effects and anxiety relief.
The dolphin song – or being scientifically correct, vocalizations – has really proven its worth. Itsnaturally-produced sound can help provide a soothing relief. But no matter how promising this may seem, nothing can stillreplace a frequent visit to the doctor. As to its effectiveness as an anxiety medication alternative, try it and you be the judge.

A Primer on Medical Acupuncture

Have you ever had an uncontrollable urge to be pierced by a dozen needles? This is the image most people get when someone mentions the word acupuncture. It comes as no surprise that most view this technique with suspicion, even downright horror. The fact is, however, that this relatively painless ancient Chinese technique has helped relieve the symptoms of millions of people. Properly used, it can help in the management of many medical conditions including chronic pain and fatigue.

How does needle puncture work?

Practitioners of Chinese traditional medicine believe in energy flows. This energy, called Qi, circulates around the body using pathways called meridians. Meridians run very close to the surface of the skin in certain areas and can be accessed by needles. Much like plumbing, these pipes can get blocked or go the wrong way, causing health problems. The insertion of needles at these points is aimed to help loosen blocks and normalize flow.

It sounds like a made-up explanation with no basis in reality, but there are numerous scientific studies which support the effects of acupuncture. Although the exact scientific basis is still unknown, recent theories seem to suggest involvement of complicated neurochemical effects in the brain, nerve to spinal cord impulse modulation, and microscopic connective tissue changes.

What risks and side effects are of concern?

The use of things not completely understood for the treatment of medical conditions is nothing new. Penicillin and aspirin were used for decades solely on the basis of their beneficial effects, without doctors knowing exactly how they worked. Results are what are truly important. However, it is equally important is to ensure that the technique is used safely.

Like other strategies used in treating health conditions, acupuncture may have some side effects. Medications have side effects and allergic reactions, surgeries have risk of infection and complications. For needle puncture, there is a risk of injury, rare infections, minor bleeding, small bruises, and some dizziness.

You can minimize the possible side effects by choosing a licensed acupuncturist. Most countries either have government licensing in place or have professional organizations with very strict rules and regulations.

How do treatments go?

An acupuncturist will do an initial evaluation of your medical history and your bodys current state. Multiple pressure points are palpated, and a regimen of treatment is formulated. Most courses involve a series of 10 to 20 treatment sessions, each lasting 30 to 90 minutes. Needles will be carefully placed at the required points and kept in place for some time. Most patients report a feeling of mild sensation at the site of the puncture, but no real pain.

Right after each acupuncture session, you will feel a bit tired and may need to rest. Some people feel an increase in their energy levels. The response to acupuncture is very individual. In some cases there is immediate relief of symptoms. For some patients, the beneficial effects may only be noticed after undergoing a few sessions. Do not be alarmed and keep your acupuncturist updated on what you are feeling to ensure everything is going as expected.

You need never fear the thought of needles ever again. Acupuncture is a beneficial treatment with a long history of effectiveness. It is used to complement current medical therapy and should not replace currently existing medications or treatments.

The safe application of this once exclusively Chinese therapy can now be experienced by chronic disease sufferers worldwide.

Getting Started With Breast Feeding

When you hold your baby for the first time in the
delivery room, you should put his lips to your
breast. Although your mature milk hasn’t developed
yet, your breasts are still producing a substance
known as colostrum that helps to protect your baby
from infections.

If your baby has trouble finding or staying on
your nipple, you shouldn’t panic. Breast feeding is
an art that will require a lot of patience and a
lot of practice. No one expects you to be an
expert when you first start, so you shouldn’t
hesitate to ask for advice or have a nurse show you
what you need to do.

Once you start, keep in mind that nursing shouldn’t
be painful. When your baby latches on, pay attention
to how your breasts feel. If the latching on
hurts, break the suction then try again.

You should nurse quite frequently, as the more
you nurse the more quickly your mature milk will
come in and the more milk you’ll produce. Breast
feeding for 10 – 15 minutes per breast 8 – 10 times
every 24 hours is an ideal target. Crying is a
sign of hunger, which means you should actually
feed your baby before he starts crying.

During the first few days, you may have to wake
your baby to begin breast feeding, and he may end
up falling asleep during feeding. To ensure that
your baby is eating often enough, you should wake
him up if it has been four hours since the last
time he has been fed.

Getting comfortable
Feedings can take 40 minutes or longer, therefore
you’ll want a cozy spot. You don’t want to be
sitting somewhere where you will be bothered, as it
can make the process very hard.

This is How You Locating an Acupuncturist

Acupuncture has become a very popular treatment for health related issues of all kinds. You will be able to relieve stress and anxiety along with all sorts of body pains. Acupuncture is something that can be risky, however, with sterilization of needles can have the anxiety. With a trained acupuncturist, you will be able to relieve your pain and find a certified acupuncturist to help you. There are lot of ways that you can locate a professional.

Most people will use the word of mouth to find an acupuncturist. You would be surprised at the number of people who have regular acupuncture treatments. For some, its like going to the chiropractor to get your back realigned a weekly or bi-weekly treatment to make life easier. You may want to ask your friends or family of their opinion to some of the local acupuncturists. Maybe they see an acupuncturist that they really like or maybe they have seen an acupuncturist that they did not like. Both are important to note. If a friend has a bad experience with an acupuncturist, be careful. You will find a good many unlicensed practitioners, but you will be putting yourself at more risk than you bargain for if you see someone without a license. If your friends do not see an acupuncturist, perhaps someone they know does. This is the beauty of word of mouth; there is an endless network of opinions and resources.

You will find that many of your friends and family members, along with the healthcare professionals to help you find a licensed acupuncturist in your area. In fact, because of its popularity and effectiveness, many medical professionals are becoming certified acupuncturists. However, if your doctor ends up recommending that acupuncture is a method of treatment, then they will be able to recommend someone for you to go and see.

A lot of people will also go online and find an acupuncturist to help them relive their pains. Because most states require acupuncturists to be licensed, there is also a database of competent acupuncture practitioners. If you look up the American Association of Oriental Medicine, you will be able to find acupuncturist nation wide. This association is comprised of state acupuncture and medical boards. Besides the nationwide search, there are also links to each state medical board or acupuncture licensing department, where you may also search for licensed practitioners near you.

If you are looking for an acupuncturist, you will find that there are many concerns that will allow you to feel safe and comfortable. You will want to make sure that you see the credentials of the acupuncturist before you contact the stats acupuncture licensing board. Also, you may want to arrange a meeting with your acupuncturist to learn about how they go about the practice and how they handle the professional end of the process. Make sure that you find a good acupuncturist, because it can be hard to find a good one.

Know The Causes Of Lower Left Back Pain to Avoid

Know The Causes Of Lower Left Back Pain to Avoid Discomfort

Lower Left Back Pain is common among people and can be caused by a number of reasons. Improper use of the back muscles lead to Lower Left Back Pain. If you sit on a chair for longer periods, say in front of the computer, poor posturing, where the left side of the back is under constant strain, can lead to Lower Back Pain.

Lower Left Back Pain is part of the larger lower back pain condition, which affects people mostly. The reason why the back suffers can be attributed to our sedentary life style. An office job in the pre-computer era was not as strenuous for the back as it is now. In those days, people would keep shifting weight and position in their chairs to allow rest to the back. Now with computer monitors fixed in a particular position, there is little scope for adjusting your position and weight in your office chair. Sitting in one particular position for hours together puts the lower back under a lot of strain. The back cannot take this constant strain on everyday basis. This initially leads to lower back stiffness and gradually the back starts getting painful.

The lower back cushions the weight of the upper body, and it acts as a shock absorber to reduce the impact of walking and running. Joggers, who jog on cemented tracks or on roads, expose their backs to greater risk of injury because of higher intensity of shock. Lower Left Back Pain can start with injury to the left leg, hip or back. The muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, discs and bones are under constant strain when we are mobile. Our turning, twisting and bending movements also put the lower back under strain. Regular back stretching and strengthening exercises will keep your back supple and strong.

Infection of the left kidney and the sciatica nerve of the left leg can also cause Lower Left Back Pain. If you experience sharp pains in the left side of the back, consult a physician to diagnose your condition.