Addiction a word… But What Hold It Has On Your Brain Chemistry!
The definition for addiction is physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance.
OK stop right there and let’s start from the beginning!
The nerves functions at an electrical level in the synapses.
As you can see with the image on the right these are called neurotransmitters.
They are released at specific areas and have specific reception areas too. There are zillions of these, synapses in the body, the brain receives information like this too.
Below are more images to give you a jist of the movements, which we shall talk about later on, so that you too can understand how this affects your whole life and thus your new state of being, for once the synapse formed it stays present in the brain, asking for attention…Either good or bad, it becomes a habit for we seek it. Thus we become addicted.
Some images of synaptic movements.
So how does addiction happen and it’s relationship to my divorce!
Now in the Harvard scientific report Why does the brain prefer opium to broccoli? they talk of neurotransmitters releasing the dopamine producing pleasure should it fulfill a desire as it reaches the receptor. “It serves as a signal that the action promotes survival or reproduction, directly or indirectly. The system is called the reward pathway. When we do something that provides this reward, the brain records the experience and we are likely to do it again. Damage to the nucleus accumbens and drugs that block dopamine release in the region make everything less rewarding.” Explains Steve Hyman Director of the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health). So the actual chemistry of the brain in their neurotransmitters (synapse) is changed. In this very interesting and well explained report, UK scientists demonstrate how drugs change the patterns via IRM scans, but equally these new pathways can be created with any repeated behavioural patterns – as long as these are for survival they will release ‘stress’ chemicals procuring the “adrenalin rush” effect too.
a) Normal brian and b) with magic mushrooms eaten by the brain on the right hand side.
These pathways do not go away and need to be used, be it good or bad actions, that has no implications for the end result is the pleasure derived when the neurotransmitters arrive at their receptors.
When there is violence of any kind the same process occurs; synapses are formed and the “adrenal rush” good for the lizard brain and thus good for you, right?! Either way you will get pleasure once the fear dissipates and so this one pathway is especially good! You will seek more and thus it is not just one person’s fault…No blaming and shaming!
Dopamine is vital to humans.
So if you can only get this drug via the new pathway of drugs, alcohol, violence then you will get it. This is why battered people go back (to the amazement of all), and the batterer keeps doing the acts of violence! They both need their fix.
But my divorce had no violence…
So instead of having violence, your dopamine was just having a partner or something like that, personally I can not see what else but I’m sure you can!
How to break free from the addiction then?
I can only speak for myself here for each person’s journey is their own.
- I started meditating. This is not immediate by any means and it was not the only thing I started to do.
- I joined the community of loving people:
Some via the church;
Some via work 🙂
- I started to call more often my family.
- I was more present in the moment when I went to walk the dog in the woods, listening to the trees, ferns…the silence and the calm.
This was the starting process for me to have some pleasure outside the violence – verbal or other. In fact we just did not know how to behave ‘normally’. Poor children, my <3 howls here for them and what they endured.
Slowly, slowly the addiction changes…
just to be aware is liberating in itself. And one day it happens, whatever the trigger, whatever the phrase action I just woke up and said
IS THIS MY LIFE????
And that was it – I had no choice for the choice of staying to be really hurt far outweighed the fear of leaving and jumping into the unknown…..