Withdrawal/negative Affect Stage: Extended Amygdala
The withdrawal/negative affect stage of addiction follows the binge/intoxication stage, and, in turn, sets up future rounds of binge/intoxication. During this stage, a person who has been using alcohol or drugs experiences withdrawal symptoms, which include negative emotions and, sometimes, symptoms of physical illness, when they stop taking the substance. Symptoms of withdrawal may occur with all addictive substances, including marijuana, though they vary in intensity and duration depending on both the type of substance and the severity of use. The negative feelings associated with withdrawal are thought to come from two sources: diminished activation in the reward circuitry of the basal ganglia and activation of the brain’s stress systems in the extended amygdala .
The Withdrawal/Negative Affect Stage and the Extended Amygdala.
When used over the long-term, all substances of abuse cause dysfunction in the brain’s dopamine reward system. For example, brain imaging studies in humans with addiction have consistently shown long-lasting decreases in a particular type of dopamine receptor, the D2 receptor, compared with non-addicted individuals ., Decreases in the activity of the dopamine system have been observed during withdrawal from stimulants, opioids, nicotine, and alcohol. Other studies also show that when an addicted person is given a stimulant, it causes a smaller release of dopamine than when the same dose is given to a person who is not addicted.
More Now Again By Elizabeth Wurtzel
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If you grew up in the 90s, then you probably remember Wurtzels first memoir about her depression, Prozac Nation. It garnered her literary acclaim but, at age 26, she still lacked the one thing she really wanted: happiness. When her doctor prescribed Ritalin to help her focus, Wurtzel went down a dark path that eventually caused her to grind up her Ritalin and snort it. Next, she battled with cocaine, then more Ritalin and the cycle continued.
This memoir tells of her painful descent from depression into drug addiction and, eventually, how she broke free. Despite its dark beginning, this is ultimately a hopeful book that inspires readers to root for her throughout. Wurtzel sadly passed away at the age of 52 in January of 2020. Her confessional style of writing has left an indelible mark that remains influential today.
Vargas helps those of us who deal with a co-occurring disorder understand taking on both mental health and alcoholismand how we cannot heal one without the other.
Effects Of Substance Use On Brain Circuits And Functions
Continued research is necessary to more thoroughly explain how substance use affects the brain at the molecular, cellular, and circuit levels. Such research has the potential to identify common neurobiological mechanisms underlying substance use disorders, as well as other related mental disorders. This research is expected to reveal new neurobiological targets, leading to new medications and non-pharmacological treatmentssuch as transcranial magnetic stimulation or vaccinesfor the treatment of substance use disorders. A better understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying substance use disorders could also help to inform behavioral interventions. Therefore, basic research that further elucidates the neurobiological framework of substance use disorders and co-occurring mental disorders, as well as research leading to the development of new medications and other therapeutics to treat the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of substance use disorders should be accelerated.
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Nothing Good Can Come From This: Essays By Kristi Coulter
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There are countless memoirs about addiction and recovery, but not quite so many about stopping drinking and its aftermath. When author Kristi Coulter stopped drinking, she began to notice the way that women around her were always tanked, and how alcohol affected those around her.
In this essay collection, Coulter writes with wit about a life in transition and what happens when you suddenly look up and realize that maybe everyone else isnt quite doing things the right way. This memoir is a frank, feminist look at life after recovery.
Use Of Multiple Substances And Co
Many individuals with a substance use disorder also have a mental disorder,, and some have multiple substance use disorders. For example, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health , of the 20.8 million people aged 12 or older who had a substance use disorder during the past year, about 2.7 million had both an alcohol use and an illicit drug use disorder, and 41.2 percent also had a mental illness. Particularly striking is the 3- to 4-fold higher rate of tobacco smoking among patients with schizophrenia and the high prevalence of co-existing alcohol use disorder in those meeting criteria for PTSD. It is estimated that 30-60 percent of patients seeking treatment for alcohol use disorder meet criteria for PTSD,, and approximately one third of individuals who have experienced PTSD have also experienced alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.
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After 9/1: One Girls Journey Through Darkness To A New Beginningby Helaina Hovitz
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As a child, Helaina Hovitz was a very close witness to the attack to the World Trade Center on 9/11. These events leave her with a serious case of PTSD that in turn throw her into despair and later lands her into addiction.
More than a journey through addiction and recovery from it, this is a tale about how trauma shapes us, and how we can only free ourselves from its hold by facing it. Its a testament to how one moment, completely out of our control, can drastically change our lives.
More than a journey through addiction and recovery from it, this is a tale about how trauma shapes us, and how we can only free ourselves from its hold by facing it.
It takes guts to admit that you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol . It takes even more guts to seek the help you need to recover. These twenty-six authors have shown incredible bravery and resilience in sharing their most painful experiences and deepest vulnerabilities in public as they recount their roads to recovery.
Whether you want to better understand the mindset of addiction or find inspiration in how they got out of it, these memoirs are nothing short of inspiring.
Publishers Weeklyjan 23 2012
In this meticulous, evocative memoir, Lewis, a neuroscientist and ex-junkie, explores how narcotics affect the brain and beguile the mind. His picaresque narrative recounts a lavish drug history: booze, cough syrup and pot at boarding school LSD during his Vietnam-era college days at Berkeley intermittent addictions to heroin and prescription opiates that led to pharmacy break-ins and arrest a laughing-gas party in the Malaysian jungle. His odyssey frames a fascinating look at the mechanisms by which drugs disrupt brain chemistry, excite or sedate neurons, and trash perception, reasoning, and emotion. But Lewis also translates the neuroscience into luxuriant sensation with vivid depictions of the “absurdist carnival” of an acid trip or the “bright white pleasure” of a methamphetamine jag. His saga is as much trenchant psychology as it is hard neurology, as he probes the constant jangle of self-loathing and social awkwardness that drove him to drugs as an escape from reality. Lewis’s unusual blend of scientific expertise, street cred, vivid subjectivity and searching introspection yields a compelling perspective on the perils and allure of addiction.
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The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober: Discovering A Happy Healthy Wealthy Alcohol
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If youve wondered what it would be like to live your life sober, this book is for you. More than just a memoir, this book is about the societal traps that lead us to drink, how drinking affects our brains and our bodies, and the psychology and neuroscience behind it all.
Catherine Gray was trapped in a seemingly hopeless cycle but shell show you the escape route, and the wonders that await you on the other side if youre considering joining her.
More than just a memoir, this book is about the societal traps that lead us to drink, how drinking affects our brains and our bodies, and the psychology and neuroscience behind it all.
Binge/intoxication Stage: Basal Ganglia
The binge/intoxication stage of the addiction cycle is the stage at which an individual consumes the substance of choice. This stage heavily involves the basal ganglia and its two key brain sub-regions, the nucleus accumbens and the dorsal striatum. In this stage, substances affect the brain in several ways.
Major Neurotransmitter Systems Implicated in the Neuroadaptations Associated with the Binge/Intoxication Stage of Addiction. Notes: Blue represents the basal ganglia involved in the Binge/Intoxication stage. Red represents the extended amygdala involved
Together, these studies indicate that stimuli associated with addictive drugs can, by themselves, produce drug-like effects on the brain and trigger drug use. These findings help to explain why individuals with substance use disorders who are trying to maintain abstinence are at increased risk of relapse if they continue to have contact with the people they previously used drugs with or the places where they used drugs.
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A Basic Primer On The Human Brain
To understand how addictive substances affect the brain, it is important to first understand the basic biology of healthy brain function. The brain is an amazingly complex organ that is constantly at work. Within the brain, a mix of chemical and electrical processes controls the body’s most basic functions, like breathing and digestion. These processes also control how people react to the multitudes of sounds, smells, and other sensory stimuli around them, and they organize and direct individuals’ highest thinking and emotive powers so that they can interact with other people, carry out daily activities, and make complex decisions.
The brain is made of an estimated 86 billion nerve cellscalled neuronsas well as other cell types. Each neuron has a cell body, an axon, and dendrites . The cell body and its nucleus control the neuron’s activities. The axon extends out from the cell body and transmits messages to other neurons. Dendrites branch out from the cell body and receive messages from the axons of other neurons.
Neurons communicate with one another through chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters cross a tiny gap, or synapse, between neurons and attach to receptors on the receiving neuron. Some neurotransmitters are inhibitorythey make it less likely that the receiving neuron will carry out some action. Others are excitatory, meaning that they stimulate neuronal function, priming it to send signals to other neurons.
A Neuron and its Parts.
How To Grow Up: A Memoir By Michelle Tea
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Hoping to make her dreams a reality, Michelle Tea recounts her awkward attempts to gain literary fame as she smokes, drinks, and snorts her way through San Francisco. She begins to slowly grow into a healthy, reasonable, self-aware, and stable adult. Her passionate writing shines as she tells of her often difficult relationship with money, her relationships, and more.
This is a darkly comic book about the slow road through recovery, really growing up, and being someone that gets back up after screwing up.
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Beautiful Boy: A Fathers Journey Through His Sons Addiction
I tell people this is the book that saved my life while my son was battling his addiction, and I mean that with every ounce of my being. Its the best book Ive ever read because it moved me like no other book has. David Sheff is a master storyteller whose writing is brutally honest and thought provoking. This isnt just a book about a sons addiction and how it affected all those around him, its a parental love story one that will make you realize youre not alone, while validating all of the thoughts and feelings youve ever had about your addicted loved one. Better than that, Beautiful Boy is also a story of hope.
Im Just Happy To Be Here: A Memoir Of Renegade Mothering By Janelle Hanchett
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Often, we hear the stories of people with addiction being redeemed by their children but this is not that kind of story, which is precisely why we love it. Its about a woman who longs to belong and find comfort in her new life with husband and baby but instead develops a gripping addiction to wine.
Janelle Hanchett chronicles the story of embracing motherhood through the devastating separation from her children at the height of addiction.
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Smashed: Story Of A Drunken Girlhood By Koren Zailckas
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Koren Zailckas is not an alcoholic. Shes just someone who uses alcohol to muster up courage, and well, survive life. This is just how it has always been since her introduction to Southern Comfort when she was just fourteen.
This book is a tale of how, after many years of excessive drinking and spiraling into a self-destruction cycle, Zailckas realizes that it doesnt matter whether or not she identifies as an alcoholic. Finally, she accepts that she has to stop doing this to herself and decides to quit drinking.
Shes just someone who uses alcohol to muster up courage, and well, survive life.
Clean: Overcoming Addiction And Ending Americas Greatest Tragedy
Clean is a landmark book on addiction that tackles a myriad of issues head-on: prevention, diagnosis, genetics, treatment, relapse, stigma, and using medications for treatment are just some of the topics David Sheff discusses. The most important theme that runs throughout this book, though, is that of hope. Addiction can be prevented, but even if someone does succumb to the disease, there are ways to treat itthere are ways for people to get and stay clean. If you have been affected by addiction, you must read this book. If you have kids entering their formative years, you must read this book. If there is a history of addiction in your family, you must read this book. Even if you dont fit any of those categories, Id still recommend you read Clean to get a remarkable insight into one of the biggest issues facing our country today.
Words of Wisdom: Most drug use isnt about drugs its about life. Our prevention and treatment efforts have failed mostly because theyve focused on dealing with the drugs themselves, but drug abuse is almost always the result of kids starting to use early, genetics, and other problems stress, trauma, mental illness, or some combination of these factors. The new paradigm is rooted in recognizing that drugs are a symptom, not a cause, and whatever problems underlie them must be addressed. Until they are, our prevention and treatment systems will continue to fail most people.
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Powerful Memoirs About Mental Illness & Addiction
1. The Big Fix: Hope After Heroin by Tracey Helton Mitchell
Amazon Description:After surviving nearly a decade of heroin abuse and hard living on the streets of San Franciscos Tenderloin District, Tracey Helton Mitchell decided to get clean for good.
With raw honesty and a poignant perspective on life that only comes from starting at rock bottom, The Big Fix tells her story of transformation from homeless heroin addict to stable mother of threeand the hard work and hard lessons that got her there. Rather than dwelling on the pain of addiction,Tracey focuses on her journey of recovery and rebuilding her life, while exposing the failings of the American rehab system and laying out a path for change. Starting with the first step in her recovery, Tracey re-learns how to interact with men, build new friendships, handle money, and rekindle her relationship with her mother, all while staying sober, sharp, and dedicated to her future.
A decidedly female story of addiction, The Big Fix describes the unique challenges faced by women caught in the grip of substance abuse, such as the toxic connection between drug addition and prostitution. Traceys story of hope, hard work, and rehabilitation will inspire anyone who has been affected by substance abuse while offering hope for a better future.
2. Come Back: A Mother and Daughters Journey Through Hell and Back by Claire Fontaine & Mia Fontaine
3. Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
4. A Drinking Life: A Memoir by Pete Hamill
Genetic And Molecular Factors
Genetic factors are thought to account for 40 to 70 percent of individual differences in risk for addiction., Although multiple genes are likely involved in the development of addiction, only a few specific gene variants have been identified that either predispose to or protect against addiction. Some of these variants have been associated with the metabolism of alcohol and nicotine, while others involve receptors and other proteins associated with key neurotransmitters and molecules involved in all parts of the addiction cycle. Genes involved in strengthening the connections between neurons and in forming drug memories have also been associated with addiction risk., Like other chronic health conditions, substance use disorders are influenced by the complex interplay between a person’s genes and environment. Additional research on the mechanisms underlying gene by environment interactions is expected to provide insight into how substance use disorders develop and how they can be prevented and treated.
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New Insights Into The Causes Of Addiction
Addiction involves craving for something intensely, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. Addiction changes the brain, first by subverting the way it registers pleasure and then by corrupting other normal drives such as learning and motivation. Although breaking an addiction is tough, it can be done.
A Piece Of Cake: A Memoir By Cupcake Brown
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Before she even turned twenty, Cupcake Brown survived more than most of us will in a lifetime: The death of a parent, childhood abuse, rape, drug and alcohol addiction, miscarriage, hustling, gangbanging, near-death injuries, drug dealing, prostitution and homelessness.
Eventually, she goes through a series of 9-to-5 jobs that end with her living behind a Dumpster due to a descent into crack cocaine use. But in this gripping memoir, she turns it all around with the help of a family of eccentric fellow substance users and friends or strangers who come to her aid. This gripping tale is about the resilience of spirit combined with the worst of modern urban life. Cupcake survives thanks to a furious wit and an unyielding determination and youll want to read her inspiring tale.
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