There is much controversy as to the causes of addiction, not least because the exact biology of addiction is unknown. There are a number of theories, briefly explained below, but none should be considered to be the definitive account nor is any one theory mutually exclusive of any other. It appears that characteristics of the individual including their personality), the properties of alcohol and drugs, and environmental factors interact to produce addiction. But it’s difficult to determine whether the individual’s personality or their environment is the primary factor in causing addiction. A considerable body of research suggests that a tendency to alcoholism may be inherited. Alcoholism seems to be much more common in some families and this inherited type of alcoholism particularly affects men. Individuals may inherit a higher tolerance for alcohol (they need more drink than others to achieve the same effect), or they may inherit an increased chance of becoming dependent. Cognition is the process by which we attain knowledge and awareness of the world, and it has been argued that addiction is not inherited but is a learned behavior. The more one consumes the more likely one is to be become addicted. Addiction can thus happen to anyone. The cognitive approach to addiction assumes that:
* Addictive behavior is ‘learned’
* Addiction is not a disease
* The behavior can thus be ‘unlearned’.
The phrase ‘addictive personality’ is used so commonly in our culture that few of us question whether an addictive personality type really exists, yet many doctors and psychiatrists believe that the term means little or nothing. Certainly, there is little evidence for an addictive personality as such. Personality is complex and the role of personality in addiction is uncertain. It’s difficult to disentangle the effects of personality on addiction from the effects of addiction on personality. There’s no single addictive personality. However, there are a number of personality types that have been associated with addiction, and they are outlined below. The strongest evidence exists for ‘antisocial personality. By Dr. Ciaran Mulholland http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/menshealth/facts/addiction.htm
I used to think a drug addict
was someone who lived
on the far edges of society.
and living in a filthy squat.
That was until I became one…
‘Substance misuse’ is a term used to describe the situation when a drinker or drug user experiences mental or physical harm as a result of their habit without necessarily being addicted to the substance in question. Substance misuse needs to be contrasted with substance dependence (also known as addiction). Dependence occurs at a more advanced stage of the addiction process. Doctors make a diagnosis of addiction if three or more of the following features are present.
+ A strong desire or sense of compulsion to take the substance.
+ Difficulties controlling the substance-taking behavior in terms of when it occurs, and or being able to stop, and or being unable to control the amount consumed once started.
+ A physically unpleasant withdrawal state when not consuming the substance.
+ Further substance use to relieve or avoid the withdrawal state.
+ Evidence of increased tolerance (increased doses are required in order to achieve effects originally produced by lower doses).
+ Progressive neglect of alternative pleasures or interests because of the substance use.
+ Persisting with substance use despite clear evidence of harmful consequences.
+ Narrowing of a person’s ‘personal repertoire’ or lifestyle – i.e. taking the substance becomes more important than anything else. By Dr. Ciaran Mulholland http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/menshealth/facts/addiction.htm
If you’re an addict,
it controls your life
and your life becomes
It’s boring and painful,
filling your system
with something that makes
you stare at your shoes
for six hours.
Men are much more likely to be addicted to alcohol and other substances than women. Two thirds of attendees at Alcoholics Anonymous are men (although this figure was 80 per cent in 1972). A large American study has found that men are twice as likely as women to have a substance dependence disorder, with a lifetime prevalence of almost 36 per cent for men and 18 per cent for women. In other words, over one-third of the male population of the U.S. has been dependent on alcohol or drugs at some stage of their lives. Men in the 25 to 34 year age group were twice as likely as those in the 45 to 50 year-old age group to report substance dependency. Alcohol and drug abuse are strongly associated with an increased suicide rate in men. In a large British study men were three times more likely than women to be alcohol dependent and twice as likely to be drug dependent. Almost 8 per cent of British men and almost 5 per cent of women said that they had been drug dependent at some time in their lives, 3 per cent of men and 1 per cent of women reporting dependence during the previous year. Marriage appears to protect men from addiction problems. Never being married or becoming single is associated with increased alcohol consumption, while getting married is associated with a drop in alcohol consumption. By Dr. Ciaran Mulholland http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/menshealth/facts/addiction.htm
…most substance-addicted people
are also addicted to thinking,
meaning they have a compulsive
and unhealthy relationship
with their own thinking.
David Foster Wallace
Shaming and humiliating children is emotionally abusive… It is not ok to smack children physically or with words. Young people deserve and are entitled to reach out, attach and bond with their caretakers. It is an expectation that the parent will provide safety, protection, acceptance, understanding and empathy. When this does happen, children grow up knowing their worth and demanding respect from others and themselves. When children are emotionally or psychologically abused, they grow up feeling unloved, unwanted, and fearful. Normal development is interrupted and it sends the wounded child into exile. This is when negative internal messages are developed and why we have so many adults today feeling “not good enough.” As children become adults, they parent themselves in the same manner they were parented. Messages internalized from childhood are now ingrained in the adult. Those messages play like repeating endless tapes. “How could you be so stupid?” “ You can’t do anything right.” “ This is why no-one likes you.” Shaming and humiliation causes fear in children. This fear does not go away when they grow up. It becomes a barrier for a healthy emotional life and is difficult to eradicate. If these same children become parents, the possibility also exists that the fear and negativity can be unwittingly passed through the generations. When we talk about disrespectful children, we must look at parenting. Solid parenting shows children respect and empathy. When a parent truly gives respect to a child, they receive it back. When this becomes the norm for the household, we see young people grow up with a loving value system that makes a difference in the world. However, when children are shamed, humiliated and then silenced, it represses the harm that may re-surface later in life. If this happens, it can be in the form of self-destruction or cruelty to others. By Karyl McBride, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201209/shaming-children-is-emotionally-abusive
Children aren’t coloring books.
You don’t get to fill them
with your favorite colors.
I recently attended a social gathering with friends, family, strangers and a bunch of cute kids. As the day ended and goodbyes were shared, I over heard a six-year-old quietly ask her mother for something. Suddenly, in front of the crowd, the mother exploded and yelled hysterically at the child. The little girl was silenced with tears streaming down her cheeks. It looked like a familiar scene for mother and daughter. The crowd silenced too, but quickly acted like nothing happened. This example of shaming and humiliating a child can have long-term devastating effects. Will this little girl grow up to respect her mother? “ Wherever I look, I see signs of the commandment to honor one’s parents and nowhere of a commandment that calls for the respect of a child.” Children respect those who respect them. The above quote comes from my colleague, Alice Miller, who passed in 2010. Her deeply thoughtful and profound work continues to inspire. She’s considered the most articulate child advocate in the world. Adult children raised by narcissistic parents frequently tell similar childhood stories of shame and humiliation. Often these shaming acts take place in front of other people. Treating children badly and without respect is not the golden rule for parenting, but why do we see this so often? Just today, a friend shared a similar story. Her brother frequently shames his children. When the family gets together, he loudly announces the wrong doings of his children, with no insight to the damage it does. The children stand listening with eyes cast downward. Is it any wonder that young people in these situations grow into adults with self-doubt, depression and anxiety? Karyl McBride, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201209/shaming-children-is-emotionally-abusive
Children must be taught
how to think, not what to think.
Emotional abuse is elusive. Unlike physical abuse, the people doing it and receiving it may not even know it’s happening. It can be more harmful than physical abuse because it can undermine what we think about ourselves. It can cripple all we are meant to be as we allow something untrue to define us. Emotional abuse can happen between parent and child, husband and wife, among relatives and between friends. The abuser projects their words, attitudes or actions onto an unsuspecting victim usually because they themselves have not dealt with childhood wounds that are now causing them to harm others. In the following areas, ask these questions to see if you are abusing or being abused:
1. Humiliation, degradation, discounting, negating, judging, criticizing:
- Does anyone make fun of you or put you down in front of others?
- Do they tease you, use sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you?
- When you complain do they say that “it was just a joke” and that you are too sensitive?
2. Domination, control, and shame:
- Do they treat you as though you are inferior to them?
- Do they make you feel as though they are always right?
- Do they belittle your accomplishments, your aspirations, your plans
3. Accusing and blaming, trivial and unreasonable demands or expectations…
- Are they unable to laugh at themselves?
- Do they have trouble apologizing?
- Do they blame you for their problems or unhappiness?
- Do they continually have “boundary violations” and disrespect your valid requests?
4. Emotional distancing… isolation, emotional abandonment or neglect:
- Do they use pouting, withdrawal or withholding attention or affection?
- Do they play the victim to deflect blame onto you instead of taking responsibility for their actions and attitudes?
- Do they not notice or care how you feel?
5. Codependence and enmeshment:
- Does anyone treat you not as a separate person but instead as an extension of themselves?
- Do they not protect your personal boundaries and share information that you have not approved?
- Do they disrespect your requests and do what they think is best for you?
By Maria Bogdanos http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/02/20/signs-of-emotional-abuse/
She will cry and get over it,
she will hate you
then love you again,
but one day she will leave
and won’t come back.
Intellectual Abuse: When the child is not encouraged or supported to think independently, told they are stupid or incapable, not taught to problem solve, how to be accountable your actions and thoughts and how to communicate is abuse. It also includes not being taught a philosophy or belief system in life. Spiritual abuse occurs when the parent is so rigid that they are the final word in everything. The child is not allowed to have their own desires, wants and needs; it must coincide with what the parent wants and needs. Addiction to Religion is similar to any addiction, it means that there is no room for questions or alternative thought. Religion can be used to scare and control, which is abusive. When a representative of a religion abuses, besides the trauma of the crime, it also casts doubt on “God” for the victim as well as the fear of authority figures. Taken from “Adults Abused as Children” by Licia Ginne, LMFT http://www.latherapists.com/articles.html
Religion has the capacity
to silence critical thinking
and create blindness
in entire groups of people.
Abuse: Touching someone’s body without their permission, hitting, punching, pinching, slapping, tickling, pulling hair, hitting with objects, banging the head, so that marks are left on the person…Punching someone to the point of knocking them off their feet, slamming them into walls or hard objects, strangling or choking someone…Intimidating someone with the threat of violence, punching walls or throwing objects. …you might think that because some other member of your family was receiving the blows you are not a victim of physical abuse, but (you were) if the underlying fear is, “When will it be me?” Physical sexual abuse is bodily sexual activity with a child or touching in a sexual way. It includes: intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, an adult masturbating a child or having a child masturbate an adult, sexual hugging, sexual kissing, and sexual touching. Many people who have been molested or incested feel responsible for what happened, feel that they caused it to happen or wanted it to happen. I have also heard clients express acceptance since it was the only kind of attention that they received. You are not responsible and it is not acceptable behavior. A child will not seek out sexual encounters except what may be age-appropriate sex play with other children. It is the adult’s responsibility to set appropriate boundaries and protect the child. Taken from “Adults Abused as Children” by Licia Ginne, LMFT http://www.latherapists.com/articles.html
The consequences of your denial
will be with you for a lifetime
and will be passed down
to the next generation.
Break your Silence on Abuse!
Patty Rase Hopson
The purpose of defining abuse is so we all have a common language and so we can fully experience and embrace the depth of the hurt we have suffered. It is not about blaming but lets us understand why we may always feel like someone is blaming us, or out to get us. We have our feelings in a context that makes more sense and gives us options to choose our behaviors and not just always reacting to things. It helps us to understand why we may feel or think the way that we do. We all struggle with understanding and believing in how these behaviors have affected us. From the safety of our lives now we can look back and rethink our experiences. We tend to empower our past experiences — like being a latchkey kid – by saying it toughened us up, that it built our self-confidence or independence. Yet research supports that being left on your own actually causes us to doubt our perceptions, feelings, thoughts and lower self-esteem. Latchkey kids were forced to grow up too quickly and take on too much responsibility, and they were not allowed to be afraid. As you grow up and develop intimate relationships, you may find it is hard to form close relationships. Trust has been broken and there is a fear to depend upon anyone else. A fear of feeling let down and rejected the way you did as kid when no one was around. Taken from “Adults Abused as Children” by Licia Ginne, LMFT http://www.latherapists.com/articles.html
Research on child abuse suggests
that religious beliefs can foster,
encourage, and justify
the abuse of children.
When contempt for sex
this creates a breeding
ground for abuse.
Codependence is the pain in adulthood that comes from being wounded in childhood and leads to a high probability of relationship problems and addictive/compulsive behavior. It is a combination of immature thinking, feeling and behaving that generates an aversive relationship with the self (self-loathing), which the codependent individual acts-out through self-destructive unduly self-sacrificial behavior. The most creative description I came across was this one: codependence is about growing up depending on someone who’s depending on something that’s not dependable. This could include anything from abusing alcohol and drugs to compulsive overworking, overeating, and overdoing almost anything. An example would be the child left in the car for one or more hours, enduring heat or cold, while his/her parents are working in the office. Today, I use this simple, generic definition of codependence: “Codependence is the pain in adulthood that comes from being wounded in childhood, which leads to a high probability of relationship problems and addictive disorders in later life.” Children of addiction, neglect, and abuse acquire social and emotional habits that turn on them in adulthood. Survival behaviors such as compulsive caretaking, martyring, door matting, scapegoating, controlling, people-pleasing, and approval-seeking are classic examples. http://www.thebridgetorecovery.com/overcoming-codependency.html
Research on child abuse suggests
that religious beliefs can foster,
encourage, and justify the abuse of children.
When contempt for sex underlies teachings,
this creates a breeding ground for abuse.