Addiction and Neuroscience: Historical Dog, New tricks



Teach an old dog new tricks.” This has been accepted belief for so long that it’s an actual proverb. People and dogs, interestingly reach a definite age and the are set in their ways no matter how hard you try to change them, it doesn’t work.


They’ll certainly not break out of that addictive addiction.

Except, the latest information, says that proverb is scandalous. Very, very scandalous.

Besides the fact that a child has matured by the age of twenty, his brain can nevertheless shift and change with response to stimuli and learning for the calmness in our lives. Truly, we recover from serious brain traumas, to regain functions that we’ve lost. That why we hear of people learning to walk again, to speak once more, even when the part of the brain responsible for circulation and communication has been badly damaged and even partially removed. Science, event, and straightforward statement agree: the mind is remarkably resilient!

So why is the addicted mind so difficult to change?

The Addicted brain

When it involves addiction, the mind has a few issues going on directly. On the one hand, it is receiving delight or pleasure from the addictive conduct or drug. This creates a relief-gratification  loop this is so potent,that the mind is physiologically modified. Nonetheless, the mind is making an attempt desperately to get relief from negativity.

People are plagued with continuous negative thoughts each waking moment

These negative thoughts turn into a robust neuropathway that can set off terrible ideas even in a state of relaxation. Waking up at 2:00 a.m. and worrying about your life is only one illustration of how these terrible thoughts can affect our lives.

This bad, always worry based, notion spiral truly sends our bodies into one of our earliest evolutionary states: fight or flight.

The Perils of the “Fight or Flight” Mentality

Thought is power. We are full of life beings, and our mind is the command core. It sends messages to all parts of our bodies. But when we’re in a terrible thought spiral, the mind prompts fight or flight mode with a view to protect us from the perceived probability. Although that hazard isn’t life threatening, like a sudden presentation at work, our bodies responds by  narrowing our center of attention to survival mode. Fight or flight prompts the sympathetic nervous system, which shuts down plenty of our cognitive functioning, our multitasking capacity,  and our hormonal and metabolic methods. It minimizes all of those  functions in want of 1 thing: survival.

The Lion is Coming at You at this time!

The part of the brain that initiates the battle or flight response, the amygdala, is incapable of distinguishing between a true and a perceived threat. The presentation you ought to make off-the-cuff is indistinguishable from the lion assault. Cortisol tiers rise,that’s the stress hormone, and the body turns into hyper-focused on surviving the lion attack that tens of millions of years of evolution have taught our bodies are expecting.

Even with no lion to sidestep, the mind can turn into hyper-concentration on poor concepts a person is experiencing. The brain keeps us concentrated on these thoughts, for longer and longer periods of time, spinning us down the spiral, deeper and deeper. And because our processing and difficulty solving are limited, we not able find a way out. Does that sound like melancholy to anyone?

This repeated unencumbered cortisol and adrenaline are bodily taxing. We don’t get our appropriate nutrients, because our metabolic tactics are minimized. We get exhausted, as a result of  crying all the time and experiencing continual anxiousness. After we’re tired, we don’t perform at our maximum level and are susceptible to making unwise choices. We’re searching for relief.

Happily, the brain doesn’t wish to continue to be doing this loop, and neuroscience tells us that we can break free from the cycle.

Which you could Reprogram Your mind

Neuroplasticity refers to the indisputable fact that the mind is malleable. Which is unbelievable information for individuals combating dependency. As mentioned above, the brain is constantly making new synaptic pathways e.g., the route I hold to get to my new job, or where the grocery store clerk moved my favorite peanut butter. And the mind is additionally pruning away synaptic pathways that it no longer needs,like what color footwear I wore to the prom 50 years ago.

So how does it work? I magine a wheat box. You park your automobile at the corner and walk 880 yards into the store . Surrounded with the aid of waving wheat stalks better than your head, you can’t see your car. The simplest method again is to press the panic button in your key alarm and listen the sound.

Now imagine that you just planted a flag in the middle of this box. And also you come to a decision to talk with that flag day by day. Daily you trudge across that field, stand via that flag, and return to your vehicle. The few days you might also still must hit that panic button on the important thing fob. However, after a couple of days, for those who flip around, you’ll be capable of seeing your motor vehicle during the flattened stalks your repeated trips have made.

The brain works in largely the same way. These negative thoughts, those sending our bodies into combat or Flight mode, they devise paths identical to these.

The mind, youngsters, would  take us along a pathway that doesn’t end in elevated cortisol, surging adrenaline and rotten decision-making.

So how can we make one?

The use of Affirmations to Create high quality choices

Trust it or not, we will purposefully make that pathway with positive affirmations.

In the fine thinking house, our brain prompts the parasympathetic nervous system. That places us in a relaxation and reflective state. Our circulation improves, our hormones re balance, we are able to get a hold of creative solutions, and we are able to multitask. From this area, our choices come from a place of balance and discernment.

To create a new, advantageous course during the wheat field, we have to purposefully create it. It won’t grow by itself; just like the wheat container, it takes time and persistence.

One of the highest qualities you can achieve this shift, and circulate the intellect from its terrible path onto our favored one, is to create nice affirmations and repeat them many times to ourselves, peculiarly when the mind is hyper-concentrated on the bad.

When people combating addiction purposefully cease the unfriendly cycle of defining themselves and their lives by way of what they don’t want to occur in want of what they do wish to experience , they can change from terrible  pathways to wonderful ones.

Growing an Affirmation

An affirmation has three important parts

1. What features you need to embody.

2. The way you want to feel—internally—about yourself.

 3. How you intend to walk yourself through these lifestyles.

An instance of an affirmation is:

1. I am a genuine, fair, and joyful person,

2. Loving myself first, then others,

3. I peacefully share myself with others.

The energy of the affirmation comes with repetition. Your affirmation is meant to be repeated over a hundred times per day. It’s ideal for re-centering yourself when upset, harm, or disenchanted. An affirmation will remind you, as you begin to descend the negative spiral, that this is who you are and where you want to be.

In tandem with the deep emotional and mental curative associated with psychotherapy, affirmation work can help flip our pathways fantastically.

A Message for people fighting with addiction

The gold standard information that comes out of neuroscience analysis into dependency is hope.

People have the ability to change, and it can also be easier than you may think. However, is essential to remember that restoration is in reach of each and every individual.

If another method isn’t working, there’s no reason to beat yourself while you’re already down. Find whatever thing that works for you. Whatever thing it is, it’s going to be interesting to you and we have to value ourselves enough to permit ourselves the space and time to shift. It may not take place overnight, however each individual is worth working on, all the time. You are worth your effort, time, and love.

So in case you’ve tried whatever thing, and it isn’t working, seize an event from your brain, and change. Discover what lights you up. Outline the place you are looking to go, and give yourself credit for continuing your experience again.

























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12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Hi John, I had nice time reading your other article on side effects of flu shots and I couldn’t help but look up more of your articles.  It’s interesting to learn that negative thoughts in our mind can result into robust neuropathway which can cause terrible ideas even if one is in a state of relaxation.

    I guess I have to create affirmations whenever I am in a troubled state of mind from addictions. Couldn’t agree more that restoration can be achieved for every individual.

    Many thanks for sharing and best regards 

    1. Thanks Victor for your comments.Substance addictive is plaguing most of us if not directly ,indirectly; It has a devastating affect on the users as well as the families of the users. I will continue to bring to light these articles.

  2. Once I got past the three videos playing at once, I was able to focus on the article.

    I am one such family member affected by drug addiction and was very moved by the TED talk at the bottom of the article. To address another issue brought up in that TED talk, my son is gay, but I still don’t see a relationship between drug addiction and being gay, but that’s not what I want to write about here.

    Addiction is very hard on the lives of everyone involved and often leads to other serious issues. 

    My brother, for instance, came addicted to drugs in his late teens and, after his addiction encouraged him to make some really nonsensical choices, was later diagnosed with paranoia and schizophrenia , about 4 years before he took his own life at age 31.

    My sister-in-law moved from rehab into a half-way house just yesterday at age 58 after suffering with alcoholism and addiction to opioids.

    Another brother struggles to find employment that can support his family at age 59 after being hooked on anything he could get to get him high from his late teens to early 30s. He’s out of the woods with the drugs, but an average person would agree he’s not completely there.

    I want to personally thank you to putting this information out there. I did not know how the drugs affect the dopamine system until now and I’m glad that I have a better understanding of addiction because it gives me an explanation as to why drugs can be so gripping.

    I only wish I knew why addiction grips some people and not others. Me, for example, I can take the strongest drug available. I will experiment with taking less, not more, just to keep pain in the tolerable level and I will often stop taking pain meds as soon as tylenol with get me through the day. 

    I’m like to opposite of an addict in that way.

    Thanks again for a great article. I wish you could find a way to have only one video start when the page loads.

    1. Thanks John for that very heart rendering and and personal story about your brother.The collateral damage caused by substance abuse is far reaching and has been responsible for whole generations having been affected.I know that a person hooked on those kinds things for medicinal or recreational use still end up with the same results! Broken homes,families,relationships and the countless deaths and medical catastrophe caused by this insidious disease.

  3. Addictive addiction is common for senior people and after a certain period when they got retired from their profession, they fall in this. I found lot’s of resourceful information about negative thoughts and same observation about that.When it involves addiction, the mind encompasses a few problems happening directly. On the one hand, it’s receiving delight or pleasure from the addictive  conduct or drug. This creates a relief-gratification loop which can be thus potent that the mind is physiologically changed.

    Thanks for sharing this information.

  4. A very unusual topic, thanks for the load of information.

    Addiction, some take it as a curse, and think all things bad are addiction. I am addicted to praying, constantly improving and but Ithink those are wonderful addictions .

    The thought is yours and thinking about self improvement and not being over worried by the past or fear or failure of the past will lead to a more advanced human and bring about peace.

    Thanks 🙂 for allowing me reflect.

    1. Thank you  Rahye for your prospective. I am just like you are when it comes to addictions of good things I wish everyone could have those kind of addictions.

  5. I think during a long life a lot can happen. I got addicted to heavy drugs when I was around 30 and went clean again at 36.

    I was smoking ganja from the age of 18 and stopped around 10 years ago with 45.

    I was a heavy drinker and also quit that addiction to a stage when I can drink on occasions and quit the next day for weeks or even months sometimes.

    Ok, It would be easier if I would quit all time but who said that easier is always better?

    I’m glad to be able to look back at a happy childhood, that helps me a lot when ever I feel very low.

    1. Thank you so much for your testimony Stefan.Addiction is an ugly plague that has caused a lot of people to ruin their lives because they were not able to stop. I commend you for your resolve to quit and to never look back!

  6. This is really a important and interesting topic that I have never heard or read anywhere before today. Even though this can be not important for some people but I think this topic should be reached among people. Thank you so much looking things in a different perspective and sharing that with us.

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