For a lot of recovering addicts, they can become addicted to ‘drama’, which can be a struggle for the addict’s family, friends and loved ones to deal with. Many people may ask what creates this need for attention, being centre stage all the time and needing the focus on them and their lives? Why is every small event magnified and processed as if it were truly life and death? One may ask if this is something that just happens with recovering addicts, or do we all have a tendency to make our lives overdramatic?
How does this almost need for drama impact recovering addicts and why? It is known that the chemical receptors in the pleasure centre of the brain are heavily influenced with most substances of abuse. As these chemicals are pumped into the brain, addictive patterns begin to form for the addict. As an addict becomes more and more reliant on their chosen substance, they can also form patterns of habit in their brain synapses. These two things combined becomes habit after some time, and then becomes addiction. Depending on the substance, it can happen relatively quickly for many who begin to use and then abuse the substance.
It is often believed by addicts that when they begin with abusing one substance they may believe that that certain drug is the problem and will try switching from one to another one and another one, switching multiple drugs to end their dependency on any one. This occurrence may also be seen in recovery settings, where addiction to alcohol becomes an addiction to sugar, an equally damaging substance that may continue to damage the blood sugar system of the abuser. The brain is producing much the same effect from the sugar as it did with the alcohol, thus allowing the reward system to imitate the chemicals produced by alcohol and excessive drinking.
Other behaviours may stimulate the production of dopamine and give the recovering addict a “rush” that is not as strong, but is still addictive, without the use of drugs. These “fixes” can be numerous in range, from spending money to eating, from sex to tobacco. Even though they are all legal, their benefits in the reward centre of the brain may bring the same feelings and rushes that using drugs did. A rush of adrenalin signals the idea of the behaviour, perhaps the danger of being caught will fuel further adrenalin. It doesn’t matter what exactly sets this adrenaline off, the adrenalin itself becomes an addictive substance to the addict’s brain. The addict’s brain will want more and more.
Consequently, as the addiction to the adrenaline begins to form, certain behaviours will escalate to further stimulate and flood the brain with the same “rush” that they remember from the beginning use of their chemical substance. Because there is a reward system activated when they receive attention within their peer group, they may begin to tell stories and find ways to receive larger and larger amounts of attention. This “rush” will become addictive, just as other behaviours do.
For those in recovery for substance abuse, they may form and create different and new patterns for reaching and achieving the same effects that they got from substance abuse, even if they are abstinent. As an addict you must learn to understand and recognize these habits that can form due to addictive behaviours. Through rehabilitation and recovery the addict will learn how to balance these out in order to become well-adjusted without the need for any stimulants.
If you have an alcohol or drug related problem, please call The Haynes Clinic on 0330 333 8184 for free and confidential advice and help. The Haynes Clinic offers residential treatment for dependency on alcohol, drugs and prescription medication. We can also help with other addictions such as gambling and with eating disorders.