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How Can You Tell When It’s Finally Time To Admit You Are Addicted?

drug addiction

Denying addiction is part of the problem. Eventually, you are so far down the rabbit hole that it’s too late. So how can you spot the signs before you get so far down the rabbit hole that it’s impossible to climb back up again?

In this quick piece, I’m going to give you 10 ways you can spot if you are addicted to anything, and that it’s getting more chronic.

It’s obviously not scientific, but it’s based on my experience. You’ll need honesty, and you’ll have to monitor your doses, frequency of doses, and how you feel on the other side over several weeks to see if things are just getting worse.

 

1. You keep pretending you still have a health problem when you don’t

 

Getting addicted to prescription meds can be a real problem. People won’t admit it, and can even convince their doctor they are still unwell in order to keep getting the drugs. They can even convince themselves they are still in need of them when they are not.

If your doctor is telling you that you are getting better, and your body/mind is telling you are getting better, yet you still keep telling yourself you are not, then it could be related to addiction. Of course, you might still be unwell, but take a step back and look if there is a possibility that you just keep wanting the drugs.

 

2. You need more and more to get the same feelings you use to

 

Whatever you are into that first time can often be the best. The times after that are great as well. If you are a few weeks or months down the line and you are taking significantly more than you were to chase the same high, and you simply aren’t getting the same feelings, then you could be building up a tolerance.

Tolerance is where you need more and more of a substance to get the same hit. It’s a mix of your body getting used to the drug you are taking, and also it’s the dopamine spike diminishing as your body cuts back on its production.

If you feel this is happening to you, then you really need to address the problem because building tolerance means that your habit could be spiraling out of control.

3. You feel worse and worse whenever you are on the comedown

 

Initially, things will be too bad on the other side of the experience. But the more you do it, the worse it gets.

You’ll feel stranger every single time you come down. Worse sweats, worse headaches, tired, with a lack of hunger. You can be confused, shivering when you are sweating, and unable to regulate your body temperature.

Whatever the symptoms on the comedown, if they are getting worse (keeping a diary is good at this point or filming yourself and talking about it), then it’s a sign that you are taking bigger doses more frequently, and your body is struggling more.

 

4. You can’t stop thinking about the drug

 

You find yourself spending more and more time thinking about the drug you are getting addicted to. Thoughts will start to intrude into every part of your life. You’ll think about how it feels, and how you can get more. When can you get the time to enjoy it soon?

You’ll also consider how much you can buy, and when. You will think about your finances and how much you can spare, and then a little more.

You will also spend more time thinking about how bad it is and how you feel afterward. Deep down you know it’s becoming a problem, and you can’t stop thinking about the good and the bad.

 

5. You keep smashing your self-imposed limits

 

If you find you are taking more and more drugs when you said you wouldn’t. That’s a big warning sign.

Also, he said you would only take them every now and again just to feel good and have fun, but now it’s happening more frequently. What started off as a rare treat has crept into more and more frequent use.

It could also be monetary limits getting smashed. You could have set an amount in mind you can spend each week or month, and that’s now been ignored as well. Lack of money is a huge sign of dependence building.

 

6. You’ve lost interest in the things you like to do

 

You will find you start to lose interest in things you used to enjoy doing, and also the people that you used to hang around with, who weren’t into drugs.

Everything will now be about the drugs and the people you take them with, or the people you hang around with in this situation is where you take end up taking them.

Your passion for everything normal in your life will diminish in importance. Sports, friends, children, partners, hobbies, parents, it will all start to seem less important and fade into the background and be replaced by a focus on drugs.

 

7. Completing daily tasks and responsibilities are getting tougher

 

Maybe you’ve started to find it harder to go to work or focus while you are there. It’s very common that work just becomes something in your mind that blocks you from getting close to drugs as quickly as possible.

You may find that you literally drift through your days without really achieving anything, maybe starting to pick up warnings at work as well.

Outside of work, the family could become less important to you. People could pick up on that and there could be more arguments and more accusations.

You may find that stuff like the washing and household chores are mounting up. You are always struggling for plates and cups because they are always laying around and washed. Basically, your domestic situation is beginning to be hand-to-mouth and deteriorating.

8. You start taking risks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

 

Whether it’s one drug, alcohol, many drugs, or a combination, you will find more and more at times that you are taking risks while using them.

It could mean you are driving under the influence for example. Or you could be looking after children, or going to work. Basically, the boundaries between right and wrong, good and bad, and different parts of your life are blurring due to your desire to take what you need. Not to mention you can lose your job due to drug testing at work (to learn how to pass a urine test, click here).

Those risks can also extend your relationship. Risky behavior with other people, such as unprotected sex behind your partner’s back. Behaviors which are just not you, but are obviously risky to your happiness.

9. You start to lose control of your finances

 

You will start to fall behind on your bills. This will happen more and more frequently as you are buying drugs rather than paying the bills. A key symptom of drug use is struggling financially.

Drugs will be more important than food and clothing as well. This can be for you and other members of your family. Making it the spiraling problem that affects everyone around you.

You could also end up borrowing money from people and not paying them back. Deep down you may know that you never will, even if you try and convince yourself that you will. You may feel you have no pride left.

When you are in deep you will shamelessly come back to those people to beg for more money, lying through your teeth with any reason you can come up with to try and get as much out of them as possible, even if they are in need of the money themselves. Your scruples and morals will be going completely out of the window.

You could even start stealing money. Or stealing things to sell to get money for drugs. At the very least you could start selling your possessions to get money for drugs.

 

10. People will say you have changed

 

If you have any sort of normal lifestyle and aren’t just surrounded by people in the drugs scene, then people start to notice the changes in you.

The subversion, and anger, your actions, the selfishness, they will notice and comment. Your response will be anger and denial, and in your head you will tell yourself that they are the problem and not you.

You will start to shun the people who challenge you about the changes to surround yourself with people who instead enable the drugtaking.

Deep down you will know that you are changing. You are living more and more for the drugs. But not just for the drugs, but you are starting to submerge yourself in the culture and the people as well. You will find that you are living more for drugs and the people who take them, and supply them, than for the people you care for.

When that happens alongside ruthless use of money that is needed elsewhere, then you will undeniably know that you have significant drug addiction that is going to completely sink you unless you stop and change direction.

Correcting The Myths & Establishing Facts About Dopamine And Addiction

dopamine

Dopamine is very often referred to as a pleasure chemical, which gives as a rush of determination and can induce reckless behavior. Therefore, people assume that it can lead to addiction.

While it’s true that dopamine can lead to reckless or addictive behavior, it doesn’t mean that it’s the strongest link between an individual and addiction to a substance.

There are a lot of myths out there about dopamine and its role in growing addiction in individuals. This article is going to address some of those myths and facts for you.

It’s not a straightforward picture, but what is a fact is that a lot of what you know about dopamine through popular culture is false.

Here’s What Dopamine Is

Dopamine is one of the main hormonal neurotransmitters. It’s created by neurons, and it’s used to affect other neurons in the body.

In technical terms, it’s actually a neuromodulator rather than a neurotransmitter. It works to modulate the sensitivity of other neurotransmitters, rather than being a substitute in its own right.

It’s often known as the “risk and reward” neurotransmitter. It can modulate GABA and glutamate, our main inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters, giving us the emotions we feel in those risk and reward situations.

Dopamine is activated when we do something, or seek and gain something that we perceive to be rewarding to us.

Therefore, it was very useful for hunter-gatherer humans because it was the motivational drive and reward to get the next kill for the tribe. The thrill of the kill and the pride of taking the kill back became what spiked dopamine, driving humans to go all out whenever possible. Alongside the feelings of hunger, it allowed more rapid development of things which allow for the building of communities.

So in human history, dopamine gave us motivation. It makes a seek and it makes us stick at things to get the reward.

It’s one reason why we have been so successful as a species, because we are relentless, motivated, and driven by success.

Can You Be Addicted To Dopamine?

You certainly can be addicted to dopamine rushes. The problem is that in society, especially complex modern societies, there are so many things that the dopamine rush and reward on completion process can be linked to.

The alcoholic can get the dopamine rush when they see a drink or take that first sip.

The gambler can be motivated by the rush of a win or even the sights and sounds of the casino.

Dopamine can spike when you see, smell, or taste certain foods. When linked to other causes of obesity, it can be disastrous.

And that’s exactly the same with drugs. The smell of marijuana, the starting of certain rituals, the thrill of doing the deal.

The problem when it comes to narcotics is that not only does dopamine get linked to these processes of drugtaking, but dopamine is also released when the brain is flooded with too much stimulation from certain substances, it basically triggers it becoming desirable response.

Therefore, every part of drugtaking becomes linked to a spike in dopamine levels. Not only does it make the behavior more desirable and addictive, but you are also then linking the addiction to dopamine.

So although you can’t be literally addicted to dopamine, you can become addicted to requiring higher levels of dopamine spiking to get the same feeling of being rewarded.

That’s why it becomes a constant chase of high doses and seeking those early thrills and responses. The memories and emotions are linked to them, and your desire to feel them, and to accelerate them when you do, creates an emotional situation where you become keener and keener to re-experience those things.

Dopamine Is Highly Motivational

Dopamine is therefore highly motivational, especially when it becomes linked to certain actions, chemicals, and feelings.

The other problem is that dopamine is linked to several key body functions, including movement, memory, pleasure, motivation, cognition, attention, sleep, arousal, mood, and ability to learn.

This means that you can be highly motivated by good levels of dopamine. Because when you take drugs those dopamine levels spike, and you feel alive. All of those things I just mentioned are emphasized.

This helps to create the addiction situation. Because it feels so good, because it’s linked indelibly to the drugs, it is being craved more and more. Alongside the motivation, develops an increasing dependency on the substances that deliver feelings of satisfaction and reward.

Do People With High Levels Of Dopamine Stand More Chance Of Becoming Addicted?

The actual level of dopamine is not really relevant unless you have very low levels which can have implications for many things. However, low levels of dopamine do not seem to lower narcotic addiction to any noticeable degree.

Even if you have low levels of dopamine, because they spike due to the drugtaking, even low levels of motivation, people who are just depressed, unchallenged in life and not motivated at all; all can be driven to still get that buzz.

So although dopamine levels could affect the degree to which you can become addicted, there’s no real evidence because on a personal level it still spikes above normal creating the behaviors.

High levels of dopamine can make you seek out reckless behavior though. Not necessarily addiction, but spikes in dopamine, even from a low level, can accelerate bad behavioral patterns.

Let me give you an example here. The dopamine bean, Mucuna Pruriens. Long known to help spike dopamine levels, it can help you to feel more determined and focused. All the things we’ve talked about dopamine affecting can be elevated. Cognitively, alertness, motivation.

But people using the dopamine bean often report increasingly reckless behavior patterns. If they take it at high doses and ongoing supplements, I have read reports that people increase their frequency and spend on gambling.

I remember reading in a newspaper about a woman who was taking dopamine bean capsules to increase her motivation. It did that wonderfully.

But the problem was that it increased her use of bingo websites. The spiking dopamine started to help her develop higher levels of reward pleasure from using those sites and spending more money.

Another example I read about was a guy who found that after taking high levels of dopamine bean for a couple of weeks that he started frequenting strip joints nearly every day when he had never done that before in his life.

So although it doesn’t directly stimulate addiction to narcotics, it can reinforce the desire for pleasure from that type of experience and create a quest to do it again to experience another dopamine spike. When artificially created through taking in dopamine, this can be even worse.

Is Dopamine Really A Pleasure Chemical?

It’s actually a myth that dopamine is a pleasure chemical. Our pleasure chemicals are actually mostly glutamate and serotonin. These are the main excitatory neurotransmitters that give us feelings of happiness, euphoria, and positivity.

Although dopamine does reinforce your experience of pleasure and can drive you to seek out future experiences that recreate that, it’s not in itself a pleasure chemical.

It’s a misconception that you feel happy, motivated, or satisfied due to dopamine.

Although it is a response, and it creates a situation where it spikes under similar circumstances every time, meaning that repeat chasing at the things which spike the dopamine occur, it doesn’t actually give you pleasurable feelings. That’s down to other hormonal neurotransmitters.

Dopamine & Drug Tolerance

Although there are a lot of misconceptions about dopamine, it does play a significant role in the development of addiction and tolerance.

When you develop tolerance, you have to use more of the substance to get the same level of effects, and dopamine as part of this process and problem.

When you get overstimulation in your reward center, by flooding the brain with that narcotic or another chemical, it becomes overwhelming. The dopamine levels spike, and you get that flood of satisfaction. But the thing is that the more you do it, and at higher levels, the more your body tries to compensate.

For a start, it will decrease dopamine production to try and put a ceiling on that spike. It will also start reducing the dopamine receptor sites.

That’s why it cannot feel as good. Although you get the effect of the actual drug, that extra push from the dopamine spike just isn’t happening any more.

The craving to take the drug still remains though, because that’s what you are being told by your brain and your cravings. You just need to keep taking more of it to get the previous effects of tolerance to the substance, and despite the dopamine to the level, it was initially.

Can We Narrow Someone’s Risk Of Addiction Down To A Single Thing?

The truth is that dopamine does play a role in addiction. It is our reward chemical that rewards certain types of behaviors with feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

But it’s not why we get addicted. There are so many reasons for addiction, many general, while others are very personal.

Genetic factors, social factors, your health history, mental health, state of mind, home life, happiness or unhappiness levels, and problems with the brain and hormonal levels.

It’s really a myriad of things, and one or more of them combined can trigger drug use which then spirals into addiction.

I mentioned obesity earlier. It’s the same thing. Food is the drug, and dopamine spikes to reinforce the positive feeling of eating. Dopamine doesn’t cause the obesity, but it makes the eating of food a positive experience, and emotional comfort.

Using Viagra With Meth: How The Viagra Factor Raises Your Chances Of Trouble

meth and viagra

When it comes to talking about meth and Viagra, surprisingly a lot of the information you’ll find online is very old.

Studies from 2004, old newspaper articles from 2006, there’s not a lot of current info out there. But what has been established beyond any doubt is that Viagra and meth do have a link. But it’s not completely linear, and so I want to explain to you exactly what the problem is here.

Let’s talk about the meth first.

Crystal meth, methamphetamine, is highly addictive. But more than that, it also raises libido (sex drive) dramatically. It does this through a chemical interaction in the brain. But it also raises levels of adrenaline, which leads from more physical and aggressive outlook in both sexes, but notably men.

It’s a well-known fact and long established that crystal meth improves sex drive. In fact, that’s how some people get into using it. The problem is that any initial benefit is quickly steamrolled by the addiction which caused a breakdown in physical and mental structure.

When you take it, it makes you feel exhilarated, happy, and blissful. Increased sex drive effect leads to notable encounters and promiscuous behavior.

Methamphetamines have long been used on their own and teamed up to create polydrugs have been used to emphasize sexual performance and satisfaction. On the downside though, crystal meth use can lead to an increasing lack of ability for men to have sex. Just as with alcohol, it destroys the ability to keep an erection.

That’s when a lot of men turned to Viagra, the brand name for a generic chemical called sildenafil. It opens up blood flow to the penis and encourages erections with stimulation (and sometimes even just by thinking sexual).

Together this produces incredible sexual experiences. The higher the meth, the increased aggression, and sex drive, the desire, the feeling, mixed with the ability to get an erection (even though it becomes very tough to actually orgasm).

The use of Viagra and meth went unnoticed for some time. But especially amongst men who have sex with men (MSM), the risk has skyrocketed into a spiraling addiction and the spread of HIV.

Meth + Viagra = Trouble

When you take meth and Viagra the bliss stage doesn’t last very long. The meth addiction will kick in and destroy your ability to physically perform. Lack of food, breakdown in musculoskeletal structure, and cognitive decline, it all starts to take its toll very fast.

In that phase where you can use meth and Viagra, or if you are just managing to keep its use under control over the longer term, you are going to be at risk of secondary infections through sexual contact.

Whether you are hetero or gay, it’s been shown to lead to a dramatic increase in the likelihood of getting serious sexual infections, including HIV.

One study in 2006 that looked at other studies to reach a larger conclusion, found an indisputable link between people using meth and Viagra with higher rates than normal of HIV seroconversion (where the body is producing detectable antibodies in the initial fight against infection).

So it’s not that the two combined create any different chemical reaction, it’s not usual in that way. But what happens is that Viagra allows you to overcome the lack of an erection that meth brings, despite increased sexual desire.

The result is risky behavior with a follow-through, literally. It allows men to have sex with women and men in a risky pattern that they simply couldn’t manage before.

That’s why there’s growing evidence that men taking meth and Viagra have got almost double the chance of getting AIDS.

It is not just about aids. The problem is that a lot of diseases can be transferred, including more recently, things like monkeypox. Because the immune system is suppressed through meth use as well, it can lead to rapid infection.

Plus, there’s also the pressure it puts on the heart. Meth use speeds up the heart and makes it regular, it bursts blood vessels in the brain, and creates all sorts of problems for the cardiovascular system.

Viagra can make some things worse. It makes you feel hot for example, and meth users tend to overheat quickly. That can be problematic alongside not using enough water and being energized sexually.

Compulsive Behavior Overdrive

Meth makes you horny. The problem is that when you are then capable of having sex it leads to overdrive in sexual desire and the compulsive behavior that accompanies meth use.

So overall, you are driving yourself into incredibly risky situations on a regular basis if you are using meth, especially if you are using it to increase sexual feelings.

Also, meth turns sex into a marathon. It retards ejaculation and can extend erection time. A 2016 study confirmed this by suggesting that meth users have sex that sometimes lasts for hours before they collapse or it peaks. Again, that puts massive pressure on an increasingly stressed cardiovascular system, and can also increase the risk of stroke.

Even if an erection is unobtainable through prolonged meth use, Viagra can help overcome this, increasing the ability to have compulsive dangerous sexual behavior well into the addiction when you are even more vulnerable to infection and other related problems of significant drug use.

Chemsex Is Just So Dangerous With Meth

What we are talking about is extreme chemsex. People abuse substances to heighten sexual desire and performance for millennia, but this modern take is incredibly dangerous.

The combination of meth and Viagra allows people to pursue extreme sexual behavior and compulsive desires in a way that they simply couldn’t even two decades ago.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have much evidence on how much this increases your risk. But especially if you’re homosexual, this increase in risk can lead to a significant chance of getting an infection.

But it’s not just about getting something. Because it’s compulsive it’s going to be unprotected, relentless, and frequent.

That means you are going to potentially infect people far more readily than normal. More partners, more risky sex, more extreme situations, mean more chance of infection for you and others.

That’s exactly why HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are far higher in drug using communities, especially crystal meth, and especially amongst homosexuals using it.

Enabling it through taking Viagra makes it even worse. So you are supercharging the chances of becoming fatally unwell. Although not 100% established, there is now a large body of evidence that HIV spiked in the early 2000’s amongst meth users when Viagra became more widely available.

In fact, the link is well known. That’s why some drug dealers (there was a story about a Brazilian drug ring that did this), are selling meth with a side order Viagra if you want it.

So it’s deliberately being sold as a chemsex product by some dealers. That makes it even more dangerous because some of the people who will be tempted are not entering the arena via the more traditional methods of acquisition, use, and addiction.

What starts as an occasional recreational centerpiece quickly becomes established behavior high addictiveness and stimulant quality of meth, mixed with the ability of Viagra to sexually perform in a way you simply couldn’t naturally.