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Bipolar Disorder Community
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999692 tn?1250637950

neurochemical addiction

This is not so much a question as a call out to see who responds to this and sees a bit in themselves. More a rheumination than an inquiry.

I am an addict. Most definitely I would count myself as such, because I seek ways to create my highs again and again and to soften the lows when I endure them. I go through binges, withdrawals, and side-effects. But, I don't do drugs. I exercise, eat healthy, have a wonderful relationship, take my meds, and go to school. I am, what I can only call, a neurochemical addict. It has destroyed friendships, relationships, and my sense of self.

What do I do? There are multiple things. When I feel an emotion, usually negative tension, like shame, righteous anger or disappointment, I tweak it higher and higher until it is unhealthy. I martyr myself to it until it is sickly beautiful. This is the epitomy of a mixed state, and I tease it to heights. Many artists create from these places, these aches, these intensities of emotion, the fervor all encompassing. I have followed these rushes to the ends and they burn you out just like any drug.

The other is psycho-sexual. I do what I would refer to, naively as a youth, as "heart collecting". I get off on guys wanting me. I get off on the opportunity and the sexual tension because it makes me forget for a while my problems in the intensity of emotion and want. I don't do anything with them sexually, I just use them, make them think they have a chance until I burnout.

This is the hardest to give up. I am a rather pretty, charismatic girl and I am a flirt. It's effects are like any drug. The dizzying high that is all consuming, the withdrawal including the burnout; depression, anxiety, moodiness, lethargy, and a general feeling of shame and disgust. Then, the repeat to forget the shame and disgust and the need to feel anything because of my lack of self-confidance and my fear of commitment and intimacy and shame because I am like this. Not to mention the emotional numbness between highs. It is as the drunkard said to the little prince when he came to his planet, "I drink to forget that I drink".

It is hard to quit because, unlike external drugs, mine is internal. It is everywhere. There is no situation where I don't see an attractive guy and want to use him. After getting over the anger of being kept from my drug and the fear of living without the safety of it's embrace, I am learning how to not be on constant guard and how to prevent placing myself in risky situations. It's tricky.
  
I am sure there are others who do similar things: know what triggers their highs and what makes the lows tolerable without drugs and I'd like to hear the multiple behavioral ways people accomplish this.  This should be an interesting and revealing discussion.
19 Responses
585414 tn?1288941302
Sometimes unproductive or destructive behavior can be part of bipolar but bipolar itself is not an "addiction". The area of the brain that processes emotions (the limbic system) can not function properly so sometimes there is a flood of emotion where they shouldn't be and sometimes emotions are withdrawn where there should be. Medication is there to correct this biochemical imbalance on the synaptic level. I used to have a very negativistic view of having schizoaffective disorder and thought recovery wasn't possible but it was for me but what I am on is still in Phase II FDA study but as treatment improves recovery rates will as well. Its only a person's specific behavior they should be concerned about. Having bipolar is a psychiatric disability and part of your and as treatment improves one that people will have better control of and be more able to get on with life and enjoy it.
999692 tn?1250637950
Trust me, I am well aware of how it works. I am a psych/neuorobiology major and don't get me started on the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. I am speaking of the deliberate triggering of such systems, when chemically balanced or unbalanced by meds. Kind of like if you know going on a bus causes anxiety attacks and you go on it anyway (slightly different but good reference). I can use created emotional states to trigger the imbalances in my brain to flood chemicals to cope with situations. I understand what behaviors my imbalances apply to. I just want to know if anyone else has experience in doing this.

222267 tn?1253302210
I think everyone does this to a certain extent.  I for instance am hugely into extreme sports.  It's gives me an amazing adrenaline rush, but unfortunately I have a come down that follows for about 3 days.  It creates depression and anxiety.  But I do it anyways.  Same with alcohol.  I rarely drink.  Maybe 2 a year.  I know the consequences with my meds but I do it anyway and pay dearly.  I tend to not have an off switch in me and meds helped me a lot with that.  Not all the way.  I see what you are saying but I believe what you are saying is right and I believe what ILADVOCATE is right.  What you are doing is an imbalance in your brain whether you think it or not.  There are medication out there that do correct it.
952564 tn?1268368647
No, I hate my highs. There is no euphoria or creativity for me, only my mind trying to rip itself (and my emotional well being) to pieces. The constant racing, repetative thoughts and no concentration; the anxiety and panic and paranoia... I hate it. I would never want to have them at all if it were possible. After researching and when I speak to my doctor again, I'm going to determine if my highs are hypomania or some form of mixed state because of how scary they are. Every time I have one I feel like I'm not going to come back this time and it really scares me to death. I feel like I lose part of myself each time, and it is so hard on my family. I would never purposefully trigger it.
999692 tn?1250637950
I state this once again, I want to know about your experiences and I'm on the aforementioned meds (lamictal, clonazepam, citalopram). I understand neurochemistry and how my meds affect my ion channels to stabilize the firing of my neurons and the effects on my serotonin and dopamine levels. I understand the behavioral consequences of my disorder and how it manifests itself in myself and cannot presume upon others. I am talking about others understanding their imbalanced chemistry to the point they know their triggers and can induce states. I KNOW it is an imbalance, and no I'm not deluded about that. I am imbalanced, and wanting those things is an imbalance in itself. That's what I'm saying. Forgive me for sounding terse, but I repeat AGAIN I am not looking for advice, and it is rude to give unless I ask for it.
654560 tn?1331854581
The answer is yes yes and yes. Honestly not as much sense medication I know the ability to get the rush is there... I choose not to anymore. I think its more about my spiritual condition and being married,respect for all sexes that brought about the life change I do fondly remember being the most beautiful woman in the room, and having the attention of most men ( I left the married ones alone ) yes yes yes a great high.If I was not married I'm not so sure that dorment side of me wouldn't return.
Medication, emotional maturity,spiritual condition,respect for all Man kind,morals,values,principles...takes the fun out of being a tease.
   You are pretty brave to put yourself out there in such a way...maybe this is another way you play...if so Have Fun and be safe
999692 tn?1250637950
Very insightful the suggestion that this could be another way I play (good use for the word, too). I've thought about that. In the past I had a lot of problems with sacraficing myself to helping others in a martyring and unhealthy way. My friends know how sensitive I am and worry about the field I want to go into; cognitive neorochemistry and cell death. They are afraid I will get too close to my patients or "subjects" and be severly attached and get hurt. Well, who I will be working with is not getting better, so I don't think it will be a problem.
Another way is by being always "right". I was raised in a family where we would argue and constantly one-up eachother with "well you did this! well you did this!" so being right was very important. Even lying was resorted to. It has taken me a long time to change that programming but has been very rewarding.
As for this forum: I can see how someone would get addicted to this. To the feeling of giving advice, or sharing their stories. Gives a sense of empowerment and of catharsis. But if it becomes a habit, this need to constantly express the same story again and again, it becomes stagnant and is just like any other addiction.
All of these, every addiction, is about control. But I guess everyone knows that. I have tried, and been pretty successful, to give up control and enrich my life. The cure is to ultimately accept the world and let life in, whether you are afraid or not.
And truth be told, I don't like computers or typing, but I love psychology, neurology, immunology, chemistry, cognitive sciences, behavior, and so much more. So reading peoples issues and picking them apart till I reach the pithy marrow is intriguing. And when I feel I can help people, I give objective knowledge and try to keep from giving actual advice. Advice says what you should do, whereas knowledge gives the person the power. I think it is disrespectful to do otherwise unless it is asked for.
Anyway, this has gone off tangent. But, I dig where you come from and completely agree with you. And thank you for your story, it's cool to know I'm not the only one who has that specific behavioral/neurochemical addiction.
Avatar universal
you could be me when I was in my teens and twenties. I am now in my 50's and have the bruises and breaks in my soul to prove it as well as the scars on my body. I now fear my highs as I know the trouble they cause and exist thru the lows until I even out. I have discovered the hell that is mixed states. I pray you never go there. As for martyring yourself, only you can change that. It is a seperate mental illness in itself and carves you into little pieces that no one appreciates. You are an addict to besure but an addict of life who happens to be BP so the swings are higher and lower. Learn and survive.
999692 tn?1250637950
I appreciate your input and I do see a lot of myself in that. And I do have mixed states and psychotic features. I'm all sortsa messed up. But I accept, understand, and do very well at controlling it.  What I am looking for from this post is objective descriptions of other people's experiences. I want all of us to discuss this, not just people talking at me and giving me advice. I want an actual discussion.
585414 tn?1288941302
Look I see your point of view. Finally for me I am out of my house. I am just at my mother's house but its nice because its more in the country (relatively speaking). Things have been stressful because of some deaths in the family and loss of some friends (due to my physical disability and how extreme it appers it you don't know I am completely rational). Its nice just to take some walks in an environment that's more relaxing than the city and also in the evening to hear the crickets and the like. Truthfully though as a teenager I had no friends and instead of going out with people in the evening I went to listen to the crickets (and other night insects). I enjoyed birdwatching as well. Part of it was obsessive and part of it was a psychotic break because I couldn't relate to people. Now its just an interest.But it does bring back past memories. But one nice thing today was I checked one of my email accounts and I heard from someone from another forum that I met who lives overseas who has the same disability as me. Its nice to meet people regardless even if you may not see them in person. The hardest thing for me was that I have had to define my own recovery and accomodations. In a way it was a burden but it was a privelege too. But it was one I had to live up to.
952564 tn?1268368647
I think what I hate the most is that feeling that people always hate me and want nothing to do with me and will leave me with no one. I understand what IL is saying about not relating to people. I often feel like I'm on the outside looking in at everyone else. Especially when I was a kid, this was true. I felt like I was some sort of alien or had a curse on me. Now I just have a few people in my life that I feel comfortable with. That's fine with me. There are a lot of people in my life that I am uncomfortable with and I try to block them out. I keep them as distant as possible.

A lot of you have said you feel like the prettiest girl in the room, well for me it was oposite. I often didn't even feel human. I still struggle with that. I can't even really look at myself in the mirror for very long with how disappointed I can get with what I see. This is another thing I am trying to work on. It is a poison. I hate it.
222267 tn?1253302210
I never dated in high school. But  I was quite popular.  Even homecoming princess (yuck LOL).  I felt like an outsider.  Someone different.  I was on a different plane that everyone else.  I was diagnosed and hospitalized at 18 and things changed.  I suddenly became promiscuous and flirty.  I played with men.  I did this subconsciously, or so I thought.  I got a rush and it made me feel really good.  I think it was hypomania looking back on it.   That lasted 4 years.

When I turned 22 I did a completely flip.  I was seriously depressed and couldn't stand to look at myself in the mirror.  I self medicated because I didn't know how to deal with the raw emotions at the time.

As i'm getting older and my disorder is progressing quite rapidly, I am learning that sometimes you have to embrace your misery as much as your happiness.  I take it for was it is.  I don't try to tweak it and intensify it or I would not be alive but I allow it to come and go if it's not too bad.  I am an artist myself and I cannot paint when i'm in a state of desolation like a lot of artists.  My mind races a million miles an hour and I can't focus.  I have learned to control my happiness for I also have to keep that in check as well (*****).  My mom says " It's pretty sh*tty that I have to start to worry every time I see you happy".  

I am now starting to revert back to my old men habits of flirting although i'm in a relationship.  I will not cross a line.  Of course the intensity is not the same for i'm a little older and a little more aware or my actions.  But I still feel out of place.  I no longer have friends.  I have blown them off because I have nothing in common with anyone.  This disorder is quite lonely at times even with lots of people around you.  I will always be that odd duck I feel.
952564 tn?1268368647
It is just amazing to me how different everyone can be. On my side I was never flirty, never. I felt like just looking at people would make them want to be sick. In the cases where I did attempt to have boyfriends or whatever it was always devestating, so I just came to a place where I understood that I was completely unwanted. The few relationships I had as a teen / early twenties were terrible. I ended up marrying someone I didn't love because I decided it was my only chance. That relationship was the worst out of all of them.

Now I have my husband and I am so greatful for him. I still struggle with my self-image so badly and it is hard on him. I cannot understand how I ended up with such a great person. He was the type of guy that all the girls were interested in, so it is very weird to me that he is my husband. But also because of him I do try to better my self-image because I trust what he says and if he loves me and thinks I'm pretty, then maybe it is true. This is probably one of the biggest and hardest things to get over.
874521 tn?1424116797
to everyone....I just wanted to say how good it is to read others stories and realize how different yet similar we all are.
In some ways we are all social misfits whether it be imagined or real.
We reach out to touch others to have a sense of belonging but only when we are distant and anonymous.
I first began in this forum for some answers but have ended up feeling a connection with people here that I don't have otherwise,  I think this can be not only informative but also therapeutic for all of us.
999692 tn?1250637950
How many of you have entertained the thought of addiction to this site?
654560 tn?1331854581
If true addiction is as it is on the addiction site.   then we would have a slight problem because the disease of addiction is treated with the standard protocal------ the first thing we would have to do is give up posting on this site..in order to get clean. So I guess a relaspe would constitute someone comming back here to post again and in that case they would be in relaspe.  Still trying to figure that one out LOL
The disease of addiction is best understood if looked at as The Dis- Ease Of The Soul.
Yes I believe there is the illness on this forum, but no less or more than on any other forum.I also believe in the common bond through identification, which in its-self helps to bring issues into the light to be healed.
I also believe it is an unspoken principle that those who came b-4 stay to help the new commer. Realizing this is not always possible.

Sharing our experience strength and hope reminds us of where we came from, how much awareness we have about our illness, and through gratitude we share with others.
There are many levels of " HEALTH" on this site and the really healthy ones if you hang around awhile you will see them post what someone with 30 days would post.

We have a real mental illness sometimes with only a daily reprive. When you have been in the depts of howling hell, that one good day is so valuable.

This site is the tip of the iceburge..It can not stand alone and produce long time stabliazation, but It is a wonderful place to go to identify with others and perhaps ask some questions    I never knew all the different ways that anxiety showed up until I came here...now I can see it and it doesn't seem to have a much controll in my life, as before I would go from anxiety to panic in a matter of minutes.
Being here helps me to broden my many paths to recovery, again  It Doesn't Stop Here................................Debra

874521 tn?1424116797
that was very well said Debra...Vox, I think I understand what u mean but maybe compulsion would be a more appropriate term?
As I said b4 I think we all feel a connection here that we aren't gettin in the outer world, we can take off the masks we reserve for public and this maybe one of the only places we can speak our mind and just be ourselves...
So than there is a compulsion to check everyday on others in similar circumstances...these people have become our leaders/teachers/friends and at least for me I feel a sense of well being when I can reach out and help even in the tiniest way someone who needs another to reach in just to say 'you do matter, so fight for yourself, you are worthy'
999692 tn?1250637950
I agree it allows us to take off our public masks and show our wounds, but only at the safe distance of internet. We do not get tone, inflection, a face or a feeling here. It helps many, and I never implied the dissolution of this site. Simply, to entertain the fact it can be mood altering to the point of addiction.

Let me explain: Addiction is a feedback loop. You do behavior x, it makes you feel good, temporarily eases discomfort. Then follows a "down" which probably leads to more posting, positive feedback, and support thus possibly becoming a compulsive habit. Addiction is a compulsion driven by falsely created psychological or physiological means through external or internal stimulation. It's conditioning.

Posting on here, telling a story again and again to new people (behavior x), can give a sense of pleasure at helping others, feeding off the value of their suffering. That is why I have received more advice than actual experiences. In therapy, this is a plateau of progress. People simply repeat instead of heal. That is how it can be addicitve, in my eyes, that some people lack meaning in their life to the point that this substitutes for actual life progress.

I also feel that many on here have suffered a lack of being heard, and that adds to it. This perceived usefulness and gives a feeling of fulfillment and validity. We act as examples and help others understand. To me there is a sense of selfishness about handing out your whole life story instead of giving objective, useful advice. I keep my story out for the most part, unless an example is needed. But I am also quite careful that someone might misconstrue my message, so I don't throw out too much emotion. Handing out advice to others without request is the same as them not being heard. One can change the focus to their own pain instead of the other person's on some occasions. Being "ill", in the sense I will explain, can have a sense of martyrdom that is painfully beautiful and sickly satisfying.

As for disease, illness, and sickness, the terms to me smack of a lack of responsibility for what affects the person. I don't use them. I don't see me as sick. I don't believe in the title given to me because I've borne it for so long it is irrelevant, it is a label, stigmatization. It is not me. I do not identify with it. I am basically past it. I am me, chemistry and all. It doesn't make me bad or wrong or delusional, I just take it in, accept it, and love it because to fight something that is me is a stupid and useless fight. I refuse to "lead with my wounds". My pain is mine, and I give it to a select few, but only after analyzing whether it is part of this self-destructive feedback loop or if it is valid pain. It is often that people like us can blame everyday pain on our "illness" instead of analyzing our reactions, stripping the emotion to it's marrow and finding the real culprit. That's learned helplessness, though.

Then comes the resultant question; if I don't believe I am sick, then why am I on meds? I take responsibility for how I differ, and I can get in the way of myself and what I wish to achieve because the reality I perceived before my adaptations is the one I am comfortable in. For some my dissociation and psychosis is their comfortable reality, and who am I to judge as long as they do not harm others? My body is a very unique tool, and it is unlike any other. It is adaptive. My body is adapted to respond in ways that obstruct me. So, I adapt it back with meds for what I cannot change through will, and make up for what it doesn't by changing the adaptations myself. As everyone knows, meds only take you half-way.

Now, this doesn't mean I don't believe in psychology, psychiatry, or neurological sciences. I wouldn't be in the field I'm in for nothing. I just believe that if something like this is permanant, it is a uniqueness with positives and negatives just like any other trait I have acquired through experience. If you need a title, like "optimism" or "stubborness", then go for it. I love and accept myself and have learned how to use these to dissolve my fear, take it's power away, and not waste energy on feeding it.

I like discussion. I like hearing how others view the world as objectively and with as little emotion as possible so as not to taint the truth in their ideals. This is simply a statement of view, and in truth everything is truly subjective. But, we all have to create our frames of reference.

So if you disagree, go ahead! If you agree, wonderful! But let's discuss as people, not as our illnesses. I'm sorry this was long, but these views are inter-woven.

Now i have to go pick up a bug on my desk without hurting him...
654560 tn?1331854581
When my journey began in my early twenties I had a secret society of inner beings that held my truths. They were my silent partners in life, and for as much as these "alters" had the roll of protection they also made dis covery and re covery almost impossible.
Several years of my life was involved with Multiple Personality Disorder. Today better known as DID   Disassociate Identy Disorder. Well the DID thing really pissed me off,,,it was not as glamorus as MPD.Before I could move forward I had to go back.
If I wasn't a mother a grandmother,a wife,a business owner,a daughter,a sister on and on. I wear many hats in life and I have a level of responsibility to these people.I would move more outside the box.
I would love to sell or give away everything I own----go on the road, stop in towns take a waitress job for a few weeks to taste the flair of the city and when I got bored,I would move on to the next town.....
But believe it or not a lot of the time I am the voice of reason in my family.Do I resent it sometimes  well sure I do...but then that sweet sweet grandchild crawls up in my lap and looks up at me and tells me 'Your the best NANA"
This year alone my grandson had brain surgery and my daughter had uterus and cervical cancer removed.
Thats why I don't wait tables in Napels Fla.
My feet and life are grounded here



  
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