Your Brain On Opiates
Posted: July 17, 2005, 11:26 AM


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Sharon-Im not an expert on anti-depressents but I think they work on different chemicals in the brain that opiates target? The bad thing about opiates is that they actually alter the chemical make-up in your brain.That is scary.I think anti-depressents may just help whats already there function better.
I have been clean for over a year and although I definitely get some euphoric things happening naturally,its never that intensity that chemicals first gave me.I finnaly figured out that its not supposed to be.Like you said, are we expecting too much? Hell,yes.we are addicts.We want to feel good x100.Normal people are o.k. with having a pleasant experience and then moving on.I want to have pleasant experiences with every cell in my body vibrating and my eyeballs popping out and then I want more,more,more.
Thats usually with everything.Sex,food,surfing,working out,posting on this BB,.......it seems the only thing I do in moderation is work.LOL

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Posted: July 17, 2005, 11:41 AM


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LMAO tim.

Sharon,

I am not sure exactly how anti-depressants work on a clinically depressed person. Many chemical imbalances cause depression.

However, in an opiate addicted person, we have an imbalance because the opiates replace what I brains would normally make. When we stop, the brain speeds up, trying to correct this problem. Makes a mess of things, but given time the brain does resort to its correct chemical production. Anti-depressants used to treat a person suffering from withdraw related depression, will most likely make things worse in the long run. However I am no PhD, far from it, but I do pay attention at work, I read the protocols, take an active part on whats going on. The brain will return to normal chemical production, with dopamine, cortisol, and serotoin being the three biggies. However, that re-wiring that was done won't go away.
We all want to experience pleasure, but we have to understand that pleasure is related to happiness.......not euphoria. Anyway thats my two cents worth.

michelle

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Sobriety and accountability, what a concept. ~ me
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Posted: July 17, 2005, 12:01 PM


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Michelle,

Is there data to show that we weren't born this way?

Cheers,
Gina
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Posted: July 17, 2005, 12:14 PM


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I know that I have a genetic pedisposition to depression..father was an alcoholic,died at 49, maternal grandfather committed suicide, mom attempted suicide,sister is a dying alcoholic(towards the end) and personally, I have been hospitalized for depression, so for me taking a low dose of elavil is like a diabetic taking insulin..I've been off it, and on.....and I hate the side effects, but I am clearly a happier person on it. It's a crapshoot...good sex or depression...AD's mess with that, and although I'm middle-aged..sex is still a priority.Anyway, I do think(Gina) that some of us are born that way.All we can do is the best we can.S.

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Posted: July 17, 2005, 12:17 PM


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Gina

Yes there actually is. I have to go visit my parents for a bit...oh joy. So when I get back I will respond. But mostly definitely we are predisposed.

michelle

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Sobriety and accountability, what a concept. ~ me
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Posted: July 17, 2005, 12:28 PM


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Michelle,

Sorry, lost the plot. You're saying we ARE born this way, so in fact, do we know what, if any, changes opiates make permanently to our brains? Are the differences Tim described above the differences found between "normal" brains and addict brains? I'm just wondering if there is really before and after data from the same group of subjects, and how you'd get that past the ethics committee. Or are we talking mice here?

I'm sorry you have to see your folks. I never see mine anymore and I'm a much healthier person for it.

Cheers,
Gina
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Posted: July 17, 2005, 1:37 PM


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I have a friend who is neither an alcoholic or addict.I know,I know...that does seem rather odd.Anyway, when he took a vicodin for a knee surgery it knocked him out.He hated the effect.I thought, how weird.So I told him to give them to me and he should just stick with Advil.What a friend.
When I remeber taking my first Percodan many years ago my first thought was "Holy sh*t, where has this been all my life?",I wanted more immediately.It made me hyper,energetic,outgoing and one of the best looking,most charming guys around.LOL
How could their not be some chemical difference in my brain to illicit such a response?
I have always believed there is some chemical difference in our brains than non-addicts.I also think its genetic.
I have no scientific evidence but I do know the effect any substance has on me and its not right.

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Posted: July 17, 2005, 1:41 PM


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My shrink says there's a genetic predisposition, but that early childhood experiences can alter the brain permanently as well -- stress, child abuse, etc.

I know people are sick of me asking this question, but I've met very, very few addicts from functional families. What was your childhood like, Tim? You said you felt like you were living in a black hole. I've used that phrase myself, often.

Cheers,
Gina
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Posted: July 17, 2005, 2:01 PM


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Thats a loaded question.LOL........it was beyond pathetic.My dad was a fundamental Baptist minister who beat the sh*t out of me until at the ripe age of 15 when I was taller and broader and told him to back the f*ck off or I would kill him.He told me he was going to call the cops and have me sent away.I told him to take his best shot, anything was better than here.I ran away multiple times until I could start supporting myself at 17.I starting selling my body on the streets of Houston, with other part time work.
He was very abusive to my mom and sister verbaly.He would make sure her skirts were at knee level before she left the house.No make-up.When she got to school she took her little mini skirt out of her purse,threw on some blue eyeshadow and black eyeliner and made herself trampy as possible.I thought it was so cool.
My brother was so messed up he robbed a bank in Tulsa to pay off bad gambling debts and was caught 1 hour afterwards.
My oldest brother became a minister himself and got married.Three years later he decides the piano player is a much hotter deal and his wife walks in on him in the church office with her spread eagle and him offering her salvation
Get the picture????? It was not "Leave It To Beaver".LOL

This post has been edited by Tim on July 17, 2005, 2:20 PM

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Posted: July 17, 2005, 2:28 PM


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Tim,

My therapist tells that I never developed a primary emotional attachment with my parents and that the “black hole” feeling is the result. My husband’s family was not perfect, but they were loving and Allan doesn’t addict to anything. I believe that’s because when he takes a pill or a drink, he knows "that feeling" is counterfeit. He knows what true contentment is, whereas I, having nothing to compare it to, had that “where have you been all my life" feeling you describe when I took my first percocet. I was molested at a young age. When I confronted my parents last year, they stopped speaking to me. However, they’ve never been anything but critical, so I haven’t lost anything.

I’m sorry that your childhood was so traumatic. I expect that would set you up both physically and emotionally for addiction. But I’m not sorry I asked. Are you sorry you answered?

Gina

This post has been edited by soccermom1 on July 17, 2005, 2:30 PM
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Posted: July 17, 2005, 2:47 PM


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Gina,No Im not sorry I answered.Its a little unnerving to go back and read it.I attempt humour where there is pain.It does still hurt as Im sure the sexual abuse does with you.Ive done my share of therapy and I just want to live the rest of my life happy.I really quit trying to fix that mess a long time ago.It happened.I grew up fast and hard and yes,became a drug addict.
Ive had a glimpse of real freedom and happiness this past year being clean.I didnt think I was ever going to be worthy it.I am and so are you.I love that saying in the program"We will not regret the past nor wish to close the door on it".I really believe that today.
We both deserve all the happiness today that maybe we didnt have at that age.
You are an inspiration to me everyday I read your post.They show a fellow soul who is no different than me.
Have a great day,Gina.Im playing cards at 2:00.....no gambling,God I cant take another 12th step program.LOL


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Posted: July 17, 2005, 3:22 PM


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Heard it all before, but it never hurts to hear it all again. Especially,a version that is more or less put in laymans terms.
Messing with the natural chemicals that the brain produces is a dangerous game. You,re right it takes a long time for the pleasure centers to reproduce the natural dopimine that we,ve been supplimenting all this time.

Education is power
lots of respect
jack

This post has been edited by jackofharts on July 17, 2005, 3:23 PM

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Posted: July 17, 2005, 4:13 PM


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That makes alot of sense...
Thanks, Tim. After I got cleanthe first time, I was running from compulsion to compulsion....coffee, sweets (I am not a sweet eater), exersize...and it was like I had no control...that is why.

My oldest brother became a minister himself and got married.Three years later he decides the piano player is a much hotter deal and his wife walks in on him in the church office with her spread eagle and him offering her salvation

Sorry....that is why I have a hard time with "church"

Thanks for sharing your story...Tim.
Kerry

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emancipate yourselves from mental slavery none but ourselves can free our minds ~Bob Marley

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Posted: July 17, 2005, 4:25 PM


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Great post..thanks..very educational and gave me alot to think about. I hate the fact that I still want to take pills though I dont take them anymore. I wish the craving to escape would go away..at least now I can see why it is still lingering.Also that feeling of being "blah" about life..

I am so glad you wrote this today.It gives me hope that if I stay on track, I should feel better by the holidays. That may seem like a long way away but it sure beats where I was physically and emotionally last year at this time...Laurie
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Posted: July 17, 2005, 4:48 PM


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Tim.. That was an incredibly informative post! I'm sitting here now, picturing my brain. It probably looks like a 40 acre cow pasture, with nothing but gates surrounding it.
~Jen
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Posted: July 17, 2005, 5:13 PM


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Okay, I have a question.....
On sub, are the receptors closing, or am I making more gates?
Extremely worried about this...
Kerry

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emancipate yourselves from mental slavery none but ourselves can free our minds ~Bob Marley

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Posted: July 17, 2005, 5:25 PM


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Thank you thank you thank you. This has been the most informative and comforting post i have ever read.

-Dogfodnah

This post has been edited by Dogfodnah on July 17, 2005, 5:39 PM

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Posted: July 17, 2005, 6:05 PM


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Gina

I'm back.

There is a substantial amount of data, showing that addiction is more likely to occur in children when parents have exhibited addiction. I will get some web sites from work tomorrow that have research papers showing this.

There is a difference between a normal brain, and the brain of someone who has become addicted to narcotics. You can't see by a gross examination of the brain, but histologically there are differences at the cellular level (don't know if it is the case, with humans, but with rodents and primates it is). Not many people donate the organs for research, and fewer yet who are actual addicts, so the verdicts out on that. Is there a difference in two peoples brain one who is normal, and one that is pre-disposed, I don't know. I would guess not,but it's the chemistry of ones brain that makes us more likely to become addicted, as opposed to just the physical make-up.

Monkeys who have low-serotonin are more likely to abuse alcohol, and act agressive. Monkeys who have low-serotoin pass this on to their offspring about 50 percent of the time. Monkeys with normal serotonin levels will drink alcohol, but generally stop before becoming intoxicated, or lay around and be goofy. The others get t-totaled, start fights and just get crazy. Putting them on anti-depressants that regulate serotoin did not make a difference, in my opinion. Although the study I participated in was a blind study (which means I did not know who was getting the meds and who getting a placebo). I had to take out just about everyones canines, finger amputations..the whole nine yards.

I know its only animals, and there is a huge difference between them and us. Unless a group addicts participates in a long term study, that culminates with a histological exam of their brain...I think human data will have to take a back seat for now.

michelle


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Sobriety and accountability, what a concept. ~ me
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Posted: July 18, 2005, 6:36 AM


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The scariest part of this disease is even though we stop,the receptor doors are permanently a fixture in our brains.Once we take an opiate,they all open again starting that whole maddening cycle over again.
Yuck

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Posted: July 18, 2005, 7:44 AM


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Michelle,

Thank you for your thorough reply. Oh well, always looking for the perfect world, I had hoped there was Swedish longitudinal identical twin data, one an addict, one not, both of whom donated their brains to science.

It's too bad more people don't donate their bodies for research and organ donation -- when I go, it's all up for grabs. Have you read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach?


Hey Tim,

Were you lucky at cards?

Cheers,
Gina
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