Where Addiction Meets Your Brain

The Neurobiology of Addiction

Addiction, Trauma, and the Compartments in Your Head

Trauma and addiction allows people to create a psychic architecture that requires a lot of walls, closets, compartments, and closed doors. Read More

Think and Feel Dichotomy

I used drugs addictively for at least 2 decades before I quit. I was able to think drinking was bad for me but not feel that it was bad or that I should change.
I finally changed when I became aware that the life I was leading looked nothing like the life I thought I should living. That my values did not match my actions. This dichotomy was always there, it just had not presented itself yet. Once it did I not only knew it was a good idea to not drink, I felt it was a good idea not to drink. After that not drinking was relatively easy for me. Somehow I got lucky.

Fear of pain is the problem, being numb is sometimes safer

I have childhood trauma. I am lucky, I managed to get an education, even though I was an emotional mess and a high functioning alcoholic. I managed to get married (to someone who is as damaged as I am), stop drinking (teetotal for 14 years), start a family, become addicted to food and learn to control the food cravings, (over weight but not obese). I am lucky enough to understand why I am the way I am and how this causes me to behave the way I do. The pain from the trauma is sharp but the fear of losing myself to the pain is what overwhelms me. The understanding does not stop the pain or the fear. I will always have to live with the pain and the fear of being overwhelmed. For the sake of my kids I fight the need to be numb................I so understand why people relapse to addiction. Being numb is sometimes the only way to deal with day to day life.

Fear of Pain

Fear is, in my opinion, the underlying cause for most relapse. Who wants to experience that type of suffering. However, you have taken the right and courageous path in dealing with the fear and pain rather than succumbing to it. One day at a time!

Trauma industry

Seriously. I don't know ANYONE who hasn't had a childhood trauma, whether it is nearly dying, having an addicted parent, being abused, seeing a suicide, being in a tragedy, whatever. And most of these people don't becomme addicts. What's the science of why not?

Becoming an addict requires

Becoming an addict requires the proper genetics in the Nucleus Accumbens - Ventral Tegmental Nucleus complex of the limbic system. Only 10% of people become addicts across the board because of genetics. The other factors, trauma, environment, use of substances all mitigate, but do not cause the addiction. That is the science. I would be glad to discuss this at length with you.
Thanks for the comment.

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Joseph Troncale, M.D. FASAM, has been working in addiction medicine for 20 years. He is the Medical Director of the Retreat.
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