Think you're addicted to something?
You might be if you have a family history or you're changing your life to fulfill the need of whatever you're hooked on, according to addiction medicine specialist, Dr. Drew Pinsky.
Pinsky, who is a paid spokesman for Nicorette, a stop-smoking gum company, explained on "The Early Show" that people who are addicted experience some kind of consequence -- a failed marriage, health diagnosis, or job loss -- but cannot stop using.
Pinsky said all addictions share a common biology.
"Addictions are all a distortion of the brain's rewards system, in such a way that it distorts the brain's fundamental motivational systems," he said. "So the usual motivations: working, loving your family, eating and sleeping, maintaining your health, those things that are usually coloring our brain's activity become submerged and the single motivation emerges, which is 'Use the drug.' Literally, the brain's biology confuses the message of the drug with the message of survival itself."
Pinsky added that if your addiction gets bad enough that you need to see an addiction specialist like him, there's a nearly 100 percent chance that you've experienced some type of childhood trauma.
"A child that has been traumatized leaves the frame, which is an interpersonal frame, they don't trust anymore, they can't tolerate closeness, so the frame that allows us to develop the capacity for emotional regulation, is exited," Pinsky said. "So these kids, as young adults, do not develop the emotional capacity for emotional regulations, so feelings are too prolonged, too negative, too intense, too stuck. So they start reaching outside of themselves for a substance to regulate -- cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, sex -- and then they trigger the addictive process."
Pinsky said in society, severe addiction is becoming more severe. The norm, he said, isn't just one addiction, but several.
"It's relatively rare these days to see the straight-up alcoholic; they're always addicted to pills, other substances."
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