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Old 11-08-2019, 05:19 PM
Kennedy1960 is offline
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Questions about addiction (from biological and psychological perspectives)


The question I'm asking has several subsets to them, and forgive me if I don't ask them as eloquently or as intelligently as they should be asked.

I come from a family of addicts. My father has suffered almost his entire life with alcohol and in later years, prescription drug dependencies. His sister is an alcoholic, big time. My father's great grandfather was a severe alcoholic who died young as a result. On his father's side, his great uncle was a gambling addict who once lost 10k (in 1940s era money) on a bet. On his mother's side, his uncle was also an alcoholic.

On my mom's side, her father was a severe gambling addict, to the point that it cost him his career and almost prison time, as was his younger sister, and my aunt experienced issues with gambling addiction as well as spending addiction at points in her life. She had to declare bankruptcy at one point due to her spending, and my mother had to bail her out from loan sharks in the 80s. My mom's grandfather on her mother's side was a bad alcoholic as were most of her uncles, who died young from alcoholism or complications of it.

While not blood, one of my male role models was an alcoholic and cocaine abuser, and a non-blood relative is a heroin abuser.

While I've never suffered from any chemical dependencies, I suffer from compulsive spending, especially when under stress. I spend way outside of my means and when I do I feel powerful and sort of a rush. The act of buying is a high and then usually once the shit I buy arrives or I've used it a few times, it loses all allure and I probably never use it again and am onto something else, the next big thing to get. When under psychological stress, spending makes me feel comforted. Soothed. I have an allure for horse races but I've never actually gambled (more because OTB is gone....)

So that said, my questions are:

1) What determines what a person will be addicted to? For example, I've told you about the addictions in my family - why is my father addicted to pills and not horses? Or myself addicted to spending and not alcohol? Why did the addiction gene skip my mom?

2) From a biological standpoint - in terms of brain chemistry - are they all exactly the same? What are the differences?

3) Psychologically speaking, is the mindset of say, a coke addict or a compulsive sex addict much different from a gambling addict or spending addict? Do all addicts of every stripe have the same "rush - comfort" feeling with addiction?

4) What determines how severe an addict is? For example, my brother in law - while an alcoholic - functioned. He was never clearly inebriated, but he was the type of person who steadily drank all day to maintain a constant buzz as a way to mellow his mind. Yet others will lose their entire livelihoods because of their addiction. What determines that?

Any answers would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Kennedy1960; 11-08-2019 at 05:22 PM.
 

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