There Are Four Kinds Of Drunken Personality (Among Students, At Least) Which One Are You?


New, preliminary evidence suggests that University undergrad students who drink alcohol fall into four different, colourful types, each with a particular shift in personality when under the influence of alcohol.

The findings could increase our understanding of why some students behave in harmful ways when drunk while others usually don’t.

Rachel Winograd and her colleagues at the University of Missouri-Columbia asked 374 student participants to complete a personality test twice, once considering themselves as they normally are, the other time how they behave and feel once they’re drunk. The researchers conducted a cluster analysis on the dataset to find four types of student drinker.


The 4 Types Of Student Drinker

These are the four group types:

  1. Those for whom drinking had less effect on their intellect and conscientiousness than is typical, dubbed “Hemingways” in tribute to the writer’s reputed imperviousness to alcohol
  2. Those who are introverted (shy) when sober, but highly extraverted (outgoing and socially confident) and unconscientious when drunk, who experienced the greatest overall personality shift thanks to alcohol, and are named “Nutty Professors” after the Jerry Lewis character
  3. Those who are very pleasant and harmonious (high agreeableness) when sober, and when drunk, retain most of their agreeableness, conscientiousness and intellect. In all, they experience the slightest alcohol related change, named the “Mary Poppinses
  4. Finally, those dubbed “Mr Hydes” due to their larger decreases in agreeableness, conscientiousness and intellect when drunk

This last group is of particular interest. Although none of the types were linked to greater units consumed per each drinking session, nor with binge drinking, the “Mr Hydes” were significantly more likely to experience negative alcohol-related consequences, including poorer grades, regrettable sex or cravings for drink in the morning; this effect was in comparison to the “Mary Poppinses”, with the other groups falling intermediate.

It’s also worth noting the “Mr Hyde” group had the highest proportion of women (two thirds, with the sample being overall 57% women).


Some Limitations

Their are however, a few limitations to note. Firstly, each participant was also rated by a buddy in the sample, but analysis of their judgments didn’t suggest any clear typology in the way that the self-ratings did.

The authors suggest that the shifts they are looking for may be subtle and internal, and can be overlooked by outsiders looking for stereotypical drunk behaviours, which I find plausible. Even so, convergent evidence would have been preferable.

The study looked at sober perceptions of drunkenness, so further work using observation of alcohol use in the lab, or even the pub would be welcome. And of course, the undergrad drinkers are not all drinkers, and older, alcohol-dependent home drinkers may fall into very different dynamics.

Previous research had suggested that alcohol-related personality change is a predictor of alcohol problems, but this research develops this understanding by attributing it to a type of change, rather than simply the quantity of change (as the radical shift of the “nutty professors” was not associated with greater harm). As such, it suggests possible risk factors that can help individuals understand why they are the ones suffering, when all they are doing is drinking like their undergrad crew/ university friends do.

You can find out more and read the full survey findings and research methods here.

Which Category Do You Think You Fall Into?

Let us know by commenting below, or posting on our social media pages. We always like to hear from you. If you aren’t already following us on our social media pages, now is the perfect time to do so!


We’d like to say thank you to Rachel Winograd for her research into this issue and to her colleagues at the University of Missouri-Columbia. This post was written by Alex Fradera (@alexfradera), originally for the BPS Research Digest.


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  • Are You Making Amends With Those You’ve Hurt In Your Active Addiction? Find Out How Here!

    One big part of recovering from a substance addiction is to attempt to make amends for the past mistakes, guilt, embarrassment or shame that was caused as a result of your active addiction to substances. However, we often don’t even realise that our behaviour is harmful or negative toward ourselves or others until we enter recovery. As our mind becomes clearer once again, we begin to see the scale of damage that we’ve caused to ourselves, as well as all of the relationships we damaged with family, friends, colleagues, employers and others.

    Before you can begin to try and make amends with others for the harm, damage, stress, upset, negative outcomes of relationships or anything else, you first need to begin by forgiving yourself!


    The Importance Of Forgiving Yourself In Addiction Recovery

    One of the hardest parts of abstinence and sobriety is having to confront unpleasant emotions without recourse to drugs or alcohol. This is often how addiction begins in the first place. When your feelings, thoughts, emotions and memories are persistent and painful, any kind of relief is welcome. You may have done things during your time in active addiction that only add to the burden of the shame, embarrassment and guilt you feel when you get clean and sober. These feelings can be hard to deal with and can lead to relapse if they aren’t dealt with.

    Remember – When we use or drink, our judgement becomes clouded and behaviours or actions occur that wouldn’t have done had you not been drinking alcohol or using drugs. At the time we may also think that what we’re saying or doing is right, even if it’s harmful to ourselves and others around us.

    That’s why sometimes we don’t actually realise the scale of the damage we’ve caused to ourselves and other until our mind becomes unclouded through the detox and recovery process, when we can then begin to think more clearly once again.

    Guilt is a useful emotion when it prods us to do the right thing, but it can also torture us for having done the wrong thing previously. You may feel like you deserve to be tormented for the terrible things you’ve said or done to others who loved and cared for you. Perhaps you feel that forgiving yourself is as good as saying you’ve done nothing wrong. Perhaps you’re even afraid you’ll behave badly again the moment you stop torturing yourself. Whatever your reason is for delaying this process, the greater risk you place on your recovery efforts as these negative emotions begin to pile up, one on top of another and so on, until we end up in a position where we can’t cope with these negative feelings, thoughts and emotions and return to alcohol or drugs.

    In reality, carrying that shame and guilt is counterproductive. Think of it this way, when you’re happy, when your life is going well and when the inside of your head is a pleasant, or at least tolerable place to be, relapse is the last thing on your mind. Obsessing about things you can’t change, like past mistakes is a good way to keep yourself miserable. If you insist on being miserable, you’re likely to have a hard time maintaining any form of lasting recovery via sobriety or abstinence.

    Carrying around all that guilt and shame also isolates you and weighs you down. If you go around feeling like a bad person who doesn’t deserve love, happiness or forgiveness, you’ll have a hard time re-connecting with people from the past, as well as new people you need in the future. You won’t want to open up, be honest or talk. You will be less likely to even try to make new friends or even seek out and enter new relationships. You may become guarded and angry. All of this only makes your recovery unnecessarily harder for yourself than it needs to be. One of the most important parts of staying clean and sober is having a strong recovery network. You have to feel connected to other people and that is very difficult if you see yourself as a uniquely awful and undeserving person.

    Also, guilt and shame are just two of the challenging emotions you will have to face in recovery. You will more than likely have to confront other emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, despair and any number of other emotional challenges. Dealing with emotions we would rather not experience is one of the most important coping strategies/skills to develop in recovery. You have to learn to acknowledge these emotions without letting them overwhelm you. This is where strategies like mindfulness, meditation and seeking professional counselling and recovery therapies will help. Guilt and shame are just emotions like any other, and you can use them to practice emotional regulation. It wouldn’t make sense to work hard to master your anger or anxiety, while allowing guilt and shame to run amok, causing more havoc and damage to you and others around you.

    Of course, letting go of shame, guilt and other negative emotions is often easier said than done! Some people don’t remember what it was like to not feel shame or guilt in some shape or form, and some people even take a perverse sort of comfort in it. Forgiving yourself and letting go of shame takes practice and help. Here are some suggestions for how to do it.


    How To Make Amends With Ourselves & The Ways We’ve Behaved In The Past

    The problem with guilt and especially shame, is that you fixate on the bad things you’ve done to the exclusion of the good. If someone points out something good you’ve done, you may reply that it doesn’t count because of some negative incident. If you only accept evidence in support of you being a bad person, you will believe you are a bad person who doesn’t deserve forgiveness. If, on the other hand, you accept yourself as a human-being, who has made mistakes and has flaws, but are also capable of good things, you can forgive yourself for your mistakes and try to do better in the future.

    When you think that you’re not worth recovery, that you’re a bad, flawed or broken person, remind yourself that you are a human being. You will make mistakes, you can’t change what you’ve done, but you can choose what you will do from this moment onwards!

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    Don’t you think it’s about time you forgive yourself for being an addict? The sooner you forgive yourself, the better off you’ll be! I’ve met many recovering addicts, just like me, who can’t seem to forgive themselves for being an addict, even after spending many years in recovery. We become so used to carrying guilt around that sometimes we don’t even know how much it’s really affecting our lives, similar to tunnel vision or a tolerance to substances. Once you’ve been used to the same amount of stress, grief or any other negative emotion day in and day out, it becomes your norm. It affects things like our self-worth and what we believe we deserve. Consequently, we pass up many amazing opportunities because we don’t think we deserved them. In the end, it keeps us from making the most out of life.

    If you carry 100 bricks on your back for 20 years, you’ll eventually come to see that as the norm for you. However, it isn’t until we take off those bricks and simply allow fresh air to flow over our skin that we realise just how much of a load we were carrying around with us!

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    Our society is constantly bombarding us with what it means to be “an addict” and those views are full of stigma, negative stereotypes and prejudice. These beliefs are problematic for many reasons, but mostly because we end up internalising them. We associate our negative beliefs of what it means to be an addict to who we are as a person. As a result, we end up feeling immensely guilty, embarrassed and ashamed for us ending up as an addict, and sometimes even become self-loathing which isn’t helpful for anyone, most importantly, it isn’t helpful to you. We become insecure and often feel somehow less of a human being or less moral than the people who stand immediately around us. We are more than our addiction, however our beliefs aren’t always logical and that’s why it’s important to combat them by using positiv.

    In order to forgive ourselves for being an addict, we need to reclaim what it means to be an addict. Only recovering addicts know what it means to be an addict and only we should be able to give it meaning in our lives. Beating ourselves up for the mistakes we made while using or drinking is hard enough, but at least with that guilt, we can find ways to make amends for it. Whereas guilt for being an addict is aimless. There’s no task that will scrub away the guilt for being who we are. We need to change our perception of the labels we use to describe ourselves.


    What Being A Recovering Addict Means

    Being a recovering addict usually means:
    – We’re intelligent capable people
    – We’ve learned a lot from our mistakes
    – Experience taught us valuable life skills
    – Recovering addicts are survivors
    – We beat the odds and achieve amazing things
    – We’re strong-willed and determined
    – We’re caring, compassionate people
    – We believe in second chances, no matter what you’ve done or who you are
    – We believe people can change for the better and it is never too late
    – We don’t give up easily

    Being a recovering addicts helps us to develop great qualities that we should be proud of having, some of which many others will never have, as they haven’t been an addict themselves. We’ve survived extremely difficult situations, experienced what it’s like to struggle to live from second to second as your whole body aches and groans with withdrawal pains, and yet because of this, we’ve become very capable people, even if we don’t always know it, remember it or recognise it!

    Mistakes are often the best teachers and can be used to teach us new lessons, after all, I’m sure we’ve all made plenty. We know the importance of giving people second chances because getting our second chance (and often chance after chance) is important to us and is what led us to where we are now. We’re caring and compassionate people towards others who are struggling. Being a recovering addict allows us to find solidarity with other recovering addicts. After all, no one else can help an addict like an addict.

    We need to stop believing being a recovering addict is a bad thing or a badge we must try to hide from everyone, because we think it is a stain on us rather than a badge of honour. It’s ok to make mistakes, everyone does, and no doubt, we will all make more today, tomorrow and in the future. But it is the continued fight to strive to be more than we are that is most important.

    Struggling with an addiction doesn’t make us weak, foolish, without morals or lack of “proper” parental guidance, it is this that simply makes us human. Anyone capable of overcoming any form of addiction is a strong, resilient person with a host of unique skills and abilities that we should all try to utilise instead of hide. Being a recovering addict is an asset and definitely not something we should be ashamed of. Let’s reclaim the word addict and show some recovery pride.

    If anyone looks down at you, treats you with disrespect or judgement, don’t feel sorry for yourself, feel sorry for them that they lack a true understanding of who an addict is, what addiction is and how it affects the very core of your being. Addiction is constantly increasing year on year. You never know, the person who treats you with poor manners may simply be acting that way as they could be scared of facing an addiction of their own. Instead of showing scorn, show mercy and understanding. When you face rudeness and contempt, show kindness by responding rather than reacting.


    Making Amends With Those We’ve Hurt During Our Active Using & Drinking

    One of the tell-tale symptoms of any alcohol or drug addiction is behaving in ways that go against your personal core values and standards. That’s why if you prescribe to the Twelve Step recovery process, step 8 and 9 includes the practice of recognising how your behaviour has harmed others and seeking to repair the mistakes and damage caused during your active addiction. Step Eight and Step Nine of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) call this approach “making amends”:

    Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

    Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

    On the surface, making amends might sound as simple as offering a sincere apology for the way you’ve behaved or treated others, but there’s more to this cornerstone. Twelve Step practice.


    What Is A Direct Amend?

    In recovery from alcohol or drug addiction, a direct amend refers to the act of personally addressing issues with people who have been harmed by your behaviour or your treatment of them as a result of your addiction. The practice involves going back to those individuals to acknowledge the harm or hurt that’s been caused to them and demonstrate that our behaviours, our thought processes, our morals and even things as small as gaining some self-respect again can mean more to others than the actual apology if they see REAL AND LASTING change. The apology process also provides them with the opportunity to heal along with you. Whenever possible, a direct amends are made face-to-face rather than over the phone, by letter or by asking someone else to apologise for you on your behalf.


    What’s The Difference Between Making Amends & Offering An Apology?

    Think of amends as actions taken that demonstrate your new way of life in recovery and the changes you have made to positively grow, develop and overcome your active addiction, whereas apologies are basically words. When you make amends, you acknowledge and align your values to your actions by admitting your wrong-doing and then living by your renewed principles.

    In addiction, our actions and intentions aren’t aligned. For example, we might intend to go to a friend’s birthday party, but in actuality, we fail to show up for the event because we are either too ill, too drunk, too high or too pre-occupied seeking, drinking and using more substances. While we might apologise later for missing the party, our apology consists of words rather than actions or tangible proof of our changed behaviours. And those words ring hollow when we repeatedly break our promises. So, to truly make amends, we have to offer more than words. We have to show patience, determination and a willingness to do what’s needed to overcome past problems and grow together again as you once did, however bare in mind that this isn’t always possible or appropriate. We will look at this in more detail later on in this article.

    In recovery, our actions and intentions are once again re-aligned. An example would be telling someone how sorry you are that you stole from them and actually giving back what you took, finding and buying a replacement or by deciding to move on together and allow them to choose a new one and you pay for it. This mutual cooperation can sometimes be worth much more than the actual items you may have pawned, sold, stolen or broken.


    There May Be Times When Making Direct Amends May Not Be Advisable

    Yes, we want to make amends to those people we’ve hurt previously, except when to do so would injure, alarm, harassment or harm them, others or you. We don’t want our actions to cause further damage, harm or stress. Also, we might owe amends to people we can’t reach. In those cases, we can make amends in a broader sense by taking actions like donating money, volunteering our time or providing care.

    Remember – Make amends where appropriate, and where doing so would not cause injury, alarm, harassment or harm to them, others or you.

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    We can also make amends by living our lives with purpose, within the bounds of our principles. This is known as making “living amends”. For example, if we hurt people with our lying and we cannot make amends without further injuring them, we would make living amends by making a decision to behave and communicate with complete honesty.

    It’s also important to take great care when making amends to someone who is still in active addiction because our primary responsibility is to safeguard our own health and recovery from substance use. If making an amends means exposing ourselves to triggering environments, we ought to reconsider and discuss healthy alternatives with a sponsor, Keyworker, Therapist, Counsellor or other healthcare professional.

    Examples include:

    • Where it would put you or someone else’s life in jeopardy.
    • Where your contact could/would worsen or harm their physical or mental health conditions.

    How To Enact A Living Amends

    When I first came into recovery, I always thought that I’d know how to make amends to others, and it was a matter of creating some form of complicated sorry letter or speech. I was wrong, so wrong! To enact a living amends that really does live up to the promises you make and to grow in a renewed relationship, here’s how it works for us.

    The List Of Wrongs

    I made a list of everything I resented. I thought this was the part where I got to dump all of my anger on the people who used and abused me. It wasn’t. Instead, my inventory was an:

    • Examination of the part I played in past hurts
    • Unearthing of patterns where I repeatedly volunteered myself for abuse, misuse or manipulation
    • Analysis of my motives – almost all of my decisions were based on fear, embarrassment, shame or guilt – I tried to control everyone around me in an attempt to feel safe

    Ways To Make A Living Amends

    1) I Give Them A PANDA

    Another tool I love to use is a PANDA apology. PANDA stands for:

    • P Promise it will never happen again.
    • A Admit you were at fault, or how you played your part in it.
    • N – No excuses, be totally honest and upfront, even if you get asked difficult questions.
    • D – Describe how you would handle the situation next time. Sometimes, just knowing that someone messed up and has learnt from it is enough. Other times, it is part of it, but not all of it.
    • A – Act on your promise. If you say something, stick to it, no matter what. If you cannot guarantee that you can, could or will stick to it no matter what, then don’t promise it.

    After years of living in active addiction where my apologies and promises meant little to nothing. My living amends represents PANDA.

    2) If I Must Say It, I Only Say It Once

    I never say anything to someone what I wouldn’t want told to me if the roles were reversed. Likewise, If I make a promise, guarantee, arrangement, plan or anything else. I stop, think and then respond rather than react, to ensure that I only say it once and not have to later break those promises or plans and say sorry more than once!. This not only breaks the new promise or guarantee you’ve made, but also shows that you may still be living in an unstable manner and aren’t going to change (from their perception).


    Should I Try To Make Amends With Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Hear from Me?

    No matter how much we feel the need to make things right, forcing another person to meet up with us, or hear from us is not a good start if you are trying to make amends with them. When those we’ve hurt are not able or willing to accept our amends, we can still move in a positive general direction by taking intentional steps to be of service to others, or making living amends.

    Remember – The intention of making amends is for the person we are trying to make amends towards. Yes, we benefit, but it is primarily for them and this should be kept in mind at all times.

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    It’s important to note that making amends is for the person we hurt. Yes, we partake in the process to “clean up our side of the street,” but we do not make amends to clear our conscience, or undo our feelings of guilt, shame or embarrassment. If someone doesn’t want to hear from us or make amends, we must respect that’s their decision and do our best to move forward in our recovery.

    Remember – Not now doesn’t mean not ever. Sometimes people just need time and space to think. It’s important to give them as much of this as they need, even if it takes years or decades!

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    How Will Making Amends With Others Help My Recovery?

    Taking these actions helps us to separate ourselves from the disease of addiction. We come to understand that we are good people with a bad disease. The process of making amends can help us to move out of the shame and guilt we have lived in, shame and guilt that feeds the cycle of substance use, addiction and relapse. We strengthen and reinforce healthy recovery whenever we do our part to repair relationships, or reach out to others with support, empathy and understanding.


    What If My Attempt to Make Things Right Goes Wrong & Things Get Worse?

    It’s important to have a plan in place before you reach out in an attempt to make amends. We can’t know for certain how another person will respond, or even how the interaction might affect both us and them mentally and emotionally. So be sure to talk with others and have a decent, solid plan in place, should you need support if things don’t go like you hoped they would.

    Remember, this is a process that can provide a platform for healing, but the person we are reaching out to may not be at the same place in healing as we are, or may never be ready for healing. We are only in control of our part, making and living the amends.

    As with alcohol and drugs, we are also powerless over other people and how they will respond or react to our intended amends. Whether they will forgive you or whether they will hold on to negative feelings or resentments is out of your control. But it is just as important to do your part in trying (where appropriate, and where doing so would not cause injury, alarm, harassment or harm to them, others or you).

    In the end, we are not seeking forgiveness. We are seeking accountability for our own actions and holding ourselves to the standards of our own values.


    If I Decide To Work Through The Steps Of Fellowship, Should I Work On Step Eight Alone?

    Generally speaking, people work through the Steps of Alcohol Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Cocaine Anonymous (CA) with an addiction treatment service, Therapist, Counsellor and/or sponsor. You can also turn to AA or NA’s Big Book and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (the 12 & 12) for guidance specific to Step 8. You can also visit 12step.org for more help with working the steps and gaining the most out of each step.

    When first writing your list, don’t worry about including everyone you have wronged. Start by listing the people closest to you. Over time, as you strengthen and deepen your recovery from addiction, you will undoubtedly revisit Steps 8 and 9 many times. Eventually you will find you are making amends day by day through the positive actions you routinely take in living by Twelve Step principles.


    What Is the Best Way to Make Amends?

    There really isn’t a “best way” or one size fits all that will work for everyone and every situation or circumstance. You need to find the approach that will work best for you and the person or people you are wanting to make amends with. Try to talk with your sponsor (if you have one), or others in your recovery community, forums online or by speaking to others through the Drink ‘n’ Drugs Facebook Group and ask others what has worked for them in the past. Likewise, you will also be able to learn from their mistakes and experience so that you can avoid making the same mistakes as others. If your actions match your intentions and you reach out in person, you are doing the next right thing to right past wrongs. It’s simple but not easy. And remember, if you are feeling ashamed about any past mistakes, things that were said, done or made, and the damage that was done during your drinking and using days, you are not your disease.

    Reaching out to make amends shows that you are willing to take responsibility for what’s happened in the past. It also shows them that they are important enough to you that you are willing to make the effort needed to make amends with them.


    How Soon Do I Start to Make Amends Once I Am Sober?

    Once you enter into recovery and have some time in abstinence/sobriety, there isn’t a set timeline for working Steps 8 and 9, or if you don’t want to follow the steps, and simply want to know when’s best to reach out, you might want to ask your sponsor, Therapist, Keyworker or recovery support network for their insights about whether you’re ready. In Twelve Step recovery, your pace is your own to determine.

    Remember – It may take weeks, months or years before the person you are trying to make amends to will be willing to accept your amends. Also remember that sometimes, too much damage has been done and there will never be a right time to try and make amends toward them. In this case, just try to continue in a living amends.

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    No doubt you will experience challenges and setbacks along the way. But by prioritising your recovery on a daily basis, and doing whatever that next right thing might be for you, you will keep moving forward in living a life of good purpose and being a productive and responsible member of your community.


    Accept Forgiveness, As Well As Attempt To Make It With Others

    It’s just as important that when we make amends to others, we do so in an open and honest way, and in a way that we would wish to be treated had the roles been reversed. With this in mind, others may come to you and attempt to make amends with you. Sometimes, part of asking others for amends is by accepting it from others as well.

    It is something to keep in mind when you are asking others to make amends with you! We often say or do things that we later regret doing or saying and sometimes, other people may feel guilty for things that they said or did to you as well. Be willing to listen, understand what they’re saying and why they’re saying it. Giving someone else forgiveness can sometimes provide it for ourselves too!


    I’m Still A Little Confused, What Order Should I Do Things In?

    When you are trying to make amends toward someone else, its important that you do so at a time, place and speed that suits both of you, and this will be different for everyone. However, most of the time, making amends tends to work in a particular order as set out below.

    There are steps you take to make amends, which include:

    • Take stock of the damage you caused, mistakes you made, what you said, did or didn’t do.
    • Express the desire to repair it. Show them that you are genuine about making amends with them and that they are important enough to you that you’d like to include them in your new life (if you want to that is, sometimes making amends doesn’t always mean repairing a relationship).
    • Admit to your mistakes. Be honest and up front and don’t be afraid to say sorry and explain why you did, or didn’t do the things you should have which caused the damage in the first place.
    • Find a way to repair the damage. Take time, dedication and attention with the individual. It isn’t always as easy as saying sorry and moving on, sometimes they will want to see longer term progress before they will be willing to accept your amends. Be willing to commit to spending the days, weeks or months that are needed to show that things, and you, have changed.
    • Sometimes, giving someone flowers, a letter or card or maybe even monetary compensation for the damage you caused won’t and can’t replace spending quality time with that person. Showing you’ve changed for the long-haul is worth so much more than a bunch of flowers or cash will.

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  • 4 Tips For Asking For Help When Needed

    Asking for help usually means you must admit to something you’d prefer not to mention. Asking for help means you must admit you need other people. Asking for help means you can’t do something by yourself.

    Our own pride, self-centeredness and ego often prevent us from asking for help; they convince us that we don’t need it. Guilt and shame can then stop us in our tracks. And asking a family member or friend whom you’ve hurt through your addiction? Well, it’s painful.

    It is often said that admitting to yourself that you have a problem with drugs and alcohol is taking the first step. And while this may be true, there is another that shortly follows along behind, asking for help from someone else.

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    It is often said that admitting to yourself that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol is the first step. And while that is a big step – the next one, maybe even bigger: asking for help from someone else.

    Here are 4 top tips to remember when asking someone else for help to overcome your addiction to substances.


    4 Top Tips To Reclaim Your Life

    If you are fearing or dreading reaching out for help with addiction, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

    1) Asking For Help In Addiction Shows Courage

    Asking for help doesn’t make you weak – in fact, it’s the complete opposite. Your pride and self-centeredness are actually what makes you weak because they make you stand alone. It takes strength and humility to turn to others for a hand – and there is also the strength to be found in numbers.

    It’s natural to want to be proud of your accomplishments. But when you’ve destroyed relationships, committed crimes, hurt the people you love the most and who love you the most, caused health problems to yourself and caused mental health problems in others, lost homes, caused relationship breakdowns, caused financial problems and ruined careers, all because of a drug or alcohol addiction. It’s hard to be proud of anything you’ve done. Don’t let your pride feed you excuses to keep drinking alcohol and using drugs. Recognise that it takes courage to drop your ego – and strength to locate help.

    2) Asking For Help Does NOT Make You A Burden

    Do you feel like your friends and family have been through enough? That they don’t want to deal with your problems anymore? That you’re only a burden to them and that they would be better off without you? The truth is – you’re not.

    Yes, your family members and friends have likely been through a lot because of your addiction – but that’s all the more reason they’ll want you to get the right help you need to overcome your addiction. Even after all you’ve done, they still love you and do only want the best for you! When one person helps another, it’s not typically because helping is convenient – it’s because they care.

    Asking for help also doesn’t make you dependent on others; it means that you absolutely need the support, guidance and counselling of professionals in order to create a healthy, prosperous and productive life, free from the bonds that addiction holds over all addicts. Asking for and receive help will give you the strength and confidence to live your life with the support of friends and colleagues that you will meet in your recovery.

    3) Be Upfront & Honest

    Desperation and manipulation have likely become a large part of your daily existence, thanks to your drug or alcohol addiction. But those actions must end when you ask for help.

    Being upfront and honest is key when asking for help because it sets you up with a solid foundation to begin your recovery. The act of surrender and overcoming your denial requires intense honesty and acceptance. After all, the more you tell those who want to help you, even if it may seen embarrassing, scary or shameful, the better they can help you to overcome your addiction!

    Honesty isn’t an easy part of asking for help – if it was, anyone could get into recovery without damage to their ego. Honesty is accepting that your ego is wrong – that you can’t do this alone, what you’ve done alone up to now hasn’t worked and that you need help from an external source. Once you get honest with yourself and others and can face that fact – you can move forward and start to change from an addict to a survivor!

    4) Don’t Be Embarrassed, Ashamed Or Scared

    Asking for help puts you in a vulnerable position which no one like to be in. However, it’s important to recognise that you should not be embarrassed, ashamed or scared about needing help. If you’re nervous to talk to your parents, spouse, adult children or siblings then don’t be. It’s easier said than done but it is the truth. It’s likely that they have noticed and worried about your addiction for some time now and may not have said anything in fear of making things worse or admitting and finally confirming that truth that you have an addiction as it is easy to hide away under the metaphorical carpet of maybe, possibly and “I’ll do it tomorrow!”

    The most important thing about asking for help for any form of addiction is that it is never to late to ask for help, no matter what has happened in your life or in your relationships, there is and always will be hope!

    Drink ‘n’ Drugs

    If they haven’t noticed and they are surprised by your admission, it’s more than likely they’ll still want to do everything in their power to help you seek the right help, support and treatments you need in order to fight and overcome your addiction. Remember, even though you may be the one who is actively addicted drugs and alcohol, your family and friends are more often than not, just as affected as well. All they’ll want is for you to be both happy and well.

    Once you’ve admitted to yourself and others that you are ready to ask for help – take action by selecting the person you think will be most likely to be willing and ready to support you in your decision to gain freedom for your drug or alcohol addiction. For most people, this person is a close family member like a parent or a sibling. The most important thing about asking for help for any form of addiction is that it is never too late. No matter what has happened in your life or in your relationships, there is still hope.


    Remember…

    Don’t be afraid of being seen as being weak or incapable by asking for help. We all need help at one time or another, and it’s especially important that you seek the proper help and support for your addiction at the earliest possible opportunity, before the typical damage that’s caused by longer term substance use begins to take hold of you and those around you too.


    Having family and friends who support you can be a huge motivational factor in your recovery. Here are some tips for them to remember as well.

    If you don’t feel that talking to a friend or family member about this is right for you, at least reach out to your local community based drug and alcohol service and seek advice and guidance.

    The greatest triumphs in life start by accepting that what you’re doing isn’t working and doing something about it, with someone else who can help us that does!…

    #askforhelp #askforhelpwhenyouneedit


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  • 2 Days Until The ODAAT Experiment. What You Need To Know!

    If you don’t already know, the ODAAT experiment is designed to help those who may have been caught up in the daily, repetitive, insular circle that addiction causes us to live in.

    The planner below will show you a rough outline for the day. It is up to you how much or little you do in each stage throughout the day, depending on your needs and commitments.


    The Plan For The Day

    TimeActivity
    Start – 09:00 – 10:00Wake up, Have some healthy breakfast, Take any prescribed/MAT meds
    10:00 – 11:00Personal hygiene & Taking care of you
    11:00 – 12:00Mindfulness/Meditation
    12:00 – 13:00DIY Exercise & Breathing exercises
    13:00 – 14:00Healthy lunch
    14:00 – 15:00Rediscovering/Discovering hobbies & interests just for you
    15:00 – 16:00Socialising with others & Getting out (COVID-19 safe)
    16:00 – 17:003 Good deeds for the day
    17:00 – 18:00Fellowship/Meetings/Recovery based activities
    18:00 – 19:00Evening meal/Dinner
    19:00 – 20:00Family time
    20:00 – 21:00Mindfulness/Meditation/Journaling ect
    21:00 – EndGetting ready for sleep/Winding down from the day

    We understand that the journey from addiction is a lifelong one, with struggles along the way, however being better prepared by having a well structured routine based around recovery will help to ward off many of the common pitfalls that many addicts experience.


    The 3 Levels Within The Experiment

    For each of the above hourly sections, we will split them up into 3 different “levels”, this is an attempt to help you to get the most from the experiment based on your circumstances and what you hope to achieve from it. Again, it is up to you how much or little you do, however we would recommend that if you feel that you would most likely fit into the top 2 levels, that you follow more of the plan.

    1. For those will actively using and/or drinking and have not yet managed to maintain any period of abstinence/sobriety and may not have any idea where to start to restart their day.
    2. For those who are in the very early stages of their recovery and have managed to gain a small amount of time abstinent and/or sober, and may have have stopped using and or drinking within the last 120 days.
    3. For those who are more experienced in their recovery from substances and simply want a few pointers as to how they may make small changes to their daily life to reinforce and solidify their recovery.

    What Do I Need To Do To Join In?

    You don’t need to sign up or pay anything, you simply need to check out our website or social media pages at 09:00 on 30th April 2021. Each hour, on the hour, we will upload the next section for you to read and do. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


    What Do I Need?

    You don’t need special equipment or apps, however we do highly recommend that you buy yourself the following ingredients for your breakfast, lunch and dinner for the day as these will be the ingredients you will need if you wish to follow the recipes that we include. You can however amend any part of it if you have allergies, can’t get hold of, can’t afford or are allergic to certain ingredients. You can be creative, if you have healthy items you have already, by all means amend the recipes and include them as well!

    You may notice that we haven’t included caffeinated drinks in the list such as tea, coffee or energy drinks. This is because they to technically are drugs too and can cause issues with relaxation and concentration when it comes to certain parts of the day such as meditation/mindfulness activities.

    If you want to include tea or coffee then do so, but try to have as little as you possibly can and try at all costs to avoid energy/fizzy drinks of any type throughout the day.


    Experiment Menu

    Breakfast

    1 cup oatmeal with ¼ cup of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or a mixture of different fruits, and ¼ cup walnuts and half of a large banana

    2 slices of toast (ideally on seeded bread, but any you like will do) with butter on top

    1 medium-sized orange, apple or other fruit you enjoy

    1 cup cooked spinach or ½ cup raw, with a teaspoon of olive oil

    6 ounces of water

    Mid-Morning Snack

    1 cup cooked broccoli and sliced carrots

    1 hard-boiled egg

    ½ cup of apple or orange slices

    1 glass of fruit juice such as orange, apple, pineapple ect (ideally freshly squeezed and not from concentrate)

    Lunch

    1 can or 4 ounces of tuna or small piece of frying steak

    2 cups mixed salad

    ¾ of a cooked lentils (ideally red as they cook the quickest)

    1 teaspoon olive oil

    The other half of the banana from breakfast

    6 ounces of water

    Afternoon Snack

    2 ounces of turkey breast

    ¾ of a cup of raspberries

    ¼ of an ounce of raisins

    6 ounces of water

    Dinner

    3 ounces of salmon or fish

    ¾ cup of brown rice

    ½ cup of wilted salad

    ½ cup baked sweet potato or baked sweet potato fries 

    6 ounces of water


    I Have A Question

    In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions, please get in touch with us through our social media pages or by contacting us.


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  • There Are Four Kinds Of Drunken Personality (Among Students, At Least) Which One Are You?

    New, preliminary evidence suggests that University undergrad students who drink alcohol fall into four different, colourful types, each with a particular shift in personality when under the influence of alcohol.

    The findings could increase our understanding of why some students behave in harmful ways when drunk while others usually don’t.

    Rachel Winograd and her colleagues at the University of Missouri-Columbia asked 374 student participants to complete a personality test twice, once considering themselves as they normally are, the other time how they behave and feel once they’re drunk. The researchers conducted a cluster analysis on the dataset to find four types of student drinker.


    The 4 Types Of Student Drinker

    These are the four group types:

    1. Those for whom drinking had less effect on their intellect and conscientiousness than is typical, dubbed “Hemingways” in tribute to the writer’s reputed imperviousness to alcohol
    2. Those who are introverted (shy) when sober, but highly extraverted (outgoing and socially confident) and unconscientious when drunk, who experienced the greatest overall personality shift thanks to alcohol, and are named “Nutty Professors” after the Jerry Lewis character
    3. Those who are very pleasant and harmonious (high agreeableness) when sober, and when drunk, retain most of their agreeableness, conscientiousness and intellect. In all, they experience the slightest alcohol related change, named the “Mary Poppinses
    4. Finally, those dubbed “Mr Hydes” due to their larger decreases in agreeableness, conscientiousness and intellect when drunk

    This last group is of particular interest. Although none of the types were linked to greater units consumed per each drinking session, nor with binge drinking, the “Mr Hydes” were significantly more likely to experience negative alcohol-related consequences, including poorer grades, regrettable sex or cravings for drink in the morning; this effect was in comparison to the “Mary Poppinses”, with the other groups falling intermediate.

    It’s also worth noting the “Mr Hyde” group had the highest proportion of women (two thirds, with the sample being overall 57% women).


    Some Limitations

    Their are however, a few limitations to note. Firstly, each participant was also rated by a buddy in the sample, but analysis of their judgments didn’t suggest any clear typology in the way that the self-ratings did.

    The authors suggest that the shifts they are looking for may be subtle and internal, and can be overlooked by outsiders looking for stereotypical drunk behaviours, which I find plausible. Even so, convergent evidence would have been preferable.

    The study looked at sober perceptions of drunkenness, so further work using observation of alcohol use in the lab, or even the pub would be welcome. And of course, the undergrad drinkers are not all drinkers, and older, alcohol-dependent home drinkers may fall into very different dynamics.

    Previous research had suggested that alcohol-related personality change is a predictor of alcohol problems, but this research develops this understanding by attributing it to a type of change, rather than simply the quantity of change (as the radical shift of the “nutty professors” was not associated with greater harm). As such, it suggests possible risk factors that can help individuals understand why they are the ones suffering, when all they are doing is drinking like their undergrad crew/ university friends do.

    You can find out more and read the full survey findings and research methods here.

    Which Category Do You Think You Fall Into?

    Let us know by commenting below, or posting on our social media pages. We always like to hear from you. If you aren’t already following us on our social media pages, now is the perfect time to do so!


    We’d like to say thank you to Rachel Winograd for her research into this issue and to her colleagues at the University of Missouri-Columbia. This post was written by Alex Fradera (@alexfradera), originally for the BPS Research Digest.


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  • Your Brain Is A Powerful Ally And Enemy, Want To See!?

    IF YOU HAVE ANY HEALTH CONDITIONS WHICH MAY BE NEGATIVELY IMPACTED AS A RESULT OF DELAYING CONSUMPTION OF DRUGS, ALCOHOL OR MEDICATION, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR OR DRUG AND ALCOHOL SERVICE BEFORE TRYING THIS.

    Your brain is the most powerful tool, asset and enemy that you’ll come up against, yet also come to rely on in your recovery from an addiction.

    When you still use or drink, your brain will do anything and everything to ensure that you have that next hit, pipe, bong, pint, glass or any other. It knows exactly what to say to you, what to make you think or feel in order that you follow through with its desired intentions.

    So, if you’re on a medication assisted treatment (MAT) program i.e methadone, subutex, acamprosate or any other, or you are still using and/or drinking, you might want to try this little experiment to see first hand what your brain will make you think and feel when it wants what it wants.

    The thing with MAT treatments is that they have what’s called a “long half life”, meaning that they stay working in your body for a long period of time before they stop working. For example, methadone has a half life of (conservatively) upto 18 hours, however with most people’s metabolisms, this is often extended. In order for your MAT medications to wear off completely can take upto 48 hours to leave your system completely.

    So, logically you will know, and you can remind yourself once you are attempting this, that what you will be experiencing is nothing more than your brains attempt to get you to use, drink or take medication.


    So, If You Want To, Try This…

    1) If you still use or drink on top of your MAT medication, don’t. (Ideally you shouldn’t use or drink on top anyway as it can cause an overdose). If you aren’t on a MAT program and are still using or drinking, withhold your first use or drugs or alcohol for the day.

    2) Delay the time that you would normally take your MAT medication, drugs or alcohol by 2,3,4 hours, or as long as you can stand it. The longer you go, the greater your experience will be.

    3) Simply experience the psychological and physical symptoms that your brain will trick you into thinking that it is withdrawing, when it simply just wants more and more drugs, alcohol or medication.

    4) Take your medication when you can no longer stand it.


    What You Should Experience

    Once you’ve delayed consumption of any substances (including medication), you should find that your mind may make you feel physically unwell (withdrawing), get strong urges or cravings, get strong negative or inappropriate thoughts or feelings among others.

    Tip: If you can remind yourself that while this is going ahead, the thoughts you experience are simply that, just thoughts!

    As soon as you decide to stop, those thoughts and feelings will subside quickly, often even before you’ve consumed anything. Even just the thought of knowing that you are shortly going to get its substance(s) of choice, those negative thoughts and feelings will do away. This just goes to show how much your brain has a direct impact on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.


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  • The Role Rituals, Habits And OCD Play In Addiction And Recovery

    One of the hardest parts of battling an addiction of any form (in this case, drugs and alcohol) is the cessation of rituals, habits and compulsions to do something in a set order or the same way every single time.

    Certain things trigger the urge to use or drink, even things such as getting up in the morning, getting into the car, coming home from work, seeing certain people, doing certain activities and many, many others. As people living with an addiction, we build our lives around our illness. It is the centerpiece of our existence when our world becomes totally insular.

    https://youtu.be/VL3Y6kvDk64

    But I’m betting that you’re asking yourself, what exactly do these things mean? What is a ritual, and why do compulsive habits drive me to use or drink? well, keep reading and we will look at each term independently and how they all link together.


    Definitions Relative To This Article

    Below are some short descriptions of the most common terms we will look at in greater detail as we go down through the article.

    Ritual – Doing something in the same set/prescribed order every time you do it.

    Example: When you brush your teeth, you brush them a set number of times on the top, the same number of times at the bottom and you brush your tongue in a certain way that you don’t use anywhere else in your mouth.

    Habit – A tendency to practice something that is often hard to give up.

    Example: You smoke 30 cigarettes a day and have done so for the past 20 years.

    Compulsion – An irresistible urge to do something, go somewhere or repeat a process in a set order each time the compulsions arise.

    Example: Just before you have a hit (inject), you must always have three new, clean syringes and three new, clean needles lined up in a row before you finish cooking up your drugs. If you don’t, you’ll feel uneasy and get the feeling that somethings wrong or incorrect, even though in reality there isn’t.


    What’s The Difference Between An Addiction Versus A Compulsion?

    Addiction is a broad term used to describe the process by which someone becomes dependent on a particular substance or behaviour. This dependence becomes so important that they will persist in using the substance or engaging in the behaviour, even when it is harmful to themselves, their family, friends and the other important areas of their life.

    In contrast, compulsion is a narrow term used to describe the intense urge to do something, which can sometimes lead to a behaviour. Compulsions do play a role in the addiction process. As an addiction develops, it will involve a feeling of compulsion to take an addictive substance, such as alcohol or heroin, or to carry out an addictive behavior, such as gambling or sex.

    Compulsions are also a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Someone with OCD may have a compulsion to engage in a behaviour like washing their hands, tying their shoes, or checking the stove as a way of trying to alleviate anxiety. Compulsions in OCD are often directly related to obsessions, which are repeated thoughts that generate distress.

    https://youtu.be/LASIHvbRm-Q

    Compulsions are one of the two primary symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, a psychiatric disorder that affects approximately 1.2% of adults in the United Kingdom in a given year.

    A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that a person with OCD is driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rigidly applied rules (which are often used to help manage feelings of anxiety or distress).


    Compulsions Versus Habits

    Not all repeated behaviours and routines are compulsions. Many people follow a familiar pattern or routine when getting ready for bed at night, for example, or they may perform other self-care tasks, such as showering and getting ready in the morning, in a specific order.

    These tendencies, or habits, can occur subconsciously, and habits can serve a positive purpose in daily functioning. Habits are considered to be within the range of “normal” human behaviour.

    Similarly, just because someone is particularly orderly and feels good about keeping their living environment tidy does not mean they “are OCD” or have OCD.

    Neatness is a personality trait or aesthetic preference (they simply like things to be neat and things to look tidy), however obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health condition.

    With OCD, compulsions are time-consuming and accompanied by significant emotional distress.3 The behaviors are typically carried out for two reasons:

    • To neutralise or reduce the anxiety, disgust, or distress
    • To minimise or prevent the perceived risk/feared outcome associated with an obsession

    The Rituals & Habits Of An Addict

    One of the harder parts of battling any addiction is the cessation of the rituals that happen before, during and after using drugs or drinking alcohol. Certain things can trigger the urge or thought to use or drink. Even just doing simple things like getting up in the morning, getting into the car, coming home from work, or even something as simple as holding, having or possessing a certain object can trigger an urge. Those who live with an addiction or are a direct friend or family member of an addict, you will know that addicts build their lives around their illness, in this case, their addiction.

    It is the centerpiece of an addicts existence and the thought of no longer having or using drugs and alcohol seem totally unthinkable and impossible. It isn’t until the addict enters recovery via abstinence or sobriety that they see things are possible and achievable.

    The rituals of an addiction supersede everything. People do them without thinking. Maybe, at the end of the day, they always stop at a certain bar or pub for a drink, or a certain road or house to buy their substance of choice.

    https://youtu.be/ivE6DWCNfug

    Maybe they visit their dealer on a certain day at a certain time, for example on a benefit or wage payday. Bodies and minds know what they want and how to get it, despite the logical part of our brain that might be telling us to stop, to wait or to say no. When it’s over, we might stop for a moment and ask ourselves why we drank or used. By then it’s too late, the first step’s been taken.

    Rituals themselves are not a bad thing- they simply exist so that we can complete a task from beginning to end in the correct order. They provide structure, give comfort and purpose. Rituals can also be a way to cope with stress. People seek the familiar, they want to know the rules of the situation.

    They get up at the same time for work, eat certain things, on certain days of the week. In fact, rituals can help in recovery, that is if we can turn those moments of unconscious negative, harmful habits and rituals away from the illness of addiction and into a positive reinforcement for their sobriety/abstinence and recovery, they can be powerful tools when “the rough edges are smoothed out” and we fine tune what the new, acceptable normality is and what’s no longer.

    Rather than eliminating the ritual, replace it with a more positive one. They don’t have to be massive changes, just something small is a perfect starting point you can build upon. For example, instead of stopping at the bar after work, try stopping by your local gym, explain your situation and see what’s on offer. Many gyms have special offers and programs that are sometimes funded by the NHS.

    You can also try changing your routine. Instead of stopping at the dealers house or meeting point on the way home, go to a fellowship meeting. There are other types of meeting that you can attend if a fellowship style meeting doesn’t work for you.

    Find something supportive in your recovery to do. It’s important to interrupt the negative processes and replace them with other positive ones. Start small and try just changing one thing at a time and don’t take on too much.

    Making sweeping changes creates stress and when stress happens, people look for what they know, in this case, drugs and alcohol. This is not to say that even small changes won’t be stressful, but it is a matter of level and how influential the changes you decide to make have on your daily life and routine. Big changes tend to create bigger amounts of stress, and choosing to recover is one of the biggest changes someone can make. That is why it is important to break it down into manageable pieces that can be tackled on a daily basis, with small changes ultimately shaping the way toward your desired goals and outcomes. If you’re new to this, try to make your changes, SMART proof.


    Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder involving recurrent, unwanted thoughts and/or actions.

    Obsessive compulsive thoughts and actions take up time and energy. A person suffering from OCD may not be able to maintain a healthy, daily routine while trying to manage these distractions. Just as addictions do for addicts.

    Signs & Symptoms Of OCD

    If you have OCD or OCD tendencies, you’ll usually experience frequent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.

    • An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease.
    • A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to do to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought.

    For example, someone with an obsessive fear of being burgled may feel they need to check all the windows and doors are locked several times before they can leave their house.

    Women can sometimes have OCD during pregnancy or after their baby is born. Obsessions may include worrying about harming the baby or not sterilising feeding bottles properly. Compulsions could be things such as repeatedly checking the baby is breathing.

    OCD can cause anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts when left untreated.

    Like many anxiety disorders and depression, alcohol and drug addiction often co-occur with OCD. This pairing can cause serious mental and physical damage. In these dual diagnosis situations of substance addiction and OCD or other mental health conditions, it’s crucial to get the right treatment for both disorders simultaneously as one can worsen the other if only one aspect is treated and the other untreated.


    Co-Occurring OCD & Addiction

    The mental and emotional pain OCD inflicts can lead sufferers to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

    Substance use disorders (drug and alcohol addictions) affect more than one-quarter of those who seek treatment for OCD.

    Many movies and television shows portray those with OCD as nervous and hyper-organised but overall healthy people. OCD is actually a serious mental illness disrupting people’s home, work and family lives.

    Coping with OCD obsessions can be exhausting. Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol only provide a short relief, yet still leave the worries and problems that led you to use or drink, still waiting for you when you “sober up”, and are most often worse than they would have otherwise been had you dealt with it in the first place. This leads to repeated substance use whenever unwanted thoughts or urges arise. Then, with enough time and repeated use, a drug or alcohol addiction can form. This then provides a rapidly downward spiral of increasing debt, criminality, housing and relationship problems, job loss and many others besides.


    Social Isolation, OCD & Addiction

    The social isolation that OCD can provide, combined with the insular world that addiction creates can also lead to further, worsening drug and alcohol misuse and dependency. Those suffering from OCD understand that their obsessions and compulsions don’t make logical sense. OCD sufferers — and addicts — often feel shame, guilt and embarrassment for thinking and acting the way they do. Why do I think and feel the way I do when logically I know I shouldn’t, and if I were giving someone else the same advice or help, you wouldn’t punish, mock or belittle them as you do to yourself.

    Like drug addiction, an obsessive-compulsive disorder can leave people feeling isolated from the outside world. Someone suffering from OCD might avoid important people and social settings to keep their obsessions and compulsions private. This shame, loneliness and physical isolation easily leads to substance use in an attempt to escape the way that this isolation and loneliness makes us feel.


    Symptoms & Effects Of OCD

    OCD often emerges in someone’s late teens and early twenties, but it can also start in the early teens or at any other time of life. Since many teens begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol during this same window, the potential for co-occurring OCD and substance misuse grows.

    According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, teens with OCD may be especially vulnerable to misusing drugs and alcohol.

    Obsessive compulsive disorder is marked by having “obsessions” and/or “compulsions.” Those self-medicating OCD with drugs or alcohol might be trying to manage these symptoms.

    Remember: Obsessive compulsive disorder is marked by having “obsessions” and/or “compulsions.” Those self-medicating OCD with drugs or alcohol might be trying to manage a mixture of these symptoms, thoughts and feelings.


    OCD Obsessions

    Obsessions are frequent and forceful images, urges or thoughts that cause the sufferer great distress or anxiety. The individual tries to ignore these obsessions or get rid of them with another thought or action. This is called performing a compulsion.

    Distress from OCD obsessions can cause sufferers to withdraw from friends and family. OCD obsessions can also make forming new relationships difficult. Both situations can lead to depression and then begin to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol or worsen any current substance dependency issues that they may already have.

    Common OCD obsessions can include:

    • Fear of germs, viruses, bacteria or “getting sick”
    • Obsessions over “good” or “bad” numbers
    • Intrusive thoughts of harm toward others or self-harm
    • Obsessions with religious topics or “blasphemous” thoughts
    • Intrusive images or thoughts of sexual acts with others, or with those that sexual acts would be inappropriate with
    • Fear of losing a loved one to injury or illness
    • Obsessions with having certain equipment or items to use or drink with or fears over not having these items
    • Extreme, overwhelming fear of withdrawal (all addicts fear withdrawal to some extent, but when it dominates your thoughts, you need to seek professional help)
    • Catching or passing on blood borne viruses or sexually transmitted infections
    • And many others

    OCD Compulsions

    Compulsions are repeated behaviours or mental rituals those with OCD believe will deflect these unwanted thoughts or urges. These rituals have no real connection to the OCD obsessions they’re meant to get rid of. Those with OCD feel “compelled” to perform these rituals regardless of the logic in doing so.

    Common OCD compulsions include but aren’t limited to:

    • Excessive washing and cleaning
    • Excessively “double-checking” things like light switches, appliances and locks
    • Counting, repeating words or tapping to soothe anxiety
    • Breathing in a certain rhythms or number of patterns
    • Excessive praying out of religious fear
    • Repeatedly “checking in” on loved ones’ safety or to ensure that they’re still alive
    • Hoarding useless items or trash
    • Collating various injecting equipment like needles, syringes or others to ensure that they have a set amount of each still available
    • Cleaning pipes or bongs out in a certain way or a certain number of times
    • Ensuring that drinking glasses are clean and undamaged or that the individual has the right amount of associated items like ice, fruit or mixers
    • And many others

    According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), both obsessions and compulsions are time-consuming, taking up more than an hour a day. They also significantly disrupt sufferers’ daily routines, commitments, appointments or prearranged events.

    For example, someone with OCD might spend thirty minutes washing their hands after having an intrusive thought. He or she will complete this ritual despite being an hour late to work. The stress of OCD obsessions and compulsions on daily life can allow co-occurring drug addiction to take root.


    Treating OCD & Addiction

    The key to effectively beating co-occurring conditions such as addiction and OCD is treating the disorders at the same time.

    Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is often an effective treatment for substance addiction and OCD. This form of mental health counselling teaches addicted people with OCD to cope with unwanted thoughts and feelings that can lead to drug and alcohol use. Particular medications can also help to treat OCD symptoms. Speak to your GP or Doctor about this if you feel that this may benefit you.

    Our highly trained and experienced therapists specialising in addictions, chronic pain and mental health crises are highly skilled at helping addicts overcome those tight shackles that bind you to your addiction, provide you with the tools and techniques you need to shape your own key to freedom from addiction and into a happy, prosperous and productive life. For more information, check out how you can change your life, starting from today by clicking here!

    Common medicines for treating OCD symptoms can include but not limited to:

    • Fluvoxamine (Luvox CR)
    • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
    • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
    • Sertraline (Zoloft)
    • Clomipramine (Anafranil).

    It’s important to remember that addiction is a chronic illness. OCD’s symptoms can be treated with medication, but overcoming addiction requires constant, lifelong maintenance to avoid a lapse or full relapse. It’s important to also remember that medications aren’t right for everyone and every situation. We highly recommend that you first try holistic, alternative or mindfulness based approaches before seeking help from medications that come with side effects and other unintended pitfalls, one of which can be developing yet another addiction to the medications you could be prescribed.

    https://youtu.be/BpGloNuy8qI


    Finding A Healthy Balance Again

    Obsessive-compulsive disorders and addictions can leave you feeling helpless, alone, isolated and like a lost cause, unworthy of help or redemption. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Medical professionals are there to help you overcome OCD and addiction with a mixture of treatment methods, recovery programs and coping strategies. Contact us to find out more if you’re fed up living the same day, over and over again, never changing and growing, then we are the ones to help you!


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Published by Drink ’n’ Drugs

Providing useful, relevant, up to date information and support for those suffering from active addiction or those who are in recovery.

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