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Thread: Is Addiction and OCD fundamentally the same mental disorder, or are they completely different???

  1. #1 Is Addiction and OCD fundamentally the same mental disorder, or are they completely different??? 
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    So i've been thinking a lot about this since i've recently entered a state that i and others call "Moment of Clarity", and i feel that it's about time to permanently end my addiction(mainly cannabis, but i sure get carried away by alcohol too when i do it, but in average i probably drink 3-4 days a week, whereas cannabis is daily). I've been treated for addiction a few times during my life, and during these treatments i learned a lot about thought, emotions, needs, actions, behavior and behavioral patterns, you know stuff like that. When i relapse and enter my addiction actively i usually tend to forget all about these things that i learned, until the consequences of my addiction becomes so great, that it can no longer be ignored. Then all these things that i learned in treatment will start reappearing in my mind. This is what i call my "Moments of Clarity", and i've experienced this several times, so i know that this is a recurring behavioral pattern that i tend to get. When i relapse it probably starts out being driven by passion (I like the feeling of being high, but i don't like the feeling of abusing and getting stuck in abuse), and it's never every single day from first day, but it tends to sneak up on me from behind and then it becomes driven by obsession instead of passion.

    Anyhow here goes.

    OCD is short for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

    Obsession:
    Obsessions comes from having thoughts that are intrusive in nature, meaning that you did not choose yourself that you wanted to have this particular thought, it just popped up in your mind. Intrusive thoughts can become obsessive thoughts, meaning that you cannot stop thinking about it. An obsession is when you experience intrusive thoughts, and you can't stop thinking these thoughts. All people Experience both intrusive and obsessive thoughts, from time to time.

    Compulsion:
    Compulsions are not thoughts, they are actions that are compulsive in nature, meaning that you don't do it because you want to do it, but you do it because you feel that you have to or need to do it, it's feelings of urges inside created by the obsessive thoughts that compels you to do it. All people carry out compulsive actions, from time to time.

    OCD - obsessive compulsion disorder. Usually people associate this disorder with a person, that has weird obsessions and somehow feels the need to act on those obsessions. It could be a person obsessed with having to knock on a door 5 times and twist the handle 7 times, before he/she can go through with opening the door. The disorder is characterized by obsessions and compulsions. If an OCD-victim does not act on his/her obsession he will start having all kinds of nasty thoughts and feelings. It could be thoughts that someone might die or that something horrible is going to happen, and he will probable have feelings of agitation and feelings of restlessness. He will not feel at peace before he carries out the compulsion or the compulsions. When he/she carries them out he/she will feel a relief and be at reasonable peace again, until the obsessive-compulsive cycle starts all over again. People with OCD will also add more obsessive-compulsive patterns to their OCD.

    Now when i wake up in the morning, the first thing i think about is my drug, and i will feel a craving towards doing my drug. Not because i want to, because i most certainly do not. I study Robotic Technology and that's what i want to think about, because i have to go to school and study this, when i wake up in the morning. When i'm at school my thoughts about my drug will keep reappearing in my mind constantly, and this basically puts me out of focus, every single day. When i get off school and start walking home, all i can think about is to visit my dealer on my way home, and then going home to do my drug. These thoughts are both intrusive and obsessive in nature, and they or always accompanied by a feeling that i need to do it, in other words i crave it and i feel that i need to act on my obsession. If i do not do my drug i will feel agitated, restless and Someone may "Well it's because you want to do your drug", but the weird thing is that every single day i will tell myself that i'm going to quit it tomorrow, i just need it today, but i'll quit definitively tomorrow. So when i actually do my drug, it is not because i want to do it, because what i really want is to quit using the drug. So when i finally do the drug, that is actually an action that is compulsive in its nature. Doing the drug is followed by the very rewarding feeling of being at peace and feeling calm, I rarely don't even really feel high from it anymore cause my tolerance is sky-high. Also let me make it clear that i do not get physically ill and sick when i haven't used my drug, it is purely psychological and i'm not trying to remove any physical withdrawal-symptoms because i don't get such symptoms when i haven't used.

    So the way i see it one of the main behavioral patterns in my addictive behavior is, that i obsess about my drug and then i compulse, and then i obsess some more, and i compulse some more and i obsess even more and i compulse more and more and more! It's a never-ending circle that just keeps on trucking. Is this not exactly the same behavioral pattern as that pattern which is seen in people with OCD?? I will admit that there are other behavioral patterns also attached to my addiction, but many of these can also be characterized by obsessive-compulsion. If a friend, lets say fellow drug-user asks if i have any drug, i may engage in lying simply to protect my stash. Now i'm an honest person, i like being honest that's what i want to do. But my obsession with my drug will tell me that i need to lie so my stash doesn't disappear, and so the act of lying is actually compulsive in nature. Also if i feel the need to borrow money, so i can support my addiction, and the person asks what i need money for, i may engage in lying. Now in reality i don't even want to borrow money, because it puts me in depth and that's not something that i want, so in fact the pattern of asking money and even lying about it, is obessive-compulsive in nature.

    Anyways, these are just my thoughts, share your own thoughts and opinions on the matter if you feel like it. Maybe you're an OCD-victim, maybe you're an addict or maybe you just have an opinion or something to say on the matter.

    BTW, I actually haven't done my drug today, even though i have some right in front of me and i'm quite proud of that, however i can't really get myself to flush it or throw it away. Maybe tomorrow

    Morob


    Last edited by Morob; November 22nd, 2011 at 03:07 PM.
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  3. #2  
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    I work beside a 50 year old who has been smoking cannabis since the late 70s, when he was a teenager. He calls himself a 'committed' user, which I think is a euphemism for hopelessly addicted. I think he has about 10 joints a day - one when he gets out of bed, another after breakfast, then he's off to work. Has at least another two at work and several more in the evening.

    I remeber back in the 70s, the main argument put forward by 'pot heads' for the legalization of cannabis was that it was non-addictive. You may not go into cold turkey when you stop, but it's certainly addictive. It also hooks you on tobacco.

    Back then, the supply was irregular, and often dried up. The sole topic of conversation when one user met another during these periods was the lack of dope and did anyone know anyone who had any. They became quite obsessed. How do you feel about becoming like my 50 year old workmate? He's talking about converting a spare bedroom into a growing area for cannabis plants so he doesn't have to spend so much of his wages feeding his habit. Give it up, now.


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  4. #3  
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    Thanks for your story. I'd feel absolutely horrible ending up like your workmate. I am 29 years old today, and this habit has had a firm grip on me since i was 15-16 years old. I know that a lot of the therapy that i have received can be helpful to me, if i accept it and embrace it. One thing i need to constantly be aware of is my emotions. I need to be able to put words on them and tell them apart, so that i always know what i'm doing. I need to establish a firm contact between my thoughts and my emotions, so that i can always know the decisions to make, that's gonna really feel right inside. I need this so that i can start making all the right decisions for myself, and get on the right path to self-realization. But it's a difficult task, EXTREMELY difficult. 2 feelings that confuse me a lot as an addicted person is the feeling of wanting something and the feeling of craving something, or having an urge to do something. Because these emotions feel the same way to me, it feels like i'm looking forward to it, both when i want something and when i crave something and get urges. I have to understand inside my head, what it is that i really want (NOT what i crave or what i obsess about, but what i want!!) so that i can always work towards becoming a better person and feeling at peace with everything that i do. It is an extremely difficult task, but it is for anyone. Feeling good about the decisions that i make and feeling good about my behavior is my personal goal, and it's probably going to be a life-long struggle.

    All people should be taught about psychology, even from kindergarden. I believe it would make the world a better place. Psychology is a tool for analysis and it can be used to analyze ones inner self and improving. I believe that if every single person on earth realized this, the world would inevitably become a better place for everyone.
    Last edited by Morob; November 22nd, 2011 at 12:48 PM.
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  5. #4  
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    Drug dependency and OCD might seem to overlap, but in true OCD, there's no physiological or psychological dependence to substances. In drug dependency, the brain reacts to the substance, and when the drug wears off, the brain continues to (over)react, which drives the addict to re-administer the drug. For example, addiction to nicotine (which is the most addictive substance) is not OCD, but simply a great urge to smoke again to calm the agitated brain.
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  6. #5  
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    Jrmonroe is correct. Addiction is a primarily physiological process. OCD is a psychological one. They both influence behavior in a repetative way but are not directly connected to each other.

    OCD is generally thought to be a defense mechanism in which the person comforts themselves by repeating and focusing on certain acts. For example: survivors of repeated sexual abuse in childhood often have elaborate bedtime rituals that must be completed just so, or else they are unable to sleep. This is explained as structuring the time around bedtime, which is the time when they as children were vulnerable to abuse, so that the adult does not have the lesisur to remember very disturbing memories.

    In general OCD rituals reduce anxiety and allow the affected individual to function when they would othrwise not be able to
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    I wouldn't agree that OCD is purely 'psychological'. All psychiatric disorders have a biochemical basis and this disordered endogenous biochemistry could be as addictive as an addiction to exogenous chemicals.

    For example, the drugs amphetamine, cocaine, ketamine and PCP can cause the positive symptoms of schizophrenia in people without genetic predisposition to schizophrenia when taken regularly in large doses. Schizophrenic symptoms cease when the drug is discontinued, except in individuals with a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia. They will remain scizophrenic, even if they stop taking the drug.

    All the above mentioned drugs act as antagonists at the glutamate NMDA receptor. This causes increased firing of the dopamine D2 receptor. In schizophrenia, an endogenous antagonist of the NMDA receptor, kynurenic acid, is aberrantly created from the amino acid, tryptophan. This also causes increased D2 receptor firing, causing the positive symptoms of the disease.

    Schizophrenics often ruminate and masturbate compulsively. They also tend to be very heavy smokers and are inclined to take 'recreational' drugs. It's possible their disease process is also an endogenous addiction which is maintained by these activities. I'd expect something similar is going on in OCD.
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  8. #7  
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    I agree after reasoning some more, that these two disorders are not completely the same, but they do share this basic behavioral pattern, with obsessive thinking and compulsive action. Off-course there is also the whole physiological aspect of it, my brain does indeed react to the substance. This is off-course part of my drive to re-administer the drug, as noted by jrmonroe and Sealeaf. But lets agree that the physiological aspect did not appear from first day i started abusing, so it started out as a psychological drive and then the physiological aspects steadily grew stronger and stronger, as my brain got more used to getting this drug every day. I had the psychological drive way before my Substance Related Disorder truly got a hold on me, as a matter of fact i remember stealing cigarettes from my mom, when i was only 10 years old. I also remember having a lot of behavioral problems since i was 5 years old and in kindergarden, i did not listen to adults, i would climb up in trees and refuse to come down even when the grown-ups were shouting and telling me off, i simply did not want to listen to them. I was also very aggressive and violent towards the other kids in school. At the point when i started abusing substances (first cigarettes) these aggressive and violent behavioral patterns got reduced significantly. I know that i had urges to do things that i was not allowed to do, breaking the law so to say, sort of criminal urges i suppose. These urges was what prompted me to smoke cigarettes and cannabis in the first place. I think that psychology should rename it and call it APD for Addictive Personality Disorder, it sounds a better fitting name than Substance Related Disorder.

    I believe in my case that the disorder has been caused by traumatization in my childhood, which has to do with me experiencing aggressive and even violent behavior from adults. When i was 5 years old i saw my mom getting knocked unconscious by her boyfriend that she had at that time. He was probably a coke/amphetamin addict and a sociopath or psychopath, i've been told by my mom that he even threatened to kill us. I understand today that while we were living with that man, something severe happened to me. My feeling of safety and comfort got ripped away from me, stolen from me and that feeling is a need. These experiences made me weird and my biological father which i had to visit every second weekend (not the sharpest knife in the drawer), did not know how to deal with me or parenting in general in a sensible manner. He would tell me that i was a weird weird kid and he would also abuse me physically. As a matter of fact he was sort of sadistic towards me and he would even tease me about it. He was also sadistic towards the family dogs and continues on that behavioral pattern to this day. I remember when i visited him and we were out walking the dogs, that he would sometimes grab me in a strong and firm grip on my neck and sort of force me to walk on my toes, as he pulled me up by the neck. I remember being filled up with anger and hate towards him when he did that to me, and tears would fill my eyes, but i did not want to let them out and let him see me cry. He would see my anger and hate and he would tell it to his wife or other friends accompanying us, something along the lines of "Look at how he hates me now" and he would sort of smile about it. Sometimes these people accompanying us would tell him "Come on now, stop it already, you're hurting the kid", sometimes he'd listen and let go of my neck and sometimes he would keep it going a little longer. He was a strong man with strong hands (he's a butcher by profession). I think that the people accompanying us was kind of embarrassed by what was happening, but their fear of conflict would compel them to not really take action and stop it. I also remember one time when we were at some swimming-pool, and some other kids had acted provocatively. In the changing room my dad encouraged me to go smack one of the kids with my fist and so i did. The kid was standing next to his locker, i smacked him by fist so hard that his head slammed back into the door of the locker, and i myself was bleeding from my fist afterwards. He was very proud of me after i took that action, something i rarely felt that he was. To this day that sad sad man still pulls forth this story when i see him, and he'll smile and laugh about it. All these experiences made me feel weird and different to the other kids at school and they probably also perceived me to be weird and different. It also made me put on a tough facade that i felt i needed to uphold. Whenever someone at school provoked me i would beat them up and i was in fights almost daily in school/kindergarden since i was 5 and all the way up till i was 12. Some of the adults teachers and caretakers must have thought to themselves that i had psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies. Had it not been for the fact that i was living with my mom, and that she had left that psychopathic/sociopathic boyfriend that we were living with, maybe i would have developed psychopathy/sociopathy myself. I know today that i am definitely not a violent/aggressive person, but i can get violent obsessions and sometimes while being drunk i haven't been able to control that. I may also have a tendency to start arguing and fighting verbally with people close to me, even though i truly hate arguing but sometimes i cannot help myself. I presume that these traumatic events that i experienced in childhood have caused me to suppress some of my own feelings and emotions, which i suppose is a type of EBD (Emotional and Behavioral Disorder) and i've been dealing with that by self-medicating. The cannabis has made me a more balanced and calm person. Smoking it everyday made it easier to keep ignoring a lot of my emotions, my passions and my needs and coping with life in general. However the addiction also caused me to ignore other needs, like food, health, property, morality, friendship, sexual intimacy with others, self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others, lack of prejudice and finally problem solving which i see as a very important need for everybody. We all have a need to become good at solving our personal problems, in order to live life to it's full potential.

    I think that the Psychology that i'm studying almost full-time now together with my ability to reflect on these experiences, is elevating my state of consciousness (particularly self-insight), it's creating a lot of focus inside me on all the right things, that are going to enable me to live a happy life without drugs. The psychology also helps me better understand these people that i feel have done me wrong (They must have been struggling with their own mental disorders), and this enables me to find it in my heart to forgive them. Perhaps this can help me move on from now, and help me become a more emotionally and behaviorally balanced human being. I also realize that i've been denying psychology in the past as a real science. I already learned about some of the basics during past treatments, i just didn't accept it, probably because i did not understand it properly and did not want to understand it properly. This is probably because i did not like to reflect on all these memories, and come to an acceptance that it was like that for me when i was growing up. That would force me to put blame on my family and other people thus pushing away my own responsibility. Today i recognize this un-acceptance of psychology as a science to be cognitive dissonance, i've been denying psychology as a science to reduce the discomforting feeling of dissonance inside me, which stems from holding 2 conflicting ideas in the thoughts. The thought that psychology is bullshit and the thought that psychology isn't bullshit, are 2 ideas in conflict, and that creates the discomforting feeling of dissonance. My motivational drive to reduce dissonance prompted me to become delusional, as the evidence of the truth in psychology by far outweighs evidence that it is bullshit. It was wrong of me to not fully accept psychology and not to embrace it as a tool that can be used for self-analysis. It is a very real science and i believe all humans and society in general can benefit from being aware of psychology and what it's all about. If my dad and some of these other adult people had embraced psychology to help themselves, perhaps these traumatic experiences would have never occurred. I know that most people, not all, but most people, want to be good persons and do good by others. It is my hope that awareness about psychology can get people to stop traumatizing each other and themselves, cause that is what's happening in the world as i see it. People traumatize each other and all people are victims in some way of traumatization. Off-course the severity and thereby the psychological consequences varies from person to person, but i do believe that all people have traumas. Psychology teaches me about myself and gets me to accept all the things in the past, and i hope that it will help me live life to the fullest in the future. Thinking about, and studying psychology makes me feel hopeful and optimistic that i too can conquer my personal problems, and that's a very comfortable feeling during this hard period i'm in right now, where my emotions and all my experiences is fighting around inside my head and my body. I've been crying A LOT this past week, and it hasn't felt good at all remembering and accepting facts about my past and my present, and all this information that i read about psychology fills me up with hope and optimism. Those are nice feelings so i should indulge this behavior, so i get to feel good inside. All this psychology sounds so logical to me today and i love logical and rational thinking, that also makes me feel good inside.... (continues next post)
    Last edited by Morob; November 22nd, 2011 at 04:05 PM.
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  9. #8  
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    Continued...

    I see psychology now as an ocean of wisdom, and because i'd like to become wise one day i shouldn't ignore it. I realize that being wise is not just about knowing a lot of stuff, it has a lot to do with self-control (which i unfortunately lack). Wisdom is all about making wise decisions all the time instead of making unwise decisions. I'd like to be really good at that because that way i would feel at peace with all my actions. I want wisdom to be my path to serenity!

    p.s I apologize if there are many repetitions in my writing, but it's probably good for me to repeat some of these things, so i can stay motivated.
    p.p.s I realize that a lot of personal stuff got written in this last post, however i guess i wish to study my own mental state and behavioral patterns by rationalizing and reasoning through my history and experiences. I ask that it is kept at a relatively scientific plan, should anyone choose to reply. Although you may sympathize with me as you read some of my memories, i did not start this thread in order to gain sympathy but rather to find meaning in it all, and get it to make sense.

    Morob
    Last edited by Morob; November 22nd, 2011 at 05:32 PM.
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  10. #9  
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    Congratulations....you're maturing. The adult state awaits. You know what to do. (as simple as I can say it).
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