What is an addiction and what causes it? Is there a link between addiction and ADHD? I dive into the topic with Consultant Psychiatrist Dr. Alberto Pertusa as he shares valuable insights from his work.
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Topics Discussed in this Episode:
How Dr. Pertusa became a consultant psychiatrist
The link between ADHD and addiction
Physical dependence and psychological reliance
The stages of dependency
Alcohol addiction versus alcohol dependency
The kindling effect
The types of addiction
The factors that trigger, perpetuate or predispose someone to addiction
The link between obsessive-compulsive disorder and addiction
What causes dopamine spikes
What happens when you drink alcohol
The relationship between anxiety and addiction
Strategies that you can employ to fight problematic alcohol use
Addictions are very much related to a dysregulation in the reward system of the brain, and one of the main substances is the dopamine, which is the main reward neurotransmitter, and ADHD is also linked to a dysregulation in the neurotransmitter system in the brain as well as the dopamine system.
Once a substance becomes a person’s coping mechanism, they are at much higher risk of addiction.
You can be addicted but not dependent. The majority of addictions don’t have an element of physiological or medical dependence at all.
You know that you are dependent when you realize that about 12 to 20 hours without the substance, generally alcohol, you start feeling shaky, clammy, and anxious.
Any mental condition or any type of mental suffering can lead to addiction, particularly PTSD or a history of trauma.
Social phobia is an anxiety condition that is extremely linked to alcohol use.
Get psychoeducation. If you know about the physical and mental consequences of a substance, then you are much more insightful as to realising what the consequences are.
If you think you have a problem with addiction, seek help. Talk to someone who can help you take accountability for your problem behaviour.
Dr. Alberto Pertusa said:
“Everyone is hard-wired in a different way, so if something gives you a kick, and in medical terms sometimes we use the term a dopamine spike… you are very likely to become addicted to that.”
“Addiction is a spectrum, so you can have many addicted behaviours. And we don’t want to pathologise normal behaviour, but we all have a lot of behaviours that we realise we do excessively, and changing that would probably be a good idea.”
Thanks for listening!
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Links to things we discuss in the show:
More from Dr. Alberto Pertusa:
More from Leanne Spencer: