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      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2011 edited
     (10070.41)
    I just think the "it's stronger than me" mentality is not helpful. You got into this, you can get out. Is this more helpful or less helpful? (That might sound like a provocation, but I mean it as a genuine question)

    Do you mean is it more helpful to understand where you're coming from in the context of this conversation, or is it a more helpful attitude to take with people who are addicts?

    The thing is addicts continually tell themselves they're the stronger ones, that drugs haven't taken over their lives and that they don't need help because they figure they've found equilibrium between getting work done and having drugs as a part of their lives. That's somewhere past the stage of very occasional use at a party or show but before the "fuck all those people who ditched me, if they can't loan me a $20 I'm sure I can find something in the house to sell..."

    People who are addicted to drugs can NOT pull themselves out of it. They have to reach out for help. That is a step that requires strength and from what I've seen it's so much strength that the person who does it just has nothing left for anything else. Actually getting clean requires a lot of help from a lot of other people, often strangers. It requires humiliating yourself and not running away from the humiliation; it requires a lot of tedium, a lot of quiet, and tolerates absolutely no old habits - no friends from the old days, no visiting old haunts just once, nothing. Doing nothing shouldn't be so hard but it is. It's so hard you have to completely give yourself over to someone else's assistance.


    I base my insistence that depression and drug addiction are similar based on my understanding of neuro chemistry. Many illegal drugs affect dopamine levels, the chemical that is associated with feelings of reward and pleasure, either increasing dopamine, making it linger or creating a synthetic effect. Chemical addiction physically changes the structure of the brain to a point where events that once made a person happy don't anymore (including the usual doses of drugs, prompting increased use for the same effect). With lower than usual dopamine levels - which may now be crippled for life - a person is subject to a psychological state called anhedonia. Very little feels at all pleasurable. Food that used to be delicious loses its taste, playing around loses its luster, creativity loses its drive...etc. And only annoyances really spark life in a person. I know that feeling all too well. If I never lose another month only feeling alive when I was angry and otherwise expending energy on trying to smile and care about ordinary things, it'll be too soon.

    Hence I don't think it's fair to give no weight to the fact that addiction is a disease. We'll likely never know if Winehouse's addiction was chemical or psychological, but that's almost besides the point. Addiction is a manifested change in the brain. Once it takes hold a person is not the same anymore.
  1.  (10070.42)
    This thread has been interesting as it's the only place I've been able to witness fans, both whole-hearted and fleeting, describe what Amy, her music & her all-consuming addiction have meant to them without the horrible influence of the media we have here in the UK leering over each poster's shoulder.

    To clarify for all you wonderful Canadian, American and European folk who may be blissfully unaware: Here in the UK, the media has done pretty much nothing but point and laugh at Amy since she first rose to prominence and it became more than a bit obvious that she was another heroin casualty, like Pete Doherty (ex-Libertines) before her. Yes, her albums got widespread acclaim, but more often than not if you saw a picture of her in a paper or magazine it was attached to negative press about her personal life and/or how she'd let her fans down by turning up at a gig wasted.

    Then she died.

    This is where the UK media did the same wonderful switcheroo they did with Princess Diana. In the case of Princess Di: The Sun, et al tabloids, had been calling her a slut and a traitor for months prior to her death because she had finally found someone she was happy with that they didn't like. Then she died and all the headlines focused on what a wonderful, kind, loving humanitarian she was - The Peoples' Princess! And the media companies went on to make a mint in memorabilia from the mass hysteria they managed to provoke from the gullible public who'd been happily bitching about her in cafes and pubs up and down the country prior to her demise.

    In Amy's case, the media have decided to focus on the age she died at (27) and distract as much as possible from how they had been saying she should just give up after her recent (lack of) performances. Whilst it hasn't been on quite the same level (ex-royalty trumps famous singer/addict every time,) it's still been thoroughly vile to witness on both page and screen.

    Personally, as is the case with most people I know, I have been more concerned with the tragic events in Norway. Amy's music and her personal issues have never really interested me, but the way the media over here have dealt with her death has disgusted me on a level even I find suprising. Maybe the media is suffering some form of social guilt complex for having been so horrid to her whilst she was alive, I don't know. But the way it's been covered just seems insulting to those people that did love her. If it is a form of social guilt we're now seeing playing out in the media, as with Princess Di, it's too late to act nice now. Both women died believing the media in their own country hated them. Nothing can change that.

    Also, by way of a quick footnote on another minor annoyance - All the names being brought up regarding the mysterious "27 club"? All heroin addicts - mystery solved.
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      CommentAuthordispophoto
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2011
     (10070.43)
    found this on Siege's tumblr:

    "“Is it any wonder then that drugs seem like the answer? Physiologically, alcohol and opioids like heroin replicate the chemistry of relational connection, with opioids acting directly on the brain’s bonding systems and alcohol having a more indirect effect. The relief and comfort that children get in their parents’ arms is mediated by the body’s natural opioids; this same attachment system later creates the bonds between lovers and friends.

    Cocaine and stimulants like methamphetamine, in contrast, produce a sense of power, motivation and worthiness. Put them together, as Winehouse seems to have done and as I did during my own period of addiction, and you get moments of intense euphoria and satisfaction interspersed with simple stress relief and the ability to comfortably tolerate being in your own skin.

    That is, of course, when you can get the drugs, get enough of them and they work, before chasing tolerance, legal hassles or other circumstances interfere. Contrary to popular belief, however, it’s not the euphoria that hooks you. Instead, it’s the ability simply to feel OK, the silencing of that voice of self-hate and the small sense of adequacy that comes in those quiet moments.” -Maia Szalavitz (via)"
  2.  (10070.44)
    @Rae:

    Sort of like how you were still willing to take a puff of that cigarette, knowing that your family all smokes. Your ability to go to bed that night and not be a raging smoker (while patting yourself on the back for acknowledging that your throat felt scratchy and was therefore the cons outweighted the pros) does NOT mean that you have uncovered and thus now understand the genetic predisposition of addiction, and what it's like to be tempted to stick a toe in the water of substance abuse. Knowing that it causes cancer and that your family all smokes, well, you tried it anyway, didn't you?


    And that was my choice, is my actual point (although, as previously admitted, a point made through a perhaps overly personal story). Had I become a chainsmoker, it would still have been my choice. And trying a cigarette is not the same as trying heroin, although I'm not condemning either. I'm calling it, in most cases, a choice -- which is not made with the same degree of ease and wisdom by everyone, but still a choice. It can be made out of despair, it can be made more tempting by predisposition, it can be made out of recklessness. If it goes wrong, you deserve help regardless.

    Like as in depression, the brain stops being able to feel enjoyment - that is, UNLESS the substance at hand is administered.


    And here is where the difference is: there might be no "unless" in depression. You might feel bad no matter what. Your sadness is just there, not revolving around the need to get another fix. You have no needs. You might as well die. And it fucks with you, coming and leaving apparently at random. And depression does not require the initial step drug addiction usually does in order to happen. Can one lead to the other? Most certainly. Are they the same? I don't think so.

    Also, when it comes to depression, I assume you meant "the substance at hand" to be anti-depressants, which does not do to a patient what cocaine does to a drug addict.

    @Razrangel:

    Do you mean is it more helpful to understand where you're coming from in the context of this conversation, or is it a more helpful attitude to take with people who are addicts?


    Heh, I originally meant the latter.

    I base my insistence that depression and drug addiction are similar based on my understanding of neuro chemistry. Many illegal drugs affect dopamine levels, the chemical that is associated with feelings of reward and pleasure, either increasing dopamine, making it linger or creating a synthetic effect. Chemical addiction physically changes the structure of the brain to a point where events that once made a person happy don't anymore (including the usual doses of drugs, prompting increased use for the same effect). With lower than usual dopamine levels - which may now be crippled for life - a person is subject to a psychological state called anhedonia. Very little feels at all pleasurable. Food that used to be delicious loses its taste, playing around loses its luster, creativity loses its drive...etc. And only annoyances really spark life in a person. I know that feeling all too well. If I never lose another month only feeling alive when I was angry and otherwise expending energy on trying to smile and care about ordinary things, it'll be too soon.


    Me too, but you seem to be describing a state of mind that behaves differently when it comes to depression and when it comes to drug addiction. You say chemical addiction might cause permanent anhedonia caused by exterior influence (the drugs) and a buildup of tolerance to its effect, whereas with depression anhedonia might come and go randomly, or stay for long periods of time, without drug use. Bear in mind I'm also talking about the differences in the initial stages of both problems, but in general, when talking about a depressed person and a drug addicted person, calling them the same -- hell, even similar -- seems innacurate to me.

    Hence I don't think it's fair to give no weight to the fact that addiction is a disease.


    That is not being denied. I just don't think it's the same disease.
  3.  (10070.45)
    on drugs/depression, personal crud

    If Winehouse suffered from depression, I can suspect even if she admitted having it the trouble she would have with getting treatment -- just from being an artist. If the drugs seemed to make things better why stop? And if she really had depression, who hasn't heard the stories about how meds make you unable to create things, take away your ability to produce art or even be yourself at all? That idea is fucking terrifying; and a lot of people tend to assume that most anti-depressants automatically zombify you. As an artist, I got that a LOT when I first started considering getting help, and tried talking about it to others. It made it very scary talking to doctors and psychs-- the fear that what might make life more bearable might destroy the very things that made me 'me'. With people telling you that shit, it's understandable how creative types might be reticent to go on medications for depression.

    People are complex and how they relate and react to things can get amazingly muddled.

    In anycase, I'm sad for her passing, but not overly sad. I wasn't a great fan of hers, she had very little impact on my life. In the end, she made her own choices, and lived and apparently died by them.

    Has an official cause of death been declared?
  4.  (10070.46)
    Andre--when it comes to addiction, or more accurately, getting on the wagon/ceasing actively doing whatever you're addicted to, the luck (that Oldhat alluded to) isn't in stopping. It comes in stopping in time to save your body the damage that'll kill you.

    My dad stopped smoking and drinking cold turkey. Not at the same time, but he did. He stopped drinking because we made it a condition of getting to know/spend time with his first grandchild. He stopped smoking because he was tired of it, and then started back up once he got diagnosed with terminal cancer.
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      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2011
     (10070.47)
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      CommentAuthorAlastair
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2011
     (10070.48)
    if you ever want to understand what addiction ISN'T you should watch the south park episode where stans dad becomes an alcoholic, one of the most insulting takes on addiction possible and made me stop watching the series

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