ADHD & Addictions
I’m trying to figure out why so many of us have addiction issues.
Okay, I’m not a scientist, not a doctor of medicine or a researcher. That’s all true.
But I am trying to figure out what goes on inside my head that makes it so easy for me to become addicted to things.
And I may have figured it out. Well, partly.
I like it!
That’s pretty much it in a nut shell. But there is a deeper description that should be explored.
We have two issues with executive function that are at play here.
Ha, right. Probably more than the two, but two that I can definitely relate to this addiction thing.
The first one is that old instant gratification. And yes, I can hear people saying, “Just don’t give in to that.”
Just don’t be ADHD
You might as well say, “Just don’t be bipedal.” (My apologies to amputees.) We are what we are, so I guess if you are the kind of person who cannot see that we can’t get that instant gratification awareness out of our heads, then that’s all you can be.
And yes. We aren’t aware that we need instant gratification necessarily, but we are aware of the gratification that things will bring and that’s what will not stop grabbing out attention, leaving no part of our mind free to reason out the pros and cons of do or don’t.
So executive function short circuited?
Exactly so. How can you use the balance of your admittedly limited E.F. if your brain is simply bouncing from, “Should I?” to, “It would be sooo good!” and back again. Attention control has been lost, attention is all on the gratification.
The other broken part of our executive function that I see as being partially responsible for our addictive ways is our dysfunctional inhibitory control. I mean, okay, it functions, we’re not running down the street naked, chasing the ice cream truck on a daily basis. (Though that could partially be because of the reduced number of ice cream trucks out and about any more. Also, I’m not sure why naked would be part of that, but if you know me at all you know that I hope for the best, but plan for the worst.)
So, inhibition is not dysfunctional?
It’s not completely broken, but it isn’t strong enough to combat that gratification need we have.
So the thing is, that from the inside of my head, addiction is easy because I can’t focus on the issues, or even imagine what those might be, when their is a reward available. And secondly, I have a wonky inhibitory control, so I’m usually willing to overlook the fact that I’m not weighing the pros and cons in favor of trying to look like I’m weighing the pros and cons for long enough that it looked like I did. Can I just have the drink now, please, thank you, sheesh!
No, I’m not drinking again
My latest addiction, don’t laugh, seems to be Amazon. It’s okay, I can quit any time.
I know I have a problem when I catch myself saying things like, “I allow myself this little vice, it’s better than what I could be doing.” Well, of course it’s better, I could be a serial killer. But it’s also true that my addictions lately are pretty mild.
The more you know …
Yes, the more I understand what is happening in my head and in my life, the better my life is.
And I’ll get over this latest addiction also, as soon as something better comes along.
Was that the door bell? Gotta go …
Babcock, K. (2017). ADHD & Addictions. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2017/05/adhd-addictions/