Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

Re: Impulse control, how do you get a handle on it

Re: Impulse control, how do you get a handle on it2011-01-17T07:09:47+00:00

The Forums Forums Tools, Techniques & Treatments Impulse control, how do you get a handle on it Re: Impulse control, how do you get a handle on it


Post count: 14

jeneticallymodified – From the dozens of books I’ve read on the subject, the addiction is only permanent in that the learned pathway the addict created in his brain will [almost] always be there. But the brain is very “plastic”, and when one pathway quits being used, the neuronal connections shrink and the neurons create other pathways. The brain is very “use it or lose it” when it comes to its real estate. Just how when a sighted person becomes blind, their other senses pick up the slack, so to speak. Experiments have been done with blind-folded volunteers where the amount of space in their brain devoted to “seeing” actually shrinks during the hours and days the person is without sight. Other functional parts of the brain move in and occupy the space. I highly recommend the book, “The Brain That Changes Itself” as a Neuroplasticity 101 primer. It’s highly readable, written for a non-scientific audience.

So when I said I had assumed a porn addiction was like alcohol or meth addictions – ugly and painful, but not permanent – I meant the behavior. “Acting out” is not required for survival. Learning new ways to deal with difficult emotions and stress – reparenting oneself – is the starting point for editing a particular behavior out of your life. Learning new behaviors and overwhelming the brain with thousands (millions?) of new neural connections will go even further in shutting down the comfortable “reliable” old pathways. But, yes, just like how you never forget how to ride a bike, the neural pathway for “quick hit of outrageously wonderful feelings from a destructive behavior” will never go away 100%. It can be reactivated, if the person chooses. But the more reparenting and new behavioral learning one does, the harder it is to reactivate.

It’s one reason I disagree hugely with the 12 Step beliefs. It’s not a disease, and no one is helpless against it (whatever “It” is). It’s a learned coping skill. One than can be “unlearned” and replaced with beneficial behaviors and emotional maturity. It ain’t easy, but it’s more than doable. I also think that going back to 12 Step meetings day after day wherein “It” is discussed and rehashed, and is the sole reason there’s a roomful of people, is a great way to keep reminding the brain about this quick fix with the awesome high. Aside from the downright “bad science” that is spread by the 12 Step movement, this constant talk of one’s “It” serves only to keep the person rooted in place, focusing on “It” for the rest of their lives. (But, that should be reserved for other topics or other boards. Just wanted to point out where the belief that no one is ever “recovered” but is only ever “in recovery” comes from.)