Tag Archives: Cognition

The Neurochemistry of Female Sex Addiction

The Neurochemistry of Female Sex Addiction

Female sex addictionSex addiction is a problem that many people are battling with in the US and the world over. However in the past it was thought that men were the main victims of sex addiction but research has since proved that this is a lie as women are more prone to this vice as opposed to women. Another factor that makes women more of victims is the fact that generally society has always associated women who are addicted to sex as sluts while men who are addicted to sex are often thought as studs. The reality of the matter however is, both genders are at a loss when addicted but what makes it easier for men to find help is the fact that they are free and can express their problems when addressed by their therapists and this openness helps them find help. On the other hand, women afraid of all the negative tittles they will be associated are often afraid to open up and let the problem be known and this will manifest in various behavioral changes.

Orgasm and dopamine

Most people who engage in sex for recreational purposes are often in pursuit for the highest sexual climax otherwise known as orgasm. According Wilhelm Reich orgasm naturally helps in discharge of excess bio-energy with the additional liberation of feeling energy, and he also recognized the negative consequences of blocked sexual energies. However it’s quite unfortunate that in addition to exciting peaks, orgasms tend to produce powerful negative side-effects that are only now becoming better understood. This is due to predictable trends in hormonal activity which seem to be similar in all mammals to ensure certain evolutionary objectives, especially the wide mixing of gene pools and the safe raising of offspring. This is achieved with the following neurochemical changes.

As expected there are hormones that come to play; dopamine, the reward hormone; prolactin, the hormone of satiation; oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, and levels of androgen receptors, which all powerfully affect our mood, our desire for intimacy, our perception of our mate, as well as our susceptibility to addictive activities and substances. These hormones can also have different but generally related functions.

The levels of dopamine will abruptly fall and this will induce the usual withdrawal symptoms. The fall of dopamine is rather immediate in men while it takes time in women to occur. As the level of dopamine falls the level of prolactin will heighten and the androgen receptors fall after orgasm. Low testosterone in women is associated with irritability and anger. In sexually-satiated rats it has been shown that serotonin and endorphin levels also rise, and this also decreases dopamine and raises prolactin levels. Oxytocin levels fall after conventional orgasm but remaining in close contact may help to counter this drop and sustain oxytocin levels. It is the fall of dopamine to the lows that is associated with all the withdrawal effects and women, deprived of affection will engage in sex repeatedly to enjoy the magical bliss of dopamine heights during sex especially at orgasm. This is a ‘high’ that is often compared to the feeling those using drugs of pleasure often crave.

Apart from behavioral changes a female addict will suffer from disturbed hormone equilibrium that may last for a week or two, a period in which she will be battling these side effects; being more irritable, dissatisfied, and anxious or depressed. This is exactly the same process and length of time prolactin levels need to recover during withdrawal from cocaine.

Another stimulant that is involved in sex is the phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA is also present in cocoa and chocolate and elevates energy, mood and attention. PEA is produced in greater amounts when one is in love and when this stimulant is in low levels, a person will feel unhappy and deprived.

as mentioned in earlier article, most women get addicted to sex while in pursuit of love and affection, When a woman first fall in love she becomes bonded by rising PEA, oxytocin and dopamine levels .When she is are sexually aroused by close contact her dopamine level rises further and at the time of orgasm she will have a dopamine brainstorm which one researchers have compared to the effects of heroin on the brain. Dopamine is active in all addictions, even in people who have forgotten what sex is. Most of this activity is in the limbic system, the oldest part of the brain.

What causes addiction in women?

Female sex addictionThe honest truth is that what causes sex addiction women is until now poorly understood but researchers have pointed fingers at childhood neglect or abuse, such as physical or emotional abandonment or other forms of trauma. Most of females who are sex addicts are reported to have experienced sex abuse as children. Early child abuse of nearly any kind can impair a child’s ability to bond in healthy ways as an adult, leading to chronic relationship intimacy issues that can eventually morph into sexual addiction.

Research suggests that there’s also a strong neurochemical component to both eating disorders and sexual addiction. One can become addicted to the potent neurochemical rush that occurs during an exciting sexual or romantic encounter. This neurobiological blend includes highly satisfying dopamine as well as adrenaline, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. Women suffering from emotional or psychological issues such as depression or anxiety and from childhood trauma or profound trauma as an adult can unconsciously use this neurochemical response to cope with stress and painful emotions. Compulsively reliving or re-enacting the pleasurable fantasies and experiences sets up an addictive cycle of using sex and sexual fantasies to control intensely painful emotions.

Integrative Addiction Conference 2015

Finally, sex addiction is not a light matter. It’s a problem that is still holding many women captives .This problem needs to be treated effectively through integrative medicine. Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an expert at this. Call her on (843) 213-1480 for help.

The Neurochemistry of Female Sex Addiction

 

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St. John’s Wort Helps in Depression and Insomnia Treatement

St. John’s Wort Powers: The Treatment of Depression and Insomnia during Addiction Withdrawals

St. John’s Wort is a wonder plant that has been used in treatment of many conditions for quite a long time. The most used part of this herb is the flowers and the leaves. This herb has many medically active components but its known most active components are two; hypericin and hyperforin. Although hypericin was formerly thought to be the component of St. John’s wort principally responsible for its action, it is now understood that hyperforin, adhyperforin, and several other related compounds are the primary active constituents. Both hyperforin and adhyperforin appear to modulate the effects of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine and may inhibit reuptake of these neurotransmitters. This herb has been found to be very useful in treatment of conditions that are caused as a result of imbalances in the neurotransmitters.

St. John’s Wort for Depression during addiction withdrawals

Imbalances in the neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine cause depression. This imbalance may be caused by use of drugs of pleasure or by other diseases. Apart from these two causes, a person may also have a family history of depression and so predisposed to depression a case which makes it rather complicated for the brain to produce the neurotransmitters in required amounts. The brain has a great role to play in inhibiting depression; it has to produce the millions of chemicals it produces in the right amounts everyday failure to which you will be depressed. It’s that complicated.

In the long-term, all drugs and alcohol are brain depressants. In moderate amounts, alcohol does not lead to depression, but abusing drugs or alcohol will definitely lead to depression. This is because they deplete your brain of serotonin and dopamine. Researchers warn that it may take quite a long time for depleted dopamine to be restored and so it is important to avoid abusing drugs.

Alcohol abuse almost doubles the risk of depression. In one study that looked at 2,945 alcoholics. Fifteen percent were depressed before they began abusing alcohol, and that number jumped to 26 percent after they started abusing alcohol. Once they stopped drinking for an extended period, 15 percent remained depressed. This study showed that alcohol almost doubles the risk of depression.

St. John’s Wort

Marijuana has also been linked to depression. It is reported that marijuana users are four times more likely to develop depression. In one study which monitored a large group of people for 16 years, it was discovered that people who smoked marijuana were four times more likely to develop depression.  Another study followed later with 1601 students and confirmed the findings. Depression is a serious illness that may make it hard for an addict to stop taking the drugs of pleasure to boost the dopamine levels for a moment. Fortunately this can be helped by use of St. John’s Wort. Taking St. John’s wort extracts improves mood, and decreases anxiety and insomnia related to depression.  This herb seems to be effective in treatment of mild depression than some of prescription drugs.  According to the American College of PhysiciansAmerican Society of Internal Medicine, St. John’s wort can be considered an option along with antidepressant medications for short-term treatment of mild depression.

St. John’s Wort for Insomnia during addiction withdrawals

According to National Sleep Foundation, insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so. People with insomnia can feel dissatisfied with their sleep and usually experience the symptoms of poor sleep that may deter them from enjoying healthy lifestyles. This disease can affect people of all ages but adults are the major victims.

A person suffering from insomnia may show the following symptoms

  • Irritability, depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Tension headaches
  • Distress in the stomach and intestines (gastrointestinal tract)
  • Ongoing worries about sleep
  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Awakening during the night
  • Awakening too early
  • Not feeling well rested after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness

insomnia

Insomnia may be caused by depression and stress but it may also be caused by the imbalances in the neurotransmitters as a result of long term use of drugs of pleasure.  Some other causes of insomnia include;

Anxiety– Anxiety is a common everyday problem. However there are more serious anxiety disorders like PTSD which will never give your brain a rest. Anxiety beckons insomnia and so should be avoided to help you sleep soundly and reap huge health benefits from it.

Medical conditions-there are conditions that cause insomnia. These conditions may include; chronic pain, chest problems and even frequent urination. These conditions may cause difficulty in sleep. Diseases like cancer, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and even Parkinson’s disease have been linked to insomnia.

St. John’s wort has been found to be very effective in treatment of depression that might cause difficulty in sleep and this is owed to its effects on serotonin may be primarily responsible for its antidepressant activity. Apart from being an anti-depressant this herb works on the neurotransmitters in unlimited ways it affects many neurotransmitters that are key to good sleep health.

Drug induced Insomnia may not be easy to treat. However there are also medical approaches to treating drug induced Insomnia but of all these going the natural way is much better since it has less side effects and is more effective.  We at AWAREmed health and wellness center are dedicated to finding the best natural solutions to health problems. You can visit us at Myrtle Beach South Carolina where you will be attended to by Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) who has vast experience in integrative medicine for lifestyle diseases.

St. John’s Wort and treatment of depression and insomnia during addiction withdrawals

 

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The Prefrontal Cortex and It’s Executive Control In Addiction

Role of the prefrontal cortex and executive control in addiction

prefrontal cortexThe prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is the cerebral cortex, which covers the front part frontal lobe. PFC’s most typical psychological term for its functions is executive function. The prefrontal cortex has been associated with a person’s personality by more than one scientist. It is associated with decision making, planning complex cognitive behavior, expressing ones personality as well as controlling and moderating social behaviors. Decision making is a process that is carried out in the brain through the interaction of the prefrontal cortex and the subcortical regions involved in reward and motivation. As a result, it is common that failure in self-regulatory behavior, common in addicted subjects, could be dependent upon the alteration of the interactions between the prefrontal cortex and the subcortical regions.

The PFC has plays a great role in regulating and governing behavior. This function is achieved through a complex interaction of different areas within the prefrontal cortex together with the subcortical areas integrating cognitive and executive functions to produce the “optimal choice”. The result of this interaction can also result in dangerous decisions some of which are observed in drug addicts. The PFC functional abnormalities are very much attributed to the continued use of drugs or traumatic experiences. PFC plays a role in the onset and in the progression of psychiatric disorders associated with very poor decision making such as schizophrenia, attention deficit or the hyperactivity disorder, and depression all of which are very likely to be suffered by drug addicts after a prolonged period of drug and substance abuse.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brains reward and pleasure areas as well as regulating movement and emotional responses. Dopamine enables us to not only see the reward but to also take actions to move towards them. Addictive drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and nicotine cause an excess of dopamine in the brain. According to scientific theories, dopamine is released in the brain when something very important happens, whether that is an expected reward or an accident. Since it is involved in learning, memory and motivation, the chemical dopamine helps us to store the important information we need to survive as well as to remember it in the future. Drugs however hijack that process sending five to ten times more dopamine surging through the nucleus accumbens and forcing the brains motivational and attention mechanisms to focus purely on the drug. The drug therefore becomes the most important thing in the world which leads to addiction.

Improved performance  in cognitive tasks requiring working memory and inhibition have been observed in people that carry variations in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene which degrade the catecholamine neurotransmitters dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. As a result, when the role of COMT is altered, there could be increased likelihood of making the drug addiction even stronger. Addiction is therefore as a result of a number of factors and the PFC circuitry contributes to the expression of several behaviors that are associated with it. A large number of addicted people do not seek treatment, mostly because they do not even recognize their condition as a disease that requires a medical attention. This condition is probably brought about by viewing the abused substance as an essential ingredient of their life regardless of the consequences of its use.

Imbalance between two separate but interacting neural systems can lead to addiction. These neural systems could be an immediate one that generates decision making, based on the impulsivity-related amygdala system for transmitting pain or pleasure of the immediate prospects and a reflective one, whose basis are for the signaling pain or pleasure of future prospects. The level of controlling behavior is challenged by the ability of cues associated with strengthening activities such as drug abuse, food or sex. Self-control efforts however involve increased activity in the regions of the PFC regulating emotions and cognition and reduced activity in the regions that are associated with reward processing and craving. PFC could be associated with long term outcomes whereas sub-cortical activity is associated with more immediate outcomes.

The PFC is also responsible for the decision to quit taking a certain drug after a period of addiction. Abstinence is a multiple component condition in which the lack of drug effects is highly associated with the inner struggle between the desire of the reward brought about by intake of the drug and the assessment of the consequences of that behavior in terms of money, social life and environmental involvement for example smoking marijuana. This will very fast lead to appearance of withdrawal syndrome that is characterized by depressed mood, irritability, mild cognitive deficits accompanied by other peripheral psychological symptoms as the PFC tries to adjust. Some addicts who struggle to go through the abstinence of a certain drug at times relapse to their old habits. This relapse can be categorized into three major types which are; drug induced relapse, reinstatement of self-administration behavior upon exposition to drug related cues and stress induced relapse. This is a major setback in the recovery of the addicts.

prefrontal cortex/

Research has shown that addicts of strong drugs such as marijuana or cocaine have more problems in their daily lives both physically as well as emotionally. Their health is also very much at risk as this drugs alter the working mechanism of the brain and especially the prefrontal cortex. They report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, more relationship problems, and they also have less academic and career success compared to those who do not abuse drugs. Decision making becomes a problem for them and they tend to choose the easy way out which to them is the choice to keep using the drugs. Eventually, they could lose their mind all together as the brain function mechanism gets more and more accustomed to the drug effects.

Role of the prefrontal cortex and executive control in addiction

 

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Alcohol Brain Connection, Your Memory and Judgement

Alcohol Brain Connection

 

Alcohol affects decision-making and judgment

Alcohol Brain Connection; Alcohol is a depressant that affects your coordination, judgment, vision, reaction time, decision making and multitasking ability. Alcohol affects your ability to detect danger and make good decisions that will help you overcome the impending danger. At some point you can make good decision to avoid an incoming accident but when your brain is under the influence of alcohol, your reaction time in evading danger is slowed. In addition, when there is an alcoholic substance in your body while driving, your perception on distance and speed are tampered with. This will make you confuse things that are closer to you as being very far away. You will feel that you are speeding at the recommended speed when you are actually overspending. Alcohol Brain Connection; You need acute perception, quick decision making and multitasking ability to perform tasks correctly, accurately and safely. Even one drink can tamper with the normal functioning of your brain and remember performing certain tasks while you are under the influence of alcohol is illegal and can land you in jail.

Alcohol Brain Connection; The Executive functions of the brain are compromised even if you stop the alcohol use

Executive functions of the brain are those capacities that are commonly linked to the frontal lobes or frontal cortex. You will find that they guide complex human behavior over time through accurate planning, rational decision making and quick response control. Studies that have been conducted by neurologists reveal that certain cognitive components of brain’s executive functioning are compromised during the early stages of alcohol abstinence. The doctors’ attempt to come up with new strategies of alcohol treatment has been complicated by these new findings because of the various implications they have brought.

Alcohol Brain Connection: Years of excessive alcohol drinking are known to bring impairment on cognitive flexibility, proper thinking and inhibition of competing responses. These abilities of the brain and so many others are the one that are generally referred to as executive functions of the brain. As I explained above, cognitive operation that is linked to the brains frontal cortex guide complex behavior over time through accurate planning, rational decision-making and quick response control. Researchers have shown that several domains of brains executive functions are compromised during the early stages of abstinence, and this is the time when patients are required to draw on their cognitive abilities as part of the alcohol treatment process.
The term executive functioning is normally used in business world, where you find the executive is the one that is responsible for monitoring all the departments that are under a certain organization or company. Just like the executive in a company, the executive functioning of the brain ensures that an individual is moving forward in an effective and efficient manner as possible. So, in the real world of human population, executive functioning help us to define who we are and how we can organize our life in order for us to enjoy life and live longer. They will also help us to understand how we can plan and execute any plan that we have for our life.

Alcohol Brain Connection; Executive functions are the most important aspects of our life. These aspects are defined differently by different researchers and theorists. Most of these people agree that the brains executive functions are human qualities that help people to identify themselves as independent individuals with foresight and purpose in the society-what to do and how to behave. Common executive abilities that you will find among people include problem solving, judgment, planning, decision making and social conduct, and you will find that these abilities depend on many of our cognitive abilities such as language, perception, attention, memory and language.

Researchers have found that the consumption of alcohol affects the brains executive functioning both chronically and acutely. On how it affects the brains executive functioning acutely, a single heavy dose of alcohol will make a person to have decreased brains executive memory referred to as working memoryAlcohol Brain Connection. Working memory enables a person to juggle several cognitive balls at the same without losing focus. In simple terms it helps to remember our recent past activities. In terms of chronic or excessive alcohol consumption, the effects are much broader and can bring some damage to the frontal lobes. This is the brain’s region where executive functioning takes place. You will find that among those people who have abstained from alcohol consumption, they may experience some residual effects as a result of their drinking. The impairment of  these same brain areas leads to the disease of alcohol dependence, making it impossible for the person to exert conscious will over whether they can stop drinking or not.

Outpatient Detox Programs and Treatments

Many rehab facilities and medical doctors recommend an outpatient treatment, especially when it comes to NER (Neuro Endocrine Restoration) detox procedures. It’s a great way for patients to still take part in these programs without having the need to regularly attend in-house treatments. They can enjoy normal life among family and friends, while undergoing NER detox treatments and have a normal, stable and healthy life. This also makes it easier for patients to complete, especially those who do not have severe cases to treat. Doctors also prefer this, as patients won’t be locked in a treatment facility but rather they will be able to enjoy daily life and have a normal routine, even including work in some cases. Outpatient treatments are very efficient as patients don’t feel they are forced into anything. They voluntarily attend these treatments and see what benefits it provides in their daily lives. This gives them the inspiration the need to continue their treatment.

Alcohol Brain Connection; Outpatient Detox Programs and Treatments

Many rehab facilities and medical doctors recommend an outpatient treatment, especially when it comes to NER (Neuro Endocrine Restoration) detox procedures. It’s a great way for patients to still take part in these programs without having the need to regularly attend in-house treatments. They can enjoy normal life among family and friends, while undergoing NER detox treatments and have a normal, stable and healthy life. This also makes it easier for patients to complete, especially those who do not have severe cases to treat. Doctors also prefer this, as patients won’t be locked in a treatment facility but rather they will be able to enjoy daily life and have a normal routine, even including work in some cases. Outpatient treatments are very efficient as patients don’t feel they are forced into anything. They voluntarily attend these treatments and see what benefits it provides in their daily lives. This gives them the inspiration the need to continue their treatment.

 Alcohol Brain Connection, Your Memory and Judgement

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