DRUGS CAUSE COMPULSIVE GAMBLING?
I started to title this "drugs cause compulsive gambling" and then I realized how silly that sounded. More precisely, this is about the latest news that some people who have been taking drugs for Parkinson's disease (such as Permex), which are called "dopamine-agonists" (they effect our levels of dopamine) claim the drugs have caused them to be engage in compulsive sex and gambling.
People are starting to sue the drug manufacturers, of course; so far they've been denied a class action claim. The stories, however, are sobering.
One woman, for instance, who was prescribed the drug to stop restless leg syndrome," ended up on 40x her original dose (which tends to be necessary), and ran through hundreds of thousands of dollars gambling. Several people cited contemplating suicide as they watched themselves proceeding to trash their lives.
Especially disheartening were some of the antidotes - - the psychologist who tells you to "make a list" of self-sabotaging behaviors; or the psychiatrist who suggest you're self-sabotaging to test your husband's love. And they failed to quote the self-help guru/coach who said, "If you keep on doin' what ya been doin'..."
Aren't we all getting a little tired of this?
Buried on down in the article on msn is this incredible statement:
"There is decent biochemical plausibility that chemical changes can lead to impulsivity and acts like pathologic gambling," said Duke University psychiatrist P. Murali Doraiswamy, co-author of ...[an]analysis, published in Archives of Neurology.
"It is certainly plausible that gambling can be a side effect of a drug that excessively stimulates limbic-system dopamine," Doraiswamy said.
Question of free will? [the article continues]
The notion that brain chemicals play a powerful -- but hidden -- role in human behavior is at odds with American convictions about free will and choice. Kanuch and other patients said they spent years believing they were responsible for their actions, only to find that the impulse for self-destructive behaviors vanished once they stopped taking a drug. [end quote]
This last paragraph is seriously misleading. Just for starters, to feel the impulse for self-destructive (or other-destructive) behaviors does not remove the responsiblity from a person for their own behavior. To have an impulse to do something is not a mandate to do it, or the person who invited me to lunch the other day and then spent half their time on their cell phone would be dead, or mangled, instead of simply someone I choose not to have lunch with again, unless the behavior changes.
One of the things people enjoy the most when they take the EQ Alive! Program is a deeper understanding of emotions -- where they come from, what's "automatic" (beyond free will?), what's acquired, and the strong role "chemicals" play in the process. And it is emotions that motivate most behaviors.
Consider, for instance, what we have learned about alcholism. Alcoholism (the ingesting of A CHEMICAL, A DRUG, if you will) was long considered to be a character defect. We now know that the line of causation goes the other way; it isn't caused by a character defect; instead, it often (though not always) causes one. The "not always" is what's important here ... and the reason there's no class action.
If you've taken any prescription drugs (or the street kind), or listened to or lived with someone who does, you will not have a big "ah hah" moment over this article. All drugs have side-effects, and some of them are major. People on anti-depressants, who have now turned away from the drugs and psychologists and turned instead to coaching, tell me 'all I did was sit there. No motivation. I felt good, I guess, but what had happened to my life by the end of that year, from neglect and disinterest, wasn't "good"." (Sounds like reports of marijuana, yes?) People on diet pills report bizarre behavior or desires, depending upon the strength of their so-called 'will power.' So do people on steroids. So do, for that matter, women who are PMSing.
Dr. Vaillant, a leading national expert on alcoholism, has said that getting off alcohol is not a matter of will power. Addiction resides in the reptilian brain and, as he says, "Alligators don't come when called."
Alcoholics who manage to kick the habit often say they don't know how they did it. In fact, they often attribute it to "by the grace of God." (See my ebook, "Alcoholism and EQ: The 14th Step". Why not a 13th step for AAers, 12-steppers ... because they tell me the 13th step is a predictable roust of promiscuous sex, usually with other AA members ... an attempt to replace those feel-good chemicals, or, more precisely, an attempt to combat the release (or re-appearance) of those feel-bad chemicals the alcohol had been "treating" (numbing). Does getting off alcohol CAUSE promiscuity? No of course not. But it changes things (like the brain chemistry), and can lead to ... or make it easier to ... and this is more likely to occur in the uninformed and unmindful.
Studying emotional intelligence helps you get a better grip on what these random chemicals do to you and your emotions, and how this relates to your behavior. Whether they're prescribed, present in the foods you eat, or in the products you put on your skin and face (see ARBONNE for SAFE skin-care products and supplements), in a bottle, or something you get off the street, all drugs have side-effects, and anything absorbed into your body or ingested, is going to make a difference. Actually they don't have "side-effects," they do what they do. "Side-effect" is spin-doctoring. It means "it is ALSO going to do this." It's a tradeoff.
When the woman in the article got off the drugs, her restless leg syndrome returned with a vengeance, but it was a no-brainer for her.
Interesting term there, "no-brainer." It's difficult to live the good life without emotional intelligence (EQ). It starts with self-awareness -- an understanding of how you operate, what your 3 brains do, why when you get nervous (in your head) you get diarrhea (in your gut); why when you lose a loved one you may end up in the ER with symptoms mimicking a heart - attack or even die "of a broken heart."
It needs to be said that there are people on Permex and other Parkinson's disease drugs who don't gamble or surf porn sites compulsively. Why not? Does one have more 'will power' than another? Yes, or maybe a different "rheostat". Some of us are more sensitive than others; some of us have more education about emotions than others; some of are more likely to "act in" than to "act out". Explanations for individual behavior are usually complex, and always unique.
What sends one person into a rage might go unnoticed by another. The same anger that makes Fred hit someone, might make Alice laugh, and might make Anthony so enraged, he knew he needed to take a time out, count to ten, tap his temples, get away, breathe deeply, meditate, listen to Rachmaninov, or whatever else he's learned (LEARNED) to do to manage his emotions.
Consider the man in counseling for battering his wife who claimed, "I couldn't help yself. If she'd made you that angry you would've hit her too," to which the therapist replied, "if Mike Tyson made you that angry would you have hit him?"
The wife-batterer then had to admit he was making choices, because another question to ask is, "Then why didn't you kill her?"
He CHOSE (1) TO act in some way upon his feelings - to react not respond; (2) NOT to leave, (3) NOT to take a verbal strategy, (4) TO hit her, and (5) NOT to kill her.
Emotional intellience is a fascinating study with tremendous potential for bettering your life.
Let's play "What if?"
IF you have had studied EQ, been put on Permex, and started feeling compulsions, would you have been able to stop yourself? Who's to say, but I think it is more likely you would have noticed the changes, and that's the beginning. There is something to be said for anticipation. Because you become more aware of how "you" operate, and better at understanding what to some people is a random "feeling" or "mood," you are less likely to operate in robot-mode, as if you (the "thinking and decision-making you") were not part of the equation, but rather a "body" propelled by "feelings" and helpless in their wake. That "I don't know what came over me" feeling. Or "that wasn't like me, I don't know what happened." Or "the devil made me do it."
You may have noticed the CHANGE in the way that Fred now can say "My thoughts are starting to speed up, my hands are sweating -- and here's the important part -- if I don't do something now, I will do something I will regret, like hurt myself or someone else, I know this from experience, and I know the signals, and what to do. And so ...
In studying emotional intelligence, we KNOW that brain chemicals play a powerful role in human behavior. It's not "hidden", nor is the fact "hidden" that "chemical changes can lead to impulsivity." In fact, that's precisely what some "chemical changes" are designed to do -- the fight or flight syndrome, for instance.
To get more information about the EQ Alive! Program, visit my website, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I've worked with 100s of people who have realized immediate benefits in their lives. Join us!
ARBONNE: Because what you put on your skin is absorbed (like a chemical!!) into your bloodstream. (When I use cheap eye makeup and drugstore cosmetics, they irritate and inflame my eyes and nose and make me very irritable. I choose Arbonne because of the pure, natural ingredients. I prefer not to endure those "chemical changes."