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Are Creative Individuals More at Risk for Addiction?

Are Creative Individuals More at Risk for Addiction?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

The list of talented people who have struggled with addiction is incredibly long. It would take way too much time to list them all. Do creativity and addiction correlate with one another? Are creative individuals more likely to be addicts? That controversial question has been debated for decades.

For the most part, researchers have concluded that people whose abuse substances are not more creative or more successful as a result. Neuroscientist, David Linden of Johns Hopkins University, declared in an interview that there was not a connection between creativity and addiction. He stated that suggesting otherwise confuses coincidence with cause.

Addiction is a disease, not a shortcut to success. When looking at famous writers who were alcoholics, like Fitzgerald or Hemmingway, it is easy to assume that alcohol helped fuel their creative process. However, this is just a perception. Creativity does not stem from substance abuse, nor should substances be the source of your creativity.

Substance Abuse = Source of Creativity?

Dependence on drugs and alcohol should not be the source of your creativity. We should not glorify substance abuse as a means to creativity. In the book, “The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent and IQ,”  author, David Shenk states extraordinary talent and achievement come from “the combined consequence of early exposure, exceptional instruction, constant practice, family nurturance, and a child’s intense will to learn.” Essentially, your creativity and intelligence come from your inner will to succeed along with the role models and guidance you have in your life. Behind every successful talent is a teacher, coach or motivator pushing them along.

The problem is highly creative people find their minds are overwhelmed with data streaming in and out of their consciousness. The average person has a cognitive filter that filters this information as a means to survival.  The creative person, however, does not have this filter.  Highly creative people let more of this data in their mind. Therefore, they need to process and organize the increased information flow in untypical ways.

Unfortunately, because creative people think outside of the box and look at the world differently, they look at rules differently.  The term for this trait is cognitive disinhibition which an article describes as “the failure to ignore information that is irrelevant to current goals or to survival.”

The “rules are meant to be broken” mentality both produces creativity and creates destructiveness.  Creativity can result in risky behavior. It is risky because creative people justify their creative behavior when they create while using substances.

“Mind Expanding” Substances

Famous artists were thought to be more brilliant because of their liberal use of “mind expanding substances.”  However, time and time again, it has been proven that creative people are able to maintain their creativity without substances. Those in recovery find that their mind is clearer, making them more able to follow through on their natural creative impulses.

On the contrary, long-term substance abuse can permanently damage creativity. Extended drug use can affect the brain damaging it in ways that may not even be recoverable even after years of sobriety. Scary, isn’t it?
The first time a creative person abuses drugs or alcohol, they may find they can express themselves better. This may cause them to believe they “need” these substances to be creative. However, reactions like this are temporary. Also, creative people may be using substances to self-medicate mental health issues they have not addressed professionally.

Why Are Creativity and Addiction So Prevalent?

Now that we know there is not a direct link between substance abuse and creativity, why do so many creative geniuses deal with addiction? Most of this has to do with the genetics and traits that make someone predisposed to addiction. Those same traits are a prerequisite for creativity.

Studies reveal that 40 percent of addiction is genetically predetermined. While family history is no guarantee that someone will have a problem, there is a strong connection between the two. There are several genes involved in addiction risk. Experts have not identified them all, however, the ones we are currently aware of affect the release of the happy chemical dopamine.

Dopamine Depletion?

Addicts tend to feel pleasure weaker than the average person. Because of this, addicts abuse substances in an attempt to achieve the same level of happiness that others feel natural. There may not be a direct link between drug addiction or mental illness and creativity, but science hints at a connection between substance abuse and traits that are a prerequisite for creativity. A low-functioning dopamine system can make a person more likely to misuse substance and engage in risk-taking, novelty-seeking compulsions.

This same low-functioning dopamine system relates to creativity. Individuals who have struggled with releasing happy chemicals  their whole life may latch on to creative outlets like music, art, and writing to help re-generate that dopamine and process information better.

Overall, your risk for addiction is up to you. You have a choice to use healthier outlets to compensate for genetic factors that may put you at risk for substance abuse. Creativity should not have to be fueled by addiction. You have the ability to be a creative person without the use of drugs and alcohol. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. 

8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Taking Antidepressants

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Author: Shernide Delva

Depression is a serious medical condition, and the decision to take antidepressants is a personal choice. The stigma behind mental illness often prevents those struggling with mental illness to seek help for their condition. Many people feel they can tackle their depression on their own, without the use of medication. While this may be true for some, for others, medication is a very real option.

If you are unsure whether or not you need medication for your depression, it may be a good idea for you to ask yourself a few questions before going on them. Also, you may want to explore options that do not require medication like seeing a therapist, changing sleeping and exercising habits, socializing and joining groups. All of these options should be a part of your long-term plan to fight depression.

Still, for some people, even after doing all of these things, their depression symptoms seem to linger. It is important to consider and understand what you need to feel better. Here are eight questions you should ask yourself before going on medication:

  1. Could my depression be the result of a medical condition?
    It is important to consult with your doctor so you rule out the possibility that your depression could be due to pre-existing medical conditions. Many health conditions can contribute to feelings of depression. Thyroid conditions and heart disease are some examples of conditions that result in depressive symptoms. Also, get a blood test done to monitor your vitamin levels. Deficiencies in iron, magnesium and B vitamins can make you feel sluggish and down.
  2. Could my depression be a side effect of another medication?
    Depression can be the side effect of prescription medications. If you recently added a new prescription around the time you felt depressed, make sure to talk to a doctor to see if there is a possibility you are affected by your medications.
  3. Have you suffered a recent loss?
    It is normal to feel intense emotions following a death, divorce, relocation, or retirement. Therefore, if you have become depressed following events like this, it is only natural. Learning coping methods through cognitive behavior therapy should be the first step when dealing with situational depression.
    “It’s important to remember that antidepressants treat symptoms and not root causes,” says Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, and author of You Are WHY You Eat.
    Ask yourself how long you have been depressed. Depression lasting less than six months may not require medication if treated with therapy and other methods.
  4. Am I exercising enough?
    Exercise boosts serotonin levels in our body which improves our overall mood and energy level. As hard as it is sometimes, it is important to move around. Aerobic exercise can be effective in preventing and treating depression. Aerobic exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals like neurotransmitters and endorphins. Lack of exercise can worsen depression. Try changing your exercise routine to see if you notice a decrease in your symptoms.
  5. Are you eating a healthy, well-balanced diet?
    A sugar-heavy diet can severely affect blood sugar levels which lead to feelings of low energy and depression. Also, issues in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to mood problems, including depression. Complex carbs have been found to boost levels of serotonin in your Try boosting levels of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin B12. Increasing your intake of nutritionally balanced meals can be the right step to reducing your symptoms.
  6. Am I socializing on a regular basis?
    As tempting as it may be to isolate yourself, being alone does not help with dealing with depression. Try to connect with friends and family. Join a local group in your community. Try joining a support group for depression like the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. They have support groups throughout the country to help those in need.
  7. Have you tried changing your behaviors?
    The best way to treat depression is to fight against it. When you feel like staying in bed all day, those are the times you need to get busy. When you feel the least social, that is a crucial time to call a friend. Some other positive ways to combat depression is to engage in mindfulness practices such as meditation or yoga. Talk to a therapist to come up with a plan to change your behavior. Take baby steps and try not to do too much at once.
  8. Are you drinking too much?
    Abuse of alcohol has been proven to make depression symptoms worse in various clinical studies. Alcohol can interfere with sleep, and further worsen problems of anxiety and depression. Alcohol also makes people prone to anger, aggression and violence. The occasional drink may be okay for some, but for others drinking is not worth the risk.

If you find you have addressed all of these issues and still struggle with depression, you may want to consider seriously talking to a professional about taking medication. This is especially true if you find depression inhibiting your daily functions.

Taking antidepressants is a very personal decision. It is up to you to decide, and you should not feel shame if you decide to go that route. Many people take medication, and it has helped them tremendously. If you are struggling to handle it all, give us a call. We can help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

7 Fearless Ways Successful People Think

7 Fearless Ways Successful People Think

Author: Shernide Delva

Ever wonder what makes a successful person successful? It can be challenging to make goals for your future, especially after overcoming an addiction. However, in recovery, you finally have the opportunity to live successfully without fear being in the way. Furthermore, a recently published list defined the seven fearless ways successful people think. Perhaps you can implement one or more of these personality traits and get one step closer to achieving your version of success.

Successful people:

  1. Move On From the Past
    Successful people are not afraid to move on with life. They do not “waste time feeling sorry for themselves.” Perhaps you have had a traumatic childhood or a very difficult past dealing with drug addiction. Either way, it is up to you to move on from your past because your past is not productive to your future. When people stop dwelling on the past, they bounce back from mistakes faster. They are able to be more successful in life because they do not waste time dwelling on things they cannot change. Instead, they use that extra time to focus on conquering new goals.
  2. Keep Their Power
    Strong people do not give others the power to make them feel inferior. Rather than allowing others to give their opinion, successful people are aware that everyone has a different opinion and that not all opinions matters. Therefore, they know that the only opinion that ultimately matters is the opinion they have of themselves. Even when insults or criticism seems personal, successful people know how to look ahead and ignore the outside forces tearing them down.
  3. Accept Change
    Change is challenging for everyone. However, change is a necessary component of life. Successful people do well with change. An old expression states the only certainty in life Is death and change. Therefore, mentally strong, fearless, successful people think in a way that allows them to make and accept change. Change also is incredibly important in improving your future. If you are stuck on old habits and old mindsets, you will never be able to build up the courage to change who you are for the better. Successful people take on the challenge of change.
  4. Applaud Other People’s Success
    Successful people are encouraged, not negative, when others in their life experience success. Jealously and resentment can prohibit you from reaching your optimum level of success. It takes strength to feel genuine joy and excitement for others. Successful people are able to differentiate their success from the success of others.
  5. Take Calculated Risks
    Successful people know that risks are a part of life. They are not careless with risks but “weigh the risks and benefits” thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action,” the article notes. Risks are what make life interesting and not taking risks can keep you in a stale stagnant place. Successful people are able to take risks when it makes sense to them.
  6. Remain Resilient
    Successful people are able to remain resilient when they fail. Let’s face it: Successful people fail to. The only difference is that they get up and never stop fighting for their success. Successful people are able to fail and fail again as long as each failure provides a learning experience and can help bring them closer to reaching their ultimate goal. Sometimes failure teaches you more than success. Learning how to grow from failure is an excellent tool for achieving your goals.
  7. Earn Their Wins
    Successful people earn their success. They do not expect it. They do not feel like the world owes them anything. Successful people know that it requires effort to achieve success. They do not expect to be handed their wants and needs. Successful people know that through hard work, eventually they will earn everything they want in life. The world may not owe them anything, however they know the only way to achieve anything is through working hard for it.

Everyone has a different definition of success. Whether it is a career, family or personal goals, the only way to achieve those goals is by living and breathing them. Hard work will eventually pay off. Overcoming your addiction could be one hurdle you need to overcome most to get on the path to success. Therefore, if you are struggling, you need to admit your weaknesses and get on the right path today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Could Personality Decide How Well You Fight Disease?

Could Personality Decide How Well You Fight Disease?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model.)

By Cheryl Steinberg

In recent years, research increasingly has been looking at how our personality types can impact our lives – and not just in the obvious ways, such as our social lives – but in other ways, like how our personalities can determine our health and wellbeing. For example, the differences between the morning person and the night owl in respect to their personality have long been talked about. But, when it comes to a scientific understanding of someone’s disposition, what exactly do we mean by our “personality?”

Personality can be defined as a collection of distinct psychological traits which remain fairly constant over time and therefore influence how we react to the world around us. These personality traits include whether we’re an extrovert or introvert – how sociable we are; our neuroticism – tendency towards negativity; and conscientiousness – how cautious we are and how carefully we plan.

Anyone with the slightest bit of self-awareness will know where they rank on each of these scales as well as how it impacts their relationships, the way they perform their jobs and even how they cope with adversity. But can these variables actually affect the state of our health?

Could Personality Decide How Well You Fight Disease?

A recently conducted study by Kavita Vadhara and colleagues was undertaken to see how different personality traits correlated with biological immune responses. In other words, how prepared – or unprepared – our bodies are to deal with threats to our immune system.

The results of their research led to some interesting insights into how personality type may affect our immune system.

For the study, the team had 121 healthy students complete personality questionnaires in order to assess extroversion, neuroticism and conscientiousness, among other traits. They also took blood samples and from the participants to investigate the activity of 19 different genes involved in inflammatory immune response, as well as genes involved in defense against viruses.

Inflammation is the body’s immune response to fight off infection as well as to speed up recovery from injury. The two most significant effects that Vedhara’s team noticed was that extroversion was associated with increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes, whereas conscientiousness had the opposite effect (decreased pro-inflammatory gene expression). These results suggest that extroverts have a greater ability to deal with infection and injury but there are downsides to increased levels of inflammation, including a higher probability of developing auto-immune diseases.

Keep in mind that, if you are an extrovert, your outgoingness doesn’t necessarily mean you may be better at fighting off illness; it’s important to note that these results are just an observation of a small population of people and are in no way solid proof of how well or how poorly an individual will deal with illness.

Whatever the cause of these interesting observations, the Nottingham study is an exciting milestone in the ongoing investigation into the link between personality and health, and the part that our immune system might play. The fact that personality traits could affect our inflammatory response, or vice versa, could have significant impacts in how we treat disease in the future.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, help is available. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist who can answer your questions. We are available around the clock to take your call.

10 Signs You’re an Extrovert

10 Signs You're an Extrovert

via wifflegif.com

you might have heard this from one of your introverted friends

We recently posted an article on being an introvert. So, it should come as no surprise that there would be one soon-to-follow about their rival: the extrovert. Without further ado, here are 10 signs you’re an extrovert.

#1. You’re a leader

10 Signs You're an Extrovert

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this gal is among famous extroverts

Extroverts have a natural tendency to step into leadership roles and to get things done. People who are extroverts are big “doers” and often tend to see the big picture, so they often just jump right in. These folks are the ones who step up to lead a group project.

#2. Being alone actually saps your energy

10 Signs You're an Extrovert

via wifflegif.com

Being alone might make you feel anxious. For many extroverts, being alone can be energy-draining. If you feel more tired and lethargic when you’re by yourself you might be an extrovert.

#3. …But being around people energizes you

10 Signs You're an Extrovert

via wifflegif.com

The difference between introverts and extroverts is that extroverts actually “feed off” of others for their energy. People who are extroverted feel charged up by hanging out with friends or simply being around another person. To the extrovert, just being around of others can most literally be like a jolt of caffeine.

#4. ^^Because of this, people think you’re “needy”

10 Signs You're an Extrovert

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Another sign that you’re an extrovert is that you need to be around people a lot. Social interaction and connecting with other humans is what you thrive on. Because extroverts get energy from people, they crave social settings; extroverts are at-home at parties and group outings. Whereas others tend to feel anxious in crowded situations, to the extrovert, the more people, the better because that means a larger energy source.

#5. You’re a “take charge” kind of person

10 Signs You're an Extrovert

via wifflegif.com

Extroverts are love spontaneity and can easily “go with the flow” however, because you’re a natural born leader, you like to take charge. When it comes to planning something, you really plan it. Go to your extroverted friends when you want help planning a birthday party, shower, or road trip.

#6. You’re a Chatty McChatterson

10 Signs You're an Extrovert

via wifflegif.com

Extroverts can talk till they’re blue in the face. And, they will talk to anyone – the cashier in the grocery store, fellow shoppers in the grocery store, random strangers they pass on the street – anyone. Also, extroverts tend to be of the loud-talking variety.

#7. You sometimes scare people with your presence  

10 Signs You're an Extrovert

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Extroverts show up big – they are loud and their energy is, at times, overwhelming. You might be an extrovert if you tend to get carried away at times (who am I kidding, pretty much ALL the time). Extroverts can be easily and overly excited and friendly, which can be intimidating to new people and to – ahem – introverts. The extroverted personality type can sometimes rub people the wrong way or come off as fake.

#8. You don’t have a filter

10 Signs You're an Extrovert

via wifflegif.com

Another sign that you’re an extrovert is if you have a tendency to blurt out your thoughts about something or someone before you actually think them through in an orderly fashion. If you’ve ever been accused of being impulsive and/or “too honest” – whatever that means, you could be an extrovert.

#9. The thought of being silent seems exhausting

10 Signs You're an Extrovert

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You want to do yoga or meditate, and you want to be into doing those sorts of things but, it just seems like way too much work for you to be able to sit still and be quiet for any length of time. Plus, there’s that whole being alone thing (see #2).

#10. People expect you to always be “on”

10 Signs You're an Extrovert

via wifflegif.com

we started with Beyoncé and we’re gonna end with Beyoncé

Because you are almost always the life of the party, people just expect you to be that all. the. time. Although rare, sometimes extroverts just want to chill out and not be in the spotlight.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Sources:

http://www.gurl.com/2014/01/06/extrovert-personality-traits-signs/#ixzz2wQrjWGPU

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/frustrating-things-about-being-an-extrovert

 

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