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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. 

6 Warning Signs It’s Time to Change Your Life

6 Warning Signs it’s Time to Change Your Life

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Breaking out of routines, and changing your life can be the hardest thing you ever have to do. However, it can also be the most rewarding.

For most of us, it takes a big epiphany or emotional tragedy to finally change our ways, but the truth is often the signs of changing our lives appear way before those major life events occur. Instead of waiting for some huge sign to shift your ways, why don’t you ask yourself if it is time to change today?

Being stuck in the same career path year after year can be a miserable existence, especially if you have a passion that eats away at your soul. If you find yourself constantly depressed and miserable, now is the time to look within. Make a change, and put yourself first.

 6 Warning Signs it’s Time to Change Your Life:

  1. You Hate Going to Work.
    Hate going to work? Do you feel dread waking up in the mornings? These are all signs that you need to shift the direction of your life. You might be afraid of leaving a place that is secure, but years are going to fly by. Unless you come up with a plan to change your life, you will be stuck exactly where you are in the next few years. Dreading your work life is a sign to reflect on your current passions and career goals.  Now, not tomorrow, is the time to make a change. One of my favorite quotes is “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Write down your ambitions and make a plan to change. It takes time, but each day is a chance to take action.
  1. You Focus Too Much on Past Regrets.
    “If only I would have gone to that college,” or “If only I would have sold my house before the market crashed…” “If only I would have saved more money…” 
    Looking back on past events in life is a major sign of trying to escape the now. It’s normal to reflect on some of the choices you have made in the past, however, keep your emotions in check. Do you take things as a learning experience? Every day is a chance to make the right decisions. Take advantage.
  2. You Are Jealous of Other People’s Success.
    Jealousy is another major sign that you are insecure and discontent with your own life. When we are happy, we want other people to be happy. When you are feeling stuck, you may start to feel jealous of those who are more successful. When that happens, it is time to reflect on the reason for the jealousy. Most likely, your mind is telling you it is time for a change.
  3. You Are Always Exhausted.
    Feeling extremely tired is often a sign of discontentment. You may feel like you are going through the motions, instead of living in the moment. Feeling tired and lethargic all the time often represents the struggle and hardships we are currently facing in our daily life. Instead of admitting defeat, find a way to get back on track. Transform your life by changing yourself from the inside-out.
  4. You Are Easily Overwhelmed.
    If you feel like you are juggling a million things, it could be time to breathe and reflect on what exactly you are doing. Of course, our daily responsibilities can become overwhelming, at times, but if it is a regular occurrence, it could be a sign that you are stifled and are craving change. Feeling antsy may be your body’s way of telling you to take time to really understand your life’s purpose.
  5. You Are Constantly Dreaming of the Future.
    Just like dwelling on past regrets is harmful, dreaming of the future constantly can be a sign of discontentment. Are you constantly thinking of goals you want to achieve, or even the next vacation? Our minds tend to focus on our passions and creativity. If you feel like you are always thinking about the kind of life you really want, rather than the life you have,  perhaps it is time to find a way to make that dream a reality. Change does not happen overnight, but even the smallest step toward change can increase motivation and reduce negativity.

Overall, it is important for us to pay attention to our mind and bodies. They send us signals on what direction to take next so we feel fulfilled. Let go of your past and live in the present moment. In recovery, it is important to recognize what drives you and what makes you feel the most satisfied. . 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

 

10 Signs You’re an Introvert

10 Signs You're an Introvert

via wifflegif.com

Many people think that introverts are shy, quiet people but this is not necessarily the case. When it comes to figuring out whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, the main difference is how you get your energy. Extroverts thrive on the energy of others and of social settings they find themselves in, whereas introverts’ energy comes from within; they tend to expend their own source of energy and therefore need to eventually re-charge (see #1). If you’re still unsure of what personality type you are, here are 10 signs you’re an introvert.

#1. You need to go home at some point and recharge your batteries.

10 Signs You're an Introvert

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Again, one of the main characteristics of introverts is that they eventually need alone time in order to recharge their batteries. You may feel like you start “shutting down” after you’ve been active for too long. In other words, you feel tired and unresponsive after you’ve been out and about for a while. This is because you’re going into energy-conservation-mode. Everything introverts do in the outside world causes them to expend energy and, if you don’t have a place to retreat to (for example, you’re out with friends and drove together), you’re likely to zone out, as a way to preserve your precious energy stores.

#2. You can feel alone in a crowd.

10 Signs You're an Introvert

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Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, puts it like this: “If you tend to find yourself feeling alone in a crowd, you might be an introvert. We might let friends or activities pick us, rather than extending our own invitations.”

#3. It’s Friday, you ain’t got sh*t to do, and that’s totally okay with you.

10 Signs You're an Introvert

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You are perfectly happy curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.

#4. You are easily distracted.

10 Signs You're an Introvert

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Introverts tend to get easily distracted and overwhelmed when there’s too much stimulation. This is the opposite for extroverts, who tend to get bored easily when there’s not enough to do.

#5. Speaking in front of a crowd is less stressful than one-on-one exchanges.

10 Signs You're an Introvert

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Although they’re stereotyped as being the typical wallflower, introverts are well-suited for leadership roles and public speaking. That is to say, they’re not necessarily afraid of being in the spotlight. Famous introverts include Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera and Emma Watson. Furthermore, about 40% of CEOs also identify as introverted type personalities.

#6. When riding public transportation, you sit at the end of the bench (not in the middle).

10 Signs You're an Introvert

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Introverts, whenever possible, will avoid being surrounded by people on all sides. They prefer to be where they can get away as easily as possible and as soon as they want to.

#7. You go to parties but not to meet new people.

10 Signs You're an Introvert

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People with introverted personality types may enjoy going to parties but, it’s usually to catch up with their already established friends – people they know and with whom they’re comfortable. Going to parties for introverts isn’t about making new friends.

#8. You notice details that others don’t.

10 Signs You're an Introvert

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Introverts often have a keen eye for detail and notice things that escape others’ attention. Research has found that introverts exhibit increased brain activity, as compared to extroverts, when processing visual information.

#9. You tend to have low blood pressure.

10 Signs You're an Introvert

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A Japanese study found that introverts tend to have lower blood pressure than their extroverted counterparts.

#10. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”

10 Signs You're an Introvert

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Adults who identify as introverts often report that, as children, they were told to come out of their shells or participate more in class.

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

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/introverts-signs-am-i-introverted_n_3721431.html

 

 

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