View Full Version : What is it with Adhd and addiction???

08-21-13, 08:30 PM
I was just wondering how many of us get addicted to anything we really like? I have been addicted to some many things my whole life. When I find something I really like I seem to adopt it as the new and only norm. I fall into so many things without even realizing it. One simple example of mine would be drinking 3 to 4 gallons of milk a week. I have always liked milk but for some reason It became about the only thing I would drink when I was at home. It just seemed like I craved it whenever I was thirsty. At work though I drink mainly water and some soda.

It seems to me that I get very addicted through associations. I walk in and I want milk and only milk. I can change this type of habit pretty easy just by making a conscience effort and changing my routine. I develop a habit so quickly, even before I realize it. I am even starting to get really addicted to this forum. When I find something I like it is very hard to want to try something new. Another simple example is when I go to Carabbas I get my favorite meal. I have been going there for 15 years and have had the same meal every stinking time. I may walk in thinking I am going to order something else but when I sit down I can't think of ordering anything but the one I love. I am afraid something else won't be near as good and disappoint me. These are just of the simple habits and addictive behavior I experience. It gets much much worse with certain intoxicants for me. Especially ones that help to ease my mind and make me feel more normal. I have never really abused drugs or my medications but once they become routine I am hooked. I only seem to want and crave them when my routine changes and they are no longer a part of it.

I never have cravings for my Adderall unless I miss my morning dose. That is the only time it really seems to be effective. I will think and worry way too much about if I miss my morning pill. I could care less about my afternoon dose and many times forget to take it. I was just curious about other people here with Adhd and their addictive traits.

08-21-13, 08:45 PM
Usually undiagnosed / untreated ADHD leads to substance abuse addictions. It's a form of self medicating.

The kind of addictions you are referring to sounds perfectly harmless imo and not self destructive. It's when you abuse your meds it then becomes a problem.

There are many addictions I personally feel are fine if they are not self destructive or harmful to anyone else. Gaming, Internet, texting, etc.

08-21-13, 08:48 PM

Repeating things you enjoy will satisfy your cravings for stimulation. (Until you lose interest, in which case you'll seek something different)

08-21-13, 10:32 PM
Fraser, that makes a lot of sense. Do you think it could also be to depress stimulation? To me it feels like most of my addictive traits are related to slowing down my mind, relaxing and escaping the frustration of Adhd. Things I really enjoy tend to enable me to focus much better. When I can focus my mind stops racing from thought to thought and I feel peace. I know adderall is a stimulant but it has an opposite effect on me. It slows my thought process down enough to where I can grab one and actually think about it before it disappears into another thought. Stimulants have never really stimulated me. I can drink caffeine just before bed and sleep like a baby. I am not to crazy about taking my afternoon Adderall because it makes me tired a lot of the time. Is this true with most Adhd that stimulants have an opposite effect? I get much more stimulation when I take depressants. I had tons of energy and couldn't sleep when I was on painkillers for a back injury. Is this Adhd or is it just me?

08-21-13, 10:38 PM
The stimulants are stimulating you. But we respond to stimulation differently than NT's.

When your brain is stimulated, it slows down and you can relax and feel less anxious inside.

But what i'm saying to you is that repeating tasks that interest you is a form of stimulation itself. It will have a similar effect to taking medication.

The whole point of taking medication is that you won't need to stimulate your mind as much through daily tasks. The medication replaces that stimulation, allowing you to focus on more important tasks that you would normally avoid doing.

When you're taking the correct dosage of the correct medication, you should no longer feel the urge to stimulate yourself with obsessive tasks, allowing you to get other things done.

08-21-13, 10:45 PM
Think of medication as "replacement stimulation" therapy.

It "replaces" the stimulation that you would receive from obsessive thinking and tasks. By replacing the stimulation, you no longer crave excessive stimulation, so you're more free to focus on tasks that you would normally push to the side.

08-21-13, 11:46 PM
That makes perfect sense. Thanks for breaking it down for me the way you did. I never understood why I would have such an opposite reaction to stimulants and depressants compared to the NT crowd. I just assumed I was odd and everybody else had the "normal" reactions to meds.

I was wondering why the NT's can make perfect sense of their thoughts and ideas when they take stimulants intended for Adhd? Why can they process a much faster moving mind with no effort and we can't seem to, even after a lifetime of practice? Why does a racing mind racing mind enhance their mental abilities and cripples ours?

08-21-13, 11:53 PM
A racing mind doesn't enhance an NTers abilities.

The difference between an NTer and an ADHDer is that an NTer can slam the breaks on their bike when they're approaching a brick wall. Where as we would just go crashing straight into it.

An NTer can slow their mind down at will when they need to focus on relevant tasks. We can only slow our minds down when we're focusing on tasks that we find stimulating.

The breaks on our bike are automatic. They work, but only when they want to work, not when we tell them to work.

08-22-13, 01:52 AM
Great explanation! I totally get it now. I am impressed with how you can give precise informative answers to complex questions with only a few sentences. You have a talent for teaching, especially when I get what your saying the first time I read it. Thanks for the knowledge.

08-22-13, 09:41 AM
Yea nts breaks

Or executive functions. We failed to develope those.

Emotional regulation is the most important part of EF

Without the ability to regulate emotion. They will regulate you

Two ways of addiction relating to emotional regulation

Positive emotion regulation is the ability to detach from a positive (or stimulating) emotion to be productive

Negative emotion regulation(stronger enforcer for addiction). Is using the object of stimulation ( drug. Or other stimulation)to avoid negative emotion

08-22-13, 09:42 AM
I often quip that I could become addicted to paper bags, if I could just find some enjoyment from them.

08-22-13, 05:44 PM
I am currently addicted to only wearing certain clothes I have. I have tons of clothes and I like them all, but only wear about 5% of them. This will probably change as soon as I find something else I like a little better in the other 95%. I usually keep my clothes even after I get tired of them. Sooner or later I will rediscover why I liked them in the first place and probably start them in a new clothes rotation.

08-22-13, 07:31 PM
wow i could have written this!
here i am at starbucks with yet another early evening tall iced coffee. i never go there in france, but im here regurlaly in the states. because in france i will only go to certain cafes, one by work and one on the weekends.
i could have eaten anywhere for lunch downtown, including a whole bunch of interesting food truck items etc, but i had yet another cravin chicken combo at arby's.
i only wear black, gray, or any shades of blue or green, currently.

08-23-13, 12:01 AM
I am really addicted to watching people when I am in public. I can't concentrate at all on why I am there until I assess who is in my surroundings. I walk into walls at the airport and really crowded places trying to notice everyone. Also, I always see people I know in public way before they see me. I don't seem to watch people out of fear but more for entertainment. I feel like I am watching t.v. or something. I have seen the funniest stuff ever at Walmart.

08-23-13, 09:05 AM
Hi Everyone,

As an alcoholic sober almost 6 years now I can definitely say there is a pretty big difference between the comfort that routine brings vs. that which is brought upon by addiction.

In its simplest explanation, an addiction is a way of self-medicating, it is a numbing agent used to distance oneself with the uncomfortableness of not only ones thoughts, but with oneself as well. It is an escape, a means to an end that is far from healthy and absolutely destructive; to both the individual and those around them. The drug of choice doesn't have to be an actual drug, one can be addicted to running, book collecting, etc., which is always harder to come to terms with as an addiction because the individual justifies their actions based on the non-illicit or non-physically destructive components in the "drug of choice". However, if the addiction is consuming ones life in a harmful and negative way (and generally one will know this just not want to completely admit it) then it is an addiction.

Addictions are progressive, they get worse, never better, and this is simply due to the day to day unmanageability that the addictive behaviour brings along for the ride, and the compounding guilt, shame and remorse that the addict feels. "Cunning, baffling and powerful".

I have been given the gift of Alcoholism, ADHD and PTSD. =) This trifecta of awesomeness is no cake walk, but my journey has brought me where I am today and provided me with insights that have kept me moving forward and helping others along the way.

Keep eating those chicken combos, keep eating the same meals at the same restaurants, and keep drinking those coffees, they are comfort. However, if you are skipping work and waiting for the restaurant to open, if each and every moment is spent thinking about that coffee, then I would argue that is an unhealthy form of comfort and leaning more towards addiction.

Please keep in mind I am far from an expert on this stuff, I am simply a guy who can speak from personal experience.

Have a great day everyone,


08-23-13, 09:36 AM
I was a great alcoholic, but nobody would pay me to be one. ;)

08-23-13, 10:44 AM
well said. =)

08-24-13, 12:10 AM

I agree with you 100% about the differences between a comfort based routine and a true addiction. I hope you didn't think the examples I have provided are being compared to the type of addiction you have experienced with alcoholism. I created this thread because I have many addictive tendencies. I was curious how many others with adhd have similar traits. I believe these are just indicators of an addictive type personality. Thanks for clearing up any confusion.

08-24-13, 12:13 AM

Congratulations on 6 years of sobriety! Stay strong.

08-24-13, 08:56 AM

First of all, thank you for the congrats. =]

Secondly, no worries about your examples, I hope that I haven't made thing too glum now. =] I would never want to trivialize anyone's struggles. I do agree that there is a strong correlation between ADHD and addiction; I think what it essentially comes down to is the degree to which the individual has suffered as a result of their adhd; more specifically, the degree to which their self-esteem has been damaged.

For me, I had always found ways to escape throughout my adolescence. I would hide in books and music, I would join every possible school band or theatre group. I would keep busy so that I didn't have to spend time with myself. But once I "discovered" alcohol the game completely changed. It gave me the escape I needed without all the time and effort that the other means required. At the time I didn't know any better and by the time I did I was way too far down the rabbit hole to want to stop and change.

You have raised a very important topic Greyhound, thank you for that.