99Relapses Podcast Episode #22 Part III- The Addicted Brain Transcript



Hi, I’m James Egidio, your host of the 99 relapses podcast. The podcast that moves you from recovery to discovery through the grace and mercy of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. This is episode number 22 part three. Titled the addicted brain. In this episode I’ll get into how The addicted brain functions, I should say doesn’t function. Just to recap, episode 20 and 21. I discussed the addicted brain structure that is the neocortex, also known as the front of the brain and the limbic system within the brain also known as the heart of the brain, which is responsible for controlling all the automatic systems of the body and the emotions. Most importantly, the limbic system, as I had mentioned in episodes 20 and 21 control survival response. For example, that fight or flight response, when you feel like you’re in some kind of a danger or even a freeze response. And a lot of times that freeze response transpires into not allowing you to move forward and walk into the fear of what you are anxious about and when you’re stuck in moving forward in you’re Journey through life the limbic system is responsible for you not making any forward progress. In other words Procrastination for instance can be transpired from your limbic system. And fear and anxiety of let’s say perhaps getting through your addiction moving forward with, say a career move or taking a chance and starting your own business or something like that. That’s where you freeze and that’s the limbic system that’s responsible for procrastination for that fear and anxiety that Comes about. In this episode. However, I want to focus on the function of course, of the limbic system and how it reacts with the addicted brain. And I’ll make a comparison of how the brain under normal circumstances. That is the non-addictive brain reacts or functions compared to the brain when it’s traumatized, stressed and addicted. So when I make this comparison of the function or dysfunction of the addicted brain, Keep two things in mind and that is. This is the addicted brain for all addictions, that’s drugs, alcohol, food, compulsive thinking, social media, gambling, etc. and two. These chemical changes of the brain occur at the physiological or cellular level of the brain through the limbic system with the neuron, synapses and neurotransmitters, as I had mentioned in episode number 21. For clients that I’ve coached and counsel through the years for drug and alcohol addiction. I’ve always highly emphasized sound dietary plans. I made Mention through various coaching sessions the importance of dietary change for addiction especially staying away from things such as packaged foods or processed foods as well as sugars along with an exercise regimen and especially substitute all those processed and packaged foods for clean sources of protein since proteins contain amino acids and those are the building blocks of the neuro-transmitters in the brain. These neuro-transmitters come from amino acids. So when it comes to the function of the limbic system, Some of the comparisons of a healthy or normal non-addicted brain versus an addicted brainer as follows. And I’ll set this in a comparison and contrast of normal versus abnormal or addicted brain. Number one a normal brain. Sets an emotional response. An addicted brain, however, Overreacts or it may sometimes even underreact under extreme mood swings or increased stress. Number two, a normal brain. Controls survival responses to real or imagined danger with flight, fight or freeze. In other words a normal non-addictive brain will react in a normal situation Realistic flight or fight dangerous situations or even freeze meaning it will be able to reason and move forward. Whereas the addicted brain is very hypervigilant and looks for ways to avoid fear. Number three. The three survival areas with a normal brain and the limbic system respond normally to food, sex, and safety, whereas the addicted Is, it becomes easily addicted to anything that reduces that stress or that fear, that anxiety. Or that pain. In those three areas food, sex, and safety. Number four then. Normal brain. Stores, highly charged emotional memories. Whereas the addicted brain easily is triggered by events similar to past hurts, traumas, fears, and pleasures. So there’ll be a lingering effect for the addicted brain to be triggered by let’s say past hurts and will project through anger and temper. The normal brain number five. can override and shut down the conscious mind so it can overcome right away any kind of situation that it gets into that Limbic system would normally react to, whereas in the addicted brain, It overrides morals, values and good intentions with survival. And compulsive behaviors or reactions. number six. The normal brain controls appetite, sex drive, sleep mood. Positive and negative outlook as well as motivation. Whereas the addicted brain becomes anxious, depressed. Isolation problems. Problems with, Overeating or under eating, relationships, moods. And even more addictions. called co-occurring addictions. Number seven, the normal brain promotes bonding, which is of course more common in women than in men. And this actually may be linked to a higher level of a hormone in women called oxytocin. Actually, that’s I hormone that’s. Involved with Pregnancy when a woman’s pregnant. To lactate to breastfeed. There’s a increased amount of oxytocin. But in the addicted brain. There’s problems with fear of trust, intimacy relationship problems. And as far as the trust is concerned, there’s isolation, depression and codependency. And that’s where you get the person who’s addicted that says I don’t need anybody. I’m just fine. I can get through this on my own. And again, that goes back to what I said from the very beginning early on in the 99 relapses podcast about support structures, how important they are. But when someone’s in the middle of an addiction, it’s hard to trust and it’s hard to allow people in your life that want to help. And. As I compare these normal versus addicted limbic systems of the brain with things like drugs and alcohol and other addictive behaviors the thing to keep in mind is the lingering effects of an overactive limbic system reaction and probably the best example I can lay out affected a lot of people during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic what a lot of people didn’t realize back then was that that the COVID virus had been in existence since 1963 and had already caused a really bad flu season in the fall of 2003, with SARS sudden acute respiratory syndrome. Which was a COVID virus. And unfortunately more than two years later after multiple reports have come out about the ineffective use of mask people are still wearing masks as if it was announced just yesterday. So this is an overactive limbic system that’s in in play right now. It has nothing to do with the virus. It just has a lot to do with anxiety and, I could understand that, people are still wearing masks. And some people may very well be wearing masks for other reasons. They may a family member who has a compromised immune system or something. So this was the lingering effects to have a lot of news media pushing out the narrative about, you have to wear a mask, you have to wear a mask. But again, like I said, some people have a good reason to wear a mask. Another factor to take into consideration with the addiction in the Limbic system, is that depending on the substance. For instance, cocaine or methamphetamine, which uppers versus alcohol, which is a depressant will have a different biochemical response to the brain and the limbic system. For instance. Uppers like cocaine and amphetamines, we’ll create more hypervigilant and paranoid response and alcohol. Will reduce inhibitions and make a person who’s normally shy, more outgoing and confident. Thank you for listening to this episode of the 99Relapses podcast. Please join me in episode number 23, part four. As I conclude this four part series of the addicted brain and its function. For past. Podcast episodes. For episode show notes, episode memory versus, episode recovery lessons and tools as well as shopping online at the 99Relapses, that’s the number 99 relapses.org website. You could also find Bibles, workbooks that will really help with addiction. The workbooks are celebration for recovery, workbooks Also, if you’d like to make a prayer request for yourself, family or a friend, please do not hesitate to email me anytime your prayer request at 99relapses.org. And do not forget to like me on Facebook. Also as a side note, if you have an interesting story to share about how God has changed your life through addiction and recovery, or you’re an expert in the field of addiction and recovery. That is Christian based addiction, recovery. Or you’ve published a book. That you’d like featured or your podcast or your website. And you’d like to be featured as a guest on the 99 relapses podcast. Please email me any time at james@99Relapses.org and I’ll respond within 24 to 48 Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the 99 relapses podcast and God Bless