Thursday, March 1, 2007

The ACA ADD Connection Pt. 2

What if your senses were turned up so that a pin drop sounded like a clanging gong, a slight touch registered as an intrusive poke and a ray of light appeared as a blinding flash?

According to recent research, "stimulus augmentation" or magnified perceptual input, is a common theme among addicts and their offspring and is closely tied to Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

Those who experience this have an inability to filter incoming stimuli that makes it difficult to focus attention in any one place. This can have a negative effect on memory and concentration, mood, anxiety, increase stress sensitivity and cause sleep disturbances.

Many people experience the perception that the world's volume is "turned up" without even realizing it. For them, drinking or taking drugs helps turn down the volume. Self medicating through alcohol consumption is one way of "quieting" an overactive mind.

When alcohol is consumed, it produces a substance called tetrahydropapaveroline (THP). This substance is also found in the poppy plant, from which morphine is derived. The reaction in the brain when alcohol is consumed is similar to the effect of opiates like morphine or heroin.

Here are some interesting findings:

Significantly more children with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) develop problems with alcoholism or drug abuse than do children without ADHD.

People who become alcoholics show a much higher frequency of symptoms of ADHD as children than those who do not become alcoholics.

Children of alcoholics have been shown to perform poorly on tests measuring attention, memory, perceptual-motor coordination, motor speed, spatial sequencing and language capacity.

Alcoholics have impaired verbal learning and memory and exhibit various other deficits similar to what has been observed in children of alcoholics. This indicates that these impairments may have preceded drinking onset.

Many people with ADHD are children of alcoholics and ADHD is common in the relatives of ADHD children.

Sons of alcoholics have been found to magnify perceptual input (to amplify and be overstimulated by their own senses).

In alcoholics, stimulus augmentation has been demonstrated to be a strong motivation or craving to obtain alcoholic beverages.

Up to one third of alcoholics meet the criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD.

Sensory information is often amplified in addicts before they start taking drugs.

Stimulus augmentation is common in children of alcoholics.

From the book: "Overload: Attention Deficit Disorder And The Addictive Brain" by David Miller and Kenneth Blum, Ph.D.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

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