Addictions and the Endocrine System

August 29th, 2016 by

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I have spoken about addictions before, both in classes and articles, even in personal emails with people. Normally my perspective is one of past trauma association and that unresolved trauma can produce drives towards addictions later in life, sometime many years after the original trauma. However, another angle or perspective that I feel is important to add in reference to addictions is a primal one – hormones.

As I have said many times before, hormones dictate all of us as the individuals we are or are not. Hormones drive us, create us, guide us, define us and dictate our very personality and intelligence in these physical bodies. Nobody is exempt and so nobody can escape this part of physical reality. The endocrine system rules everything we physically are. This is one reason it is such a soft target for anyone attempting to manipulate and undermine the well-being of a person or animal. If you control the endocrine system, you control the person. The very nature of the modern world that humans have created is at constant war with all of our endocrine systems. All of the pollutants, harmful chemical products and additives, insane amounts of electrical, radio, cell, wifi and a mind-boggling array of other technology induced frequency waves flooding the atmosphere all work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to stress every part of our bodies. The endocrine system is the one that seems to take the hardest hit in this frequency and pollution war.

One of the largest factors I see for the promotion and continued spread of this invasive and destructive technology is the addiction to convenience. Most mammals seek an easier way of life. It just happens to be one of those primal hardwired instincts for survival. A mammal will walk on your back porch to eat out of a feeder sooner than go hunt for food. A rodent will break all internal red flags and wander into your home, surrounded by human scent to build a home rather than build a home in the field or forest. Why – because it is easier. Humans are no different as a species. Therefore, this natural instinct can, has been and continues to be used against us by us. People will pay any amount; even the quality of their health to have is easier in life. Greed and control driven companies prey upon this at every turn. They understand people will give up the later years of their health’s integrity (and even this year or the next) for the conveniences they provide.

Beyond the primal instincts and past traumas, what else can we point to in order to put addiction into a clearer focus? Well of course as stated above, the hormones of our bodies.

There are three main players of the endocrine system that have been studied quite a bit in recent years to explain addictions and addictive behaviors and personalities. If we remove instincts and trauma and just look at hormones we find dopamine, prolactin and phenylethylamine (PEA). Along with those three we can also look at serotonin, endorphins and testosterone. Testing by people way back like Wilhelm Reich all the way to major health organizations today have shown us results proving major disruptions of hormone productions are linked to addictions among many other mood disorders and health issues. (Like I commented not long ago in another article, I will not post links since anyone can refute any link. Instead I will let everyone do their own leg work and make their own conclusions.)

Dealing with the very basics here we can look at the general hormone emotional function as this:

  • Dopamine = feel good “reward” hormone
  • Prolactin = satiation, dull you down hormone
  • PEA = mood elevation

Interestingly, increased dopamine creates a decrease in prolactin, but increased prolactin creates a decrease in dopamine. Also when serotonin and even endorphins rise, prolactin also increases and all three decrease dopamine. This is a very basic but potent hormone dance that happens in our bodies and regulates our moods and even physical well-being. Increased prolactin, for example, decreases metabolism and so slows the entire digestive system. Even more interesting, prolactin is produced in great amounts after an orgasm (which for prolactin release requires ejaculation in males). Why is that interesting? Prolactin levels spike after orgasm and can take up to two weeks to balance back out again! When we look at recovery periods in people coming off of a cocaine habit, it takes about two weeks for prolactin to balance out in them, the same as after orgasm! Just for reference, very generally, prolactin is an outcome of a pituitary gland secretion process of other hormones/chemicals. Orgasm, eating high levels of protein, exercise, after rage, with use of MDMA, humiliation, stress itself and medical situations like surgery and seizures all promote elevation of prolactin secretion from the pituitary. Remember prolactin decreases the feel good hormone dopamine.

Even researchers have found the brain going through the same type of “dopamine high” as during an orgasm as when is jacked up on heroin.

The limbic system of the brain is one of the oldest parts of the organ. It contains many of our primal instinctive behavior patterns, functions and responses. This is also the section of the brain mostly responsible for the output of hormones such as dopamine. This is the same part of the brain that researchers say holds most addictive behaviors.

When we have an excess of prolactin running through our systems we develop and experience systems such as mood swings and depression, headaches, loss of sex drive, impotence in men and hostility and even anxiety in women. Weight gain is also associated with excessive prolactin as well as an increase of testosterone in women and a decrease of it in men.

Let me move into addictions and dopamine, since researchers and studies have proven a direct correlation. When dopamine levels in a person are in excess people can fall into addictions such as:

  • Compulsive activities
  • Anxiety
  • Gambling
  • Psychosis
  • Extreme and often damaging risk taking
  • Sexual addictions and fetishes

If dopamine is too low issues such as the following can occur:

  • Low sex drive
  • ADHD and other attention disorders
  • Depression
  • Lack of ambition
  • Social anxieties
  • Hard to feel love and acceptance
  • Absence of any pleasure in life
  • Erectile dysfunction in men
  • Inability to feel “right” or “wrong” in one’s actions

You can see there are a lot, if not all types of addictions found within those two lists. Think of any addiction and what is delivers to the person and try and fit it into one or more of the categories in those lists and I doubt you will have much trouble. All of that is from an imbalance of dopamine in the brain and body.

If dopamine levels are balanced a person can experience more balanced feelings and actions like:

  • Well thought out and solid choice making
  • Healthy bonding with others
  • Well-being and satisfaction feelings
  • Proactive, productive and “healthy” risk taking
  • Realistic outlooks and expectations
  • Comfortable socially
  • Positive feelings towards others
  • More complete feelings of love for self and others
  • Feeling good about life and one’s accomplishments
  • Balanced sex drive
  • Feeling satisfied

If you struggle with addictions of any kind, this might be another angle to check into beyond working to resolve past issues or trauma/hurts. Yes trauma can wreak havoc with the endocrine system by forcing it to produce or suppress many of our hormones and researchers now tell us this can be a foundation for addictions. But my feelings through experience show me that sometimes trying to only work the angle of the brain and heart is almost impossible without simultaneously or prior work on the endocrine system, and the balancing or support of our hormones. We can have a brutally hard time trying to get the old brain habits to shift if we do not help it out with hormonal work and support through lifestyle, herbs, supplements and in some cases medication. It can take a very long time to heal the endocrine system because the glands of the system are very fragile, damage easy and take just the exact right amounts of everything to heal.

It’s also very important to remember how dangerous and damaging the technological world and all its conveniences are to the endocrine system. The frequencies of wifi, cell phones, wireless devices and whatnot seriously disrupt natural hormone production and endocrine functions. This is scientifically and medically proven. Research it and you will find open and public reports.

Addictions and the endocrine system seem to go hand-in-hand. Fascinating.

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