Here's why ADD and ADHD often leads to compulsive behavior & addiction. I'll also tell you a little known secret about how to avoid addiction and how to heal it.
Individuals with AD/HD have several characteristics that make them more vulnerable to substance abuse, addiction and compulsive behaviors. These characteristics are impulsiveness, sensation-seeking, risk-taking, thrill-seeking, and low levels of inhibition.
The Dopamine reward pathways of the brain are different in people with AD/HD. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that feels good when it is released and it acts as part of an internal reward system. Dopamine rewards are critical for survival since they provide the pleasurable feelings associated with things like eating and reproduction.
The same release of dopamine and subsequent sensations of pleasure can be produced unnaturally with substances like alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and other drugs, by compulsive activities such as eating, gambling, and sex, and by sensational risk taking behaviors. While only a minority of individuals becomes addicted to these substances or behaviors, there is a prevalence of people with ADHD who are addicted to them.
Big Risks - Big Rewards
When you have ADD or ADHD your brain does not reward you with a rush of dopamine easily, so you have to go to more extreme measures just to get that experience of well being. That's why many AD/HD-ers are driven to take big risks and go after big accomplishments like the rebellious thrill-seeking billionaire Richard Branson (Founder of Virgin).
That desperate desire for stimulation is also why many ADHD-ers self-destruct with compulsive gambling, sexual addictions, binging or finding one crisis after another. Extreme situations, whether positive or negative tend to lend enough excitement to evoke that dopamine rush and let ADHD-ers feel alive.
"If the game you're playing isn't big enough,
you'll do something to screw it up
just to make it interesting."
People with ADD or ADHD are what we call DaVinci types, because they are some of the most brilliant, energetic people in our world today; and also because their temperament is the same as Leonardo Da Vinci's.
Environments that lack enough challenge, freedom and stimulation to keep a DaVinci type engaged are likely to lead them to develop compulsive behaviors and addictions. Just knowing this may help one avoid such difficulties.
If you or someone you know struggle with addiction, chances are ADHD is playing a key role. Here's another secret: Finding a creative pursuit that is truly engaging can be a great remedy to addictive tendancies, because it is unexpressed creative impulses that are the driving force behind compulsions and psychological addictions. Discover the keys to this effective therapy in the new book, The Da Vinci Method.