Addictions For Men

John Gray

The causes for addiction are generally different for men than they are for women. And even more varied are the solutions. Unfortunately, there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution for addictions - or any other health condition for that matter. With addictions, if you don't take into account our gender differences, then you will never address the real issue what is going on and you are less likely to end the addiction.

Ultimately, all addictions for men stimulate dopamine function. Dopamine is the brain chemical that gives us pleasure, increases our focus and makes us feel good. This is why dopamine is at the heart of addictive behaviors for men.

Drug addictions change your brain to become more dependent on a particular stimulant in order to feel good. The more dependent you are on that stimulant to feel good, the less stimulation to feel good you get from normal life. Life often begins to feel boring and depressing when you're not on the drug. So you have to be on the drug to keep feeling good. Most people with strong addictions, like alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, sex addiction or any other type of compulsive behavior, stop growing emotionally.

It's easy to see why relationships are affected by addiction. Many addicts lie, steal, become unfaithful, lose jobs, become violent, causing injury to themselves or others and creating financial problems.

As the addict becomes less functional over time, those around him, and most notably a significant other, may have to take on more and more of that person's responsibilities. This can be exhausting, frustrating and cause feelings of resentment.

One partner may try to control and or change the addicted partner. This often makes the relationship worse. The addict wants to divorce themselves from those who try to hold them accountable so they can continue to foster their addiction. They typically want those who will enable them around instead.

An addict lives in a world of delusion and selfish action. It's hard for others to fully trust an addict and this destroys the chance for true intimacy. The person who is abusing alcohol or drugs may not feel true affection for other people because they cannot think beyond their own needs.

As a person uses drugs, they begin to lose more and more emotion, which can drain the life out of a relationship. Perceptions become dull and life is not as fun any more. Many addicts become defensive, or, even worse, abusive. 
Any addict who feels threatened may feel compelled to fight back. Many people become mean, angry drunks and drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine often make users paranoid, which easily leads to anger and abuse. 

Alcohol and drug abuse can have a devastating impact on a person’s sexual health. Some drugs such as cocaine have the reputation for increasing sexual performance but such effects are short lived. Over any length of time the abuse of these substances will lead to decreased sexual functioning. As the individual falls further into addiction they may completely lose all interest in sex and intimacy. Males may find it difficult to become aroused and so engaging in sexual activity becomes almost impossible – they may be suffering from erectile dysfunction. Women will also suffer from decreased libido as a result of drug abuse.

The work of healing a relationship typically starts with the addict because that person has been the most destructive to the relationship. Addicts need to understand what has happened and who has been harmed because of their addictions and then begin to make amends to anyone they have hurt.

Repairing broken relationships due to addiction takes time. There is usually very little trust in the beginning of recovery because the past usually includes broken promises, hurt feelings, and deceptions. Each member of the relationship needs to be meeting with a therapist or a counselor to do their own individual work before working on the relationship. It’s difficult to heal a relationship without professional help, especially if the damage to the relationship has gone for some time. Once you have had time to heal yourself, you can start to work on honest, healthy communication with your partner.

Many couples are both surprised and disappointed that they continue to have many fights and arguments after the substance abuse has stopped. With hard work and trust on the part of both people, relationships can be repaired. It is possible to move from a world of chaos to one of mutual love and respect.

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     10/3/2014 2:03:56 PM
    John, I have a few questions about my son who is in recovery from heroin addiction. It is very clear he suffers from low dopamine. I have read your book, and I ordered many of your recommended supplements.I was planning on giving him the protein drink as well as the lithium orotate supplement of 120 mg two times a day. I also have ordered the super minerals, and liposomal vitamin C and L-Glutathione. He had been a heavy user of heroin in the last few years. He started taking Cymbalta about 2 months ago. Are there any issues with that? Also he is on suboxone 8mg/day.Does this interfere with dopamine? Can he stop the Cymbalta if he gets results from the Lithium? As an RN, I don't think there are issues related to long-term use here, since he only started it recently. Also, I was going to give him 5-HTP to offset the lowered serotonin you mentioned occurs with lithium intake. I also want to know some protocols for administering these supplements over time. I would be so very grateful for your response. MAI......
  • Gregory Gutierrez
     2/18/2014 12:54:14 AM
    I REALLY want to thank Dr. Gray and his team for all that you do to help people have a chance at having a good life. Great Job, my son used to get very imotional and never able to concentrate he also had a very hard time sitting there patiently. I was at work late, round 12 am mi heard Dr. Gray on the radio and I have be very impressed with his knowledge, I started my son on lithium orotate, grapeseed extract & buffered vitamin c. My son is such a Good boy now. Thank all of Dr. Gray & team.
  • arcom848
     11/9/2013 8:00:20 AM
    John, you mention the mechanism of action for some of these recommended supplements is via serotonin. If the recommended combination of these supplements is taken to aid in the elimination of drug addiction, and are taken while still addicted to whatever drug of choice (say methadone for this specific question) is the possibility of triggering serotonin syndrome not a concern?

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