It's a GAD GAD World
Friday, May 26, 2006
Yesterday I read this really interesting article on MSN called "Are You Addicted to Food?" I wanted to include the link here, but couldn't. I emailed the link to myself yesterday, then opened the message today only to find that the link didn't take me to the article, only to MSN's homepage. Then I tried searching the MSN site for about 10 minutes, only to come up empty. (Note to MSN: Your site's search capabilities suck moose cock!)

ANYWAY...The article talked about people who are particularly attracted to certain types of food. It cited an example of one woman who was so hooked on chocolate that one morning when she woke up & couldn't find any in the house, she bundled up her infant in freezing cold weather & took her for a ride to the convenience store just so she could buy a couple of Snickers bars.

Then it went on to say that studies have been done where the brains of obese people have been compared to the brains of alcholics & drug addicts. SOME of the obese brains were similar to the chemically-addicted brains in that they didn't have as many dopamine receptors. This suggests that some people may experience the same pleasure rush when eating their favorite foods as chemical addicts do when doing their drug of choice, and that they may experience the same withdrawal symptoms when their favorite foods aren't available.

The article then said something about an indicator of this kind of addiction is if the person doesn't experience the "right" amount of pleasure with other normal pleasure-inducing activities such as sex and social interactions.

I don't think all of this fits me, but some of it sure does. I love chocolate and I love carbs. Especially pasta and bagels. God help me if I ever become diabetic, because I can't imagine living without those foods. I've never done anything crazy in the middle of the night to obtain them, though.

I also don't seem to experience the same amount of pleasure with social interactions as "normal" people do. I'm very lonely, and I love having conversations with people, but it just seems so damn hard to find people to talk to that sometimes I just don't think it's worth the effort. And so I sit at home and cry myself to sleep.

Last night I tried looking up dopamine to see what drugs would boost it. Turns out it's your typical ADHD drugs--Ritalin, Adderall, etc. Then I looked up Provigil, because that's a drug I was on at one point and it was HORRIBLE. Turns out Provigil interacts with dopamine. So maybe dopamine's not the answer for me.

Maybe. I don't know. What I do know is that I've gained 15 pounds since January & I have no idea how the hell it happened. My eating habits have not changed radically. I'm actually consuming LESS fast food since I started at School of Style, not more. (There aren't any fast-food joints within reasonable walking distance of my workplace, so I brown-bag it every day.) I do a 20-minute walk to and from Port Authority every workday. The only change in my diet is that I have a little bit of butter with my morning bagel. But we're talking less than one folded pat of butter per bagel. While that might have added SOME weight, I can't believe I gained 15 pounds in 4 months just by consuming a small amount of butter 5 days a week. And no, I'm not on any new drugs. Sometimes the crazymeds can cause weight gain, but I'm not on any of those drugs. Just my Namenda, with Ambien/Lunesta on the nights I have to get up early and an occasional low-dose benzo.

I also seem to have a grocery shopping addiction. If it's on sale & I've got a coupon, I buy it regardless of whether I actually need it at the moment. Right now I've got 13 boxes of cereal in my apartment, at least 10 bags of candy, maybe 20 cans of soup, 10 boxes of spaghetti, 6 jars of pasta sauce. (Did I mention I'm single and live alone?)

But wait, it gets better! In September 2004 I got a notice from my landlord saying that the exterminator was coming & I had to clear out everything in my kitchen area. So I emptied the contents of my cupboards and put them in a garbage bag. That garbage bag is STILL sitting on the floor of my apartment, and a lot of the food in it has been sitting there since September 2004. I haven't had room in my cupboard to empty the bag because I keep buying stuff. I've been trying to cut down, & the pile is growing smaller, but it's still a disaster.

Then there's the sleep issue. There have been studies out that show a correlation between sleep loss & weight gain. I typically take my sleepy drug around 9:30pm, fall asleep sometime between 10:30-11:30pm, wake up between 3:30-5am, and MAYBE fall asleep again till 6am when I get up. So I'm getting maybe 6 hours a night, and that's on a GOOD night. I don't always have good nights.

I get an entire week off in June. My plan is to clean the living hell out of my apartment. I was hoping to get a head start on this long weekend & maybe get a little writing done, but all I feel like doing is lying in bed & crying. Stupid fucking depression. >:(

Well, at least I've blogged. I think I'm going to go get some other internet poop done now.

I just had to respond because your comment on MSN's searching capabilities cracked me up - first time I laughed all day and I needed it! Anyway, Google's News search does *not* suck moose privateparts so I quickly found a link to your MSN article:

I think the whole thing is very fascinating; first of all because I can do some pretty wacked out things when I have a craving. I've always attributed it to my rollercoaster hormones.

However, the dopamine connection is very interesting. I went on Wellbutrin last year because I haven't had a lot of luck on the SSRI's, and Wellbutrin hones in on the dopamine. Social anxiety is my primary problem. So I read some articles that showed studies exploring the social anxiety and dopamine connection.

There is also a dopamine connection with alcohol and caffeine. Oddly, even though caffeine makes me hyper and causes insomnia for me, it also helps my social anxiety?? And, of course, alcohol... that does the trick every time, but that's not a good road to travel.

In any case, my experience with Wellbutrin has been mixed. It has a tendency to raise anxiety for people with anxiety disorders, so we were careful with it. I think it had some effect because last fall, I suddenly realized I had forgotten to take Klonopin before heading into a social situation, so I ended up quitting the Klono for several months.

Unfortunately, the hormonal problems I mentioned earlier didn't help any of this and I'm in a limbo right now with figuring out my next step.

Blah blah blah -- my point was -- dopamine -- someone should be putting as much effort into this as they do serotonin.

Thanks for listening to my ramble!
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