Adrenalin Addiction Crisis

anna-2   by Anna von Reitz

Adrenalin Addiction Crisis

My Mother was an Adrenalin Addict. She had been abused as a child and developed a totally unconscious need for the Adrenalin that helped her over those crisis points. In the absence of any threat, she still unknowingly craved the “high” that Adrenalin gave her, and so, she learned how to trigger release of the internally manufactured drug by working herself up into rages and fear responses.

It was very ugly and predictable to watch.

Thankfully, I was able to watch instead of participating in her self-induced drama, because my older Sister protected me from her onslaughts when I was very small, and my stalwart Father wouldn’t allow any such nonsense in his presence. He would just sweep her up in a Bear-Hug and she’d immediately calm down. Past about age seven, I could always outrun her and leave the house long enough for her to calm down.

Thus, I escaped the worst impacts of being the child of an Adrenalin Addict, yet I saw — mostly as a Witness — the horrifying impact and logic of the illness.

It’s an insidious addiction because no drugs are actually taken. The body produces Adrenalin naturally in response to threats — both real threats and imaginary ones, so it isn’t as if there is an obvious pill or syringe or powder involved. You can’t point at an Adrenalin Addict’s stash, because it is hidden inside their own body.

The onset of an episode with those afflicted has typical warning signs. They will start acting erratically, have lapses of attention or memory, for example— stop answering direct questions like, “Where’s the ketchup?” — and seem to withdraw from the present world. They get a taut, worried look, and either stare at nothing or start furtively glancing around as if to identify threats.

They may or may not have their own telltale physical symptoms of needing a fix. My Mother’s giveaway was when she started quietly flexing her fingers and tapping them together. Other people I have known with the same addiction have done things like narrow their eyes into tiny slits, pace randomly, clench fists, or assume an uncharacteristic posture.

To bring on the Adrenalin attack they will often initiate a paranoid internal dialogue and let their imagination run wild, so that they create the necessary threat and the resulting fear that will trigger Adrenalin release.

My Mother’s favorite was the unknown assailant, the burglar or the rapist sneaking up the back stairs in the middle of the night. She would prowl around the house at night whenever my Father was away, on eternal watch (with a shotgun no less) for criminals who never came.

Looking back on it, it all seems so sad and predictable. The abused child unconsciously learned about— and took refuge in— Adrenalin, so the adult still felt the physical and mental need for that excitement, that sudden charge of overwhelming power.

She was actually a good woman, but like all addicts, she was in the thrall of something that she could not control and that led her to do many destructive things to herself and others. My older Sister still suffers the after-effects and a tragic sense of loss, and as for me, I was never able to be truly close to my Mother because of it.

My Mother knew that there was a separation between us, and grieved over it, but I don’t think she ever actually knew why. Like all addicts, the addiction seemed — to her at least — to just be part of who she was, and she felt I should be able to accept her as is, which I did, albeit in an eternally guarded fashion.

It’s a terrible thing to have to watch your own parent like a science experiment, and always be on guard, but millions of children who grow up in families afflicted by alcoholism, drug addictions, and mental illnesses have to face this reality every day.

My best friend in Grade School duly noted my Mother’s peculiar rages and behavior. I shrugged and said, “She’s crazy.” But she wasn’t crazy. She was addicted to Adrenalin and unconsciously self-medicating.

Today, there are millions of war veterans, millions of abused women and children, millions of war survivors, millions of people from all walks of life and social classes, who are unconsciously addicted to Adrenalin.

Much of what doctors are calling “PTSD” and “Rage Syndrome” and “Anti-Social Behavior” is Adrenalin addiction that is not being diagnosed and treated.

The various efforts to treat this addiction with mood elevators and sedatives, with meditation and “dis-sociative” activities like arts and crafts, can help— but not cure and not squarely address the actual problem. Until we realize that these people are addicted to Adrenalin we won’t be able to find a cure.

Unfortunately, some Vermin among us, have clued-in to the problem in the sense of marketing products that the addicts crave as stimulation. They produce endless movies that provoke Adrenalin response — horror films, shoot ’em-up, bang-bang live-action films, gruesome war stories, endless “threat” movies of one kind or another.

The Adrenalin Addicts among us gobble it all up like popcorn and candy. They also gobble up the “Nightly News” — and for the same reason and for the same sales pitch: death and destruction, disease and sex crimes. It all serves to pluck away at our adrenal system, like a guitar player strumming our strings.

And we don’t even realize that we are being played.

The last time I saw my Mother she was in a nursing home surrounded by all the machinery and monitors and stainless steel implements of modern medicine. She had been doped up and was disoriented at first, and then she realized that it was really me and that I had come all the way from Alaska to see her.

It had been a grey rainy day with thick cloud cover, but at that exact moment of realization, a brilliant ray of sun broke through and illuminated the joyous smile on her face. She was still beautiful when she smiled, even at 96.

I couldn’t help but feel the wrench of pain: all the love and all the good times lost because of her unconscious addiction, all the closeness and joy that could have been.

Maybe at one time, I could have explained it to her, brought it into her conscious knowledge, so that she could recognize what was going on and maybe — just maybe — she could have learned to control it; but, I was 30 or 40 years old before I actually understood what was going on, and by that time, she was in her late seventies or eighties.

She’d been an Adrenalin Addict since her own sad childhood.

It was too late for her to change and too late for me to salvage a natural relationship with her, but maybe it’s not too late for others reading this to become aware of the silent scourge of Adrenalin Addiction that is gripping America and the rest of the world, too.

Veterans? War refugees? Domestic violence survivors? Abused children? Almost anyone who has suffered certain kinds of prolonged psychological or physical trauma is at risk of developing an addiction to Adrenalin.

Please, for the sake of all these suffering people and for all their families who suffer along with them, take the time to stop and think — to recognize the symptoms and think about how those suffering from this plague have been exposed to violence and threat and developed an addiction to Adrenalin.

Think about what you can do about it. Bring it to the attention of the medical professionals. Take whatever action you can to promote conscious awareness of the damage this unseen “invisible” addiction is causing.

Shame the newscasters for providing a steady diet of threats and despair and pretending that it is news. Shame the “entertainment” industry for feeding all the Adrenalin junkies and making the situation worse.

Take action to prevent Adrenalin Addiction from spreading from household to household and generation to generation. Make people aware of it.

Without my Father and my much older Sister to protect and underwrite my mental and emotional development, I could have been abused by my Mother and could have become an Adrenalin Addict, just as she did.

Adrenalin exists for good reasons, but like every other gift of God, can be twisted and corrupted into something evil. My Mother spent her whole life in near-constant turmoil and caused untold damage to others without ever consciously meaning to harm anyone, and without knowing why.  Millions of other people worldwide are in the same condition.

Help them. Help yourselves, too. Guard your children. Counsel our veterans and their families. Let the survivors of domestic abuse know that they are at risk. Make it a little “mini-ministry” to help heal and calm and spread the word.

What these people need, as my Father so long ago demonstrated when he would Bear-Hug my Mother, is not another ping-pong rush of Adrenalin. What they need is to be loved and reassured, and weaned away from destructive stimuli and behaviors.


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