Seemingly unpopular opinion: having different experiences of situations, or forgetting details of those situations, or changing your mind about something and then providing an update on that later, are all behaviours that are not “lying” or “manipulation”, and these are overly harsh words to apply to common human behaviours and genuine mistakes.
This is something I have encountered quite a LOT in the last 4+ years, and I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while. There’s a common trend these days to label so many (relatively innocent) behaviours within relationships with the buzzwords of trauma and abuse-centric vernacular. “Manipulation” is a common one, “gaslighting” is another. While it’s good we have these tools and words to recognise, label, and better understand our experiences and trauma, I fear sometimes their overuse ends up doing more harm than good. Let me do my best to try and explain what I mean.
Back in November/December 2018, I was that person that felt I was being repeatedly lied to/about and manipulated in a malicious way. I was MAD about it, I was HURT, and I didn’t spare a minute in labelling them as a liar or manipulator and telling them as much. They were pretty hurt about it. They lashed out about it in hurtful ways. It all escalated to a point that it probably shouldn’t have.
In this second part of our series on ADHD and substance use (read Part 1 here), we will be discussing the neurological aspects of ADHD. Harm reduction exists in many facets of life, and can take on many forms. Here at Trip! Project, one of the ways we practice harm reduction is through the spreading of knowledge and awareness of various substances, and phenomena related to taking/using these substances. The idea behind this is that knowledge is power! Having an awareness and understanding of the substances we take and the ways in which they interact with our brains is one way to make more informed and hopefully safer choices when it comes to substance use. The same can be said about our own brain chemistry and structure! Knowing how or why we experience the things we do can help us make informed choices and take better care of our brains.
This next installment aims to share some of the neurological aspects of ADHD to inform not only why those of us with ADHD gravitate towards the substances we do, but also to undo some of the shame and stigma associated with those habits. Some of these habits are wired into us on a neurological level! That’s not to say we have no control over our decisions or choices. Understanding why we make certain choices can go a long way in overcoming the shame many of us feel around our actions and impulses. Sometimes we all need a little reminder not to stigmatise the way that different brains operate, and to remember that trying to make changes to your mental wiring (if that’s what you want for yourself) can be incredibly challenging! So, with that, we hope to share some info on what specifically is happening on a neurological level when it comes to the ADHD experience.
Welcome to the first installment in a multi-part series on ADHD and substance use (read Part 2 here)! In this series we will be going in-depth on topics specific to adult ADHD and substance use including: common symptoms and behaviours of ADHD, the neurological aspects of ADHD, common habits around recreational drug use and self-medicating, and the prescription medications most commonly used by people with ADHD. This first part of the series hopes to give a brief overview clarifying common ideas and misconceptions about ADHD and how substance use can become a part of the ADHD lived experience.
You may have heard or read somewhere that it’s more likely for people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to develop substance use issues or even just generally struggle with self-moderation when it comes to substances. In fact, as many as a quarter of adults seeking treatment for substance use related disorders also have an ADHD diagnosis.
That also doesn’t account for all the people that may suspect they have ADHD but are undiagnosed, or those that maybe don’t even realize they have it to begin with. But how does that actually present itself in real life? What does it look like to be an adult with ADHD trying to help mitigate some of those symptoms with substances and self-medicating? First we have to start with outlining what some of those symptoms are. Continue reading