In Episode 33 of Let’s Talk Wellness Now, Dr. Deb invites Dr. Sam Shay, DC, onto the podcast for an incredible conversation about addiction! Dr. Shay and Dr. Deb discuss various forms of addiction (including screen addiction, phone addiction, email addiction, video games, gambling, sugar, social media, TV shows, and more), and the many ways they can negatively impact your physical, emotional and psychological health. Dr. Shay specifically touches on his own sugar and video game addition, and details some of the mechanisms involved in keeping an end user “glued” to a specific vice.
Hormonally, you’ve got the adrenal system. So hormonally, what happens is that when you’re engaged in something… you’ve got this kind of excitement or thrill, or it’s shocking, which is what most of TV dramas are… or you’re looking at the news… reading about generally terrible things that are going on… you’re firing your adrenal system. So the adrenal system fires cortisol, and if it’s fired enough it fires adrenaline – and that’s your stress response system…
You’ve got the whole loop of when the stress system takes over, then it effects your whole physiology, it effects the way you think, it re-wires your brain, it effects your sex hormones, it effects decision making, it effects short-term thinking, it effects long-term thinking, it effects decision making, it effects your posture, it effects your digestion – all these things because your adrenal system is designed to keep you alive from running away from a wolf or a tiger that’s trying to eat you.
Dr. Shay highlights interesting 2018 data regarding screen time usage in the United States, unpacks the B.E.A.S.T. (Believe a stressful thought, Emotional/Physical Stress Response, Anesthetize, SMOLDER in consequences, Terrible (stressful thoughts)) model, speaks on ways to recognize an addiction versus a hobby, and the benefits from breaking free from addiction.
When you free yourself of this B.E.A.S.T. cycle, whether it’s sugar, or cookies, or cakes, or sweet coffees… whether it’s you’re checking your emails, or checking the news, or Facebook, or social media, or Netflix, or video games, or any type of screen activity, or any other vice, the good news is – once you free yourself from this cycle, from the B.E.A.S.T. cycle, a huge amount of energy and creativity is released.
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