Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome (EDS) Do You Have It?
With this post, I thought that I would talk about something that most of you have probably never heard of; Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome (EDS). For years, I questioned myself on why I felt compelled to use a drug which was seemingly destroying my life in slow and agonizing fashion. I wondered why it was only the opiates that I enjoyed abusing, but not so much any other drugs. Don’t get me wrong, I did my fair share of pot smoking, but it never felt as good to me as the opiates did. I finally just figured that opiates/opioids were my “drug of choice,” that I really loved the pleasure that they gave me, and that was that. But, the question still lingered as time passed.
The older I got, the more I researched the cause of my addiction. I read articles from all different viewpoints and opinions on the subject. It wasn’t until a couple years ago, that I started entertaining the fact that maybe I was lacking some sort of natural chemical that was causing me to pop vicodin’s. That’s when I stumbled upon this idea of endorphin deficiency, so I began my research just to see how deep the rabbit hole would go.
As humans, our brain creates natural chemicals that are nearly identical to the active ingredients found in prescription or illegal opiates and opioids. Those chemicals are called endorphins, dynorphins and enkephalins. They serve to alleviate pain, when necessary, and to give us an overall sense of well-being. The production of these endogenous (internal) opioids is increased during times of excitement, pain and orgasm. But, what happens to you if your body has trouble with the production of these natural opiates? That’s what I wanted to find out.
Growing up, I was always an introvert by nature. I felt different in that it was hard for me to deal with crowds. I was hypersensitive to everything around me, and very emotionally sensitive as well. I would get sick easily, I felt deep emotional connections to strangers when I would see them in a state of pain. I always just figured that I was a “Mama’s Boy.” It wasn’t until I tried opiates for the first time, that I realized something had been missing in my life. When on an opiate buzz, I was talkative, unafraid and outgoing. I felt like I could hang with everyone on a social level, I felt invincible. Now, before you start telling me that anyone would feel amazing after a few vicodin’s, I would have to say that that is completely false. After I began my love afair with opiate’s, I naturally thought that everyone else would love it too, but I was wrong. A lot of my friend’s hated the stuff. They said it made them feel sick, queezy and anti-social. I couldn’t understand why, maybe it was because their brain’s already had all the endorphins they needed, and any outside opiates would result in “overkill.” Either way, I could care less, I had found my niche, and that’s all that mattered.
Fast forward to the present day, after years of opiate abuse, I’ve finally figured out better ways to deal with my endorphin deficiency without an external source of opiates. Super extreme workouts where I do wind sprints until I feel like I’m going to throw up, are one way that I give my endorphin system the boost that it needs to keep me feeling good. Or, taking risks or overcoming fears that shoot adrenaline through my body and hold me over for a day or so, have become the norm. I’m fast becoming an entrepreneur because I need that high-stress level to continually release my much needed fix day in and day out. And, my massive consumption of anything chocolate has started raising some serious eyebrows. I’ve become a slave to activities that push me to my utter limit. That’s the only way that I can feel normal. Otherwise, I fall into states of depression that put me on that pill-popping path to self-destruction. It’s the easy way (drugs) or the hard way (extremism), no in-between.
I recently stumbled across this website which explained my ailment in utter detail. All of those characteristics that I had grown up with are mentioned on this site as symptoms of low endogenous opioid levels. It was a light-bulb moment for me, and I hope that it opens some of your eyes into what exactly many of us are dealing with.
“If you’ve tried opiates/opioids, and already know they can make you feel ‘normal’, that’s another confirmation that listening to me is a good idea. The key concept here for you to understand, is that by consuming opioids from an external source, you are properly compensating for your endogenous opioid deficiency by consuming a substance that is nearly identical to what your body is lacking.”
Modern medicine has been severely handicapped by DEA regulation of the very drugs that can help us cope with endogenous opioid deficiency. Doctor’s are forced to focus on other areas of the brain (seratonin/dopamine), and prescribe drugs (Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac etc…) that only mask the issue. Don’t get me wrong, I hated having to use vicodin to make me feel better because it was only a temporary solution, and when I would stop, I would be worse off then when I started. But, I also hate having to be so damn extreme in my ways, in order to jumpstart my brain into producing it’s own opiates. Sometimes, I’m unable to exercise or do acupunture to feel better, so I slowly start backsliding into depression. What about those people who can’t exercise at all, what kind of relief do they get?
It’s important to understand the problem before it can be addressed, but the “understanding” part has been hampered for years and years. We can only hope that someday there will be safe and effective drugs that address this issue, and that in the near future, we can see recovery centers open up that focus strictly on increasing the brain’s natural ability to generate opiates instead of just covering up the real reason why we get hooked on vicodin, oxycontin and other opioids.