Dealing with Addiction

Note: This is an urgent post since addiction is a serious problem that needs immediate help as and when it starts showing out its symptoms. Researchers give various means of handling addiction and retrieving addicts from the brink of disaster (or in most cases, from disaster itself). However, a clear understanding of why and how addiction occurs is a must to overcome this menace.

First of all, let me define addiction. It’s the urge to do something continuously and regularly to the point wherein it becomes a habit that can’t be broken without external help or in very rare cases sheer willpower.

And second, what are common substances that otherwise normal people get addicted to? The immediate thought upon hearing the word addiction leads to alcohol and/or drugs. But addiction can also extend to other substances like fast food, VIDEO GAMES (which is a rather growing problem, especially in first world countries), etc.

Now to the content.

What makes me write THIS post right here, right now, instead of other tech advances? Because addiction also is an important issue plaguing the FUTURE of untold millions, and as a FUTURIST, I must also be able to address the issue of addiction. What’s the use of our advancements as FUTURISTS if a good chunk of our own populace can’t benefit from it anyway?

What creates addiction?

Our brain is 80% water and 20% fat and is made up of an average of 100 billion neurons. But our brain has an important system which is called the REWARD SYSTEM. And what exactly is this REWARD SYSTEM? According to Wikipedia, the REWARD SYSTEM is a group of neural structures that are responsible for incentive salience (i.e., “wanting” or desire), pleasure (i.e., “liking” or hedonic value), and positive reinforcement. Reward is the attractive and motivational property of a stimulus that induces appetitive behavior – also known as approach behavior – and consummatory behavior. For those interested, further details are given in the Wikipedia article linked above. Credit for this statement goes to Wikipedia.

This article by the National Institute on Drug Abuse perfectly explains everything one needs to know regarding how the brain works and how drugs affect the functioning of the brain. Treatment approaches for drug abusers are given here. Credits to National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Articles from Harvard and Colorado explain the brain reward system and addiction beautifully. Credits to Harvard and Colorado respectively.

NCBI research articles that might be useful for those further interested: Paper 1 and Paper 2. Credits to NCBI.

So Iniyavel, you’ve given us articles and resources to treat drugs, but you also mentioned VIDEO GAMES? Will these articles help with video games as they do with drugs and alcohol? My answer is a big YES. Video games, porn, and pretty much every other HEDONISTIC pursuit is nothing more than exploiting the brain’s reward system. There are 3 types of rewards:

  1. Primary rewards: food to live.
  2. Intrinsic rewards: when we win a tough game, for instance.
  3. Extrinsic rewards: money we earn through work.

The brain’s reward system is exploited for intrinsic rewards like winning a tough game. In the past, rewinding back to the 80s and 90s, we had mostly single or a maximum of double player games using consoles like the NES, SNES, Commodore 64, Sega Genesis, etc, and didn’t play via the Internet which we started in the 2000s. Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) can get especially addictive since they DON’T HAVE A DEFINED END and also they KEEP ADDING UPDATES to keep their business running. For example, the notorious World of Warcraft (Credit to Wikipedia), which was the poster boy for MMORPGs, launched in 2004. I point to you several articles on why gaming addiction is not a light issue to dismiss so easily.

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/06/health/video-games-addiction-gentile-feat/

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00608/full

http://theweek.com/articles/451660/psychology-video-game-addiction

http://www.vice.com/read/video-game-addiction-is-destroying-american-lives-456

http://www.psychguides.com/guides/video-game-addiction-symptoms-causes-and-effects/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4137782.stm

http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/74492,chinese-gamer-dies-after-15-day-session.aspx

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394903/Rebecca-Colleen-Christie-jailed-25-years-allowing-daughter-Brandi-Wulf-STARVE-death-played-World-Warcraft.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8600517.stm

Reading all these articles will take around 2 hours. But how similar is this to drug addiction?

And WHY exactly do they get addictive? Because IF THEY CAN’T ACHIEVE IN REAL LIFE, they prefer to live instead in a world where they can be everything they ever wanted and not what they don’t want to be. After all, why struggle when you can take the easiest way out? Alas, this is where the problem lies.

The BEST solution to PREVENT addiction is to REWARD for changing behavior and not using PUNISHMENT except in the most extreme scenario.

For further details, refer to the articles above and contact a reliable doctor/hospital to cure the illness of addiction.

Thanks a lot to all my readers.

That’s it for today. See you all next time. Till then, it’s bye… and good night… from Iniyavel!

April 10, 2016, 01:44 AM.

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