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  • My mantra on addiction is, "Not why the addiction, but why the pain."

  • If you want to look at what causes addiction, you have to look at

  • the benefit of addiction...

  • People say, typically, "it gave me pain relief", "escape from stress",

  • "it gave me a sense of connection", "a sense of belonging."

  • The addiction met some essential human need that otherwise

  • wasn't met in that person's life.

  • So all of these states of lacking connection or being isolated

  • of having pain or having too much stress in your life,

  • these are states of emotional pain.

  • And when you look populations of addicts, what you find is that

  • the more adversity in childhood, exponentially the greater

  • the risk of addiction.

  • Which doesn't mean that every person traumatised will become an addict,

  • but it does mean that every addict was traumatised.

  • In my opinion addiction is manifested in any behaviour that a person finds

  • temporary pleasure or relief in, but suffers negative consequences

  • as a result of, and does not give up or cannot give up,

  • despite those negative consequences.

  • Tobacco, alcohol, substances of all kinds.

  • It could also be related to sex, gambling, shopping, eating, work.

  • Virtually any area of human activity can become addictive

  • depending on the person's relationship to it.

  • I had two major addictions in my life.

  • One was to work, and I also had an addiction to shopping,

  • in my case for classical music CDs.

  • One day I spent $8,000 on compact discs.

  • It doesn't matter how many sets of a particular composer's symphonies

  • you already have, you have to get the next one and the next one.

  • In the grip of this shopping fever, I once left a patient in labour

  • and actually went downtown to get the disc and I missed the delivery.

  • That's how impactful it was.

  • Now you may think that's laughable, "How could you compare your addiction

  • to those of your heroin-addicted patients?"

  • My own addicted patients, when I told them about my addictions

  • they didn't laugh or they shook their heads and they said,

  • "Yeah Doc, we get it. You're just like the rest of us."

  • Well the point is that we're all just like the rest of us.

  • The greatest myths on addiction, number one, is that it's genetic.

  • It does run in families, but why does it run in families?

  • If I'm an alcoholic, and if I yell and scream at my kids

  • and then they grew up to soothe themselves with alcohol,

  • did I pass it on to them genetically? Or is that a behaviour they

  • developed because I recreated the same conditions that I grew up in.

  • Now there might be genetic predispositions, but a predisposition

  • is not the same as a predetermination.

  • The other myth around addiction is that it's a choice that people make.

  • And the whole legal system is based on the idea that people are choosing

  • to be addicts, lets punish them for it so as to deter others.

  • Addiction is not a choice anybody makes,

  • it's a response to emotional pain.

  • The other myth is that addiction is restricted to the substance user

  • or to a few losers in our society.

  • It's rife and rampant through our culture.

  • You would think that, with the utter failure of most treatment modalities

  • when it comes to addiction, we would wake up and ask ourselves,

  • "Do we really understand this condition?"

  • But that doesn't seem to happen. We're not looking at its real nature

  • as a response to human suffering because we're not helping people

  • work through and resolve their traumas.

  • So we keep saying, "What's wrong with you?"

  • Instead of asking, "What happened to you?"

  • Thanks for watching.

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  • See you again soon!

My mantra on addiction is, "Not why the addiction, but why the pain."

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B1 addiction pain addict shopping behaviour genetic

Do we need to rethink addiction? | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2020/09/10
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