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Old 04-11-2006, 10:30 PM   #1
Tsubasa
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Addiction Discussion
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I see a lot of posts on here saying "this is so addicting" or "this is not addictive at all" or "addiction ruins lives". Lots and lots of different things. I was kinda hoping to start a thread where we just talk about the intricacies of addiction. Some questions/topics to potentially start the discussion:

Do you believe that previous addiction affects susceptability when trying a new substance, or do you feel you are more prepared for the risks?

What substances in particular do you feel are most addictive and why?

Is addiction a mental weakness one can overcome?

If you have ever been addicted, and are comfortable with sharing, perhaps share your story. (or parts of it)

If once addicted, can you safely return to the substance after "kicking the habit" and safely use it again?

If anyone else has other questions or general ideas please post them
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:55 PM   #2
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Well, the most common addictions seem to be mental addictions, although the physical ones are much more intense and also very widespread... but the average person seems to be affected by mental addictions pretty easily.

personally (and i know to a lot of people this will sound fucking retarded and invalid as an addiction), i exhibited all the signs of addiction when I got really into WoW (world of warcraft - lol, i bet you all know a friend that does nothing but play it)... cut off appointments with friends, played 10+ hours a day, grades dropped, i rationalized everything, and i was always thinking about it when i wasn't playing it. a lot of people brush off addictions like this by saying "well, it's not physically addictive, so stfu about it and suck it up", but, well, gambling is exactly the same way, and that's an accepted addiction.

i know WoW isn't exactly a psychadelic substance lol, but i thought it might bring some perspective into the mental addiction problems... that even the most unlikely things can be addictive (even this forum!)

my personal idea is that most addictions (if they aren't physically strengthened) seem to grow when people percieve that their life is boring, and that they have lots of free time to fill (thus filling it with their addiction), and that eventually the addiction takes over more than free time.

next?
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:00 PM   #3
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My little bit to start: I read a very interesting book recently, Cracked. While not particularly scholarly, it presents a doctor's view of a rehab clinic in LA. It provides some very general overviews of the theory of addiction which runs this particular clinic.

The doctor tells how when people fail to learn to cope with overwhelming emotion, they learn to run from it instead. Physiologically, their "fight or flight" response is activated. The instinct that activates the the sympathetic nervous system.

However, once users start using drugs to escape their emotions and worlds (notice how the drugs are used as an escape and not recreationally, or both, in this theory) the drugs become recognized by the body as a normal part of the sympathetic nervous system response to "danger" (in the form of intense emotion).

And so, the body becomes convinced that overwhelming emotion is a life or death situation and if the drug is not present after the body has become accustomed to it, it demands it from the user. So long story short, it leads to the body seeing drugs as a life or death situation.

Poorly explained, I'm sure, but I will revise later if anyone has questions. Sorry, I'm in a bit of a rush right now
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:03 PM   #4
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I think that your WoW story kind of fits with the sympathetic nervous response theory. It's very easy to use computer games, particularly RPGs, to escape reality. You can hide from your emotions in another world, just as you would with drugs. I believe that this would carry all the psychological signs of addiction if not the physical aspect of having a drug your body believes it needs. By no means, do I believe that you require a physical substance to be addicted.
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Old 04-12-2006, 12:12 AM   #5
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the thing i found most interesting about the whole "escape reality" idea was that my normal, everyday-sort-of-boring reality became absolutely abhorred. i just started being really dissatisfied with the world outside of a fucking video game, and i realize that that's a sign of my own personal addiction - if i ever stop using a substance and my view of the world turns negative, i know there's a problem.
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Old 04-12-2006, 12:40 AM   #6
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unfortunately, the neurochemistry of addiction is disheartening. the changes that occur in the brain only increase one's susceptibility to future addiction (delta Fos B and CREB are the key players in this). it really is a vicious cycle that cannot be truly escaped. the cycle isn't mental either--it's biological, imbedded within the neural networks permanently.
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Old 04-12-2006, 12:56 AM   #7
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Then couldnt it be said that music can have the potential of creating addiction. Then shouldnt we ban music beucase it can be used to escape our problems. :P
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Old 04-12-2006, 04:58 AM   #8
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Yes, physical addiction is "burned" into your neural pathways, but psychological addiction is up for debate I think. The computer game is one example. But people get addicted to things like television, and yes, music. I think that you could argue that music can be addictive.

However, we don't ban everything that's addictive, that's clear enough. Nor do I think that every addiction in every person is at a level we could consider "dangerous". The activity we're addicted to varies in level of worry. Drugs, for example, take you very far away from reality in some cases and do physical harm to your body. Computer games can take hours of time, I'm sure Wonderboy will back me up on that. Television is the same way. Music doesn't have as big of an impact on society as an addiction, because it is an activity that can accompany actually being present in life. We listen to music while we read, work, drive, party...it's rare to see anyone who withdraws into music so fully it becomes a problem.
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:33 PM   #9
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Yeah, if you banned everything that was potentially addictive, there'd be nothing to do, haha! I mean, my dad is completely addicted to work, and it has positive and negative effects on his life.

That's interesting that having an addiction makes you more susceptible to future ones. I would have thought it was the other way around, that on a cognitive level you would notice your own symptoms and be able to stop it easier.
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Old 04-12-2006, 08:29 PM   #10
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I think that perhaps, physiologically, you are more susceptible to addiction once the neural pathways have been formed. But I wonder if psychologically you would be less susceptible for having experienced it before.
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