Characterized by changes in the brain which result in a compulsive desire to use a drug. A combination of many factors including genetics, environment and behavior influence a person's addiction risk, making it an incredibly complicated disease. The new science of addiction considers all of these factors – from biology to family – to unravel the complexities of the addicted brain.
Definition of Addiction
The definition is:
When you have to carry out a behaviour even when you don’t really want to … its feeling compelled to do something.
Have you felt this way … I know I have.
What does it apply to?
Well anything that can’t pass a test regarding the above definition; such as, eating, smoking, drinking, shopping, gaming, sex, keeping fit, gambling, well you name it.
Alex Riley recently ran a 3-pt series for the BBC where he looked into how some of the largest corporations, selling some of the best-known products on the High Street, manage to persuade us their product is the best one for us! The programmes were themed around the Super-brands, and fell into 3-categories:
The Amygdala and Desire
Part of each of these programmes involved demonstrating through the use of MRI brain-scans how the Amygdala (part of the Cerebral Cortex of the brain) is programmed towards pleasure and away from pain, and is a basic instinct!
It showed how these innate instincts in search of both the feel-good-factor and safety are what marketers play on.
So we just fall for it and further on into this article you can see more information as to why you shouldn’t beat yourself up for it.
As for the marketers, it’s simple, these are some of the shrewdest companies in the world and they’re bound to hire the best.
It’s not meant in one way or another … I think it’s just a reflection of the intelligent times we live in and we always have choice, especially once we raise our conscious awareness and become more consciously aware of what drives our choices.
What are the Scientific findings?
In an article first published online 29 Jan 2010 involves the following scientific findings by these scientists with a detailed summary below this:
- Joseph Frascell
- Marc N Potenza
- Lucy L Brown
- Anna Rose Childress
Shared Brain Vulnerabilities Open The Way For Non-Substance Addiction
For more than half a century, since the beginning of formal diagnostics, our psychiatric nosology has compartmentalized the compulsive pursuit of substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, heroin, nicotine) from non-substance (e.g., gambling, food, sex) rewards.
Emerging brain, behavioral, and genetic findings challenge this diagnostic boundary, pointing to shared vulnerabilities underlying the pathological pursuit of substance and non-substance rewards.
Working groups for the fifth revision of the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-V), are thus considering whether the nosologic boundaries of addiction should be redrawn to include non-substance disorders, such as gambling, etc.
This review discusses how neuro-biological data from problem gambling, obesity, and normal-states-of-attachment (romantic infatuation, sexual attraction, maternal bonds) may help us in the task of carving addictions at a new joint.
Diagnostic re-carving may have a positive effect on addiction research, stimulating discovery of crossover pharmaco-therapies with benefit for both substance and non-substance addictions. There is a down-loadable .pdf of the whole report (297 pgs) if you’d like the link.
Changing Addictive Behaviours
And I think it does help us understand that although we are not wholly responsible for the causes, we are fully able to get on board with making the necessary changes where we want to have a different set of behaviours.
As that is something I fully know to be pliable and not set-in-stone … and making the decision to have another set of behaviours is within our sphere of choice, in fact it is only you that can make such a decision that will affect some real change for you.
Taking The First Steps
And this can be exciting as well as scary! But you know how it is, quite often before deciding on a plan-of-action we frighten ourselves half-to-death with all manner of ideas and notions of this, that and the other, but the reality of these tools and techniques and the general process is that it and they are far gentler than you can ever imagine.
Yet the impact they have on changing something, is subtle and long lasting, as it changes at the deepest levels of the subconscious mind and makes changes along the neural pathways where behaviour patterns are held.