Food, sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, gaming, prescription pills, relationships, even exercise…all have something in common…..
They are all potential addictions.
But what is addiction? Why does it appear that some people who have had one addiction are more vulnerable to have others? Multiple addictions even?
Is it the age old idea that these people simply have an ‘addictive personality’?
or is it that they just simply lack self-control? Or perhaps both?
But then, perhaps the answer is….neither?
Science tells us there is no such thing as an addictive personality, there is no one identifiable gene that can tell us if someone will develop an addiction. This makes sense, because if they could identify the gene, then they could surely create a cure? This would in essence tell us then that addiction is purely physical, chemical, biological even. But we know this is not the case.
This takes us back to the infamous, nature v nurture debate. This is an age-old argument as to whether we, as adults, are the product of our genes (blame our parents!) or the product of our environment (blame everyone else!).
Perhaps, as children, we simply copy what we see growing up? This is purely the product of our environment….but if this was the case, then each and every child born to addicted parents would become an addict of some kind.
We know that 'children see and children do', but it is too simple to say that we a 'purely the product of our upbringing'...it is simply not true.
So what is it?
What is it that can drive someone to engage repeatedly in behaviours that are self- destructive, harmful and more often than not, eventually life and soul destroying?
Why would a person make the choice to continually behave in a way that puts their lives, families and sanity at risk?
If I had the definitive answer to these questions it is safe to say I would be writing this from the comfort of my own Tropical island!
Addiction and it’s treatment is big business, big money makers for pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, recovery centres and indeed psychological services. Treatments can range from the traditional ‘talk therapy’ to more extreme aversion therapies such as implants under the skin and dispersal medications that may cause serious adverse side effects when a targeted substance is ingested.
For those with a more comfortable lifestyle, the option for inpatient private treatment akin to an all-inclusive holiday is there also.
However, some individuals in fact, have had opportunity to try all of these treatments together and yet still, they often relapse or develop a new addiction.
Why does this occur?
What possible explanation could there be to explain a constant cycle of self- destructive behaviours regardless of consistent negative and often painful outcomes?
But more importantly, what does it really take to overcome the scourge of addiction??
Stay tuned to this blog if you are interested in finding out what could be the most simple answer of all when it comes to addiction…..