Thursday, November 27, 2008

Addiction: Not a Disease, a Social Pathology


Ninety per cent of the young people who seek treatment for compulsive computer gaming are not addicted.

{ snip }

But the clinic is changing its treatment as it realises that compulsive gaming is a social rather than a psychological problem.

Using traditional abstinence-based treatment models the clinic has had very high success rates treating people who also show other addictive behaviours such as drug taking and excessive drinking.

But Mr Bakker believes that this kind of cross-addiction affects only 10% of gamers. For the other 90% who may spend four hours a day or more playing games such as World of Warcraft, he no longer thinks addiction counselling is the way to treat these people.

"These kids come in showing some kind of symptoms that are similar to other addictions and chemical dependencies," he says.

"But the more we work with these kids the less I believe we can call this addiction. What many of these kids need is their parents and their school teachers - this is a social problem."

{ snip }

For Mr Bakker the root cause of the huge growth in excessive gaming lies with parents who have failed in their duty of care.

{ snip }

Mr Bakker sees a time when addiction centres like Smith & Jones could close down if parents and adults in the community took more responsibility for the habits of their children.

BBC


From my own experience:

People who have any kind of addiction are compensating for something. Usually, they are "functionally miserable," or able to lead normal lives but through a fog of self-doubt, horror from the past, basic depression.

Chemicals and video games give you the signal that life is OK without life being OK, so they're massively addicting. This includes sugar, nicotine, tea, coffee, heroin, video games, sex, sports, violence, marijuana, LSD, psilocybin, methamphetamine, cocaine, chocolate, morphine and DXM, plus many more.

Any compound that triggers a response in your brain, in large enough doses, is going to unleash some dopamine and other neurotransmitters, making a happy effect and side effects -- hallucinations, speediness, giggles, etc.

People come to addiction because they are tired of being miserable and want to fight back. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. There is a personal component to this, in that they are usually low self-esteem, which originates in a screwed up home. It doesn't even need to be violent. Divorce or a parent absent at some job and incommunicative will do it.

There is a social component to it as well, in that these people are often smart individuals who are dismayed at the fact that our society is heading downward. (If you don't see this, you're a delusional blockhead with evidence piled around you.)

Bakker is correct: if you want to treat addiction, start with the parents. Then branch out to society itself: why are our lives pointless? We're chasing money and pleasing the Crowd. What might be better? More focus on culture, on family, on doing things the right way instead of the financially and socially expedient way. What's in the way of this? The peasant revolution and pluralism -- let go of those and we have a decent civilization again.

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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