Drug Addicts, Behavior Addicts, Bloggers
BOOK REVIEW: In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts, Close Encounters with Addiction, by Gabor Mate, M.D. Drug addicts have a limited stock of substances to choose from. A limited repertoire. Drug addicts have fewer escape routes than those available to behavioral addicts. How is the choice made? Why am I addicted to self-healing and blogging while other people are addicted to sex or sports?
Emotional Connection Addiction
Maybe in infancy you were not cuddled but you were spoken to and taught to read at an early age. Your communication system became an important conduit of emotional connection with the world. There is an emptiness that lies at the heart of addiction and some people can fill the hole with words.
Properly nurtured children do not need to sooth themselves
People who cannot find or receive love need to find substitutes. That’s where addiction comes in. Addiction is the lazy pilgrim’s path to transcendence. Children whose emotionally nurturing relationships with adults give them a strong sense of themselves do not need to soothe themselves by passively taking in food, entertainment or drugs. The drug and obesity epidemics demonstrate a psychological and spiritual emptiness at the core of consumer society.
All addiction is dopamine addiction
The so-called nymphomaniac or female sex addict, is not addicted to sex at all. She is addicted to the dopamine rewards that flow from the feeling of being desired and desirable. The addict is always seeking the dopamine hit of new experiences.
Compulsive sexual promiscuity, like all addictions, serves to help the addict avoid experiencing unpleasant emotions. It takes a lot of discipline and courage to work through a negative thought and negative emotions. Replacing a negative emotion with a positive one is the core of addictive behavior
Addictions can never truly replace the life needs they temporarily displace. The false needs they serve, no matter how often they are gratified, cannot leave us fulfilled. The brain can never feel that it has had enough, that it can relax and get on with other essential business. It’s as if after a full meal you were left starving and had to immediately turn your efforts to procuring food again. In a person with addictive behaviors, the orbitofrontal cortex and its associated neurological systems have been tricked from childhood onward into valuing false wants above real needs. Hence, the desperation of the behavioral addict. The false urgency is to have that want answered immediately, as if it really were an essential requirement. The hungry ghost is never satisfied.