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Are we all addicts?

Addiction is one of the behaviors which everyone thinks won’t happen to them, but mother nature is out to prove otherwise. It turns out that scientifically our minds are wired to become attached and even addicted to things to a certain extent. In fact, it is even necessary to form these types of attachments to live a healthy life. However, the problem is that at some point a line has to be drawn for them not to become harmful behaviors. 

According to G. Alan Marlatt director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington: “Everyone engages in addictive behaviors to some extent because such things as eating, drinking, and sex are essential to survival and highly reinforcing. We get immediate gratification from them and find them very hard to give up, indeed. That’s a pretty good definition of addiction.” So, everyday behavior can be a certain type of addiction too, but one which does not get in the way of us performing and carrying out other tasks. 

Physiologist and pharmacologist Steven Childers states: “The inescapable fact is that nature gave us the ability to become hooked because the brain has dearly evolved a reward system, just as it has a pain system. The fact that some things may accidentally or inadvertently trigger that system is somewhat beside the point. Our brains didn’t develop opiate receptors to tempt us with heroin addiction. The coca plant didn’t develop cocaine to produce what we call crack addicts. This plant doesn’t care two hoots about our brain. But heroin and cocaine addiction certainly tell us a great deal about how brains work. And how they work is that if you taste or experience something that you like, that feels good, you’re reinforced to do that again. Basic drives, for food, sex, and pleasure, activate reward centers in the brain. They’re part of human nature.”

It is one of the reasons why positive reinforcement and reward systems are the right way to wire the brain towards good behavior. When the brain acknowledges that it has received a reward and feels good, it is triggered to perform that behavior again. Therefore, everyone can be considered a potential addict in one way or another and should always evaluate their behavior from this perspective. 

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