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hung up

addiction used to refer only a a physical dependence on some substance, often caused by morbid overindulgence in a type of vice (often tolerated in limited measure, but held in suspicion), legal or illegal. in my lifetime, the definition has expanded to include various other sorts of behaviour compulsions, often with no physical link- gambling, shopping and even sex all have their addicts.

the most widely accepted method of treating these disorders has become so-called "step" programs, which guide the addict through a series of milestones until they are deemed to have regained sufficient control of their life. (although it's not strictly related, i'd like to add that i've always been skeptical about these sorts of programs, predicated as they are on convincing the addict that he or she has lost fundamental control of their life on a permanent basis, and must adhere to a set of restrictions in order to survive- essentially replacing one type of powerlessness with another.)

this subject came to mind because of an article i was reading yesterday on internet/ email addiction. i'm sure that the statistics in canada- long among the largest users of new technology- and the united states would be roughly the same. while i'm not sure that the article's reliance on personal testimony as to whether or not respondents for email "necessary" to their lives constitutes a scientific basis for the poll (i consider my refrigerator necessary, but i don't believe i'm addicted to it), but i'm willing to say for the moment that it does constitute one more activity that people engage in compulsively. doubtless some of us will be going into group therapy in the near future to share the trauma of our tendonitis from too much typing, receiving group hugs as congratulations for going a week without facebook or my space (don't ask... my record is not good.)

but with virtually everything that can bring even a small amount of pleasure seemingly susceptible to the forming of addiction, i'm forced wonder whether or not the problem is really with the addictions. after all, one of the hallmarks of any addiction is that it represents an advanced sort of escapism. the one thing that they all have in common is that they allow the addict a portal from their everyday life. curing or containing addiction is a laudable enough goal, but at some point, shouldn't we start asking why such a larger number- a majority, it would seem- are so eager to escape?

Comments

David said…
We had a recent discussion about this... remember mentioning the whole, "Click the button - no mail/ reward. Click it again - get *NEW MESSAGE*/ REWARD" analogy?

New mail triggers that "OOHHH - new thing YAY" mechanism.
flora_mundi said…
yes, i remember...

as it turns out, seeing that you have new blog comments triggers the same response.
David said…
..MUST check feeds obsessively...
David said…
I'm not immune - I have close to... um... 100 feeds... that I check during the day. Some are work related, some are not (like yours here - I'm a subscriber) but I check them 4 times a day, at scheduled times.

I look forward to yours, and get all excited-like when I see you have something new.
martman said…
http://gamblinganon.blogspot.com Free help with your gambling addiction

as long as you're here, why not read more?

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

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the idea isn't particularly farfetched; after all, 52% of men and 28% of women with ptsd will at some time in their lives meet the clinical criteria for addiction. and ptsd is often first identified through habits linked to displaced anxiety. and what gets linked to anxiety more than a demanding job? but drawing the line between the two isn't quite as easy as it looks.

work addiction isn't accepted as an addiction disorder in the way that alcoholism and drug addiction are. that makes it a little difficult to talk …

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it's not uncommon for people to make glib judgments about the mental health of others, because we think that we understand what disorders entail. when i was working in offices, i noticed a lot of this: an immature and garrulous employee being labeled and partially excused because others were certain he had adhd, or a moody and indecisive boss dismissed as bipolar. [as you can imagine, that one struck me as particularly ignorant and, since i was the audience, ironic.] but in the case of trump, even professionals are weighing in on the subject. no fewer than twenty-seven psychiatrists have collaborated on a book called the dangerous case of donald trump. up to now, it's been unde…