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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?

dreamspeak

ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:


i've had a lot of work to do, which is nice because i'm a freelancer and things tend to slow down in the summer, so the more work i get now, the less i have to worry about later [in theory].i started watching the handmaid's tale. i was a little hesitant because i didn't actually like the novel very much; i found it heavy-handed and predictable. the series relies on the novel for about 80% of its first season plot but i nevertheless find it spellbinding. where i felt that the novel beat readers with its politics, the series does a better job of connecting with the humanity in the midst of politics. i'm dithering on starting season two because i am a serial binger and once i know damn well that starting the second season will soon consign me to the horrors of having to wait a week between episodes. i don't know if i can han…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…

mental health mondays :: separate and not equal

given the ubiquitousness of racial disparities in the united states, there's no reason why we should be surprised that they exist in mental health care. unlike a lot of other areas, the people in power have acknowledged the problem for decades. but the situation isn't getting any better. 
the united states surgeon general documented the differences between white and non-white mental health care back in 2001 so we can assume that it was already a known problem at that point. two years later, a presidential commission said the same damn thing and groups like the national association for mental health seized on this to develop guidelines on how to bridge the ethnic gap. from the turn of the century through 2007, the number of papers and publications talking about the mental health care gap spiked. the issue was viewed as being on par with obesity when it came to urgent problems.

starting in 2004, researchers undertook a massive project that involved the records of nearly a quart…