Friday, October 21, 2011

Age of Addiction

It is no longer the "Age of Aquarius" as the group, The 5th Dimension, sang years ago. (Am I dating myself here?) It now seems to be the "Age of Addiction." Although I am watching other people struggle with various forms of addictions, I am not pointing fingers because I am not immune.

This is what I have learned from studying human development and especially attachment theory. People are the most vulnerable to unhealthy addictions when there is a struggle with attachments issues that can start as early as 6 months of age and are most critical until 3 years old. If the attachment isn't adequately formed especially with the mother and father at those critical years, then other healthy attachments are harder to develop. Thus when something comes along such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling, etc. that tries to mimic the euphoria that a healthy attachment naturally produces, a person is susceptible to being drawn to it. Because those subsititutes don't really produce the genuine good feelings that healthy attachments with loved ones create; there becomes a pattern of engaging more and more in the unhealthy habits because we can't get enough of that which we don't really need, so the craving becomes more intense until we are addicted and have lost power over it.

We really don't need what drugs and all the other habits give us. What we need are close and loving relationships and genuine accomplishments that have socially redeeming value. In fact, all of these habits, especially when they get to the point of addiction, actually get in the way of healthy relationships and other altruistic accomplishments, and thus the pattern becomes a negative cycle because the opportunity for healthy attachments with loved ones becomes even more and more difficult and thus we become even more needy and susceptible.

I want to stay away or be careful of those habits and activities in which there is an anonymous group that has formed. I have have even heard there are treatment centers for facebook addictions and I have to assume that somewhere there is a group that meets and someone introduces themselves as, "Hi, my name is ... and I am an angry bird aholic. Sign me up.

P.S. I thought I came up with the term "age of addiction" until I actually googled it and found this book by someone who is a local psychologist.

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