Why is addiction on the rise? Access is a real game changer!
“Food, sex, gambling and drugs – availability these days is much greater than it was in the past. All these factors combine in complex ways – and I’m sure we don’t understand them all – to increase the probability of problematic use in a variety of things. Major risk factors for addiction, such as deprivation and childhood trauma, are still important predictors for how easily your dopamine system can be hijacked, says Robinson – but you have laden on top of that ubiquitous cues, more potent formulations and increased availability”.
Change has outpaced our ability to keep up! This may have always been true to some extent, but today’s challenges have absolutely overwhelmed us. Technology has made ideas, images, formulas, techniques, instructions, advice, products, opportunities, possibilities, news, and events, so accessible as to make them downright dangerous. We are inundated with information and, for the most part, unable to process it successfully. The resulting psychological exhaustion and confusion leaves us in a state of submissive compliance. Perfect for maintaining the status quo, whether it suits us or not. In other words, whether we’re the lady or the maid, the gentleman or his servant. Conforming and accepting is held up as the gold standard, rebelling and complaining are admonished as sour grapes and simple jealousy!
When I was a child there were things around that were kept out of the reach, things considered inappropriate, like Playboy magazines, or medications, cigarettes, or easy access to sweets. That didn’t keep them away necessarily, but the distinctions between right and wrong seemed pretty clear. Not so much these days. ‘Violence’ dominates the ‘entertainment’ industry, directors are determined to out disgust each other, and video game creators are doing the same. We have totally lost the ability to protect ourselves and our children from gratuitous violence sold to us as entertainment. Drug companies have gone from producing medicine to creating and designing drugs for profit. Our values are being determined by institutions that have become corrupt, where the bottom line is the only consideration, and our society is suffering as a result.
Though only 20% of us are susceptible to addictions that result in disaster all of us are vulnerable to influences, many that we’re only vaguely aware of, that have a significant influence on our daily lives and could be classified as addictions. Desire or fixation, passion or obsession, are all words we use to describe both ambition and addiction. We are all vulnerable and we are all effected somewhat negatively whether we recognize it or not. Seeds of expectation and desire, planted well before we’d developed any critical thinking skills, control most of our choices and decisions without our full cognitive awareness.
What to do? Honestly, there’s no escape, and there’s no ignoring it either. Communication is our only hope to help our children, family, and friends to navigate the minefield where so many steps can lead to disaster! Even in the best-case scenario seeds are planted without our consent, or even knowledge. Our life goals and expectations are being created, manipulated and nourished by eager educators, manufactures, retailers, and industries too, using everything they know, and have, to seduce us to accept their world view, their values, and their products. Our perception and understanding have become progressively overwhelmed and controlled by cultural influences that are increasingly powerful and ubiquitous. Communication, conversations that are honest and sincere, lead to relationships that are loving and significant. Relationships that are strong enough turn feelings of shame and embarrassment into guilt and responsibility.