Everything society thinks it knows about addiction could be wrong…
Johann Hari, the author of “Chasing The Scream”, a New York Times Best-selling Book on the topic of War on Drugs, delivered a TED talk about how our current drug-related policies aren’t helping the people suffering from drug addictions and why he believes that an addict requires more empathy and care than the rest of the public.
The true cause of addiction is largely misunderstood
“We will need to change a lot more than just our drug policies,” Hari said in his TED talk. The most important of those things, according to him, is our perception of the drug addiction problem and what causes it. “What should happen to all those people who are exposed to chemical hooks of painkillers like morphine during or after a treatment? They should become drug addicts, but that doesn’t happen.” Hari claims that a vast majority of us have got a wrong perception about how we get addicted to things (which includes our smartphones, too!).
What causes addiction?
Based on the trials conducted by Prof. Bruce Alexander during the 1970s, it’s quite evident, Hari said, that be it any kind of addiction: pornography, gambling, or drug abuse, it’s caused due to the lack of human connection. “If you are beaten down by life, traumatized or isolated, you will bond with anything that will provide you with some sense of relief,” he mentioned further in the talk.
Human beings need to bond
Talking about people who suffer from substance abuse and other serious addictions, Hari brought up the question as to why negative and self-harming habits are formed over time. “Human beings have this innate and natural need to bond,” he explained further. “You will connect and bond with something because that’s how our nature is, and that’s what we want as human beings. And when we are happy and healthy, we will bond with each other.”
Time to change the definition of “addiction”
“For almost a hundred years now, we have been opposing and singing “war songs” to people who got caught up in drug abuse,” Hari said with disappointment. “We should have been caring for them and singing some love songs to them, instead, because the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety (or de-addiction). The opposite of addiction is connection.” This goes a long way in telling why most people who seek therapy for their addictions rarely find the solution to their problem.