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What really underlies addiction?

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What really underlies addiction?

Addiction is an incomplete cycle! Hence individuals have the opportunity to make use of something to fight the emptiness they will be experiencing. As such, we see that there are different kinds of addictions besides smoking and drinking, which we are most familiar with. Human beings according to social psychologists are described as social creatures, hence, they have a need to belong and to bond. Human beings have a deep need to form connections, it’s how we feel content, understand who we are and feel we have a purpose in life.

If we cannot connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find in our own environments. We live in a society where adapting and surviving have become essential. We can also see that lack of love and affection within our environments forces individuals to seek that love elsewhere.

People can fall in love with anything at their disposal to feel gratified. Surprisingly, someone can fall in love with cutting their body. Addiction can also be defined by a concept known as the “Mere exposure effect”. What have you been exposed to…? What meaning do you derive or attach to the things you were exposed to? Growing up in an environment where all your family members are alcoholics!

What meaning do you attach to alcohol? What will be your actions thereafter? Growing up in an environment where all your siblings are gamblers and they all praise gambling. How are you going to define gambling? Positively or negatively? What psychological structures would have been created by the mere fact that you were exposed to such activities?

Now, the question that always remains is “What really defines addiction and what the underlying factors are? One writer mentioned… “Our cage primarily determines how our life will be likely to unfold”. Addiction is an adaptation. It’s not an individual, but their cage. Thus the emphasis on the environment in which someone grows up. What meaning do you give to the things around you? It all boils down to the need to belong and to form attachments, fuelling the fixation that an individual develops on a substance or behaviour. The emphasis therefore, is to create and promote a culture where those struggling with substance abuse or behavioural issues can reconnect with the world through relationships, because it has become clear that the lack of human connection is one of the most significant precursors thereto.

Tawanda Mutyoza.

Healing Wings South Africa.

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