Understanding Addiction and Addictive Behavior

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An addictive behavior is a matter of continuing to use some substance or do some behavior despite the fact that's having negative consequences for you. I think that you simply loose control. You know Hemingway has this great line about helping people lose money, or how they go broke, and he says well it happens gradually then all of a sudden.

And that's the way addicts sort of describe it in a certain way. I was going along and I was smoking a cigarette here and there and all of a sudden I'm smoking tobacco today. That's the end game of addiction and assuming that they want their lives to be back in the form of family staying out of jail, employment etcetra.

That's the mission. The mission is sort of a multi-dimensional mission and generally the easiest way to get to that is abstinence depending on the substance we're talking about. But, if we're talking about cigarette smoking then there's particular domain that you want to improve.

You want to improve your health, you want to improve your ability to walk up a flight of stairs. You want to improve the non disruption of your work. So, that you don't have to go ut during the day to smoke a cigarette. So, the remaining 20% of Americans at this point have particular goals and that.

If you talk about other substances, severe addictions in those substances, it really has to do with sort of putting people's lives back together again. But, the domains that are affected, vary by the person and they are going to have to decide which parts are important. You have plenty of people who don't admit the problems which is part of addiction, is not admitting to problems until you quit for then line, until they divorce their family and they've lost their house but they're still working everyday.

The people whose identity is about their work and that's the last thing to go, and they don't come in for the problem until it's work related. Other people come in with problems of different stages. They get incarcerated, or they lose a marriage or something like that. So, it really depends on the person.

But I think the mistake is that it's purely about quantity of drug ingested. What matters is the quality of life across a variety of domains that a person wants to change.