Narrow behaviourist thinking permeates political and social policy and medical practice, the childrearing advice dispensed by 'parenting experts' and academic discourse. We keep trying to change people's behaviours without a full understanding of how and why those behaviours arise. 'Inner causes are not the proper domain of psychology, ' writes Roy Wise, an expert on the psychology of addiction, and a prominent investigator in the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the U.S.A.3 This statement seems astonishing, coming from a psychologist. In reality, there can be no understanding of human beings, let alone of addicted human beings, without looking at 'inner causes, ' tricky as those causes can be to pin down at times. Behaviours, especially compulsive behaviours, are often the active representations of emotional states and of special kinds of brain functioning. As we have seen, the dominant emotional states and the brain patterns of human beings are shaped by their early environment. Throughout their lifetimes, they are in dynamic interaction with various social and emotional milieus. If we are to help addicts, we must strive to change not them but their environments. These are the only things we can change. Transformation of the addict must come from within and the best we can do is to encourage it. Fortunately, there is much that we can do.
narrow quotesbehaviourist quotesthinking quotespermeates quotespolitical quotessocial quotespolicy quotesmedical quotespractice quoteschildrearing quotesadvice quotesdispensed quotesparenting quotesexperts quotesacademic quotesdiscourse quoteschange quotespeoples quotesbehaviours quotesfull quotesunderstanding quotesarise quotesinner quotesproper quotesdomain quotespsychology quotes quoteswrites quotesroy quoteswise quotesexpert quotespsychology quotesaddiction quotesprominent quotesinvestigator quotesnational quotesinstitute quotesdrug quotesabuse quotesusa3 quotesstatement quotesastonishing quotescoming quotespsychologist quotesreality quoteshuman quotesbeings quotesaddicted quotesinner quotestricky quotespin quotestimes quotesbehaviours quotescompulsive quotesbehaviours quotesactive quotesrepresentations quotesemotional quotesstates quotesspecial quoteskinds quotesbrain quotesfunctioning quotesdominant quotespatterns quotesbeings quotesshaped quotesearly quotesenvironment quoteslifetimes quotesdynamic quotesinteraction quotesmilieus quotesaddicts quotesstrive quotesenvironments quotesthings quoteschange quotestransformation quotesaddict quotesencourage quotesfortunately quotes
The distressing internal state is not examined: the focus is entirely on the outside: What can Ireceive from the world that will make me feel okay, if only for a moment? Bare attention can show her that these moods and feelings have only the meaning and power that she gives them. Eventually she will realize that there is nothing to run away from. Situations might need to be changed, but there is no internal hell that one must escape by dulling or stimulating the mind.
distressing quotesinternal quotesstate quotesexamined quotesfocus quotesireceive quotesworld quotesmake quotesfeel quotesmoment quotesbare quotesattention quotesshow quotesmoods quotesfeelings quotesmeaning quotespower quoteseventually quotesrealize quotesrun quotessituations quoteschanged quoteshell quotesescape quotesdulling quotesstimulating quotesmind quotes
The War on Drugs, from the Hastings-facing window of the Portland Hotel, is manifested in the pregnant Celia kneeling on the sidewalk, handcuffed wrists behind her back, eyes cast on the ground. There was no Detective-Sergeant Gillespie to protect her when, as a little girl, she was raped by her stepfather and subjected to the nocturnal spitting ritual, so in the War on Drugs she has become one of the enemy.
war quotesdrugs quoteshastingsfacing quoteswindow quotesportland quoteshotel quotesmanifested quotespregnant quotescelia quoteskneeling quotessidewalk quoteshandcuffed quoteswrists quotesback quoteseyes quotescast quotesground quotesdetectivesergeant quotesgillespie quotesprotect quotesgirl quotesraped quotesstepfather quotessubjected quotesnocturnal quotesspitting quotesritual quotesdrugs quotesenemy quotes
Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience. A hurt is at the centre of all addictive behaviours. It is present in the gambler, the Internet addict, the compulsive shopper and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden-but it's there. As we'll see, the effects of early stress or adverse experiences directly shape both the psychology and the neurobiology of addiction in the brain.
addictions quotesrooted quotesabuse quotestrauma quotestraced quotespainful quotesexperience quoteshurt quotescentre quotesaddictive quotesbehaviours quotespresent quotesgambler quotesinternet quotesaddict quotescompulsive quotesshopper quotesworkaholic quoteswound quotesdeep quotesache quotesexcruciating quoteshiddenbut quoteseffects quotesearly quotesstress quotesadverse quotesexperiences quotesdirectly quotesshape quotespsychology quotesneurobiology quotesaddiction quotesbrain quotes
Not every story has a happy ending, ... but the discoveries of science, the teachings of the heart, and the revelations of the soul all assure us that no human being is ever beyond redemption. The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists. How to support that possibility in others and in ourselves is the ultimate question.
The addict's reliance on the drug to reawaken her dulled feelings is no adolescent caprice. The dullness is itself a consequence of an emotional malfunction not of her making; the internal shutdown of vulnerability. Vulnerability is our susceptibility to be wounded. This fragility is part of our nature and cannot be escaped. The best the brain can do is to shut down conscious awareness of it when pain becomes so vast or unbearable that it threatens our ability to function. The automatic repression of painful emotion is a helpful child's prime defence mechanism and can enable the child to endure trauma otherwise be catastrophic. The unfortunate consequence is a wholesale dulling of emotional awareness.
addicts quotesreliance quotesdrug quotesreawaken quotesdulled quotesfeelings quotesadolescent quotescaprice quotesdullness quotesconsequence quotesemotional quotesmalfunction quotesmaking quotesinternal quotesshutdown quotesvulnerability quotesvulnerability quotessusceptibility quoteswounded quotesfragility quotespart quotesnature quotesescaped quotesbrain quotesshut quotesconscious quotesawareness quotespain quotesvast quotesunbearable quotesthreatens quotesability quotesfunction quotesautomatic quotesrepression quotespainful quotesemotion quoteshelpful quoteschilds quotesprime quotesdefence quotesmechanism quotesenable quoteschild quotesendure quotestrauma quotescatastrophic quotesunfortunate quoteswholesale quotesdulling quotesawareness quotes
The very same brain centers that interpret and feel physical pain also become activated during experiences of emotional rejection. In brain scans, they light up in response to social ostracism, just as they would when triggered by physically harmful stimuli. When people speak of feeling hurt or of having emotional pain, they are not being abstract or poetic, but scientifically quite precise.
brain quotescenters quotesinterpret quotesfeel quotesphysical quotespain quotesactivated quotesexperiences quotesemotional quotesrejection quotesscans quoteslight quotesresponse quotessocial quotesostracism quotestriggered quotesphysically quotesharmful quotesstimuli quotespeople quotesspeak quotesfeeling quoteshurt quotespain quotesabstract quotespoetic quotesscientifically quotesprecise quotes
A hurt is at the center of all addictive behaviors. . . . The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden""but it's there. As we'll see, the effects of early stress or adverse experiences directly shape both the psychology and the neurobiology of addiction in the brain
A long-term substance abuser, a few months before his death, penned this poem: Went downtown, Hastings and Main, looking for relief from the pain. All I did was find a ticket on a one-way train. ... Give me peace before I die. The track is laid out so well; we all live our private hell; just more tickets on the hell-bound train.
longterm quotessubstance quotesabuser quotesmonths quotesdeath quotespenned quotespoem quotesdowntown quoteshastings quotesmain quotesrelief quotespain quotesfind quotesticket quotesoneway quotestrain quotesgive quotespeace quotesdie quotestrack quoteslaid quoteslive quotesprivate quoteshell quotestickets quoteshellbound quotes
Medical thinking usually sees stress as highly disturbing but isolated events such as, for example, sudden unemployment, a marriage breakup, or the death of a loved one. These major events are potent sources of stress for many, but there are chronic daily stresses in people's lives that are more insidious and more harmful in their long-term biological consequences. Internally generated stresses take their toll without in any way seeming out of the ordinary.
medical quotesthinking quotessees quotesstress quoteshighly quotesdisturbing quotesisolated quotesevents quotessudden quotesunemployment quotesmarriage quotesbreakup quotesdeath quotesloved quotesmajor quotespotent quotessources quoteschronic quotesdaily quotesstresses quotespeoples quoteslives quotesinsidious quotesharmful quoteslongterm quotesbiological quotesconsequences quotesinternally quotesgenerated quotestoll quotesordinary quotes