state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences
(Redirected from Addictions)

Addiction is a neuropsychological disorder characterized by a persistent and intense urge to engage in certain behaviors, often usage of a drug, despite substantial harm and other negative consequences. Repetitive drug use often alters brain function in ways that perpetuate craving, and weakens (but does not completely negate) self-control.


  • I've lived in prison for a long time now and I've met a lot of men who were motived to commit violence just like me. And without expectation, every one of them was... Deeply influenced and consumed by an addiction to pornography.
  • Monks, these two extremes ought not to be practiced by one who has gone forth from the household life. (What are the two?) There is addiction to indulgence of sense-pleasures, which is low, coarse, the way of ordinary people... and there is addiction to self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable. Avoiding both these extremes, the Tathagata (the Perfect One) has realized the Middle Path; it gives vision, gives knowledge, and leads to calm, to insight, to enlightenment and to Nibbana.
  • The Tabernanthe iboga plant grows in the rainforests of Gabon. It’s a leafy green shrub with fruits that look not unlike fat, orange jalapeño peppers, but it’s the bark of the root from which you extract ibogaine. For centuries it has been used to induce visions in participants in the bwiti ceremony, a traditional, days-long tribal coming-of-age ritual where hallucinogenic visions are understood as a death and rebirth. They believe that iboga enables them to commune with their ancestors (bwiti is roughly translated as ancestor).
    According to the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance, which publishes research and information on ibogaine, this ancestor worship by Gabonese tribes holds that by learning the language of the spirits of things it is possible to communicate with God.
    In the mid-1800s researchers brought a specimen back to France and, 60 years on, ibogaine was being marketed there under the name Lambarène for use as a stimulant. In 1985 a man called Howard Lotsof was awarded the first US patent for its use in treating opioid addiction – two decades earlier Lotsof had himself been an addict when he’d first tried ibogaine. “The next thing I knew,” he told the New York Times in 1994, “I was straight.” But it remained banned in the US even as, by the late 1990s, it was being touted on the nascent internet as a miracle drug for opioid addicts.
  • Renowned addiction expert Gabor Mate believes that addiction is a direct result of the coping mechanisms developed in early childhood to deal with stress, abuse, or trauma (Mate is a member of the Psychotherapist/Trauma camp defined in my book, The Abstinence Myth). He believes in the power of Ayahuasca as a treatment to the underlying psychological distress experienced by people facing addiction.
    "No matter what a person is addicted to—whether it’s eating, shopping, sex, drugs—each addicted person harbors a deep pain, which they may or may not be in touch with. The plant removes the self-created barriers to get in touch with the source of that pain, so you realize what you’ve been running from all of your life.”
  • I do think that people literally get addicted to cell phones and social media, yes. It's important to recognize that addiction is a spectrum disorder, and it is possible to be a little bit addicted. Also, the same brain mechanisms that mediate severe addiction also mediate our minor addictions. So we're all evolutionarily designed to approach pleasure and avoid pain. And that kind of neurobiological wiring is exactly what has kept us alive for millennia. And it's also the very same wiring that makes us all vulnerable to addiction. So I don't think that anybody is immune from this problem. And I do believe that smartphones are addictive. They've been engineered to be addictive and that doesn't really - you know, we don't really need more studies to show that that's true. All you need to do is go outside and look around.
  • one of the recurring themes that has stood out to me is how telling the truth, not just about big, important things in their lives, but about everything, is central to their recovery from addiction. […] And so one of the things I recommend to my patients in addition to, you know, the initial period of the dopamine fast or the abstinence is, I say to them, you know, in this month, I want you to try really hard not to lie about anything. And by that, I mean, not just don't lie about your substance use or your online behaviors or whatever it is, I want you to try really hard not to lie about anything, why you were late to work, why you had […] a second piece of cake or whatever it was. And I warn them that it's really hard because, on average, you know, the average adult tells about one to two lies a day. We all lie. You know, we lie in ways large and small.
  • People far-flung have told me that it saved their lives, it changed their view of addiction or it made a big difference to their families... the book addresses — the origins of addiction and a sane and humane way of treating addiction of all kinds — has not become mainstream practice or awareness yet... When the book came out, we still had a federal government that was completely against supervised injection sites, for example, or the provision under observed circumstances of prescribed heroin to dependence users who needed it. We had a completely retrograde federal policy which has opened up quite a bit under the current administration.
  • I've never met a single person who ever chose to be a drug addict... It's easy to focus on how someone is different from you than recognize what you share... That tendency is magnified when the person doesn't resemble you. Consider the "stereotyped image" of a drug user one may pass on the street... We see them as something other than ourselves... And it's hard for us to recognize our common humanity... In reality, most people have more in common with drug users than they'd like to admit... Virtually everybody's got some kind of an addiction. Maybe not to drugs, but to some behaviour that they crave that gives them relief. Whether it's video games, sex, work or shopping, addictions to any of these activities tap into the same brain circuits that drug users activate with intoxicating substances.
  • If you come to me and say, ‘I’ve got an addiction to… whatever,’ I could say three things to you. One is that you have a genetic disease, which is the mantra in most of the medical world. Or I could tell you, ‘You are an idiot, you made a bad choice, you are morally degenerate, you are lacking will power,’ or I could say, ‘Hmm, what is that addiction doing for you? Oh, it’s soothing your pain, is it? So how did you develop that pain? What happened to you? And how can we help you heal that pain and handle it in ways that are not self-destructive?’ So, the role of the therapist is in helping people understand that what happened to them has a role in what happens inside them, so they don’t see themselves as deficit, bad or stupid, or as diseased; they see that how they are functioning is actually a fairly reasonable and understandable response to what happened to them.
    • Gabor Maté quoted in Catherine Jackson talks to Dr Gabor Mate about trauma and compassionate inquiry, Therapy Today, (September 29, 2020)
  • Since this is the age of science, not religion, psychiatrists are our rabbis, heroin is our pork, and the addict is the unclean person.
  • If it weren't for alcohol, tranquilizers, antidepressants, as well as the illegal drugs, which are all consumed in vast quantities, the insanity of the human mind would become even more glaringly obvious than it is already. I believe that, if deprived of their drugs, a large part of the population would become a danger to themselves and others. These drugs, of course, simply keep you stuck in dysfunction. Their widespread use only delays the breakdown of the old mind structures and the emergence of higher consciousness. While individual users may get some relief from the daily torture inflicted on them by their minds, they are prevented from generating enough conscious presence to rise above thought and so find true liberation. p.67
    • Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (1997) p.67
  • If you have a compulsive behavior pattern such as smoking, overeating, drinking, TV watching, Internet addiction, or whatever it may be, this is what you can do: When you notice the compulsive need arising in you, stop and take three conscious breaths. This generates awareness. Then for a few minutes be aware of the compulsive urge itself as an energy field inside you. Consciously feel that need to physically or mentally ingest or consume a certain substance or the desire to act out some form of compulsive behavior.
    Then take a few more conscious breaths. After that you may find that the compulsive urge has disappeared for the time being. or you may find that it still overpowers you, and you cannot help but indulge or act it out again. Don't make it into a problem. Make the addiction part of your awareness practice in the way described above.
    As awareness grows, addictive patterns will weaken and eventually dissolve. Remember, however, to catch any thoughts that justify the addictive behavior, sometimes with clever arguments, as they arise in you mind. Ask yourself, Who is talking here? And you will realize the addiction is talking. As long as you know that, as long as you are present as the observer of your mind, it is less likely to trick you into doing what it wants. p. 149

See also