Friday, August 23, 2013

Modern Addictions

My apologies for being late.  Blogger is not at all cooperative today – it will not let me edit anything and so after much fiddling and tweaking I did this in a word processor and plugged it into Blogger.  Hopefully the issue will be resolved shortly.
Ramana brings us this week's topic.  Was it synchronicity or prior planning that had his mind seemingly on addiction lately?
Wikipedia says "Classic hallmarks of addiction include impaired control over substances or behavior, preoccupation with substance or behavior, continued use despite consequences, and denial. Habits and patterns associated with addiction are typically characterized by immediate gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs)." That's a reasonable basis for discussion methinks.
Along with the old standby addictions - drugs, food, alcohol, gambling and so forth, today's world with its hectic helter-skelter lifestyle offers many new addictions from which to choose. With seemingly little or no effort one can become addicted to television, computers, the Internet, one's job, working out, blogging - why - the options are mind boggling. One might even say mind numbing. 
The term "addiction" immediately floods the mind of most people with negativity and fear.  That's not true in all cases but more on that later.  I'll go with a modern addiction I think most westerners can understand - addiction to prescription drugs. There is a HUGE problem in this country with prescription drug addiction. For a small fee - $2-$10.00 or so I can have in my hand within 15 minutes or so damn near any prescription drug - ANY prescription drug.  The news is filled with the names of rich and famous drug addicts that have a serious prescription painkiller jones. Those with the money and pull simply get doctors to prescribe them - aka Rush Limbaugh and others.  Why – we even had a television hero addicted to them – a guy named Gregory House.  The common man can get them on any street corner. I know this to be a fact.
We in the U.S.A. seem to be in the grip of an addiction to prescription meds in general.  There are pills for everything.  Put the kid on meds for depression.  Put the kid on meds for ADD.   Double the prescription for ADHD. Depressed? There's an endless supply of medication to treat depression.  Never mind the side effects - aka the small print - the part of the commercial read at a rate so fast as to be unintelligible. Stuff like infections leading to death have been observed - thoughts of suicide should immediately be reported - stuff like that. What the drug companies must surely assume is simply collateral damage.  They are - after all - only looking out for the greater good. And let’s not forget the new strains of drug-resistant infections we have created by overmedicating ourselves. 
What's good for the drug companies is clearly not always good for us no matter what they would have us believe.
Then there's obesity.  Are we addicted to obesity? Well - no - but a food addiction can certainly lead to obesity.  Addiction to certain lifestyles can certainly lead to obesity. That might make this my theme song -
It’s a minefield out there. Things are moving at such a rapid pace it’s difficult to keep up. It’s easy to let something become an addiction. As I said at the top of this little ditty, not all addictions are bad unless they are allowed to take control of your life and that, my friends, is all up to you.  Take a break on occasion. Enjoy a cup of tea, coffee, a nice single malt – whatever.  Or maybe check out what the other LBC members have to say on addiction.  Careful though – good reading can be addictive.

7 comments:

  1. You say: "...not all addictions are bad unless they are allowed to take control of your life". But surely, Shackman, that is the VERY definition of addiction: It DOES take control of your life. It's the essence of the tragedy of addiction,

    The Wikipedia quote you cite is perfect. Not least "... immediate gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs)." The addicted never thinks further than his next fix. Whatever that may be. It's impulsive. And then there is always tomorrow. Tomorrow to where the addicted postpones to do something about it. The sheer helplessness of the addicted enough to break my heart. Wanting to break a habit. Unable to do so. Which is why I despise people who preach at those who are in the grip of their body's biochemistry.

    I have no answer. None.

    U

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. U - I do not disagree but there are addictions that simply are not earth shattering - and so they are manageable. Addiction isn't a topic that lends itself to sound bite discussion in a small blog, especially one done like I do this - off the cuff as it were. I really do just wing these things on the day they are due - it's what makes my comments honest. I fancy myself smart enough to have an opinion that I can quickly and hopefully clearly expound - you know the type - knows a little bit about a lot of stuff. Years of reading and listening - and occasionally thinking about things.

      Delete
    2. Why are you so defensive?

      U

      Delete
  2. I think there is a big difference between liking something, and having an addiction to it. In your comments on my blog you mentioned that you felt my religion is an addiction. I disagree. Although I fervently believe in my religion, I don't feel about it like I do the real addictions in my life. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. D I said all religions - LOL - and I stand by the comment - religious fervor fits in quite nicely with the definition of addiction. Some religions have done many wonderful things - take yours - the LDS have done spectacular things in the area of geneaology. So call it what you wish and please remember I meant no disrespect to you or your church when I made/make that comment.

      Delete
  3. You are right. Synchronicity it has been that has been bringing up this topic again and again in my life recently. I had suggested this topic quite some moons ago, and in the shuffle it just appeared at this time. I had nothing to do with the timing. But, and it is a but, I am addicted to synchronicity!

    My topic was on Modern Addictions. You will see my take on them in my LBC post.

    I am addicted to a great deal of good old fashioned things but among the modern ones, email, blogging and the internet are the only ones that can be called truly addictions for me. I can however be without them as I do when I am away from home on and off.

    My take on addiction is that what the heck, at my age, as long as it does not bug anybody else, why not?

    ReplyDelete
  4. 'Everything in moderation.' was a phrase I heard on a regular basis when I was growing up. I think I still live that way. I might stick doggedly with a project for a few weeks, but once complete, I move on to something new and completely different.

    'A little of what you fancy, does you good!', was another quote from my past. I might apply it to food, an alcoholic drink, a bar of chocolate or a day of spontaneous fun. It works for me.

    ReplyDelete