If you take one notable thought away from this post, I hope it’s this:
Drugs hijack an important part of the brain and it has a devastating effect on the rest of the brain. The chemicals and cells being hijacked can’t perform all their functions correctly and it takes away your ability to be yourself and control yourself. If we want to stop this the answer is multidisciplinary medical intervention.
The ventral tegmental area (VTA), the nucleus accumbens, and the prefrontal cortex
👆These brain parts are the most important element of the answer to addiction👆
I see/hear people say it all the time
“Addiction is not a disease!”
“It’s about selfishness!”
“Addiction a moral failure”
No it’s not. It’s a function of your brain.
“But the mind can-“
No it can’t
Your brain IS your mind
There’s no debate about this anymore. Maybe you could talk about other parts of your nervous system as components of your mind, that’s worth discussing.
Doesn’t change the fact that your mind is biological
We may have a soul (I think so)
But whatever the soul is, it’s not your mind.
And your mind is where addiction happens.
Those chunks of the brain I listed above are part of the reward pathway.
It’s a simple part of your brain.
It has one simple function: it tells you that you need to do something again.
It says “What you’re doing is important! Do it again!!!”
It usually reinforces pretty important activities
“Eating is good! Do it again!!!”
“Water is good! Drink it again!!!”
“Sex is good! Have them babiesssssssssss”
Chemicals carry those messages from one cell to the next. The more chemicals that tell you “do that again!” the stronger the urge to do it again.
And that’s where addiction is a monster.
All the big ones; opioids, alcohol, cocaine, meth
All of the debilitating drugs
They all highjack that reward loop by increasing those chemicals that tell you to repeat a behavior.
But they don’t just increase them.
They hyper elevate the level of those chemicals beyond anything your brain could do on its own.
They create an urge that’s stronger than any activity you could engage in.
They don’t say:
“Do this again! It’s important!!!”
“DO THIS AGAIN AT ANY COST!!!”
“DO THIS AT ALL COST!!!”
“DO THIS AGAIN EVEN IF IT KILLS YOU!!!”
“DO THIS OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN BECAUSE NOTHING COULD EVER BE AS IMPORTANT AS THIS DRUG”
Fixing that pathway is not about willpower
It’s not about freewill
It’s about biology
Even though other parts of your brain are capable of rewriting that pathway, they can rarely do it to correct drug addiction because drugs are UNNATURALLY strong
These are the answer to fix that part of the brain
Then comes the dumb response:
“Well if that’s how it works then you should never start in the first place blah blah bla blah bla”
Great idea 👍
Thousands, millions are already addicted. They are our friends, our neighbors, our family members. They’re doing what the reward pathway tells them: these drugs are important enough to kill your self over.
People you have loved your whole life, people you KNOW are not selfish will ignore anything and everything in their lives. Because the pathway is high jacked. And it tells them what’s important. They lose the ability to tell themselves.
So go build a time machine if you think the answer is to make them “not start in the first place”
I say we help them now.
Use education to help prevent more addiction. Absolutely
But help your loved ones in the throws of addiction NOW
Support medical intervention, public health policy, cheaper healthcare in general.
Because this won’t stop
I know that my brain is the way it is on purpose. It functions the way it does for a good reason. Those simple parts provide basic functions. The complex parts surrounding those simple parts help you make sure the simple goals are accomplished as efficiently and effectively as possible.
I wouldn’t know that👆if I was addicted
None of that works if the simple parts are highjacked. The complex parts just can’t overcome that invasion.
Because the brain is a nested hierarchy
I should probably explain what that is 🤷♀️
And why I named this website after it 🤔
Of course you could google it too
Don’t take my word for it
Find the information
And use it to help save your neighbor
Don’t judge; do have compassion
What does it look like to love your neighbors?
Be the one who shows them mercy
Mercy for these accosted humans is treatment
I’ve definitely tried to keep the information I’ve presented here as non-technical as possible
Because who likes boring?
Even so, the chemicals and brain cells and brain functions I’m referring to here are all very complex and have many different functions.
Go learn about them all if you’d like
It’s very interesting and I recommend it