Learn the Truth About Addiction

Johann Hari’s New York Times best selling book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs has been turned into a YouTube documentary called Everything We Think We Know About Addiction, over 5M views proves this one’s a good use of your time to watch.

The video begins by demonstrating popular perception about what addiction is. It then chronicles how past psychological experiments using rats and the choice between plain water and drug-laced water concluded that addiction was a body’s physical dependence on a substance.

After painting a clear picture of how addiction is currently viewed, the video offers insight to experiments conduced by Bruce Alexander, a psychology professor. Alexander reflected on the past addiction studies and noticed that they were all done on rats that were alone in a cage. So he put rats in the ideal situation, more rats and plenty of entertainment options, and replicated the rats’ opportunity to drink drug-laced water. The results this time were a bit different. Few rats used the drug-laced water, and none of them overdosed.

The documentary further explains real world applications of the study. It cites how 20% of troops in Vietnam were using heavy amounts of heroin, but upon arrival home, simply surrounded by people who loved and cared for them, 95% of the heroin users got clean without the assistance of rehab.

The conclusion that can be drawn from the video is that addiction is not a physical need for a substance; it is a physical need for feeling accepted and connected. As the number of close friendships decline in the 21st century, and as they are replaced by a shallow need stuff in homes, people tend to lack connections, and thus develop addictions. To further complicate the addiction problem, those who suffer from addiction are often placed in prison and not offered the necessary social skills to form the connection that are necessary to recover from their dependence.

The video concludes that as a society, the way that addiction is viewed needs to change, and then the number of addictions will reduce.

Watch the full video on YouTube: Everything We Think We Know About Addiction