Are you addicted?

Here comes one of those times when I decide to express my thoughts in writing. Taking advantage of the so-called, so-hated, and so-loved social media I wanted to share a friendly “piece of mind”. This time the topic is addiction. Or actually, the “need for more”. 

Imagine you ate the exact same food every day; at first, you really like it cause you probably picked your favorite dish. This means that your dopamine levels increase in response to that food. It is a pleasurable stimulus that gives you a level of satisfaction. It is most likely that after some point this food would be boring for you. Not as many “happy-hormones” would be released. Therefore, you would seek for either more of that food, or a whole other dish. This is how your brain works. Certain things that brought us joy and excitement at first, end up making us sick after overconsumption. This is not the case with alcohol, nicotine, or cocaine. In other words, this is not the case with substances of abuse. To get us all on the same page, the way addiction works in the brain is by receiving pleasurable stimuli to a point that no longer gives us a “euphoria” unless we seek more of it, striving to get the anticipated reward that we remember once getting. 

We have reward systems in our brains, which indicate the things that are good for us and the things that aren’t. Or at least this was the case before we managed to find modern paths to reward. We created drugs, some of which give us a euphoric feeling, and on which people become hooked. We abused sugar, overconsuming Mars bars. We abused alcohol, getting to the 10th bottle of beer. We abused the internet, refreshing our feed even though we have no new notifications, hoping that something will come to satisfy our ego. We became addicted. 

Addictions touch upon more and more fields and influence more and more people. It’s as if we are not satisfied with anything less than “too much”. We live in a world full of things that stimulate our pleasure centers. Pleasures are easy. Our drug of choice is right next to our heads the moment we wake up in the morning. We manage to increase our dopamine levels at such ease by just tapping on the Instagram app icon.

You might have refreshed your messenger or your Instagram feed a hundred times in the past hour and yet if you really think about it, it was not worth it to open your device in the first place (unless you are reading this). How many posts were really that life-changing at the end of the day?

So what does that mean? Have we been desensitized to the things that are supposed to make us happy? Have we already had so much that we can’t get enough? Have we already overstimulated ourselves to the point where we can’t find satisfaction?

Is this why we have a constant need for a new partner, or a new phone, or a new dish, or a new pair of shoes? Because we have been desensitized to the things we actually need?

And finally; 

Should we worry about that? Do we want to change, or do we want to adapt?