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The Shocking Truth About Addiction

Updated on November 13, 2016
Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam has a lot of addiction in his family history and was motivated to learn the truth about this topic.

Mainstream Model of Addiction

Many people believe that addicts are lazy and unmotivated, and that addiction comes out of bad life choices and poor reasoning abilities. Since the beginning of the drug war, people have been fed the wrong ideas about addiction. Most people have come to believe that addiction arises out of mere foolishness, but there are many people who see the underlying complexities, but have trouble understanding why people would commit so fervently to a dangerous habit.

Isolation Cages
Isolation Cages
Rat Family Park
Rat Family Park

Rat Park Experiment

An experiment was done with rats to gain a better understanding about addiction, and to hopefully come up with a more accurate model which could help us understand the effects of drugs. From this experiment scientists learned a crucial and shocking revelation about the causes of addiction.

This is how it goes. Scientists placed rats into small isolated cages, and gave them food, water, and water laced with morphine. The scientists also placed a large family of rats into a park with everything they needed, social interaction, exercise, food, water, and so on. In the rat park they also placed water laced with morphine that the rats could easily chose to drink from. The rats experiencing psychological isolation in their lonely cages would drink the morphine water and often overdose and die. While the rats in the park would prefer to retain their psychological stability in favor of social interaction. The rats in the park even had to be coxed with added sugar in the morphine water. The basic premise that this experiment provides is that addiction comes about from psychological isolation.

Gabor Mate's Research

While reading Gabor Mate's In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, I learned about the true causes of addiction, through Gabor's personal experience as an addiction specialist working in the drug ridden heart of Vancouver's down town east side in British Columbia, Canada. The basic truth that Gabor learned and continues to see each day, is the same as the rat park experiment. He sees that people who are severely addicted to drugs experienced neglect and abuse from their care givers at a very early age. Throughout their lives they continue to feel this neglect, and so they experience psychological isolation. Their minds become their own prison, and drugs become the key, A momentary escape from the immense mental turmoil that causes them to feel great pain every day. I would hardly hesitate to say that all drug addicts suffer from a degree of psychological isolation, and were abused and neglected in their childhood.

Short description by addiction specialist

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