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Dependency Addiction and Causes

Drug dependency / psychological dependency:
Using drugs as compensation when life is not as rewarding or sucessful as desired.

Drug experiences are not unique but artificial versions of natural states that is experienced when health is great, when progress or success is

In theory you could have real (as opposed to drug caused) euphoric experiences in realm of learning, earning or being widely recognized for performance, achievement or courage. There are physiological states that

Drugs can cause experiences that go beyond what is common natural brain reactions (the arbitrary dosage can go beyond what is normal physiological range), but as tolerance is built it is not certain that habitual use is more than what is possible as a non-drug cause experience of euphoria.

You should also expect the artificial high to lack some of the qualities of a non-drug experience as that will necessarily have a real life experience foundation that is replaced with “as if” experiences and quasi emotions. There is a “fictional” element to a drug fueled experience that makes it different from a non-drug fueled euphoria.

While you can get very emotional about a narrative in a movie, this does require an element of suspension of disbelief. As the drug fueled euphoria has some of the same physiological basis as non-drug euphoria the “fictional” element is less than when you identify with a narrative in a fictional character. But the principle is the same: If a drug user maintains that he would not react the same way while clean or sober, he is referencing this kind of suspension of disbelief. It is very rare to find that a drug user will think that the drug fueled experience is not somewhat illusionary.

1. A scope for stronger physiological part of the experience when drug fueled.
2. An element of “suspension of disbelief” that is not necessarily present in non-drug euphoria.

These differences makes substitution of real positive life experiences with drug fueled euphoria less than ideal. They can be physiological stronger, but the drug experience will mostly lack a bit of personal depth.

In theory you could have both: If you were skilled and lucky enough to have a fulfilling professional or personal life and the positive experiences that might bring, you are still able to pile drug fueled experiences on top of that. But it is perhaps safe to assume that a lot of drug taking is motivated by a lack of personal sense of opportunity or achievement. And it is perhaps safe to assume that people with fulfilling lives are less looking for an artificial high.
And at least it would seem that people with low self control are more likely to take drugs (Boone et al.).

It might very well be the case that a lot of people take drugs because strong natural rewarding experiences are rare or out of reach. And that for these people it is a matter of a choice between a rather bland, mundane life experience or one that is “supplemented” with artificial highs, fueled by drug taking. They depend on drugs for what they consider the best part of their life. This we could call psychological dependence. As in, they are not really motivated to give up, and will continue use as long as it does not disrupt their life in major ways.

The crucial part of this reliance on drugs is that is presupposes that they can and will give up the drug use if and when health, employment or relationships are threatened by continued drug use. This distinction is reflected in the definition of addiction that presupposes the opposite: That use is continued despite important adverse consequences for the user in terms of health, social life or economic situation.

When the self control resources necessary to affect a change of path that leads out of drug dependence is lacking, you have what is real addiction.

All the above is largely a matter of definitions and distinctions. What reality we use these labels for. Where to draw the demarcation between use, dependence and addiction. But when you get into addiction territory the opinions starts to differ with regards to what the causes of addiction are. Or more precisely: What is the cause of the deficit of self control in relation to the task. Why would an addict not be able to break the dependence on drugs? There are three basic flavors of theory for this:

1. Drugs are just so physiologically addictive that is takes more self control that most people can muster.
2. Drugs do damage to the brain that will weaken the level of self control sufficiently that there is no way back out of addiction. Or at least not an easy one.
3. A lack of self control from a variety of causes (including drug related ones) will tend to make any drug dependence an addiction. While this does not exclude physiological damages from addictive drugs playing, these are just seen as part of a broader picture and perhaps not very important ones.

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