Addiction today is a global problem, affecting not just individuals, but also families and communities. In the United States, opioid addiction is now considered as an epidemic, while here in our country, the Philippines, the controversial war on drugs of the Duterte administration continues to make headlines.
To give us some perspective on the problem of addiction Johann Hari has a TEDTalk that discusses the problem and how certain misconceptions do more harm than good. In fact, addiction is more than just using drugs. Addiction is a disease that affects the person as a whole, and this encroaches on the rest of the community. Consequently, it takes a community to help an addict, too.
Hari’s talk applies not only on drug addiction, but as well as on alcohol addiction and behavioral addictions such as gambling, eating, pornography, shopping, video games, and more.
The main point of his talk can be summed up to what he said, “…a core part of addiction, I came to think, and I believe the evidence suggests, is about not being able to bear to be present in your life..”
He went on to ask, “What if addiction is an adaptation to your environment?”
He added, “Human beings have a natural and innate need to bond, and when we’re happy and healthy, we’ll bond and connect with each other, but if you can’t do that, because you’re traumatized or isolated or beaten down by life, you will bond with something that will give you some sense of relief. ” And this something can be drugs, pills, alcohol, or any other activity that distracts people from their life or problems.
He challenges societies and governments to respond to addiction–and addicts–differently, saying that the opposite of addiction is not really sobriety, but connection.
Watch the enlightening TEDTalk below: