Are We Addicted to Addiction?
The number of ways in which a modern individual can become addicted is pretty astounding when you stop to think about it. We can become addicted to things that make us feel “good” such as food, sex, video games, prescription medications, the Internet, alcohol or drugs. We can also become addicted to things that generally are considered a negative experience such as cutting, vomiting or starving ourselves. The number and intensity of addictions we are exposed to in modern-day America keeps growing as science and technology move forward in their understanding of what motivates human behavior.
As the reward and pleasure centers of the brain are better understood, it becomes easier for a wide range of industries to produce more appealing and potentially addictive offerings.
Is There a Battle to Control Addiction in Corporate America?
Damien Thompson has written a new book, The Fix, in which he discusses his beliefs that corporations as well as criminals are purposely designing and producing a wide range of products with the intent to cause addiction in their customers. He cites items from prescription painkillers and iPads to blueberry muffins as examples of the new multiplicity of addictions available for purchase. These are Thompson’s version of the newest pushers and dealers working in every box store and upscale mall in the US. However, all offerings are legal and widely available to anyone with the money to buy.
Thompson hypothesizes that the control of addiction will one day become a normal, central political debate intimately tied to our economy. He paints a dark picture of a potential future where our very personal motivations are slowly manipulated and altered as we give in to any one of a variety of possible addictive behaviors.
Addiction Can Potentially Be a Replacement for the Need for Human Interaction
As science creates more objects and substances of abuse, what will happen to our social structure? A sure sign of addiction is if someone consistently chooses a substance or behavior over interaction with those closest to them. As the world turns towards a global society and family and friends continue to disperse, will many people fill the hole of intimate relationships with one of the many addictions available to them?
There is no way to know if Thompson’s theories about the future have any basis in reality or are just the beginning ideas of a great Hollywood screenplay. There is, however, one definite take-home message that can apply to everyone: Addiction is no longer relegated to back alleys and hardcore street drugs. There are more and more objects and substances being churned out by technological and scientific advances with the potential for addiction.
Do you think companies are purposely causing addiction in Americans for profit? Weigh in with your opinion below.