Causes and Motivations of Addiction
There are so many different opinions on the causes and motivations surrounding addiction. Is addiction a choice? Are people predisposed to become addicts? What is the real problem with addiction is it the people or the drugs themselves? Are we doing enough as a community to help those who are addicted? Are we doing enough as a developed nation when it comes to the amount of addicts in this country? These are very important questions to ask before you start pointing fingers or making labels of addicts.
Carl Hart’s Study of “Enriched” Rat Cages
Carl Hart. a tenured science professor at Columbia University has always been interested in addiction and why people become addicted. When he was enlisted in the AirForce he used marijuana and because of it, he was discharged. Following his discharge he went on to study addiction and try to find the answers to exactly why people use drugs.
Professor Hart decided to study rats and their use of addictive substances while in a cage alone versus an “enriched” cage. He noticed that in a cage where the at experienced solitude and had nothing else to do that the rat would self-administer cocaine until it overdosed. When Hart put rats in a more “enriched” environment the rats would self-administer the drug less frequently. He replicated the study but with humans and this is what he found:
“Many of the problems that were attributed to drugs in the community, unemployment, crime, you name it, we blame drugs,” he said. “But as I learned more in my study of drugs, drugs weren’t the problem. It was other things like lack of education, communities actually being deprived of services, people in the communities with no skills, resources taken out of the community, those kinds of things, were far bigger problems than drugs.”
This study rings true with what we see at drug rehab treatment centers, groups and halfway housing. The stories we hear from addicts in recovery are more often of environments where they were not nurtured, safe or protected by their families, schools or community. If recovery is to strive after addiction then prevention programs need to address these factors before then can happen.
If you or someone you know is need of addiction treatment, please give us a call at 1-855-441-2449.