By Douglas J. Price, D.C.
Addiction is a complex subject. Programs that address addiction only on the level of behavior, without also addressing the root cause, often do not work in the long term.
To address the cause of addiction, one must uncover the unintegrated childhood issues resulting from unanticipated dramatic events that were logged into the psyche for survival. Based on earlier imprints on the psyche, certain present-day situations may trigger a person to drink excessively, smoke, or engage in other addictive behaviors. When a situation arises that reminds this person of the earlier event, he or she will react for survival.
For instance, a person may smoke cigarettes to regain a feeling of control, especially when triggered by a situation that reminds him or her of an earlier conflict where he or she felt a loss of control. Cigarettes satisfy the reward center, giving a temporary feeling of control. And alcohol may satisfy the contentment center, allowing for a temporary euphoric feeling of satisfaction and peaceful fulfillment.
However, once this person becomes consciously aware of the original programming and how the present situation relates to it, and finds resolution of the conflict, he or she is more empowered to cut down on unhealthy habits.
Knowing how your brain works may also help. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. On the other hand, serotonin helps regulate mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. Low serotonin levels may lead to depression.
It’s important that all of us live in the present moment and enjoy a life saturated with meaning, connection and contribution.