The Real Cause of Addiction (Part 2)
The Real Cause of Addiction is a Dis-Ease about Loneliness. It’s not about changing our minds. It’s about changing our hearts!
There was an experiment done in the 1980s where they put a rat in a cage, alone. It has two water bottles – one with just water and the other one was laced with heroin or cocaine. The rat ended up becoming obsessed with the drugged water and kept coming back for more and more until it eventually dies.
Dr. Bruce Alexander’s Experiment
However there was a professor named Bruce Alexander (1970’s) who noticed that the rat in the cage was all alone. He set the experiment up differently. There were still two water bottles – one with just water and the other one laced with heroin but he developed a Rat park where rats lived together, had colored balls and ate the best rat food and they had tunnels to scamper down and they were around plenty of other rats (friends). He also set up a rat in a cage living alone. The results of this experiment was startling.
The rats who had good lives (friends, toys, good food, etc) drank from both water bottles but mostly shunned the one laced with heroin and none of those rats died. However, the rats who were alone and isolated became obsessed with the water laced with heroin.
About the same time, there was another experiment taking place as the rat experiments. In a Time Magazine report, U.S. soldiers were using heroin as common as chewing gum during the Vietnam War. There is a study that is published in the Archives of General Psychiatry about this phenomenon. It was believed that many soldiers were going home addicted to heroin when the war ended. However, the study reported that 95 percent of the addicted soldiers simply stopped once they returned home and they were able to shift from a terrifying cage back to a pleasant one – they didn’t want the drug anymore.
Professor Alexander argued that the belief system that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much irresponsible partying or that addiction is a disease that is from a chemically hijacked brain is just NOT true.
He argues that addiction is all about “your cage” and what I think he means when he says this is that it is not only a physical disease but a spiritually, emotionally and mental disease. It is all about filling the “void” the “emptiness”.
Professor Alexander then took his experiment to the next stage. He let the rats that were left alone drink the water that was laced with heroin for 57 days and then eh took them out of isolation and put them with the rats that lived together. Alexander was curious whether their brains had become hijacked so that they couldn’t recover. What happened next was extraordinary! Alexander noticed that the rats did have a few twitches of withdrawal but soon stopped and started to live a normal life. He believed that the “good cage” saved them.
Note – the full references to all the studies is covered in a book called Chasing the Scream.
Here is a youtube that explains the real cause of addiction very well.