The brain and addiction
Reward seeking behaviour
The brain wants pleasure and survival.
The brain’s reward system governs how the brain feels when we do things.
It recognizes what gives pleasure, excitement & discomfort.
The brain continues to look for things that helps with happiness and survival and avoid pain.
How strong the reward system depends on how often we get the reward and how big the reward is.
Smartphones are the world’s smallest “slot machines”. It elevates your dopamine receptors and you continue to use it over & over again because it offers unpredictable awards” Dr Kimberly Young
Videogames for example - World of warcraft- are built to exploit this part of the brain!
Kill monster, get points
Move on to next level
Super excited…..skills are improving
Happy music……what a good feel
Win game…….mission accomplished
Next game……next hype…….it feels sooooooo good
Immediate effect on the brain……….spike in dopamine release
Continued use reduces the brain’s dopamine production
The brain is “fooled” that the behaviour has survival value
Consequently…you want more & more of the same behaviour
Massive release of dopamine occurs, and the dopamine levels become low/depleted
Endless pleasure ends up in punishment…….mental health issues!!
Increased levels of irritability
Decrease in impulse control
Increased risk for substance abuse to feel better
Stuck……….brain’s reward system is in trouble.
TIME OUT ………..RESTORE THE DAMAGE AND GET BACK YOUR CONTROL……
refer to blogs to follow!