One of the great things about having this blog to put things that I find that are relevant to food, nutrition, addiction and breaking habits is that my electronic friends out there on the internet will send me links to great new stories and research being done in these fields. I look for myself every morning, but the network of eyes and ears that pass things on to me is so much wider that I often hear of great new things second-hand. Keep up the good work, netizens.
This morning I had a great article sent to me concerning drug addiction.
I happen to think that the cause of addiction is the excitement that crime brings with it. If a person can be ‘addicted’ to gambling, and I think we can all agree that people can get addicted to gambling, then obviously external chemicals are not needed to form an addiction. That is the gist of the article I linked to above. A person that is addicted to sneaking sweets, right under the noses of the people that love and care for him, is getting a rush when he sneaks. People that are addicted to dangerous pursuits are also hooked on the excitement. Lots of things are dangerous, and therefore exciting. Excitement is addicting.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote that sugar has the same effects on the brain as cocaine the inference being that that would be why sugar is addictive. New research though shows that addicts that are integrated into a community are not likely to continue a destructive addiction. Punishing someone that is overeating or taking too many prescription pills tends to force that person into hiding. Hiding a behavior leads it to be a kind of exciting criminal act. The act does not have to be against the law for it to feel like a criminal act.
There are chemical issues with sugar and carbohydrates that cause cravings. It may be that the microbes in our guts have figured out how to make us eat things that they want. Some research has shown that a healthy gut micro biome leads to healthy eating habits, so that may be where the cravings come from. Wherever they are from though, the cravings are real. Succumbing to cravings and having to hide them leads to a different kind of craving–the craving for the adrenaline rush of misbehaving.
That is where lab rat similarities to humans in experiments on addictions break down. As far as I know lab rats can’t get hooked on danger. We are unique as far as I know to the animal kingdom in that we will seek out dangerous things to do to give us a rush of excitement. Gazelle don’t get hooked on seeing just how close they can get to a cheetah and still get away by running for their lives.
In the article that I linked to above, the author proposes decriminalizing drugs and instead trying to welcome addicts back into loving society, to take the crappy living conditions out of their lives, which might be one incentive to self-medicate with illegal drugs. Maybe. Maybe though, decriminalizing would do two things, it would remove one reason to hide the behavior, and decriminalizing would also remove one source of excitement in the seeking, buying and using of illegal drugs. Lots of things that are exciting are addictive, but we don’t all become addicted in one attempt. Probably nobody becomes addicted in one attempt.
Food addictions though are probably addictions to doing something in hiding. Permission to eat anything would go a long way toward eliminating sneak eating’s hooks. The other things that would help a sneak-eater is to eat a bacon and egg breakfast in the morning, and then eating zero carb foods anytime he or she gets hungry between meals. A person will only eat what they need, the system is somewhat self-regulating once you get carbs out of the equation. By that I mean that a person that is living in a reduced carb world will not get that carb craving after about a week or so. Between not having the cravings and having the ability to eat as much and as often as one wants from the kind of foods that are left makes it where you won’t have to help watch the eating of your overeater (or yourself). Not having to monitor for overeating will make everyone’s life a lot easier.