Last year we found, and republished, an interesting graphic that pondered a curious question -which is worse, soda or marijuana? A side-by-side comparison of the two pits the processed against the natural, the legal versus the illegal. While we could debate the pros and cons of each all day long, to the pleasure center of the brain, they are one in the same.
A fascinating piece aired on CBS’ 60 Minutes tonight with the foremost researcher on addiction, Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In 2007, she was named by Time Magazine as one “of the 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.” Tonight’s Hooked: Why Bad Habits are Hard to Break explained the chemistry behind addiction and showed that whether it’s a hamburger or heroine, soda or marijuana, our brain sees them exactly the same – as triggers for a rush of dopamine.
Morley Safer reported and described Dr. Volkow as the woman who has “revolutionized how science and medicine view addiction: as a disease, not a character defect.” She told him that the “Just Say No” campaign is just “magic of thinking.”
“If it were that easy…there’d be no obesity,” or other physical signs of addiction. In other words, addiction stems from deep within the pleasure center of our brains, and all the willpower, support, and motivation in the world can’t always turn it off.
Please say the following out loud: “Hello my name is ________ (fill in your name), and I am an addict.”
Congratulations, you’ve done it! Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery. And you are a junkie to something far more deadly than drinking or even cigarettes.
Here are some clues:
It’s most common form is as a white powder.
In the 1300s it was recognized as a potent drug and handled under lock and key by apothecaries.
It’s original name, bestowed by the French, was crack.
You guessed it. Sugar. Sugar is the crack of the masses. I learned this from famous psychotherapist Julia Ross at the 2011 Nutrition Conference held by The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sugar as a drug? Yes. And not just that, it is a high calorie drug. (A double whammy.) Read Full Post >
I have often joked that I am addicted to diet soda. I turn to the tasty beverage to get me through my work day and then have another one after work each day. It tastes good, has no calories, and gives me a little caffeine rush that I have come to depend on to get through my busy days. While diet soda isn’t healthy in the least, when I compare myself to Darren Jones, a 38-year man from the United Kingdom, I have nothing to worry about.
Jones drinks 42 liters of Diet Coke every week, and in an effort to help himself kick the habit, he wants to check himself into rehab. He spends £100 each week on his habit, and it is damaging both his own life and his relationship with his wife.
“I believe what I have is an actual addiction and I start to worry if I’m getting near the end of the bottle,” Jones said. “If I can’t get in touch with [my wife] Paula to get me some more I start to panic – it’s like a drug or alcohol addiction.”
Jones started drinking soda when he was 13-years old and worked in a local market. Since then, his habit has evolved into drinking the equivalent of 18 cans of soda every day for the past 10 years. He used to drink regular Coke but changed to diet when he started to gain weight.
One out of eight Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Of those with a substance abuse problem, at least 40 percent have a contemporaneous mental disorder of some type. While the root of addictive behavior varies from person to person, studies show correlations between an inability to process emotions and cope with stress in a healthy manner, and subsequent misuse of alcohol and drugs.
The estimated cost to our country in direct relation to alcoholics and drug addicts is over 250 billion dollars annually. With 70 percent of illegal drug users that are employed, the expense of substance abuse caused accidents, absenteeism and decreased productivity is on the rise. Health care costs are 300 percent higher for untreated alcoholics versus non-alcoholics.
Addiction treatment centers and agendas such as Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Step Program aim to minimize a person’s drive to drink alcohol or use drugs by addressing psychological and mental health issues. Using therapy techniques to calm, soothe and diminish anxiety, these programs are deemed helpful for those needing assistance.
Are you one of the millions of Americans who depend heavily on your laptop or cell phone to get you through the day? Do you come home from work and instead of spending quality time with friends, exercising or doing chores you find yourself logging on to your Facebook or Twitter account? Do you incessantly check your email, the weather report or the news hoping something exciting will snap you out of feeling bored with your life? Do you feel lost without some sort of digital device that can dole out information in less than a few seconds when you have a burning curiosity about something?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, a digital detox plan might be the best gift you can give yourself this year.
Read these steps, tips and guidelines designed to help you dismiss digital depression. When you are finished reading, shut down your computer, turn off your Smartphone, completely unplug, and give yourself a well-deserved break.