Addictions – The Human Givens approach explains why we get addicted
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Keith Abrahams Dip.HG.P
23rd September, 20120 Comments
The Human Givens approach is based on giving simple explanations to clients on how the human biology and physiology works.
Many of us constantly do certain things excessively. We may find that we constantly find it too difficult to stop doing something that turns out not to be healthy or good for us. Often we will wonder why did I do that when I knew it was going to be bad for me. Why did it feel so attractive before that?
Despite the marketing campaigns more than 25% of the UK population smoke. This costs thousands of pounds and shortens life spans of those that smoke and is a cost to society, not only the national health, but also the impact that it has on our families and loved ones. Being educated in the human givens approach could, can and does help change all of that that.
This is because addiction will spread to any form of pleasurable behaviour: drinking, internet surfing, drugs, sex, food, too many to mention by way of the chemicals in the brain that can “hi jack” the central nervous system with a feeling so powerful that life is only bearable if we keep having that feeling. Chasing the buzz it is sometimes called
What is it that makes it so easy for the brain to adopt addictive patterns and allow rational thought and the determination to quit to be overcome? It is the way in which the brain rewards us for adopting new behaviours, motivating ourselves to keep developing and adapting, without letting go the behaviours that we have learned.
Dopamine is a natural brain chemical, which has cocaine like effect that makes us want to be active – sex, drink, drugs or rock and roll – it raises our emotional arousal and our motivation. Its party partner is a heroin like substance called endorphin, another natural brain chemical, which brings the warm feelings after we have done something.
As the Human givens Website describes “Working together these chemicals keep us interested in doing the biological functions that preserve the species, and stretch each one of us to learn and achieve”.
In effect it is the reward system for doing new things and learning. If our lives are balanced and healthy, where our human needs are being met, especially when we are feeling stretched and learning, then there will be no need for any unhealthy addictions. If not, life will feel meaningless, flat and pointless. The desire for stimulus, excitement and risk taking is bound to arise, because the reward system, dopamine is stimulated and exhilaration felt. Then the warm feeling and endorphins follow, a cosy feeling, that biologically we all need and will crave if we are feeling down, and which we will continue to seek. If the addicted behaviour is not followed, the human system is punished often called ‘withdrawal’ which pushes, squealing and screaming for the addictive behaviour to continue. The human is then addicted.
Once the client can understand how the addiction works, they can then be shown the means by which addiction can be beaten. This is the subject of the next article. “The Addiction Beating Human Givens”.
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