[ExI] addiction

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 9 13:04:49 UTC 2022

Too much sugar for a dime, Henry.  Thanks, and I will be reading it with
interest.  I do believe that I am vindicated about the circularity.  What
clinical psych does helps many millions including addicts, but cannot be
looked on as scientific experiments because of measurement issues.

I once thought of investigating jealousy.  Then I wondered how I would
measure it and came up with nothing more than asking people how they feel.
Just as with love, people have different ideas about jealousy and when for
example a person puts down that situation A would make them feel jealous to
a number 7 on a 10 point scale, another person's 7 might be quite
different.  Way too subjective for me.

So what's next?  Intuition?  I think that's just the unconscious talking to
you, no different from what it does all day long (and night?).  Another
concept impossible to define.  Think of this;  "Did you use your
intuition?"  Both Yes and NO answers could be elicited from people whose
brains were doing the same thing.  Shall we try love?

Still waiting to hear what I am wrong about.   bill w

On Fri, Apr 8, 2022 at 9:48 PM Henry Rivera via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> I totally agree with Rafal here. The theory and models are academic. The
> semantics are fun for us high IQ folks (meaning, I'd like to think, pretty
> much everyone on this list). But there are serious public health
> implications.
> *William Flynn Wallace said: *
> *And if addiction is a brain disease, how can talk therapy fix that?  I
> strongly believe that the psychological addiction is way more powerful than
> the physical one.  All behaviors of any kind come from the brain, I think,
> and if I acquire a liking for daffodils, my brain is changed, so just
> measuring brain changes shows very little, it seems to me. Maybe at best
> hypotheses to test *
> Talk therapy can help someone make new connections, develop hope which is
> important, adapt to their environment, manage themselves better, learn from
> their past, prepare for the future, live in the moment better. The brain
> changes all the time. Learning is literal connections being made. Talk
> therapy changes the brain.
> So how are we to think about addiction?
> The best resolution to the conflict of ‘addiction is a (brain) disease’
> vs., as bill w put it, “Let's call addictive behavior what it is.
> Voluntary,” is from Dr. Kevin McCauley who has a documentary entitled *Pleasure
> Unwoven. *He says addiction begins as a disorder of genes and pleasure
> and ends as a “disorder of choice” because one's decisions are motivated by
> abnormally intense cravings to seek out, obtain, and use substances in a
> brain with an altered reward pathway. Here’s a less-than-5-minute clip on
> “hypofrontality in addiction” from this documentary.
> https://youtu.be/jkOl7QIXxlQ I hope you all will watch it. I find his
> argument compelling and have yet to ask Carl Hart what he thinks about the
> orbital frontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex scans referenced.
> As always, this is an area where more research needs to be done I’m sure.
> Practically speaking, this perspective I hope leads to compassion for
> people struggling with addiction so we can help to reduce the harm that
> comes to them and help provide treatment.
> -Henry
> On Fri, Apr 8, 2022 at 4:39 PM Rafal Smigrodzki via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On Fri, Apr 8, 2022 at 2:30 PM Will Steinberg via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> What an overly simplified view of the brain, as if parts of the brain
>>> don't send signals to other parts.
>>> Why is it so hard to admit you are wrong?  You are wrong.  The science
>>> is the opposite of what you say.  You are not a neuroscientist, are you?
>>> An addiction researcher?  Is there any reason your intuition and personal
>>> single anecdote would possibly be something I would consider true over
>>> literal thousands of pieces of vetted scientific research?
>>> Blows my mind.  Not sure how you are usually into science but not for
>>> this one thing.
>> ### I agree with you, Will.
>> I also think it is useful to look at the problem from a practical,
>> problem-solving point of view. The most important characteristic of
>> addiction is that it is a behavior that the addict continues despite
>> knowing that it has significant deleterious effects on his life. One could
>> quibble about what is "deleterious" but in practical terms addiction is the
>> kind of behavior that just doesn't stop easily despite significant cost. If
>> it stops after a stern talking-to, it's definitely not an addiction. If it
>> continues after losing your job, money, spouse, after a jail time, being
>> beaten up and going through rehab, yes, might be an addiction. Researchers
>> will look at the neurological correlates of the behaviors but us practical
>> people mostly ask "How do I fix the problem?"
>> People with a moralistic bent may talk about blame, guilt, shame,
>> weakness, lack of willpower, etc. but again, what counts is the practical
>> outcome - Is he still doing after whatever intervention you tried? Did he
>> stop after the priest chewed him out? Did he get better with the help of
>> suboxone or methadone? Did CBT help?
>> What counts is how many people avoided being homeless and overdosing in
>> an alley or getting lung cancer, whether by pulling themselves up by their
>> own moral bootstraps or by mere nicotine patch.
>> Rafal
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