[ExI] Aging out of addiction?

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sun Oct 5 15:45:32 UTC 2014

On Sun, Oct 5, 2014 at 5:00 AM,  Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> Addictive behaviour is in many ways a special form of bad habit, reinforced because of the neurochemical effects of the behaviour. One of the main findings in the field has been that context matters a lot: the best way to avoid the behaviour is to change the context - new friends, a new environment that doesn't allow the addict to conveniently continue. Maybe ageing has the same effect: it changes one's context, and this can help kick the compulsive behaviour.

True, but people do age out of cocaine, alcohol and opiate use
_sometimes_.  Not everyone, but I have looked at cults as addictive
behavior with rewarding attention as the addictive "substance."  The
kind of rewards all these give to the brain's reward circuits are
similar.  They are substitutes for the reward for behavior (such as
supplying the tribe with meet) that was more important reproductively
in the young than the old.

So there is an evolutionary reason you would expect people to get less
out of reward chemicals be they external ones or internal as the age.
Of course there are people who stay drunk till they die as well as
people who stay in a cult till they are so useless that the cult sets
them and their possessions out on the curb.


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