[ExI] addiction

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Tue Mar 15 22:45:23 UTC 2016

On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 5:21 PM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:

> I don't think people are going to get very far with understanding
> addiction until they understand why human (some at least) can be
> addicted at all.
> You folks are sick of hearing about it from me, anyone have an
> evolutionary pathway to this curious trait.

To addiction? Why did addiction evolve? This seems ultimately simple to me
(sorry for jumping in here nearly a year late, but the thread never got
here and I thought I had something to add when it came up out of random

THE most important evolutionary drive is the drive to reproduce. Without
reproduction, genes are never passed on. Evolutionary game over.

Reproduction in most all multi-cellular animals is through sexual
reproduction. So anything that would drive animals to have sex would be an
evolutionary driving force. So what is it that sex does? It produces
endorphins, which are accepted by the pleasure centers of the brain as "job
well done". Any animal that reproduces successfully has to WANT to have sex
(at least in season - for seasonally reproductive animals) very much and go
through whatever evolution has required it to do to get sex. The reward is
the release of brain chemicals that you WANT again and again.

So, what do drugs do? They stimulate the same pleasure centers of the brain
that are stimulated by sex. They hijack the pathways that evolved for our
most important evolutionary function and they do it well. So it's no wonder
that we become addicted to anything that gives the same reward as sex does.
It makes a ton of sense from an evolutionary viewpoint.

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