Post Published by Ralph Ryback

Is it possible for someone to become instantly addicted to a drug? Most people might say no. First individuals must try a drug and realize that they like it. Then they might start to use the drug more frequently. Eventually, once they have used the drug enough, their brain begins to lose the ability to function without it. They spend all night dreaming about their next fix. They miss work. They miss birthdays. They miss appointments. There are no consequences that seem to outweigh getting high. This is addiction.

But what if individuals skip a few steps? What if they try the drug once and know immediately they are hooked, and that the urge to use again and again will likely never leave?

Instant or “born” addicts are people who claim they were hooked on a drug after using it for the first time. For these “instant addicts,” the first exposure to a drug is defined as a transformative experience. David Carr, a recently deceased writer for The New York Times (and a recovering drug addict), described the first time he tried cocaine as a “Helen Keller hand-under-the-water moment.” People who suffer from an instant addiction often describe the drug as filling a hole inside their mind that they didn’t even know was there in the first place.

As it turns out, the “hole-inside-their-mind” metaphor is surprisingly accurate.

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