Johann Hari, author of the New York Times best-selling book “Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs,” has been exploring the true cause of addiction, something he believes is largely misunderstood.
In a Ted Talk filmed last month, Hari challenged the belief that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, saying patients who receive painkillers after medical procedures but have no issue getting off the drugs largely disprove that theory.
“If what we believe about addiction is right, if those people are exposed to all those chemical hooks, what should happen? They should become addicts,” he said. “It doesn’t happen.”
What Hari believes to be the cause of addiction — be it drug addiction, gambling addiction or even addiction to your mobile device — is a lack of human connection.
“Human beings have a natural and innate need to bond. And when we’re happy and healthy we’ll bond and connect with each other,” Hari explained. “But if you can’t do that — because you’re traumatized or isolated or beaten down by life — you will bond with something that will give you some sense of relief. Now that might be gambling, that might be pornography, that might be cocaine, that might be cannabis, but you will bond and connect with something because that’s our nature, that’s what we want as human beings.”
Watch Hari’s Ted Talk above.
“For a hundred years now we’ve been singing war songs about addicts,” Hari said. “I think all along we should have been singing love songs to them. Because the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.”
Read Johann Hari’s blog for The Huffington Post, “The Likely Cause Of Addiction Has Been Discovered, And It Is Not What You Think,” here. Hari will be speaking on August 26th in Edinburgh, in early September in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, and in mid-September in Mexico City. For details of these events go towww.chasingthescream.com.