Thread: It IS addicting
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Old May 6th, 2009, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: It IS addicting

Originally Posted by Hajo Flettner View Post
It seems that the real issue here is what exactly is substance addiction. One is often said to be addicted to something when that substance/activity/thing is seen as somehow negative and yet enjoyable enough to become habitual. As such, if one discovers enjoyment in some substance/activity/thing viewed as a vice it is described as addictive. This how people are frequently described as being addicted to fat laden foods, gambling, alcohol, video games, the internet, tobacco, adrenaline, sex, chocolate or what have you. The problem is that what is commonly referred to as addiction is clinically not accurate and like so many terms addiction has entered into popular usage and is abused for political/cultural/religious ends by people that either donít know or donít care what the term actually means.

In psychopharmacological circles addiction is correctly thought of in terms of the use of psychoactive substances to which the user becomes dependant upon to such an extent that his obsession with the substance dominates his conduct to the extreme detriment of his health, ability to act reasonably and social well being . Other aspects of addiction are:
1) an extremely high probability of the need for professional medical care to terminate use of the substance
2) an extremely high rate of the addict resuming consumption of the substance without close, professional supervision and medical intervention
3) Continued use resulting in catastrophic health consequences being a near certainty in the mid term or sooner
4) debilitating psychological and physical conditions arising in the addict during withdraw from the substance

Clearly by the standards mentioned above tobacco is far less problematic in terms of addiction then almost any illegal substance. This should be obvious given that the vast majority of all tobacco consumers world wide have perfectly normal and productive lives while the same canít be said of consumers of illegal substances. While it is undeniable that heavy consumers of tobacco develop a consumption patter that demonstrates a dependance and some of the negative attributes mentioned above it is also true even heavy smokers continue to lead productive, normal lives while the same can rarely be said of alcoholics and habitual users of illegal substances.

It should also be pointed out that ex-smokers far out number smokers in every single Occidental nation and that in excess of 90% of them quit smoking without professional counseling or medical assistance of any sort which again is a radical point of departure from virtually all other substances traditionally viewed as addictive. If one becomes familiar with the physiology of withdraw from other substances traditional viewed as additive one will notice that the effects are far more traumatic then those typically experienced by people attempting to cease using tobacco. One will also point out that unlike addicts dependant upon controlled and illegal substances or alcoholics tobacco users face far less likelihood of suffering debilitating disease as well as far less drastic reductions in life expectancy.

The crux of all these points is that all of the hysterical condemnations of the addictiveness of nicotine being far worse then all the various substances I canít mention here are utterly without foundation in fact.

With respect to Michaelís notion that it must be addicting since he has increased the frequency of his sessions Iíd say that doing something with increasing regularity that you enjoy does not necessarily mean that one is addicted for the reasons I detailed early. What it does signify is that Michael is careless in his use of the term addiction. If Michael feels that he canít control his use of moassel then he should not use it.

I will suggest that if one is to make an informed decision about tobacco consumption in any form (save food) a little bit of research and critical thinking into the risk factors and the meaning of addiction is called for and such inquiry has to be a bit more involved then merely repeating misused terms or mainstream media citings of studies without a contrasting view point.

For starters Iíd suggest taking a few courses dealing the methodological issues involved with public health issues. Next, Iíd suggest checking out the following links:

After digesting the material above I would heartily recommend as a fantastic resource for those capable of rational thought on smoking and the desire to learn a bit about the public health and policy issues in question. Those that are still in more info can ask for additional references.

Thank you so much Hajo. Very well put. Great links I checked each one out.
Its not that I CAN'T control it. I was just curious of everyone's opinion on hookah addiction. Its pretty much 50/50 it seems with some viewpoints contradicting others.
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