A new study on addiction says that it is an attachment disorder. From a neuroscience perspective, when a survival ("fight-or-flight") circuit from a serious stressor takes the prefrontal (conscious control) offline, then we'll reach for a way to avoid the innate sense that we are going to be annihilated.
Survival circuits activate strong drives
That's a survival circuit. To put the literature in perspective, in fight-or-flight, the PFC is offline and we cannot securely attach to ourselves. We encode a circuit. We can encode several of them, and they trigger so much stress that we are perpetually at Brain State 4 or 5. Because of state-specific memory (the experiences at that state are only available at that state and the others from other states are offline), we'll be apt to activate one harmful habit after another. If we stop one, we'll start another!
A great study by Fellitti reflected that a population of people who had trauma (and thus encoded survival circuits) were like people who had less trauma. They had "problems light." However, the dynamic is the same – the same circuit.
Shutting off the natural pleasures of life
In the photo, you see kids disconnecting from themselves and attaching to something else (in this case their smartphones) to the point that they shut off the natural pleasures of life, including connecting with each other.
In Brain Based Health, we are clear: the problem is the circuit. Sure, we need to stay away from a substance to desensitize the brain to it, but it comes down to whether or not we have wired into our brains a secure connection to ourselves.
I connect to the deepest part of me
EBT Trainer Dave Ingebritsen developed words for a new message of secure attachment. They rang so true for so many people that they are commonly used in EBT. These words are "I connect to the deepest part of me."
That's a secure connection, and that connection to self is the protection we have against the endless temptations in daily life. Instead of thinking in terms of addictions, definitely go with thinking in terms of circuits and appreciate that we can easily become addicts. It's the nature of the human brain!