Addiction. It is a topic that has impacted all of our lives. If it doesn’t apply to us personally in some way, shape or form, it applies to someone we know or used to know. The more technology applied to the workings of the brain, the more we understand about pleasure-centers that get stimulated and how this links our behaviors toward substances that produce the sensation.
Just recently, a study with Oreo cookies and rats drew a lot of attention, when researchers concluded that Oreos were as addictive if not more so than heroine or cocaine. The media, of course jumped all over the study and the finding and although I haven’t heard any personally, I can only imagine the late-night monologues having some wise cracks injected about licking out the middle first.
But on a more serious note, there is quite a debate among experts who take issue with the conclusion and the way it was drawn. Let me begin with the part that is not being debated. Nobody is denying that junk food is quite habit forming. This has been proven and not the issue.
The first issue is going further than that and claiming that junk food is more addictive than heroine or cocaine. Those most against the claim cite how the rats were not given a choice of selecting junk food or heroine. The conclusion was drawn from the choice of continuing to eat or to stop eating when given electric shocks. Nobody has actually provided both substances to the animals and then seen which they preferred.
Another issue that is brought up is that of linking addiction with junk foods such as Oreo. There are experts in the field who believe this association cheapens the significance and importance of drug addiction. They are fearful that people will consider it more of a joke or a fun thing than something as serious as the disorder that destroys the lives of so many.
I tend to think of eating too much as an addiction because of how many people I have known who choose to eat for reasons entirely other than nutrition and hunger. To me, if there were a ‘scale’ of sorts inside our brains that could measure when we had ‘enough,’ if that scale worked appropriately, people would know when to stop and be able to do it more easily without the massive problem our society faces with that of obesity.
Junk food, which tends to be very high in sugar, carbohydrates and fats, most likely does process in ways to create a desire for more of what we crave. I think addiction is an awful thing to live with or to see others live with – I don’t know that it matters what type of addiction it is.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!