My column on SEEDMAGAZINE.COM today addresses the definition of “addiction.” Does it make sense to lump all dependence on substances and even all habits under the umbrella of “dependence?” Here’s a selection:
We often think of true addicts as street junkies who prostitute themselves or steal from others to support their habits, but in reality there’s a wide variety of behaviors associated with abusing mind-altering substances. They can range from the casual drinker who sometimes has a few too many martinis, to the pothead who still lives in his mother’s basement, to a talk-show host zoned out on antidepressants….
Indeed, partially because APA’s definition of drug dependence is so flexible, researchers have begun to apply similar reasoning to other “addictive” behaviors. I reported earlier this year on a study in Psychological Science claiming that 7.9 percent of US kids are “addicted” to video games. Dutch psychiatrist Walter van den Broek uncovered a similar study purporting to show that 4 percent of Australian undergraduates were “dependent” on the internet. Van den Broek isn’t buying it: He doesn’t agree that the scale the researchers used adequately defines dependence.
Here’s the link to the whole article.
Also, in case you missed it, here’s my here’s my list of Editor’s Selections for this week for psychology and neuroscience from ResearchBlogging.org:
- What mirror neurons are really doing. A fascinating, lucid analysis of how mirror neurons work–even in species that don’t mimic.
- Vegetative and minimally conscious patients can learn. The Neurophilospher discusses the implications of a study demonstrating learning in patients who had been diagnosed as “vegetative.”
- Why do we sleep? Do we have a need for rest, or is there another reason? Neuroskeptic elucidates.
- Trusting authority: “Moral conviction” and “religiosity” are different in surprising ways when it comes to accepting the authority of another.