A California drug rehab center has found through profound study that there’s an association between addiction and a lack of social connection
Addiction and social connection
Addiction has mostly been associated with the use of drugs which leads to pleasurable effects in the brain. A new study by a California drug rehab center has found that the underlying cause of addiction relates to the inability of the addict to create emotional attachments of trust with other human beings. The study has concluded that the end goal of a recovering addict is not sobriety but the ability to connect with others and when they are incapable of doing this, those individuals are much less successful in their sobriety.
The effects of drugs on users
Drugs like cocaine and heroin have the ability to trigger neurochemicals into the brain that give a sense of euphoria. It was believed that these effects would cause the user to be addicted and cause immediate cravings. We know now that if that were the case, then each and every person trying alcohol or drugs would end up getting addicted and use it on a long term basis. However, statistics show that only 10% of people eventually get addicted after trying a potentially addictive substance. So what is it that leads some to get addicted and not others?
The Rat Park Study
The Rat Park study is a groundbreaking study on the effects of addiction on rats. Rats are very similar to human in terms of behavior, they are social creatures just like humans. An experiment was conducted wherein a rat was put in a cage with two bottles of water. One contained pure water whereas the other contained water laced with heroin. The rat tasted both bottles of water but was eventually addicted to the heroin laced water. The experiment was again repeated but this time instead of putting a single rat into the cage in isolation, 20 rats were introduced in a large cage filled with tasty rat food, colored balls, hamster wheels and spaces for mating. It was like rat heaven. The usual two bottles of pure and heroin water were again placed in the cage. This time an amazing thing happened, the rats ignored the heroin laced water and preferred to do social activities like playing and fighting. Even rats previously addicted in isolated cages were able to kick addiction when introduced into the bigger cage with multiple rats.
Associating the behavior with humans
This study has led California drug rehab centers to further capitalize on its findings and strengthens the claim that lack of social connection leads to a great chance of addiction. Humans being the most advanced life form on the planet need a bit more that just simple social activities to beat addiction. They need to be able to trust to create a strong emotional connection with another human being. The first step in creating a solid emotional connection is the ability to trust another person.
Childhood factors that affect the ability to connect
Studies have shown that children require constant attention and need to develop feelings of safety from their caregiver. If they form an emotionally secure relationship with their caregiver, they tend to be happier and develop into an emotionally stable adult. If they don’t form secure attachments with their caregivers then this leads to trust issues and the inability to connect with other human beings as an adult.
Secure Attachment and addiction
This again brings us to the topic of addiction cause it has a lot to do with it. The 10% of people who end up with addiction after trying a potentially addictive substance are the same people who did not receive a secure attachment in childhood from their caregivers. Their inability to form secure social connections in adulthood is one of the main reasons for their addictive behavior.
The way out
People who develop insecure attachment issues in their childhood need not suffer through their entire adulthood. California Rehab Center have found that through conscious effort people can earn their security back by participating in support groups, getting therapy and eventually forming healthy relationships. This finding has immense potential for addicts to heal from addiction by slowly building their ability to trust and form social connections. Although recovery is not easy, it is good to know that it is very much possible with patience and the right support group.