In an interview on France 24, the Director of the French National Centre of Scientific Research, Jocelyne Caboche, speaks about how addiction today is no longer seen as a moral wrongdoing but more as the straightforward disease that it is.
In the interview titled ‘Whether it’s drugs or social media, addiction changes chemicals in our brains,’ Caboche explains to interviewer Eve Irvine that addictions come from when a substance or behavior makes us happy and rewards our brains with the natural chemical dopamine, which the brain then wants more of.
It is commonly known that substances like drugs (harsh or non) are addictive but Caboche touches on the many everyday things that can be too, such as video games, gambling, and social media. “They do they same thing in modifying the reward circuits [in the brain], producing increasing levels of dopamine,” Caboche explains, adding that these brain modifications are not currently curable and are life-lasting.
Director Caboche seems to be working towards normalizing behavioral addiction, moving it away from a moral vice with hopes that research will help aid in the prevention of this type of addiction.
What I see most prevalent in my area is that phones are the source of everything: talk/text, music, podcasts, television, games, internet search (Google), navigation, even work or homework.
We are nearly forced to be apart of something larger, but the society that is the internet is not tangible and just simply adds to our dopamine intake. Meaning society, work, and school are pushing us towards this addiction and away from moderation (tangible social lives v. non).
Moderation is not something that is apparent in our society and I cannot help the people if they do not want to help themselves. In technology addictions, I agree that abstinence or extreme mindfulness from certain behaviors just may be key, as Irvine and Caboche suggested in the interview.
Technology is relevant to anyone living in the modern day world, and paying attention to our own brain chemistry is not dissimilar. With how pervasive the internet is in our daily lives, it is coming to be the duty of scientific researchers to discern the life-long consequences of this.
While this interview itself came from France, the social platforms they use are the same we use here in the US, as well as everyone everywhere, and therefore this is pertinent information for nearly the entire planet’s populace.