Addiction, Emotional Deprivation, Escape from Painful Emotions

With the pandemic period, families are worried that their children will become dependent on technology as well as moving away from their responsibilities. So why do people get addicted?

Every addictive action and substance causes the intense secretion of happiness hormones in the brain. The person feels really happy and relaxed for the moment. However, in order to release the same amount of happiness hormone again, this time it has to increase the amount and intensity of that action. This allows the addiction to continue until it takes over the person’s entire life. The neurochemical dimension of this addiction issue. What I really want to mention is the psychological dimension of addiction.

First of all, we need to know that every addiction stems from the gaps created by emotional deprivation and the desire to escape from the pain of reality. These emotional deprivations create anxiety and pressure. The brain clings to a substance or an action that makes it feel happy and comfortable to suppress anxiety, to get rid of the stress and pressure of reality. This is what lies behind people’s sentences like “I’m bored, let me light a cigarette”. Even when people say that they have experienced a happy development, they tend to maintain this addiction. Addiction is our brain’s defense mechanism.

Whether it’s alcohol, cigarettes, work, technology, shopping, gaming and social media addiction, they all are based on emotional deprivation. For example, when we look at the family life of drug addicts, we see that they have been neglected and have not received enough and healthy love and support from their families and friends emotionally. When we look at social media addicts, we can see that their needs for admiration, self-expression, communicating with others, and being valued are at the forefront. When we look at workaholics, we see that they are people whose needs for appreciation and approval are not met, and who are often constantly criticized in their childhood and made to feel flawed and inadequate. In short, addiction is a non-functional solution that is realized to satisfy existing deprivations or to avoid negative emotions caused by deprivations. Because this situation becomes an increasingly challenging picture by negatively affecting the daily life and human relations of the person.

If we come to the game addiction, another addiction of today’s young people. The most dominant emotion here is the need for achievement and development. As the game progresses, as the enemies are defeated and the managed character levels up, there is a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. Here, the young man puts out a product with success. It can be appreciated by other players. It takes a taste of production, development and success. However, this feeling increases exponentially when you play these games with real people on the internet and become a better player than them. The reason why they have a tantrum when they are unsuccessful during the time spent at the beginning of the game is that the whole sense of success is tried to be satisfied in this environment. When failing in this environment, the person faces failure and becomes ambitious. That’s why I emphasize the importance of giving children simple responsibilities from an early age, satisfying the sense of achievement and production in “real life” and always appreciating effort.

Finally, when we look at the internet addiction brought about by the epidemic, we see the effect of being closed to home and very limited social life. Human is a being that needs social and interpersonal interaction and social sharing. This process, which started with boredom, has triggered the need for people to share and reach each other in these environments, with the limitation of face-to-face communication and the restriction of freedom. In addition, the internet environment is seen as a way to avoid feelings such as intense anxiety and hopelessness caused by the epidemic.

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