Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Was it you or the Caffeine?

I have a lack of patience with those who fall “victim” to drug addiction. They sometimes believe that they have no choice in the matter. It’s just out of their hands in their minds. Bullshit. Is it you or that caffeine which helped you read that article? If you believe it was yourself, then why can’t the addict feel in control? Drugs motivate and inspire behavior; but they do so without any input from ourselves? Of course not! Caffeine may perk most of us up, but what we do depends on our personality and situation. The effects are as much dependent on pharmacology as they are on personality (e.g. their personal trajectory).

Certainly, different drugs cause different effects. But the dependency on the personal experience and history of the person is still present in the same way. Outside of a lack of consciousness in the form of sedation, all behavior on drugs will be dependent on one’s personal make up. Tim Leary’s idea of set and setting can be applied to all substances, rather than solely psychedelics. Drugs which elicit more pleasurable feelings are still allow one’s personal choice to remain. Why should one keep intoxicating oneself if it leads to harm? The choice is made in depression and apathy for the self and world- but it is still a choice!

Accurate information plays a pivotal role in making good decisions. One is very unlikely to make wise choices with a lack of knowledge. Information on any given subject becomes hard to obtain if illegal. The drug war causes a paucity in reliable facts on drug use and effects. However, even in markets and societies where the sale of most psychoactive drugs are illegal, one can still obtain sufficient information. However one would need to do a bit more digging.  

Withdrawal is a matter of fact for most pleasurable drugs. But one’s will is not absent in such a state. Think of having an itch. One may just go ahead and relive it by scratching. But some- mature people- will refrain from it. Perhaps they know it wont help to do so in the long run. Although withdrawal is more extreme than an itch, the will to continue is still present. A study called rat park has shown that addiction depends more on social setting than the actual pharmcodynamics of the drug. More studies have also shown that free (or alternate) choice helps deter addiction to drugs.  

In the end, when you do drink that coffee, you’re more likely to believe it was you who read that article. Although one can argue that you didn't inhibit the adenosine in your brain- that was the caffeine. But you would laugh off such a comment. But when it comes to other substances, you may accept this kind of reasoning. Why? Maybe you feel the drugs are vastly different. One is benign while the other is violent and takes over the will. But fundamentally what’s the difference? An exterior substance has entered the brain and influenced it’s chemistry, resulting in effects on behavior that wouldn't be present without administration. And like everything that enters the body, there are dangers. But when there are benefits and dangers- like in drugs- one must seek balance and find appropriate ways of using or performing these activities. But if you choose not to weigh this for yourself, then I have little sympathy for you- although the drug war does not help. You should know better!