There was a fascinating piece in the New York Times that I found very interesting, both for the positive spin it put on the so-called “addictive personality” and for it’s discussion of some current thinking regarding the role of brain chemistry in addiction. See it HERE. In summary, the article asserts that the brain physiology of addicts is not defective somehow, but differs from most people’s in particular ways, leaving them less able to feel motivated by the pleasure that comes from what might be called the “normal spectrum” of pleasurable behaviors. They “must seek high levels of stimulation to reach the same level of pleasure that others can achieve with more moderate indulgence.” This makes them [us?] more prone to “risk-taking, novelty-seeking and obsessive personality traits often found in addicts.” The author goes on to say that those same traits “can be harnessed to make them very effective in the workplace. For many leaders, it’s not the case that they succeed in spite of their addiction; rather, the brain wiring and chemistry that make them addicts also confer on them behavioral traits that serve them well.”
The article goes on to point out that “some of our most revered historical figures were known to be addicts,” including Charles Baudelaire, Aldous Huxley, Sigmund Freud, Alexander the Great, Winston Churchill and Otto von Bismarck.
Imagine a time perhaps not far off when addiction is seen as a symptom, rather than a disease. And a symptom of a condition that itself is within the normal range of human differences, and one with as many advantages as drawbacks.
— Craig Whalley