Addicted Behavior, The Kiloby Center for Recovery stays abreast of new scientific studies that align with our approach.  At the Center, we find when working with clients that, when it comes to addictive seeking, it is the seeking energy itself that they are hooked into, rather than the particular pleasurable end result that they are trying to achieve.  A new study by researchers at the Universitat Jaume I of Castellón seems to confirm this finding.  The study says that the widespread belief that dopamine regulates pleasure should be discarded. According to the study, dopamine is not connected to the moment of pleasurable attainment of an end result of seeking, but rather to the ACT OF SEEKING ITSELF. This may explain why people spend hours, days, months and years enslaved in the act of seeking drugs, porn, spiritual awakening, self improvement or positive future manifestations. That’s how we get a continuous “hit” of dopamine — through the act of seeking itself. This is considered groundbreaking in certain scientific circles. To review a summary of the study, visit:…/130110094415.htm

If this study is correct, the ramifications are immense.

Consider all the substances and activities that humans are addicted to – drugs, alcohol, porn, sex, shopping, gambling, food, spiritual seeking, self-improvement. That’s just the short list.

An assumption that often underlies addictive seeking is that the dopamine or pleasurable “hit” is connected directly to the attainment of the goal – for example, scoring drugs, finding just the right pornographic image, hitting a jackpot at the casino, eating the best donuts in the bakery, purchasing the nicest clothes, obtaining the best job, making a certain amount of money, finding our true self or becoming enlightened. But if we are getting our hit from the act of seeking, does it truly matter what our goal is? We could be addicted to anything – as long as the seeking for it is continuously giving us the hit.

When we work with people at the Center, we do not focus merely on the particular substance or activity to which one is addicted. We focus on the seeking energy itself, regardless of how it arises or what end result to which it seems to be connected.  It really doesn’t matter whether the client is seeking the next bag of heroin or seeking enlightenment. The seeking mechanism is essentially the same. Focusing on the seeking energy itself helps relax addiction as a whole, helping people be more presently aware of the thoughts, emotions and sensations that arise and how the “excited hit” from these arising is propelling them towards some future moment. As seeking energy as a whole comes to rest, clients begin to experience a greater sense of peace and well-being in the present moment, as if the moment itself is enough to fulfill them entirely.

One particular troubling issue that all addiction treatment centers face is substitution. Substitution is the act of substituting one addictive substance or activity for another. For example, someone quits smoking but then becomes addicted to sugar. This may be because the addiction is connected with the act of seeking something – anything. During treatment, if the focus is merely on particular substances – like drugs or alcohol – clients may be setting themselves up to continue in addiction by substituting the drugs or alcohol with some other form of seeking. This is why we focus on bringing the entire mechanism of seeking to rest, rather than just particular addictions.


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