Addiction & Culture

Why should this subject be of interest to all of us? By now, we hear of “fentanyl crisis”, aside from drug overdose. More alarming is the question, does “addiction” predict the action of a person that can devolve into group/community actions, thereby leading to culture within that group of people or community? Moreover, how does our “taught-attitude/behavior”,i.e., action, lead to addiction? Will this then extend into the “culture of the community”, like sexual depravity of Sodom & Gomorrah? Are there solutions to this addiction? Additionally, how is this in anyway related to understanding the gospel about the “creation of the God-kingdom”, to start, not from angels (Hebrews 2:5), but from humans; and specifically on “renewing of our mind” as in Romans 12:2. Remember that we were created from “dust of the earth”, “flesh-composed”, subject to “pull of the flesh” and therefore with pathophysiologic system that is amenable to change; unlike the “angelic beings”, spirit-composed and 1/3rd revolted against God. Whereas, by creating the God-kingdom, starting from “man-Jesus”, then “many sons/daughters to glory”, we will then be “one with the Father, as Jesus is “one with him”.

Is their in our composition an intrinsic/natural and biochemical responses through neurotransmitters that, if unchecked, lead to this addiction menace? If, so, what can be done about this?

To start with, except accidents and natural disasters, here is a sweeping statement that “all human depravity emanates from “human actions”, like war, violence , injuries, murder of innocent victims, covetousness, stealing, adultery, sexting/cybersex, abusive behaviors, environmental dirt, etc.”

And, the origin of our motive that becomes an action comes from our “mind”. But “human minds” are diverse and differ from one another depending on our exposure to events and personal experiences. And actions maybe accidental, may lack ability to see right/wrong and without motive, like those with mental disabilities; therefore require less culpability; and, sentencing is thus modified for the sake of fair justice which requires knowledge of right or wrong as well as abilities to act accordingly. Moreover, influences from each other lead to “culture within the community”. Notwithstanding, it does not have to be “actual action” but even “thought/thinking that marinates/conceives, brings forth sin as in James 1:15.

Remember the song “sound of silence” where it says:Because a vision softly creeping, left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains. Within the sound of silence”
Some mechanism , biochemical or neuromodulation , etc, may keep that “vision/ gratifying experience
in our mind to express itself into subsequent action.

Since it was the Creator-God, who was known to Moses as Yahweh-Elohim, but known as El-Shaddai to Abraham, Isaac & Jacob (Exodus 6:3), who made us flesh-composed,” thus, subject to the “ pull/works of the flesh”, understanding the biochemical and pathophysiologic mechanism of human actions due to our “composition/structure”(as created human beings) may help us determine what solutions there are, to many wrong actions/thoughts of humanity.

Culture of impunity:

Remember these examples of how the mind decides and acts:

5 black police officers from Memphis Tennessee indicted for the death of Tyre Nichols; did addictive behavior or attitudes towards each other lead to culture?

The Memphis police officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols were part of an elite unit known as Scorpion that was set up to crack down on high-crime neighborhoods. The officers’ actions as they stopped and beat Nichols show how the squad’s work could, and did, go very wrong. Was the system – response taught to that unit?

Access also these: Harvey Weinstein etc Kelly sex abuse. How did they repeatedly do these heinous crimes? And this:

The Jan. 26 police shooting of a 36-year-old, double amputee in southeastern Los Angeles is the latest killing of a Black man to set off protests over excessive and lethal violence by U.S. law enforcement. Again, a response taught to the group, then embedded in their brains?

Deleterious effect extending to the community in Kensington, Philadelphia

And, addiction is not limited to illegal or legal drugs but also to digital platforms and social media that may develop in us, so-called Nomophobia

“10% of U.S. adults admit to having an addiction to Internet pornography. Research shows that about 67% of 13-year-old boys have seen at least one pornographic image on some sort of digital device in the past year, and by the age of 18, that number rises to 90%.”

FYI, beware: .”Danger of social media on “young minds”:

Definition of Addiction:

As important this subject is, let us now understand the official definition of “addiction”. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as, “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.” Something went wrong with the brain circuitry. How biochemically does addiction happen?

Pathophysiology of Addiction:

Having attended seminar on addiction made me think about the relationship of this menace to the development of culture of communities, towns, cities, nations and who, we eventually/ultimately become to be, as a person.

Understanding it’s pathophysiologic mechanism will also help us to see why we need to brace ourselves and change our perception on “addicts”, to understand them better with compassion and help them through these difficulties. This will also help us understand why God created us into this “temporary dwelling”, what God has done, and is doing as planned to remedy it. It will also make us aware of how reinforcement, repetitive behavior and actions lead to responses which can be predictable.

To begin with, addiction is derived from the Latin word for “enslaved” or “bound by”, which makes incredible sense.

Remember Romans 6:20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness”(NIV). How did we become “bound by and enslaved to sin”? From where and how humans were created (Genesis 2:7), of flesh and not spirit, may help explain the propensity all of us have and are subject to this “pull and fruits of the flesh” because of what we were made of.

Let us start with the original Pavlov experiment on dogs: proof of consigned reflex. That is how dog’s brain works

Similarly, few realize that human addiction also has to do with the way the human (also flesh-composed as dogs) brain works. It may well be, that humans and animals have the same neurotransmitter circuitry and biochemical responses.

When most people think of addiction, they think of drugs. But addiction can exist in almost any form. Video games/TV time, alcoholism, gambling, sex, even sugar and exercise addiction. If it releases dopamine from the brain, then it can potentially become an addictive substance or responses. In simple terms, addiction is simply the brain becoming dependent on a source of feel-good chemicals created from something it doesn’t actually need to sustain itself.

Victims all too often know that what they’re doing is dangerous and destructive, but because of their perceived need for the thing, they literally can’t help it. Addiction is a learned behavior. No one sets out intending to become an addict. Half the time they don’t even realize they are one until it’s too late.

Addiction is caused through repetition, constant usage of a certain item, substance or action ( even thought/thinking that may conceive) that releases dopamine in large quantities. The brain likes this and demands more of it – that’s the mechanism of addiction. Reinforcing that reward, can make it tough to break the habit.The problem is that after a while, it becomes impossible to keep up with. The standards of the dopamine high become harder to reach and the victim becomes callous/less responsive and tries harder and harder to achieve that goal again. This is what leads to addiction. Without help, this cycle will keep repeating until the victim is too lost in it to get out on their own.

Trauma and stress affect their lives. To combat this problem and ultimately prevent addiction from occurring in the first place, Ressler would like to see the creation of more preventive strategies that help individuals better cope with stress and trauma, beginning in childhood.

Ressler is also pursuing a complementary study regarding the mechanisms of addiction, in which he is examining the amygdala—a part of the brain that plays a central role in how one experiences emotions—and related regions, such as the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). He and his colleagues’ findings suggest that dysregulation of the OFC-to-amygdala neurocircuit may influence addictive behavior.

Specifically, their findings show that increased levels of a neuroplasticity protein, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf encoded by the BDNF gene.), drive goal-oriented behavior. In contrast, stress or developmental trauma may lead to atrophy of the OFC neurotrophin systems, which in turn can lead to increased habitual behavior, such as drug or any pleasure-seeking behavior, that becomes predominant over goal-directed behavior. Targeting these molecular systems may serve as a promising adjunct to behavioral therapies aimed at suppressing or reversing habitual thought or behavioral patterns seen in addiction

OFC may shrink or atrophy from diminished use leading to less control from frontal cortex.

There is an involuntary takeover of the brain that compromises decision-making and diminishes freedom of choice, making quitting difficult even in the face of desire to do so.

What happens in addiction is that, through completely natural processes involved in all learning, the brain prunes (disregards) nerve pathways of attention and motivation to preferentially notice, focus on, desire, and seek the substance or pleasurable experiences. What starts out as a choice becomes, in a sense, a prison. The addict the becomes “imprisoned or enslaved”.

Because substances or experiences of gratification, act directly on the reward center of the brain to deliver their high—these involve speedy and intense release of the neurotransmitter dopamine—addiction can be seen as a shortcut to reward, one that, over time, can have a high cost to physical and mental health. Nevertheless, the outsize sensation of reward makes a powerful case for repetition. And through pathways of nerve connection to other areas of the brain, the response weakens activity of the brain’s decision-making center in the prefrontal cortex. Overcoming addiction usually entails not just stopping use of a substance or behaviors but also discovering or rediscovering meaningful activities and goals, the pursuit of which provide the brain with rewards more naturally (and more gradually). And because they require effort, they contribute to growth of many facets of personality and personhood.

…the brain shifts control over the sequence of actions involved in drinking from conscious control via the prefrontal cortex to habit formation using the basal ganglia. This transition from incentive salience toward habitual responding, mediated by changes in brain circuitry, can make it more likely that someone will continue their drinking pattern and harder for them to stop.

Effects of heavy substance use on the brain, and recovery of brain functioning with sustained abstinence, which may be facilitated by cognitive training, were reviewed. Neuroimaging provides powerful tools for determining brain mechanisms underlying psychotherapy and medication effects, predicting and monitoring outcomes, developing novel interventions that target specific brain circuits, and identifying for whom an intervention will be effective.

Same mechanism occurs as we see or interpret things or persons and repeatedly register in our orbit-frontal context

SUMMARY & Why Humans need God

Addiction is, “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.” Something went wrong with the brain circuitry that dissociated one’s ability to say “no” to the gratifying pleasure that neurotransmitter dopamine stimulates and connects with the orbitofrontal cortex for analysis and decision-making.

Repetitive behavior leads to development of diminished connectivity of circuitry control between amygdala and OFC( occipital-frontal cortex) as well as bdnf-gene that becomes the building block of BDNF( brain-derived neurotrophic factor) to achieve an enhanced need for gratification.

Simply put, addiction is when the brain becomes dependent on a source of feel-good chemicals created from something it doesn’t actually need to sustain itself.

Current human interventions and therapy of not just stopping use of a substance or behaviors but also discovering or rediscovering meaningful activities and goals, the pursuit of which provide the brain with rewards more naturally (and more gradually) are salutary. And other things can be done by ourselves

Still, they require effort thus contributing to growth of many facets of personality and personhood. Human efforts, however has limits and our nature, needs additional “empowering tool” to overcome these temptations/urges intrinsic/natural to our created “temporary dwelling”. As Jesus emphasized, “the flesh is weak” as in Mark 14:38.

This is why the God-Creator, aka, El-Shaddai, Yahweh-Elohim, who knows how we are made of, for good reasons, also has a plan to provide additional “empowering toollong-promised to his human creation to overcome these “natural phenomenon”.

And this “empowering tool” comes in the form of “in-dwelling Jesus Christ” in our mind (for renewing the mind) by/through the holy spirit of power. And this power, given by the Father-God, manifested itself first through “man-Jesus (our trailblazer, first of the firstfruits) by the River Jordan as witnessed by John the Baptist in Luke 3:22.

Subsequently, at “time appointed”, he gave this “empowering tool”, after Jesus’ resurrection, to his disciples, also on Pentecost and even now to re-create the “marred clay” to develop/mature into his church, eventually to “bring many sons/daughters to glory” as a family and members of the God-kingdom, as numerous as “stars in heaven” as promised through Abraham.

So, with this “empowering tool” and not our power nor our works but Jesus’ works, that “no one can boast”, here are:

Pre-emptive measures to prevent development of “bad culture” in our mind

1. Fear the Lord for wisdom to begin as in Proverbs 9:10

2. Flee temptation as in I Corinthians 6-18

3. Moderation as in Philippians 4/5 King James Bible
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. One knows “moderation” if he/she maintains “control and still can say NO to temptations”

God has planned and is executing what he promised to create us to do good works as in Ephesians 2:10.

As the Creator-God dwells only in the “holy-of-holies” of the Temple to show his plan for the future “in-dwelling in our mind” to clean it from evil and empower it to “will and do” good works , so at “time appointed”, he is doing this since his resurrection to life, as we are “saved through his life”.

God bless all of us to be guided to the truth to “will and do” his way, truth, and life. 🙏👍😊

March 29, 2023 published today to commemorate FDA’s approval of over-the -counter Naloxone

“Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Narcan, 4 milligram (mg) naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray for over-the-counter (OTC), nonprescription, use – the first naloxone product approved for use without a prescription. Naloxone is a medication that rapidly reverses the effects of opioid overdose and is the standard treatment for opioid overdose. Today’s action paves the way for the life-saving medication to reverse an opioid overdose to be sold directly to consumers in places like drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations, as well as online.”