Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Thursday, December 13, 2018 04:21:35 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Addiction and a lack of purpose

By
07th-Dec-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Steve Taylor Ph.D. :
As you are no doubt aware, presently the United States is experiencing an opioid epidemic. There are many reasons for this - one of the most obvious being the reckless over-subscription of opiate-based painkillers by doctors, leading to dependency. But on a psychological level, we have to take into account the strong relationship between addiction and the lack of a sense of purpose.
To some extent, addiction is the result of a lack of purpose. It's partly the consequence of experiencing what the psychologist Viktor Frankl called the 'existential vacuum'-feeling as though there is no purpose or meaning to your life.
With a strong sense of purpose, we become very resilient, able to overcome challenges, and to bounce back after setbacks. We are also better able to deal with-and perhaps more motivated to overcome - the painful effects of past trauma. We never wake up in the morning with no reason to get out of bed. Life seems easier, less complicated and stressful. Our minds seem somehow tauter and stronger, with less space for negativity to seep in.
But without a sense of purpose, we are more vulnerable to becoming depressed in response to negative events. We become more susceptible to psychological discord-to boredom, frustration and pessimism. We are more liable to feel the residual pain of trauma from the past (and traumatic past experiences in themselves have also been linked to addiction).
Drugs and alcohol are therefore appealing as a way of escaping the psychological problems caused by a lack of purpose. But addiction can also be seen as an attempt to find a purpose.
After all, when a person becomes an addict, their lives take on a very strong sense of purpose: to satisfy the addiction. I have often heard addicts describe how life simple life becomes in addiction. There is always a clear goal in your mind and a motivation behind every moment of your existence. Everything else is secondary to the overriding purpose of feeding your addiction.
And just as there is a relationship between addiction and a lack of purpose, there is a relationship between recovering from addiction and gaining a new sense of purpose. Research has shown that, without a new sense of purpose, recovery does not tend to last.
The stronger and more established a person's sense of purpose is, the greater chance they have of remaining sober. Partly this is because there has to be something to replace the sense of purpose provided by the substance, otherwise a person is likely to return to that purpose. At the same time, a new sense of purpose can provide the resilience needed to overcome the challenges that arise with new sobriety.
In my view, the present-day prevalence of addiction is a least in part symptomatic of a crisis of purpose in secular Western culture. It's partly the result of a sense of disorientation and frustration due to the lack of the availability of fulfilling, purposive modes of living. The primary purpose that our cultures offer is what you could call a 'self-accumulative' purpose. We are encouraged to think of happiness in terms of acquisition and achievement.
We try to get as many qualifications as we can so we can get good jobs, earn good money, buy possessions and pleasures, and slowly work our way up the ladder of success.
But it's not surprising that so many people find this type of purpose unfulfilling. After all, there is very little evidence that material success and professional achievement contribute to personal wellbeing. And due to the fact that success and wealth are limited commodities, there is a great deal of competition for them. It's easy for people to fall behind, to lose motivation, or even to fall off the ladder altogether.
Another possibility is a religious purpose. Religion is appealing to many people because it does provide a strong sense of purpose and meaning. However, taking on a religious purpose usually involves accepting questionable and irrational beliefs, and subsuming one's individuality and intellectual independence within a pre-given framework, which is difficult for many of us to do. As a result, religion offers only limited help.
To my mind, therefore, large-scale problems with substance abuse are an inevitable result of a culture that is 'purpose deficient.'
It's clearly essential to take appropriate social and political measures, such as reducing the availability of prescription opioids and funding recovery programs, but at the same time-from a longer-term perspective-we need to encourage the adoption of more satisfactory and fulfilling types of purpose, beyond self-accumulation and religion.
In a research project at my university, we studied the effects of different types of purpose and found that an altruistic and a 'self-expansive' purpose were much more strongly associated with well-being. (By 'self-expansive' we mean that a person's sense of purpose is to grow, to expand themselves and their horizons, and to fulfill their potential.
This often means following a creative path, or a path of personal or spiritual development.) Altruism is much more fulfilling than self-accumulation because it connects us to other people, and helps us to transcend a self-centered preoccupation with our own desires or worries. Altruism is also non-material, and therefore limitless.
We don't need to compete against each other for kindness. A self-expansive purpose is so fulfilling because it gives us a sense of dynamic movement, with feelings of flow and accomplishment and meaning.
So in order to transcend our present state of purpose deficiency (and so transcend the psychological discord that so easily leads to addiction), there ought to be a cultural movement to encourage the adoption of these different types of purpose.
Rather than encouraging consumerism and competitiveness, we should be encouraging altruism, creativity and spirituality. Perhaps most of all, this should begin with an overhaul of education systems, which tragically neglect these areas, in favor of training pupils and students for a treadmill of unfulfilling striving.
Unless this happens-whilst it may be mitigated by social and political changes-the tragic specter of addiction will always hover over us.

(Steve Taylor, Ph.D., is senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University. He is the author of Back to Sanity and Waking From Sleep).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Outstanding performance of our farmers


FARMERS of Pirojpur district have successfully used marshlands to grow up paddy saplings which would help meet sapling shortage in the waterlogged areas during paddy cultivation. In the district, farmers devoid of sapling during the Boro season as most uplands, where Boro seedlings usually grew, have been used for cultivating ...

International »

France hunts gunman after three killed at Strasbourg Christmas market


AFP  :Hundreds of police hunted Wednesday for a gunman who shot dead three people and wounded 13, eight seriously, at a famed Christmas market in Strasbourg, on the French border with Germany.The attack took place Tuesday around 8 pm (1900 GMT) in the heart of the medieval city as the ...

City »

A faction of BFUJ and DUJ staged a demonstration in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Wednesday in protest against closure of 54 online news portal.


.

Cricket »

Mashrafe regrets not getting another 20-25 runs after loss


UNB, Dhaka :Bangladesh lost the second ODI of the three-match series on Tuesday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium to the Windies by four wickets. The hosts' captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza regrets more 20-25 runs at the end of the match.Bangladesh posted 255 for seven wickets in the first innings after ...

Entertainment »

Priyanka Gope in discussion with her new song


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :It is mostly happened in case of many singers where despite having outstanding lyrics and mind blowing composition many songs do not hit among the music lovers. For this reason, many singers cannot create attention among the listeners. National Film Award winner singer Priyanka Gope has rendered ...

Cricket »

Opener Tamim Iqbal (left) of Bangladesh plays a shot during the second One Day International match between Bangladesh and West Indies at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the city's Mirpur on Tuesday.


Cricket »

Mashrafe creates record by leading Bangladesh in maximum ODIs


Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, the Bangladesh ODI captain, has created a new history playing the second encounter of three-match series against West Indies by equaling the record of Habibul Bashar to lead Tigers in most ODIs. Mashrafe has all the chances to surpass his predecessor in the third and final match of ...

Editorial »

Social awareness can help stop cruelty


A YOUNG factory worker, Azharul Islam Suman, was killed in Naraynganj on Saturday when some persons inserted a high-pressured air nozzle into his rectum and activated it. We have no word to express our shock and agony seeing the brutal method of torture and killing a man. The occurrence could ...

International »

Ex US senators warn of `constitutional crisis` under Trump


AP, Washington : Forty-four former US Senators from both major US parties warned Monday of threats to US democracy under President Donald Trump, and a "constitutional crisis" for America. They said the convergence of events - as special counsel Robert Mueller probes whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to tilt the 2016 ...

International »

Trillions of dollars paid in bribes, stolen through corruption every year: UN


PTI, United Nations: Trillions of dollars - equivalent to more than five per cent of global GDP - are paid in bribes or stolen through corruption every year, according to the United Nations.Secretary-General Antonio Guterres deemed corruption "an assault on the values of the United Nations," in a message on ...

City »

BNP candidate Mirza Abbas speaking at a press conference on `BNP candidates participating in the eleventh parliamentary elections are in arrest and attack panic` at his residence in the city`s Shajahanpur on Tuesday.


Entertainment »

Pori Moni becomes Fair & Lovely brand ambassador


Entertainment Desk :Dhallywood star Pori Moni  signed a contract with popular skin product brand 'Fair &Lovely' as their brand ambassador on Sunday . She signed the contract with Unilever Bangladesh, according to a recent press release.Senior officials of Unilever Bangladesh were present at the contract signing event at the Unilever ...

Entertainment »

Airin in web series for first time


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Celebrities are showing their keen interest to work in web series. For this reason, they are working one after another in web series. Viewers are also showing their interest to enjoy these worldwide. Film actress Airin has include her name in the list working in web series. ...

Editorial »

Ensure justice for rape victims and protect the witnesses


SPEAKERS at a conference demanded enactment of the Witness Protection Bill which was drafted in 2006 by the Law Commission aimed at ensuring security of rape victims and witnesses. They made the demand at a national conference on "Rape law Reform", organised by Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), ...

Cricket »

India end 10-year win drought in Australia first Test nail-biter


AFP, Adelaid :India won their first Test on Australian soil in a decade Monday, bowling out the home side in a nail- biting finale to clinch the opening match of the series at Adelaide Oval with Rishabh Pant equalling a world-record along the way.The hosts were set an improbable target ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news