This Is One Huge Cause Of Addiction

Make no mistake, political explanations are valid too!

Derek London
5 min readJul 26, 2021


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We need a more holistic way of studying these societal issues. Science is only one method.

Addiction is a widespread, severe, and extremely misunderstood mental illness. I certainly don’t want to act as though this article could exhaust all explanation. Lately, though, I’ve been responding to a number of ideas presented in a new book I was invited to review. The book is called Overloaded: How Every Aspect of Your Life is Influenced by Your Brain Chemicals, authored by Ginny Smith. And there was something she wrote therein that greatly elucidated, for me anyway, how important community is to ones mental health; and how the lack of it is deeply connected with addictions to substances of abuse.

Isolation even impacts rats

In Overloaded, Ginny Smith spoke meticulously about what has been observed in numerous experiments conducted on lab rats. One series of such studies is known as ‘rat park’. She writes,

“Bruce Alexander and colleagues at Simon Fraser University, Canada, found that if the rats were…kept in groups, in large cages with running wheels, platforms for climbing on and plenty of places to hide, they consumed a lot less morphine when it was offered.”

In past scribblings, I’ve gone into pretty high resolution about what neurological processes are involved when addictions form. Perhaps one of the reasons we are so susceptible to them as human beings is because of how sophisticated our brains are. The mechanism through which we form memory, learn and even perceive our world are also at the heart of how addictions develop.

This is why it’s not so easy for experts to discern where dependence to a substance ends and where a behavioural hang-up begins.

‘I can only control that first drink.’

Perhaps this is why many so-called ‘recovered’ addicts, rarely consider themselves truly recovered. They know how vulnerable they are to small but potent triggers. So they prefer to say they are ‘recovering’, even if they’ve not relapsed in years or even decades.



Derek London

Editor for Diogenes Lounge. Writer for ILLUMINATION and a YouTube personality. Subscribe to my channel: