According to theAmerican Society of Addiction Medicine the clinical definition of addiction includes:
"A primary, chronic, neurobiologic disease, with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following":
- Impaired control over drug use
- Compulsive use
- Continued use despite harm
While the definition is useful for diagnosing addictions it says little of how the addict convinces him or herself to continue to use despite the harm or risks involved. This blog will attempt to examine this phenomena in new way by looking at addiction as repetitive negative inner dialogs that the addict literally continues to reactivate. Likewise we will also look at recovery as the ability to change or alter the dynamic of addictive dialogs.
Our first task is to examine the phenomena of inner dialogs, or as is sometimes cited in academic terms, the study of the dynamics of intrapersonal communication. We are constantly engaged in inner dialogs for indeed it is how we think. Thoughts manifest themselves to us as inner speech and inner images. Within our inner speech thoughts we are always the speaker (in certain pathologies e.g. schizophrenia the inner speaker can appear as “other voices” but this area of inquiry is beyond the scope of our topic here).
As the internal speaker we often engage in multiple conversations throughout our day. The question thus becomes if we are always the speaker of our thoughts who is doing the listening?
Rick Murphy, M.A.