Tag Archives | Addiction

Japanese Government Opens “Internet Fasting Camps” To Treat Addicted Teens

Computer_labCould you survive these brutal camps? Via the International Business Times:

In response to rising numbers of young people who are “pathologically addicted” to the internet, Japan is opening up so-called “internet fasting camps” to wean youths off the web. Researchers at Japan’s Nihon University estimate that about 8.1 percent of the country’s students are addicted to the internet.

The Tokyo government’s education ministry will introduce “web fasting camps” to help young people disconnect from their PCs, laptops, mobile phones and hand-held devices. Akifumi Sekine, a spokesman for the education ministry, added: “We want to get them out of the virtual world and to encourage them to have real communication with other children and adults.”

Youths forcibly removed from their beloved mobile devices may suffer withdrawal symptoms, i.e., “cold turkey.”

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Brains ‘Learn Addiction’ Via Cocaine

Cocaine3Scientists are hailing a new study that shows how the brain learns addiction as soon as cocaine enters the system. Via BBC News:

Taking cocaine can change the structure of the brain within hours in what could be the first steps of drug addiction, according to US researchers.

Animal tests, reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience, showed new structures linked to learning and memory began to grow soon after the drug was taken.

Mice with the most brain changes showed a greater preference for cocaine.

Experts described it as the brain “learning addiction”.

The team at University of California, Berkeley and UC San Francisco looked for tiny protrusions from brain cells called dendritic spines. They are heavily implicated in memory formation.

Cocaine hunting

The place or environment that drugs are taken plays an important role in addiction.

In the experiments, the mice were allowed to explore freely two very different chambers – each with a different smell and surface texture.

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Is Our Addiction To Tragedy On Social Media Inspiring Violence?

via Tech Crunch F036-006

Anyone who uses social media has witnessed or been apart of this somewhat new phenomenon of being a part of an unfolding event that is so huge it will change how we operate. So many have an opinion this way or that. Others have theories, and others just want it to go away. Wellm, it may be really bad for everyone to be flinging around this information like a hot potato. It could be debasing all involved as well as giving those who did the deed just what they want and need.

If terrorism requires an audience, then the recent mainstream adoption of social media may be giving violent actors a bigger stage than ever before. There are many reasons people lash out at the world, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that becoming the center of the attention could be a factor pushing some to commit atrocities.

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Artists Who Drink Crazy Amounts of Coffee (Balzac Was a 50-Cup-a-Day Man)

BalzacRecently we heard about the woman who poisoned herself with fluoride by drinking 100 cups of tea a day. Now we learn that Balzac drank 50 cups of coffee a day. Can anyone up that? Mason Currey writes for Slate:

Coffee! It is the great uniting force of my Daily Rituals book. It’s what brings together Beethoven and Proust, Glenn Gould and Francis Bacon, Jean-Paul Sartre and Gustav Mahler. This should hardly be surprising. Caffeine is the rare drug that has a powerful salutary effect—it aids focus and attention, wards off sleepiness, and speeds the refresh rate on new ideas—with only minimal drawbacks. And the ritual of preparing coffee serves for many as a gateway to the creative mood. Balzac wrote:

“Coffee glides into one’s stomach and sets all of one’s mental processes in motion. One’s ideas advance in column of route like battalions of the Grande Armée. Memories come up at the double, bearing the standards which will lead the troops into battle.

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From Opium Antique Collector to Opium Addict

Picture: Charles J.H. Halcombe (PD)

When writer Steve Martin started collecting antique pipes and related ephemera from the age of opium dens, he began a journey that would end with a full-blown addiction to a drug most people thought died away in the 19th century. Martin discovered a hidden world where opium smoking still flourished and soon found that he had difficulty leaving it. Check out a fascinating interview with Martin at Collectors Weekly.

“It took a while to really understand what I had. At first, of course, there were these opium dens in Laos that I could get to quite easily. Vientiane was an overnight train ride from Bangkok, where I was living. I would take tools up to the opium dens and see if the old smokers there knew what they were. Often they did, although they hadn’t seen some of the pieces in years and years.

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Is The Internet Driving Us Crazy?

Newsweek magazine just ran a front-cover story asking, “Is the Web driving us mad?” It cites new scientific research to argue that the internet is causing depression, changing our brain structure, and creating other mental illnesses. One UCLA research director tells the magazine “the computer is like electronic cocaine,” fueling a similar cycle of highs and then lows, and they also cite California psychologist (and book author) Larry Rosen, who believes the internet “encourages – and even promotes – insanity.”

Hachimaki (CC)

But at least one response argues that Newsweek is deliberately overstating the research, citing misleading sentences like “When the new DSM is released next year, Internet Addiction Disorder will be included for the first time, albeit in an appendix tagged for ‘further study’…”

Here’s the beginning of the Newsweek story by Tony Dokoupil:

Before he launched the most viral video in Internet history, Jason Russell was a half-hearted Web presence.

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The Difference Between Greed and Selfishness

Stephen Diamond writes in Psychology Today back in 2009:

Greed, like lust and gluttony, is traditionally considered a sin of excess. But greed tends to be applied to the acquisition of material wealth in particular. St. Thomas Aquinas said that greed is “a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.” So greed or avarice was seen by the Church as sinful due to its overvaluation of the mundane rather than immaterial or spiritual aspects of existence. Avarice can describe various greedy behaviors such as betrayal or treason for personal gain, hoarding of material things, theft, robbery, and fraudulent schemes such as Madoff’s, designed to dishonestly manipulate others for personal profit. Where does greed originate?

Both greed and gluttony correspond closely with what Guatama Buddha called desire: an over-attachment to the material world and its pleasures which is at the root of all human suffering.

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Words With Friends: Another Stupid Game – Or An Obsession?

Silly Games NYTThe New York Times Magazine ran a fascinating cover story on April 4, 2012 written with wisdom, humor and insight by Sam Anderson.

Anderson’s basic premise is that the concept of gaming has changed. For decades, a special class of teen or young adult gamer would use specialized systems, to play complex multi-player, multi-level games that might last from a few hours to many days or even weeks. Now, however, anyone can play a quick game — what Anderson terms a “stupid game” — any time of the day or night right there on their smartphone that rests somewhere next to their body 24/7. And this, Anderson argues, has changed the world of gaming to

” . . . not just hard-core gamers, but their mothers, their mailmen and their college professors. Consumers who never would have put a quarter into an arcade or even set eyes on an Xbox 360 were now carrying a sophisticated game console with them, all the time, in their pockets or their purses.”

For decades I scrupulously avoided video games even when my four children delighted in playing them.… Read the rest

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