Kelly E. Green, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist

Associate Professor of Psychology, St. Edward's University

Links and Resources

Links and Resources

Excellent TED Talk - Johann Hari's "Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong."

Posted on May 28, 2016 at 11:30 PM

I highly recommend this TED talk to families of people struggling with addiction. In this TED Talk, "Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong", Johann Hari discusses varying perspectives on addiction, and highlights some of the inaccuracies about the way addiction and treatment for addiction is presented in the media. 

Here are some excerpts from the talk, but it is worth watching it in its entirety. 

"There was another professor called Peter Cohen in the Netherlands who said, maybe we shouldn't even call it addiction. Maybe we should call it bonding. Human beings have a natural and innate need to bond, and when we're happy and healthy, we'll bond and connect with each other, but if you can't do that, because you're traumatized or isolated or beaten down by life, you will bond with something that will give you some sense of relief. Now, that might be gambling, that might be pornography, that might be cocaine, that might be cannabis, but you will bond and connect with something because that's our nature. That's what we want as human beings."

"And the kind of scripts we're told for how to deal with the addicts in our lives is typified by, I think, the reality show "Intervention," if you guys have ever seen it. I think everything in our lives is defined by reality TV, but that's another TED Talk. If you've ever seen the show "Intervention," it's a pretty simple premise. Get an addict, all the people in their life, gather them together, confront them with what they're doing, and they say, if you don't shape up, we're going to cut you off. So what they do is they take the connection to the addict, and they threaten it, they make it contingent on the addict behaving the way they want..... that approach doesn't work." 

"For 100 years now, we've been singing war songs about addicts. I think all along we should have been singing love songs to them, because the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection."

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