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Rewards, Choice, Addiction

 

Saturday at my house is the day of children’s allowances…it was the same for me growing up in my family and I wanted it to carry that forward with my children.  When my kids get their allowance, it is a much anticipated reward to buy the latest inexpensive, breakable toy or at times save up for something that might last a bit longer.  In the healthy brain and growing relationships, rewards can be expected from those stable attached relationships in our lives, whether that is an allowance, like what my children experience, or a time of connection in a shared experience, or in the provision of a safe place to be comforted.  When children, or the growing brain of an adolescent don’t experience appropriate rewards, there is a need to find a solution to that lack of reward, or the problem experienced. I heard from an physician trained in addiction medicine recently say, “Any behaviors that a person find pleasure in or relief, with temporary relief and no ability to give it up…that is addiction”  He went on further to relate, “Addiction is an attempt to solve a problem, it is a compensatory mechanism, don’t look at genes, or choice…look at people’s lives.  I think that is important in the discussion about sexual addiction.  Is it choice or addiction?  It is about genes or choice?  Take time to look at the social and experiential factors that lie at the heart of addiction, and those are the places of recovery.