The following review of The Biology of Desire explores important aspects regarding addiction - which in its many forms from self-addiction onward we all face in coping with the stress and dissatisfaction of impermanence.
Here are some major points:
"All of Mr. Lewis’s case studies end well or at least optimistically.
At the heart of the recoveries are new, more constructive habits,
identities and relationships—and, in the brains of the subjects, the
sculpting of new synaptic patterns. As Mr. Lewis shows, the physiology
behind the addiction process can be intentionally engaged by addicts to
put them on the path to recovery. By exploiting the neuroplastic
capacities of the brain, individuals can develop strategies for
It may well be, as Mr. Lewis says, that addiction
is a form of normal habit formation. But isn’t it more like a normal
process gone awry? When outcomes are so dire, how is this not a
pathological state? Mr. Lewis is deeply humane in his regard for people
trapped in compulsive habits, so much so that he seems reluctant to
impose any rules on their behavior and ends up treating them more like
patients than he might like to admit. He is big on the so-called
Vancouver model in which addicts are guided to safer drug-using methods
and gently encouraged to get themselves together. But he de-emphasizes
the importance of behavioral shaping through external incentives and
sanctions, which are at the core of drug treatments that divert addicts
from the criminal-justice system."
For the full review see: