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Looking at Addiction as a Decision-Making Disorder
Shahram Heshmat Ph.D.
By becoming more aware of our emotions, we experience ourselves as free rather than as victims.
Working on tasks that are freely chosen, or discovering a new skill as a competence satisfaction, can enhance vitality and aliveness.
The somatic marker perspective suggests that dysfunctional decision-making patterns contribute to addiction development.
As addiction progresses, addicts progressively make less advantageous decisions for themselves and for those who are close to them.
We are drawn to musical styles that satisfy and reinforce our psychological needs.
People use music to improve their mood on a daily basis.
Listening to preferred music may be a more effective way of reducing the feeling of stress and increasing positive emotion.
Choice and decision making is a fundamental aspect of life, and the choices people make determine in part their quality of life.
The ability to control appetitive urges, such as cravings for unhealthy food, is an essential skill for health and well-being.
Aesthetic judgments explain why different individuals have different reactions to the same music or artwork.
A key motive for listening to music is to influence one’s emotions.
The knowledge about ways in which sad music becomes enjoyable can inform existing music therapy practices for mood disorders.
People are too complex to be driven just by carrot-and-stick motivators.
The quality of early attachment provides a risk factor for substance use problems later in life.
The self-medication theory of addiction provides a useful tool for understanding how and why some individuals are vulnerable to addition.
Drug addiction is not just about chasing pleasure (feeling good) but also involves relieving emotional pain.
Addiction can be explained as an expression of decision-making processes that fail to take into account the long-term consequences of actions.
Group memberships provide people with a sense of belonging and connection and a greater sense of personal control.
Highly fulfilled people are able to live a life true to their values and pursue meaningful goals.
Self-mastery is the highest degree of power.
Anger makes people punitive, careless in their thought, and eager to take action.
Fear and anxiety make us narcissistically preoccupied with ourselves.
Denial is central to explaining why people continue using despite evidence of harmful consequences.
Several factors impair the balance between goal-directed and habitual behavior so that habitual behavior can no longer be kept in check by goal-directed decision mode.
There is increasing evidence that the aesthetic pleasure from art and music is no different in origin and function from the pleasure provided by food, drugs, and sex.
Artful living means taking a genuine interest in all details of daily life.
An interesting or happy life might also be regarded as a creative "work of art."
We typically feel more warmly toward things we encounter again and again.
Creating suspension is one of the most efficient ways of sustaining attention and eliminating distraction.
The emotion of surprise is an important key factor that encourages interest and motivates our curiosity.
Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D., is an associate professor emeritus of health economics of addiction at the University of Illinois at Springfield.