Life and Addictions2023-03-26

Remember your destination. This will help you to distinguish between an opportunity to be seized and a temptation to be resisted.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

The fundamental dynamic of our existence is maximizing real life successes (health, family, wealth, influence) and avoiding addictions (biological, chemical, informational). Life success is usually reflected in the brain by feelings and thoughts of life satisfaction (happiness, hope meaning).

Addictions are insidious, and all around us. They can damage our life success directly (destroying our health, family, wealth, and social standing). They hijack brain (and body) mechanisms involved in life satisfaction. Addictions provide a faster, easier, more intense shortcut to life satisfaction, at least while in the throes of the addictive agent. Of course, when that agent wears off, there is withdrawal, leading to life dissatisfaction (unhappiness, despair, nihilism). And long term, they lead to a less than successful life.

Life success, life satisfaction, and addictions can be self- tracked daily and measured with an app we developed, called Life x Mind. If you have low life success, high life satisfaction, and high addictions, it is time to act before going too far on the road that leads to life failure and dissatisfaction. Awareness is the first step towards treatment and recovery. Once treatment is started, the tracking is as important in terms of seeing if the treatment works or not, and what else might be needed. In primary care and mental health settings, we also have to be careful to use medications that better fit a person AND are not addictive, in particular for anxiety disorders and pain. The blood biomarker tests we have developed can help clinicians do that.

Live. Happier. Longer.