addiction/compulsion question
November 11, 2005 7:19 PM   Subscribe

are there any socially-accepted addictions anymore?
posted by brandz to Society & Culture (58 answers total)
 
caffeine
posted by entropy at 7:24 PM on November 11, 2005


Coffee?

Any recreational activity?
posted by Gyan at 7:24 PM on November 11, 2005


Exercise.
posted by Plutor at 7:28 PM on November 11, 2005


Addiction to money and power is always en vogue.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:31 PM on November 11, 2005


As I get older, I've noticed more and more people in my age group are saying no to alcohol and yes to low-level prescription drug abuse. By low-level, I mean scarfing down the left-overs of the Vicodin / Ambien / muscle relaxant prescription on a Saturday night instead of letting it expire in the medicine cabinet.

Socially acceptable? Depends on your social group.
posted by TorontoSandy at 7:35 PM on November 11, 2005


internet?

television.

coffee.
posted by netsirk at 7:37 PM on November 11, 2005


Porn
posted by meehawl at 7:45 PM on November 11, 2005


Watching sports on TV. You're a weirdo if you don't spend 2 hours each Sunday evening watching football.
posted by malp at 7:46 PM on November 11, 2005


It seems like, at least in certain social circles, cocaine is pretty socially acceptable. Pretty strange, considering that it makes most people into blithering idiots.
posted by afroblanca at 7:47 PM on November 11, 2005


Diet and healthfoodie-ism. A relation has a real problem with this. See orthorexia.
posted by oflinkey at 7:58 PM on November 11, 2005


Vanity?
posted by danb at 8:13 PM on November 11, 2005


Work.
posted by majick at 8:15 PM on November 11, 2005


Life.
posted by Gyan at 8:17 PM on November 11, 2005


Alcohol.
Tobacco.
Fat.
Sugar.
posted by signal at 8:21 PM on November 11, 2005


Cocks. Addiction to cocks.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:31 PM on November 11, 2005


Driving
Obsessing about your children
Denial/Emotional remoteness
Shopping
Carmex
Martyrhood
Television
iPods
posted by Marnie at 8:38 PM on November 11, 2005


Addiction is such a nebulous term. I would not consider, despite the latest hype, caffeine to be an addiction. In fact I would consider the very definition of addiction as that of no longer being socially acceptable. The term is really hard to define so you're going to get answers to anything people do compulsively (watch tv, shop, read the newspaper). Even cocaine creates low physical dependency, where as alcohol can be lethal. What I'm getting at is you probably should be more specific in your criteria or you'll just get a list of things people do.

That said, I'm going to assume you mean chemical addiction, and I'd go with alcohol. I know friend's parents where everyone jokes about them needing vodka before lunchtime. It's an incredibly libertine outlook, as everyone knows that this person drinks too much (and probably physically dependent) but they'd nowhere meet the same scorn if the chemical was anything else. There's also a variety of prescription pills that are addicting and no one blinks an eye at it.
posted by geoff. at 8:43 PM on November 11, 2005


love?
posted by AllesKlar at 8:52 PM on November 11, 2005


I would consider the very definition of addiction as that of no longer being socially acceptable.

Fortunately, there are these things called "dictionaries" which can clear these things up for us. Addictive means "To cause to become physiologically or psychologically dependent on a habit-forming substance". Caffeine certainly fits this definition, as anyone who's had a withdrawal headache can attest.

"Socially acceptable" is a bit harder to define, as it depends on the social group, but I'd suggest that saying "I'm addicted to alcohol" or "I'm addicted to cigarettes" carries a bit of a taint, most people are going to think less of you for saying it, while "I'm addicted to coffee" doesn't.
posted by ook at 8:54 PM on November 11, 2005


Coffee!! (Thank goodness)

Ook is right about what addiction means. Caffeine addictions are most definately real, physiological addictions, similar to addictions to nicotine, THC, alcohol. It falls in that same category, but it's just still acceptable because it doesn't bother other people (side effects are...productivity and alertness? That's fine with us!) and because the negative effects are not as severe as of, say, nicotine. Nicotine actually has quite some good things going for it: both nicotine and caffeine have been proven to prevent the onset of Parkinson's disease. Only nicotine is unacceptable, because of high cancer risks and 2nd hand smoke, so this is usually only mentioned about caffeine.
posted by easternblot at 9:06 PM on November 11, 2005


I agree with ook, cigarettes at this point in a lot of places are socially tolerated but not socially accepted - of course this is not true worldwide. Alcohol use and even abuse is tolerated in specific circumstances, but actual addicition (at least copping to it) is not really acceptable, though of course a lot of it gets tolerated in the friend/family/work context. Of course a lot of functional addiction gets tolerated with all sorts of drugs, but the illegal ones tend to require concealment (whereas alcoholism merely encourages it) due to legality and greater social stigma. In a given drug-oriented society of course the rules are different and addiction is an accepted norm. In some cases this line gets blurry; plenty of people smoke weed pretty much every day, manage to keep their lives in order, and within that sphere it is perfectly acceptable, though again for legality's sake it wouldn't be lightly shared with people outside the circle. Unless they're, you know, cool. You're cool, right?

I'd say coffee is the only straightforward, mainstream drug one can be solidly addicted to and bear basically no social stigma.
posted by nanojath at 9:07 PM on November 11, 2005


Blogging.
posted by SPrintF at 9:10 PM on November 11, 2005


Addiction is easily defined: that which cannot be done without. In a civilization & society, basic activities are pervasive, that they aren't looked upon as "addictions" since that's what everyone does. An addiction is discovered when the object of addiction is taken away. By that standard, most things in life are addictions.
posted by Gyan at 9:24 PM on November 11, 2005


Metafilter?
posted by caddis at 9:32 PM on November 11, 2005


i'm surprised nobody has mentioned cell phones yet.
posted by brandz at 9:33 PM on November 11, 2005


a google search for teleholics anonymous

for televisionaholics anonymous

for television aholics anonymous

for television addiction

the 5th link

a lot of people in the google search for tv addiction don't like tv, but i've never heard of a self-help group for it

it must be socially acceptable
posted by pyramid termite at 9:38 PM on November 11, 2005


i'm surprised nobody has mentioned cell phones yet.

oh, man, don't get me started on that ... i'm getting incredibly annoyed by them ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:39 PM on November 11, 2005


Heroin?
posted by mr_roboto at 9:54 PM on November 11, 2005


Caffeine in coffee is socially acceptable, as many point out, but that should also include other alkaloids like theobromine in tea -- definite physiologic addiction, complete with withdrawal symptoms, though obviously not as addictive as coke or opioids.

I'm sorry for those who think coke or smack are acceptable; if you're one of them please look at your social set and think again.
posted by anadem at 11:09 PM on November 11, 2005


stress
posted by angry modem at 11:13 PM on November 11, 2005


Metafilter?

by the way happy 6,000th comment to me!
posted by delmoi at 11:16 PM on November 11, 2005


Oxygen.

Ok, ok, sorry,
I agree caffine is definitely one.

More nebulously, information access.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:26 PM on November 11, 2005


Caffeine addictions are most definately real, physiological addictions, similar to addictions to nicotine, THC, alcohol.

Addiction to THC? Addiction to THC?! WTF?!

I have to ask this - have you ever smoked pot? Have you spent much time around potheads? Pot is not addictive.

Here's a good measure of addiction - have you ever heard about someone having a really, really difficult time quitting weed? I honestly never have, and I've known potheads for more then half my life. Either they don't want to give it up, or they just give it up. The same could not be said of nicotine, alcohol, or caffeine.

Is THC habit forming? Quite possibly. But then again, so are videogames and walks in the park.
posted by afroblanca at 11:29 PM on November 11, 2005


caddis wins. MetaFilter is a socially acceptable addiction, at least among the enlightened 26,000+.
posted by Cranberry at 11:53 PM on November 11, 2005


spuds
posted by Saucy Intruder at 1:00 AM on November 12, 2005


I'll throw in with signal on the sugar front.
A friend of mine decided to go off processed sugars recently. Interesting and difficult.
posted by drumcorpse at 1:14 AM on November 12, 2005


hugs
posted by kyleg at 1:38 AM on November 12, 2005


Caffeine molecule is an analog (a close 3-D copy) of a DNA nucleotide, ADP. Same reason why pregnant women should avoid it.

That same molecule is co-opted for signaling in the brain. It binds a receptor that signals a "cooling" or "sleeping" effect to the brain. Caffeine can bind the receptor, but can't send the signal, and blocks the natural signal. Definite Drug.

And when Americans turn into sleepless go-getters, every body's happy. Except the go-getter.
posted by toma at 3:24 AM on November 12, 2005


Addiction to drama. I see around me family and friends that are compelled to invent drama—usually in the form of conflict—so that their lives have meaning.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:23 AM on November 12, 2005


Motherhood
Spending/Consumerism
Meaning/Religion
Childhood
posted by pomegranate at 5:24 AM on November 12, 2005


i'm surprised no one has mentioned addiction to exercise (you can overdo it).
posted by mirileh at 6:15 AM on November 12, 2005


Booze. It is in my social circle, anyway. And to hell with the rest of the stiffs.
posted by Decani at 6:47 AM on November 12, 2005


Prescription painkillers is in-between, I think. It's something where if the "wrong person" does it you can mock him incessantly and works to a degree that saying something like "Rush Limbaugh drinks coffee!" just wouldn't cut it. But prescription drug abuse is exceedingly common with very conservative (not politically, just generally) types who think it morally wrong or below them to drink a few beers after work.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:03 AM on November 12, 2005


addiction to diagnosing human issues, problems, worries as addiction. then medicating them. for instance orthoxia.
posted by yonation at 7:41 AM on November 12, 2005


At the risk of politicising things: Consumerism.

- People deny its negative effects. (Environmental & Social)
- People feel good doing it. (Love to shop, Love new stuff)
- People damage themselves doing it. (Stress, depression)
- People commit or condone crimes to keep doing it. (embezzling, theft, fraud, war)

Society is built on it and more than endorses it.
posted by Crosius at 8:32 AM on November 12, 2005


caddis wins. MetaFilter is a socially acceptable addiction, at least among the enlightened 26,000+.

?
posted by afroblanca at 8:46 AM on November 12, 2005


does TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION count?
posted by brandz at 9:01 AM on November 12, 2005


ook, don't look to a dictionary for authority on a medical problem like addiction. It is widely debated what addiction is within the medical community... whether it be physical dependency, pyschological addiction, etc. If you start using that definition you get things such as marijuana falling into that category which the greater medical community agrees is not addictive.
posted by geoff. at 9:24 AM on November 12, 2005


Technically, SSRIs are addictive. Many of the comments above, though, seem to conflate addiction and abuse. Which one was the question intended to address?
posted by dilettante at 9:30 AM on November 12, 2005


Chocolate.
posted by ambrosia at 10:05 AM on November 12, 2005


Technically, SSRIs are addictive.

Good point. I've often lamented that we live in a culture that considers prozac a medicine, and pot a drug.
posted by afroblanca at 10:20 AM on November 12, 2005


And when Americans turn into sleepless go-getters, every body's happy. Except the go-getter.

Many non-Americans that I've known drink as much or more coffee as Americans.
posted by advil at 1:25 PM on November 12, 2005


I can't believe it took so long for someone to say chocolate.
posted by krisjohn at 2:41 PM on November 12, 2005


Sorry to burst your bubble, afroblanca, but some people do have troubles -- visit an MA meeting sometime; you'll get an earful. Still, the problems prohibition cause far outweigh the troubles of the few, IMO, and keeping that fruit forbidden just increases the allure.
posted by Rash at 4:05 PM on November 12, 2005


Xanax (or any Benzodiazepine for that matter) is a true physiological addiction i.e. causes withdrawal when you stop taking it, and plenty of folks seem to eat a bunch of them while holding down $100000+ a year jobs.
posted by idontlikewords at 5:44 PM on November 12, 2005


i was coming from the addiction/compulsion angle and not the addiction/abuse angle. what does abuse mean anyway? if i take a 20 minute shower, is that abuse? it's all so subjective, really.

i don't think anyone has listed sex as an addiction yet.

i appreciate all the great responses. my addictions are both socially-accaptable and and not-so-socially-acceptable.
posted by brandz at 6:41 PM on November 12, 2005


Sorry to burst your bubble, afroblanca, but some people do have troubles

Sorry, but this is BS. It reminds me of those kids I knew in highschool whose parents sent them away to rehab because they were caught smoking a joint.

I wish they had an "anonymous anonymous," so people could get all of the social networking and ego-stroking without having to pretend to be "addicted" to something.
posted by afroblanca at 7:41 PM on November 12, 2005


Alcohol, caffeine, antidepressants, sugar, nicotine (still totally socially acceptable in many countries), exercise, shopping, overeating, sex, ...oh so many!
posted by amberglow at 8:02 PM on November 12, 2005


« Older Reverse column order in Excel?   |   Should I stay or should I go now? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.