Let’s discuss the standard path to drug addiction — the drug being dopamine.
At some point in history, we would share oxytocin (the love hormone) with someone in our household. “How was work today, sweetheart?”
Oxytocin feels nice, but it isn’t exciting to the brain.
Somehow, it went from feeling love to sharing excitement. “You will NEVER BELIEVE what I saw on the highway today” — now the dopamine flows.
The problem is, sharing stories about the highway eventually become humdrum and boring because our brain now needs a boost of dopamine to feel the same level of excitement.
So we start ignoring the spouse and get into neighorhood gossip. “You will NEVER BELIEVE what Sheila and Don next door were fighting over”, you hear from the neighbor over the fence.
Then that gets weak. The brain loves reward. We start reading the local newspaper. “KITTEN SAVED FROM TELEPHONE POLE BY FIREMAN.” Ahhh, dopamine, I love you. Until the local newspaper gets boring and normative.
National news. International news. Both got boring.
Now what? What’s left? Hearing about #MyPresident bombing thousands of women and children in the Middle East isn’t enough to get me high anymore. I need more. I need so much more.
I know. I will click this New York Times or Fox News link because the headline tells me I will never believe what number 7 on this list says. I’ll prove them wrong, I won’t be shocked.
Just one more click. Just one more exciting headline.
Just one more.