by Erik J. Welsh, PhD / Originally published at The Addiction Complex, Nov. 2, 2013
There are numerous elements that can contribute to chaos or disorder in an addict’s life. When someone becomes entangled in addiction, the consequences and effects essentially govern the psyche in such a way that the addiction becomes the identity. The identity that develops with the addiction allows for the individual to become estranged from an identity prior to the addiction. In the disorder of addiction, the individual develops a sense of truth through the belief of a found solace in addiction, which in time may solidify into entrapment. When we discuss the path of recovery, we are discussing the removal of an addict’s sense of identity. In other words, these factors of disorder may be seen as compounding elements that unfortunately nurture the individual’s beliefs, a paradoxical truth and identity. I had written more on identity, paradox and addiction:
- A Theory on Identification and the Conformity of an Identity, October 27, 2012
- Isolation and Fantasy: A Fragmentation of Identity, November 3, 2012
- A Paradox: The Chaos of Truth, October 20, 2012
- Torment and Addiction: The Shadow Paradox, December 15, 2012
The factors then are the ways in which the addiction has essentially dismantled the function of the ego. I am looking at factors as dynamic elements of influence to define the disorder in ones life, which can be characterized through the fragmented shards of discord, not dependent upon one's moral or hypothesized level of control, but as being governed by a ritualistic practice that has encapsulated the individual in illusion, which as Romanyshyn (2004) informed:
“Illusions become necessary when reality is too hard to bear” (p. 24).
The burdensome factors of addiction are what ferment and compound into what can be viewed as disorder. The disorder of addiction is comprised of various factors that solidify an experience of addiction; though the disorder is an unconscious chaos that purges emotions nestled with the shadow upon the individual’s environment. The factors I am speaking of have remained from the initial gestures that set the addiction in motion. Burdens bound to the initial gestures of addiction have allowed for an aspect of reality to be managed through dissociative states. The disorder of an addiction is the multitude of fragments, shards of pain and joy illuminated through experience. What these factors might be are the various aspects that an individual’s addiction creates. On the topic of dissociation I have spoken of dissociative states in the past regarding addiction:
- Emotional Estrangement, July 1, 2012
- Depth of the psyche, July 22, 2012
- From Realization to Integration: Creating Meaning out of Chaos, September 2, 2012
As we observe the burden of addiction upon the individual addict, the burden of addiction has also been placed upon the society and environment as a whole. There is the blurred, permeable boundary to differentiate between what is of need and of want. There is the paradoxical influence of what is false, which has been embraced as truth, a personal truth, and a seemingly malleable theory that is an affirmed lens of perception. As the formation of disorder in the addict’s life increases, the greater the riddled myth becomes, leading one further from Self, the ever growing burden of dissociative states. Dissociation is an element that is sought, which might provide a sense of solace. Though from such a moment of dissociation, which ripples out from a found place of solace, a disorder is born, the potential of addiction is nurtured as burdens potentiate. You can read more on myth and addiction, A Warn Path: Myth and Addiction, from November 24, 2012.
“Is mental disorder merely a burden on individuals families, and societies, or is it in some way a kind of price that we pay for the sorts or demands that we make upon ourselves and our fellow citizens in the kinds of societies that we’ve constructed for ourselves; societies of freedom, choice, and responsibility. And what does the language of burden illustrate by reference to what it is not, because in relation to values of solidarity, values of care, values of mutual obligation, that burden has to be seen in another way” (Rose, 2013).
On September 10, 2013 [Synthetic Zero contributor] dmfant had posted a lecture from Professor Nikolas Rose, on Synthetic Zero, titled “What is mental illness today? 5 hard questions”, which had directed me towards additional lectures that can be found on his personal site, NikolasRose.com as well. When listening to Professor Nikolas Rose I seemed to have latched on to the term "burden" and what might the burden upon the psyche, an intrapsychic burden, of mental disorder be, setting aside the more concrete “economic language of burden” to observe the emotional worth (Rose, 2013). As the cost of addiction upon society is seemingly boundless, the burden upon the person is one that exists upon the shoulders of the individual who is addicted and to those who exist amidst addiction.
When discussing addiction it is the influential factors that become more pronounced in the development of the individual’s life of disorder. The statement that kept my attention to this topic was how the “mental disorder has come to be seen as a burden…what the language of burden makes one think and perhaps what it makes one difficult to think” (Rose, 2013). What may be difficult to think is what remains harbored beyond our inner perils and stereotypes that encapsulate a sense or reason or understanding. How then might we look beyond the symptomology of an addict to see the individual who is caught in disorder; the symptomology of addiction as emotional burdens projected upon the environment?
Romanyshyn, R. (2004). Technology as Symptom and Dream. New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge
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