The following are only a few examples of healthy survival needs that dopamine addicts have turned into life-threatening addictions.
Salt addiction. Salt provides an essential electrolyte that keeps mammals alive. Animals who inherited taste buds that triggered salt-related dopamine rewards were provided with an important evolutionary advantage that they passed on to their heirs. Today, the same taste buds that kept millions of generations of our antecedents alive are killing salt addicts who don’t want to know that their addiction to salt causes high blood pressure, obesity, heart failure, asthma, osteoporosis, ulcers, and stomach cancers.
Meat addiction. We are the descendents of animals who developed a dopamine inspired “taste” for animal flesh because the ability to store fats improved their chances of surviving lean times. Tongues that delivered dopamine rewards when titillated by meat provided primitive hunters with ample incentives to invest huge amounts of time pursuing elusive prey. Today, meat addicts are not interested in hearing that their favorite way of scoring dopamine is killing them.
Sex addiction. Orgasm is a word that describes an enormous dopamine payoff for performing the ultimate life-sustaining act. Sex addicts have perverted a healthy survival need into a pox on our species that is responsible for the spread of killer STDs, the media’s exploitation of women, unwanted babies, child pornography, and an international sex slave industry that destroys the lives of tens of millions of innocent adolescents.
Safety addiction. Safety is a Level-2 D-need that ensured survival by rewarding behaviors that kept our ancestors out of harms' way. Safety addictions show up in many forms. Some safety addicts spend their lives scrambling for control, chasing power, collecting guns, and blaming, hating, and attacking anyone whose presence and ideas threaten their safety. Most safety addicts fall under the spell of manipulative personalities who inflame their fears while offering protection from imaginary threats.
Peer-approval addiction. Peer approval is a Level-3 D-need that provided less-fit ancestors with significant “strength in numbers” survival and reproductive advantages. Peer-approval addicts are especially dangerous because they almost always suffer from multiple D-need-related addictions. The different combinations send Level-3 DAs joining groups where members share their addictions along with a mutual resentment, dislike, and even hatred of healthy, nondopamine addicts (NDAs).
Esteem addiction. Esteem is a Level-4 D-need. A healthy level of self-esteem is a normal and beneficial aspect of functional primates. Esteem confers important markers of social status that helped our primitive ancestors identify and attract the fittest mates. The same healthy dopamine bias that keeps chimpanzees scrambling to maximize their social status makes people suffering from low self-esteem susceptible to esteem addiction. Esteem addiction is so powerful, all consuming, and all-pervasive, that the mindless pursuit of esteem elevating dopamine hits has turned into the most destructive, insatiable obsession currently undermining our species’ chances of survival.