Using brain scanning equipment researchers have established that all addictions can be traced to dopamine-induced expectations. Expectations of getting “high” keep junkies lying, cheating, stealing, and craving the next fix. For some, the expectations involve cocaine. For others, it can be nicotine, alcohol, sex, gambling, or food. Addictions to street drugs are hard to deny because they require the ingesting, inhaling, or injecting of known addictive substances. Physical addictions destroy lives and wreak societal damage, but the most common and dangerous addictions include a short list of easy to deny psychological expectations.
Psychological addictions are more insidious because the dopamine is triggered by emotions, memories, thoughts, fantasies, ideologies, rhetoric, and deceptions. Researchers have added food, sex, gambling, video games and texting to the list of addictive behaviors while continuing to ignore triggers that society considers "normal" behaviors.
Decades ago, psychologist Abraham Maslow identified and categorized what he called deficiency needs, or D-needs for short. Level 1: Physiological – air, water, salt, food, sex. Level 2: Safety/power. Level 3: Acceptance/approval/attention. Level 4: Esteem/status.
It’s only a question of time until:
To keep the dopamine flowing, heroin addicts use needles, safety addicts swallow lies, acceptance addicts join groups, and esteem addicts chase status. One important distinction between addictions is that heroin addicts have to hide their needles whereas safety addicts get to wear their weapons, acceptance addicts are free to flock to groups, and esteem addicts get away with flaunting their status symbols every chance they get.
A second difference is that safety, acceptance, and esteem addicts do a lot more damage than heroin addicts.