What Can Rats Tell Us About Addiction?

What Can Rats Tell Us About Addiction?

What Can Rats Tell Us About Addiction?

The Rat Experiment
A series of experiments was done earlier in the 20th century that focused on the behaviors of rats and drug addiction. The experiment began with just one rat isolated in a cage with two types of water bottles. Water Bottle A was just water, and Water Bottle B was water that had been laced with heroin. This resulted in the rat repeatedly drinking out of the laced water bottle (Water Bottle B) and eventually overdosing to death. The next set off test was based on a small society of rats known as “Rat Park.” This park was basically heaven on earth for rats. It had an endless amount of food, toys, and friends. The same experiment was conducted with the water bottles; however, the rats never really touched the laced water. Rat Park was basically too much fun. There was too much to do, too much to eat, and over all a lot of socializing going on. It then was concluded that those who are connected and feel that they have purpose to their lives (ie: work, social circle, etc) struggle less with addiction.

The Human Experiment
At first it was believed that this could only be a “rat thing;” however, the human version of the same experiment was somewhat being conducted. The Vietnam War was happening, and about 20% of soldiers were using drugs such as heroin. It was a huge concern after looking at the numbers of heroin use, but when the troops return home, there were no issues of continuous heroin abuse. 95% of the troops that were using heroin, just stopped. Countless of studies were done through The Archives of General Psychiatry and it showed that none of the troops entered rehab or went through withdrawals.

The Conclusion
It became a pattern that showed perhaps drug addiction has nothing to do with chemical properties, but it has to do with “your cage”, the conditions that you are surrounded by. Those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are usually lonely, their social groups are minimal, and any form of positive support is almost nonexistent. Johann Hari who recently conducted a TED Talk about addiction stated that:

“Human beings have a natural and innate need to bond, and when we’re happy and healthy, we’ll bond and connect with each other, but if you can’t do that, because you’re traumatized or isolated or beaten down by life, you will bond with something that will give you some sense of relief.”

The experiments that were conducted showed that whether rat or human, there is a need to be present and connected. When you are in a positive, social environment, and are bonding with others, you don’t want to miss anything. However, if you need that boost, that extra reinforcement to assure you that you have a life worth living outside of addiction, Intervention Drug Rehab Association can help you. Contact us today, so we can help you regain the social life you need, and return home fresh and sober.

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