Jordan Peterson on the Psychology of Addiction

Jordan Peterson on the Psychology of Addiction

but let’s talk about addiction so there’s a series of actions that occur before you take your cocaine some of those are local they are the things that happened immediately before and some of those are distal they’re farther back in the chain of events and when you when you have a hit of cocaine it produces a dopaminergic burst and that feels really good but it also makes the circuits that were immediately active before that grow that’s what reinforcement is and then the growth is proportionate not linearly but it’s proportionate to how long before that advant occurred the closer it is the stronger they’re going to get but even the ones that are somewhat distal gets some reinforcement because you might say well what did you do before you you found your latest fix and the answer is well how long before well the closer the more reward and for what happens then is that so if you take that person out of the normal environment you put them into a treatment center they’re off they’re a physical addiction which is a weird thing in the case of cocaine but like not that long a week we’ll do it two weeks for sure even heroin and alcohol for sure if you can get them through the seizure part without dying and so they’re done there’s it aren’t physiologically it dependent anymore but you let that person go and the first thing that happens is is the old friend who he’s always out doing drugs with shows up and bang he’s craving like mad and that’s because that thing is in there is not dead at all and it’s activated by the cue and it’s a it’s a circuit it’s not it’s a personality it only wants one thing it wants cocaine it’s going to suppress any non related thoughts and it’ll use lies that’s no problem especially if lies have been reinforced which they certainly have where are you off to son you know you’ll have a lie for that and then 10 minutes later you have your drug and so that little lie has just grown or maybe you think you’ve tried to quit you think to hell with it and every time 10 minutes before you take your drug you think to hell with it and you do that a thousand times well believe me that to hell with it sir that sucker is strong and so it’s alive and it’s not like it just disappears it can it’s you it’s grown in there now you can build another circuit to shut it down and you can help it decompose across time by not giving it what it wants but you’re going to have to not give it what it wants in all of the multiple contexts that you’ve already associated with the drug some of you probably smoked and then tried to quit smoking and what you’ll see is you get a craving when well when you have a cup of coffee or when you’re finished dinner or when you’re done having a phone call or when you first get up in the morning or whenever you regularly had the drug whatever you had the drug in relationship to even complex things like ending a conversation will produce acute craving and so then that can extinguish over time if you punish it by either punishing it or not letting it get what it’s wants but a lot you have to build another circuit to just shut it down and then that circuits kind of fragile and stress can often disrupt it so maybe is I can use that people real quick Mogi or simply I believe Osher well part of it well ibogaine is a whole different thing because it seems to have a direct physiological effect but you know the the addiction has a cognitive component it’s full of thoughts and desires and wants and you know you may have to build up you have may have to rebuild your whole personality in order to to get that thing cornered religious conversion for examples in the really effective treatment for alcoholism that’s partly why alcohol Alcoholics Anonymous works for the people for whom it does work but religious conversion which is total personality conversion is actually one of the few things that we know of that’s an effective treatment for alcoholism we don’t know how to induce it but although that’s not exactly true either because the early work with LSD was LSD was quite promising as a treatment for out for alcohol addiction and there’s recent work with psilocybin showing that if you if people have a mystical experience when you give them psilocybin their success rate and critic smoking is about 80% which is way higher than any pharmacological intervention for smoking has ever be so all right we should probably call it a day so we’ll see you in a week


  1. do you know any articles or other lectures on addiction from Dr petrtdon? I'm a functioning addict and my last drug to drop is meth. any recommendations appreciated.

  2. I've taken cocaine 15 times or so over the last two years, fairly significant binges each time. I don't feel any sort of craving unless I can smell it, and even then it's very easy to resist.
    Does anyone know, or know of resources I could look at, that might explain why I have such a resistance towards addiction?
    This is true of other drugs for me as well.
    I am very interested in the science of addiction but I have almost no background knowledge on the subject so I don't even know where to start lol.

  3. I've been drinking and playing music with my friends in our band place, almost every weekend for 10 years… occasionally we still go play, but it's really hard to stay sober there, it's almost like the place is cursed.

    I've been aware that that place (+ my friends) trigger the desire (the reinforced behavioral mechanisms) to drink, and I've consciously taken some distance from that and focused on other things. Being sober in that situation just doesn't feel right, I really get the need for beer and start rationalizing myself into it. And it certainly fits into what Peterson is saying here.

  4. I assume people here are at least a little familiar with psychology so i'll ask a question. I' studying physics right now. My problem is i love physics but as soon as it involves a class and homework i cant stand it. Some suggestions?

  5. it took me 6 years AFTER i realized how evil cocaine is to finally stop for good. i might still do it in the future, but i know now how worthless that high is.

  6. I'm more than 2 weeks clean of all narcotics, and coming up on 3 months clean from weed after more than 15 years of heavy daily use. It's true that you need to continually fight back against the beast that constantly whispers in your ear. Overcoming addiction is not easy, but it is possible. I want to live the life that I've always dreamed of, and chemicals will do nothing but hold you back.

  7. What exactly are these "circuits" he is talking about? Is he saying that personality traits are understood at the mechanic level of the brain?

  8. My Mum is an alcoholic. I feel deep empathy for her and like to hear material like this to know elements of her abusive behaviour are out of her control. But in the end it wasn't the alcoholism that made me walk away, it was the deceit, the lies, the manipulation. All to protect the addition I know, but breathtakingly damaging all the same.

  9. This Man is a GEM. I am glad I got to know about him, seems like a wise man minus all the psuedo science and spiritual lingo.

  10. I was an everyday smoker and decided to quit while on a psilocybin trip, I had tried to do it before with very little success…but that time it wasn't difficult at all and I didn't smoke for a year without any complication, now I smoke on some weekends which is a rate I am kind of happy with

  11. I am currently battling with starting alcoholism. I can easily function without alcohol and got no withdrawal when I don't drink for let's say a week, but it is very easy for me to drink 2 liters of vodka in a week and "justify" it.

    The information here is EXTREMELY useful. I encourage anyone who knows somebody that battles with addiction to share this with them.

  12. So true, going cold turkey isn't very hard but stupid little things you associate with the drug can drive you mental later and it sucks because its usually a relief or pleasurable activity.

  13. I'm a recovering addict. Heroin was my main thing. everything he is saying is true. The disease of addiction can manifest in all areas of life. Narcotics Anonymous keeps me clean going on 15 months. If you are reading this and have a problem give your self a break and hit an NA meeting. We are waiting for you.

  14. Everything is awesome about Jordan Peterson, except for his beliefs on the notion of "truth".

    Seems like Peterson is mixing "truth" for what is "good". Truth is facts, and facts conform to reality.

    But Peterson will not concede that something is true on the basis of it's facts, but rather, if it is going to be good for humanity. See now that's really odd because you can basically move the lens around to ones liking, basically deciding what's true, only by knowing all that is knowable, because that's the only way one can know if something is going to harm humanity.

    It's a gross notion of truth, and I for one hope that Peterson can reconcile this and move forward.

  15. This makes so much sense. I was Anorexic and went to hospital to increase my weight but I didn't address the reasons why I was addicted to losing weight

  16. Wait a minute. If the addict part is/becomes part of one's personality and is capable of high enough levels of cognition to influence and directly control behavior, which is essentially to control the mind, and Freud, at the very least, was habitual with his cocaine use……

  17. I used to be addicted to weed and alcohol for ten years, all day, every day. Ever since I had a big dose of shrooms a bit over a year ago, I've only smoked weed very occasionally, maybe once a month, and I don't enjoy it like I used to. Ever since a big dose of LSD, I still really love alcohol but I'm not addicted to it anymore. I often drink once, maybe twice a week but that's how I like it and how I want it and I'm comfortable going the whole week without it and if it's a big week (Christmas, New years, holidays), I have no problem with drinking more than usual. Still addicted as hell to cigarettes though.

  18. Rockin that V neck.

    And for some reason that fucker with the hoodie is bugging me. Idk why, I know it's nothing massive. It's just………………………………the bitch looks like a bobble head.

  19. Any Doug Stanhope fans here? This sounds like his material on AA and addiction from "Before Turning The Gun On Himself", only without the nihilistic, bitter, humourous emotional spin of Stanhope.

  20. I can vouch for what he said at the end. I found God recently and I've dropped a lot of self destructive habits since then, especially my alcoholism; I was drinking heavily for almost 10 years and whenever I tried to stop I eventually found myself inside a bottle again. Now I see alcohol with almost total indifference.

  21. 2:58
    Funny to realize I made a habit of masturbating before bed. Eventually, even if I wasn't in the mood, I had to do it. Otherwise I would feel like the night was not finished. Got really annoying.

  22. I grew up with three different alcoholics as a child, so I always find these explanations so interesting.

  23. "I'll see you in a week."

    Yeah, I wish. My anatomy teacher had the same kind of personality as this guy, and it was pretty much my best year in school ever. I miss academic endeavors sometimes…

  24. "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.

    The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter us. If these thoughts occur, they are hazy and readily supplanted with the old threadbare idea that this time we shall handle ourselves like other people. There is a complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove.

    The alcoholic may say to himself in the most casual way, "It won't burn me this time, so here's how!" Or perhaps he doesn't think at all. How often have some of us begun to drink in this nonchalant way, and after the third or fourth, pounded on the bar and said to ourselves, "For God's sake, how did I ever get started again?" Only to have that thought supplanted by "Well, I'll stop with the sixth drink." Or "What's the use anyhow?"

    When this sort of thinking is fully established in an individual with alcoholic tendencies, he has probably placed himself beyond human aid, and unless locked up, may die or go permanently insane. These stark and ugly facts have been confirmed by legions of alcoholics…." pg 24 Alcoholics Anonymous

  25. How do they not applaud when he ends a class?

    It's a privilege to be educated by this guy, even from youtube.

  26. What if you could create something that would give you a consistent dose of the things you crave throughout the day. Like if you're addicted to a drug that gives you dopamine, than you will get something that releases dopamine every 30 minutes. (The amount of this dopamine every day, is the same you get from the drug every day. This will stop you from associating that feeling, with any specific situation.

    Will this work? Or will you go crazy? And is this possible?

  27. I couldn't help think about how anxiety works whilst listening to this. It's as if your brain is addicted to anxiety.


  29. My name is Richard and I've been responding to posts for 12 months now. I know I have the strength to cease this practice. (leaves podium and sits down to polite hand claps)

  30. I really see this when it comes to something as simple as coffee. As soon as I wake up its like the first thing that comes into my mind

  31. Just do lots of cocaine or heroin if you want to have a life long addictive mindset even after you quit.

  32. i found it interesting he leant on the wall when he referred to mystical experiences. Not saying what that means however.

  33. Do some calculus and chemistry problems right before coke, you fly through university with high distinctions!!! 🙂

  34. I smoke weed every night before bed of this year. I do this because of my sadness due to not being happy with where i'm at in my life, which is a result of balancing work and studying. I've completely sacrificed my social life and this has me sad. I should quit but I feel like all of my efforts at getting good at something are at the point of impressing average people but acknowledging that most of my knowledge in the field is commonplace to other people in the field (philosophy and music) which has me further depressed.

  35. The biggest natural dopamine release is having sex (about 200 above base level), Meth I think is around 1300 above base level, (Addiction explained). Shit even a cigarette takes you to 225 Bucko.

  36. "The cue can come up ANY time, even after a difficult conversation." – This is so true! It's nice to hear that smoking (in my case) is not just cues to daily routines, but also, and mainly, cues to difficult daily conversations. I myself mainly smoke because of difficult conversations both in and out of my head. Basically, every time I have to either constrain my hypersensitivity in daily life or every time I'm analysing a difficult problem (as a means to beat my continuous existential boredom), I need a smoke. I'm totally thinking out loud here, but this to me seems to imply that I could maybe stop smoking if I started saying "no" to people and certain situations, instead of constantly agreeing to whatever it is the world wants from me now again.

  37. I had a dream last night that I snuck into one of his lectures and had to do a test as part of the course, needless to say I failed it and Jordan got really pissed at me so I fled to Northern Ontario.

  38. At 4:13 when he presses his left hand on the wall and looks up with a hand in his pocket like a true thinker. Classic lol

  39. I'm drunk right now, but i need to realize this when I'm sober. I'm going to finally strictly go with peterson's advice when i "Wake up" not like the leftist "woke". Honestly i need to go to AA and especially Codependece Groups. i. e. children of Codependent famlies. Because my dad's side is alcoholism. and my mom's side has some levels of it too. have you ever been to it? I qm really interested. My family is so unhealthy in a way. So AA and codependance groups seem very important. Can anyone tell me more about these groups in america??

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