Sugar, yoga, work, social networks: why are we all addicted?

How was your Dry January? Your decision to visit Instagram less, watch less series? Today, almost everyone feels “addicted” to something. From Prince Harry to Camille Lellouche, Bradley Cooper to Carla Bruni (who at one point said she consumed “30-40 cokes a day”), people believe in their addiction. Likewise, confessional books and graphic novels by former food, alcohol, and drug addicts are on the rise. The lockout went through there. In April 2020, an Odoxa* study found that 5.5 million French people had increased their alcohol consumption. 22% took more sleeping pills, 27% smoked more and 74% participated in more online gambling … But it is in the area of ​​screens that everyone says they are really addicted. In 2018, two out of three French people admitted to being “addicted” to their connected devices**. According to the latest Odoxa 2022 study, 28% of our compatriots are at risk of “cyber addiction”, 15% watch too many series, and 14% use their smartphone excessively (an adult spends an average of four hours a day ). day on his phone). Have we really all become drug addicts?

Dependent environment

Michael Stora, a psychoanalyst specializing in digital worlds, notes: “We are witnessing the proliferation of addictive behaviors. This is different: in most cases, fortunately, these are not addictions in the medical sense. » The same analysis by Delphine Moisan, addiction psychiatrist at the Beaujon hospital, in Clichy: « The term “Asos” is used a little offensively. It is better to talk about excessive behavior. A drug addict is a person who can no longer control their consumption, a “craving”, an irresistible need to consume, with negative consequences in their social, professional and family life. You can consume large amounts of something without becoming addicted. It might not be great for your balance if you spend your weekends watching a lot of TV, but if it doesn’t affect your ability to work or your social life, it’s not that serious. Delphine Moisan continues: “Today, only two substance-free addictions, video games and gambling, are officially recognized as addictions.” But other extreme uses can lead to addictions if they become compulsive, invasive, and cause negative effects in our daily lives. Why do we use the word “addict” so much? Laurent Carila, an addiction psychiatrist at the Paul-Brousse hospital in Villejuif, explains: “There is a demonization of the term. It used to be a taboo, a stigma. Today, addiction is considered a pathology, and this has made it more acceptable. Non-members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous There is no Netflix series. We see this with the proliferation of discussion groups: Overeaters Anonymous, Emotional and Sexual Addicts Anonymous, etc. Laurent Karila hosts personalities who are happy to talk about their addictions on his very popular Addiktion podcast. It was unthinkable a few years ago. .

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Also, we live in a highly dependent environment. Consumer society, anxious atmosphere (crisis, Covid, war), technological tools… contribute a lot to this. Finally, our psyches have evolved: “In Freud’s time, people felt crushed under the weight of a suffocating morality,” observes Michael Stora. Today, people suffer from narcissistic diseases. They are anxious because they don’t think they are beautiful, efficient, or not recognized enough. And this anxiety leads to addictions. “In short, if we’re not all addicts, we’re all in danger of becoming one… What does it take to buy a Spritz again?

* “Cleaning, telecommuting and addictive behaviour: A French perspective”, prepared for GAE Conseil in April 2020.

** April foundation, hyper-connectivity barometer. SOS Addictions, tel. : 06 01 43 31 94.

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