There’s a concept in medicine called ED50.
It refers to the effective dose of a drug in order to produce an effect in 50% of the people who take it. Depending on the toxicity and potential for lethality of the drug, doctors generally tend to prescribe higher or lower amounts, so it is by no means a representation of what you’ll get in your average prescription.
The amount people are generally prescribed will vary, depending on their individual situations. Could be 500mg daily of Tylenol, could be two Amoxicillin tablets a day, could be Attivan.
Some drugs produce an effect in our brains that stimulates our brain’s reward center by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine, a hormone produced by the brain naturally. Oftentimes, as a result, this causes what we call… addiction.
There are a couple of dozen different classifications of substance dependence. All do the same thing to the brain, roughly.
Dopamine can be produced under a variety of circumstances. Doing drugs, eating lots of sugar, even sex, video games and Facebook. All things that can become addictive if not done… responsibly.
It’s said that dopamine is produced when you’re doing something your brain finds pleasurable. By that stardard, we can assume that anything that allows an individual to feel pleasure with something… can be addictive.
As many of us know, certain emotional states are quite pleasurable. Exhilaration. Happiness. Comfort. Sometimes even anger.
Many become addicted to how others make them feel. Some become addicted to ideas.
But everyone is an addict. And everyone is a dealer.
We tend to take it for granted, but everyone has the potential in them to produce an addictive effect in the minds of others, although we rarely, if ever, realize we’re doing it.
But some can be toxic. And some can be lethal.
Take sympathy, for instance. Too much sympathy growing up can cause a person to become addicted. Too little can cause them to reject sympathy altogether.
Those who become addicted to it, however, can allow it to rule their lives. When they’re not getting it, they’re craving it. When the craving becomes too much, that person can and often does act out in ways such as lying or putting themselves in harm’s way so that… they can collect the sympathies of others. To feed off of them. And those that give too much sympathy are often addicted in much the same way. They all enable each other. And they begin to hate those who refuse sympathy.
Hate can be an addiction too. Extremism. Greed.
Religions, ideas, foods, activities and drugs. Sights, sounds, experiences. Tastes and smells. People and animals. Emotions and interests.
All can be addictive.
But sometimes some of these things are important for surviving the human condition. Sometimes what destroys the addict can save another.
There is a concept in medicine called the Maximum Effective Dose. This is the maximum recommended dosage of a drug in order for it to produce a positive effect. Any further and it begins to produce… undesirable effects. The addict rarely chooses to think about those risks.
We need to remember that all of us are addicts. And all of us dealers. The only thing we do is choose our addictions, often subconsciously.
Some addicts can’t be reasoned with. And so we must treat them as addicts, lest we enable them further. And sometimes, we can’t be reasoned with because we refuse to look at our own addictions. Can you reason with a heroine addict to look past his addiction? Sometimes. But it’s rare.
And so I think it’s our responsible to limit our enabling of other’s addictions to the maximum effective dose. Because right now, there are too many addicts, and we need to achieve ED50.