What happens when we fall in love?
“There is an exceptionally strong parallel between these plastic changes from pair bonding and the plastic changes seen in drug addiction. As D1 Receptors are upregulated during pair bonding and D2 Receptor are stable, this plastic change represents an alteration in the balance of D1R/D2R signalling in the striatum in favour of D1R, similar to what is seen in human PET studies of drug addiction”
“These data also provide evidence for the theory that social attachment systems governing maternal bonding and pair bonding to a mating partner are subverted by drugs of abuse to create addictions that are just as powerful as natural attachments. In a very real sense, we may be addicted to the ones we love.”
Addiction as Love/Relationship/Attachment
The Role of sub-culture and Religion
“Today one of the main criteria for a diagnosis of drug addiction/alcoholism is: continuing to consume alcohol or another drug “despite unpleasant or adverse consequences” (DSM). For the Christian martyrs the same criteria would apply. People of that time and place—Rome, 2nd century A.D.—could also say that this new Christianity was like a drug that endangered lives and that being a Christian had all the adverse financial, social, psychological and physical consequences that we now see in the lives of drug addicts and alcoholics. And yet Christians, of all ages, in spite of the consequences, continued to profess their faith… and continued to be eaten by lions…………Likewise, given contemporary social policy, adverse consequences befall those who abuse drugs. They lose the respect of their peers; they violate the expectations of family, friends, and colleagues; they miss out on educational opportunities; they have poor work performance and lose their job. They make harmful decisions. They "burn their bridges". Their health suffers; they have overdoses, and they die.
None of these predictions are of consequence to most “addicts”. Like the Christians who suffered and died for their faith, the addict has also made a choice… to lose everything for the “faith” in the euphoria of the drug experience. In this light it is not difficult to understand that the main treatment for alcoholics and addicts in America is religion as promulgated through the faith based AA Twelve Step programs.”
In his book The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into our Genes, Hamer proposes that a variation in a gene known as VMAT2 is the "God Gene", and through the effect of this gene on dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine we are hard-wired for transcendence. Anyone with even a basic knowledge of addiction neuroscience will recognise the same monoamines mentioned as being amongst the usual suspects in addictive disorders. Indeed they are closely linked to the motivational and reward system.
William White in an essay entitled The Role of Spirituality in Substance Abuse Prevention, describes spirituality: "A heightened state of perception, awareness, performance or being that personally informs, heals, empowers, connects, centers or liberates". Once again, this sounds like drug use to me, although for those suffering from addictive disorders the drug often reveals itself to be an imposter, in much the same way as the abusive marriage partner reveals their true nature.