Understanding Addiction as a Disease (Wait21)

it's important to understand that everyone in the world has addictions or rather natural addictions the things that are good like food water and sleep these natural addictions are important for our health and survival and without them we would not hunger or crave the things we need to survive now we aren't exactly born with these natural addictions our body creates them let's look at an example when you bite into an apple your brain says YUM your brain recognizes that this Apple is good for you it has nutrition vitamins and gives your body the energy it needs to survive whenever the brain recognizes something that's good it releases a chemical called dopamine dopamine causes you to experience pleasure it's what makes you feel good like when biting into an apple the brain releases this dopamine in order to teach the body that this is healthy and good for your survival and that it should remember to do it again now there are other things we do that can release the pleasurable dopamine like playing video games exercising or reading a good book however the amount of dopamine released during these activities is less than what's released when we eat food the brain does this so it can recognize which is more important so if you go two days without reading a book or two days without eating food your body is going to crave the food over the book as such your brain creates what's called a hierarchy of survival which ranks how important each of these things is to your survival now there are some things that will not cause the release of dopamine like eating soap or punching yourself in the face the brain knows that these things are not good and therefore does not release the pleasurable dopamine because your brain does not want you to do it again now let's look at alcohol marijuana tobacco and other drugs these are all classified carcinogens proven to cause cancer and other fatal diseases now your brain should recognize that these things are harmful to your body however these substances have special chemical characteristics that fool the brain into releasing dopamine oftentimes in much greater amounts than the body has ever experienced before because of this the body is fooled into thinking that these things good and important sometimes even more important than food water or sleep and consequently hijacks the number one spot in your survival hierarchy so now if you go two days without eating or two days without drinking alcohol your body will actually crave the alcohol over the food this is an extreme case of addiction where the person addicted believes that they will die if they don't get the severity of the addiction depends on where the alcohol or drug lies within your hierarchy of survival and can increase even with casual use research shows that people under the age of 21 are at the highest risk of having their survival hierarchy hi jack why because their brains are still growing and developing and are hypersensitive to false shocks of dopamine caused by these harmful substances by 21 the brain is more fully developed and mature and the survival hierarchy becomes more permanent and less susceptible to getting hijacked the flipside is that once you are 21 it becomes very difficult to remove these harmful substances from your survival hierarchy studies show that 9 out of 10 people who currently struggle with addiction started drinking smoking or using before the age of 21 understanding addiction as a preventable disease can help save millions of lives the decision to wait until 21 could mean the difference between a life enslaved by addiction or a life full of success and accomplishment want to learn more visit us at weight 21 org


  1. I have a prezination about addicts and what they feel and how they feel when they try to treat themselves I need addicts who communicate with me in Instagramm a.n.088 I hope one continues to addicted to the games habits of any thing and thank you

  2. There are a LOT of false and even harmful statements in this video.

    1. Food, water, and sleep are NOT “natural addictions.” I understand the reason for the comparison, but it is confusing and misleading to equate the two. Addictions are, by their very nature, maladaptive.

    2. Of course babies are born with the need to eat, drink, and sleep. These cravings aren’t caused by previous experiences of food, water, and sleep.

    3. Eating soap and “punching yourself in the face” absolutely can release dopamine. That’s one of the main reasons pica and non-suicidal self-injury exists.

    4. Not all drugs are carcinogens.

    5. The person who thinks he might die if he does not drink alcohol might be correct; you can die from alcohol withdrawal.

    6. Suggesting that severity of addiction can be measured by where alcohol or other drugs falls within your "survival hierarchy" is simply untrue.

    7. There are a LOT of reasons why people who use substances at a young age are more likely to become addicted. People who have access to drugs and who want to try it are more likely to have stressful lives, to have parents who do not provide adequate supervision, to have experienced trauma, to have a peer group which supports poor choices, etc. Stating that it is because their brains are developing is overly simplistic.

  3. 1:48 Pretty sure if marijuana caused cancer they wouldn't prescribe it to… you know… cancer patients… Kind of lost respect for the video at that point.

  4. Addiction as a disease is not a proven model and has many holes in it. For example, I know many recovered folks who don't even think about addiction anymore and have no use for their previous vices. They went through a slow process of retraining their brain, by choice. I have never heard of an active disease that can be wrestled into admission and possible even cured by simply sticking to a choice to change routine patters set in the brain. I know some people who have gone through extremely emotional scenarios and stopped using immediately because of the extreme thing they experienced, and I know some who can't seem to stop. Addiction is definitely a psychological scenario, but the verdict is not unanimous on whether it is a disease or not.

  5. Excellent video. One thing I feel should be mentioned is the component of pain and trauma in addiction. You’ve mentioned that early use of alcohol and drugs is a warning sign for addiction but the reason behind the usage to begin with is pain. Addicts have a deep rooted sense that they are useless and have a intense feelings of insecurity for their own reasons. This leads the user to compensate by using drugs and alcohol to make themselves feel better right away because they are looking for relief. It’s like when your trying to diet. It’s always easier when life is good and your in a great mood. It’s easier to eat healthier, be more hungry, and just to generally be out of your comfort zone. When life is tough and you feel bad it’s extremely hard to stick to these positive habits as you are looking for relief from the pain. Addicts are damaged people and without the damage you have a much less likely chance of someone subjecting themselves to the pain associated with using substances. If you work on the root of your pain you have a fighting chance of living a meaningful life!!

    Not trying to shit on your video just tossing in some personal experience.

  6. Hey Wait21.org!!! My students and I were watching this video and one of them noticed there is no "I" in the word MILLIONS. It's right at the conclusion of the video. Ricky, my student, realllllllly wanted me to let you know : )

  7. thanks a lot. I wish the drug dealers would understand it can happen to their children as well. At this moment the drug dealers are promoting weed and alcohol or even LSD with excellently made videos, through media and movies.

  8. That honestly was an excellent presentation of how addiction works. Very easy to understand (especially for SWIM). Because like you said, (SWIM) feels like he's different than everyone else, mainly due to strong drug abuse in between ages 16-20. Then drug dependency from 20-22.5
    SWIM also stated that if he/she WOULD NOT have used any illegal narcotics and stayed 100% sober between ages 16-20, he/she would not be so dependent on the feeling of needing to be happy all the time.
    (If "happiness" or dopamine is based on scale from 1-10, (and a "normal" person is at a constant 5), then SWIM stated she/he "feels" like it must be at a 10 all the time and he/she is entitled to it.)
    SWIM stayed clean for a year but not 100%. Because just like food, water and sleep. "Medicine" is now also added to SWIM's "needs" list.

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