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Pleasure and pain

Pleasure and Drugs

Avoiding Pain

Help Linked Module: Chez les Indiens la drogue structure, chez nous elle détruit... Linked Module: The Cultivation of Coca in Bolivia: Symbol of Life and Death Linked Module: Drug Use as a Social Ritual
Linked Module: Brain's Reward Centers Catered To By Drugs, Sex, & Food Linked Module: Gambling—Like Food and Drugs—Produces Feelings of Reward in the Brain Linked Module : La dépendance affective ou n'exister que par l'autre Linked Module: Food Addictions in the Brain
Lien : Is Internet addiction real? Lien : Nous sommes tous « accros « Lien : Problème de jeu excessif Lien : Bourse, sport, drogue: même dépendance
History Module: A Chronology of Psychoactive Substance Use

It is true that video games demand memory, anticipation, and precision and can thus be a form of play that contributes to children's psychomotor development. But in North America, children who own a video game box play with it an average of an hour and a half per day. Some children, however, devote several hours per day to video gaming, during which they are isolated in a bubble. They do not play outside with their friends, they do not play any sports, they do not do any reading, and they do not even talk.

With video games, the gratification is immediate; children experience their actions as having an impact, which feels very rewarding. But when children spend this much time seeking gratification from a video game, it is often because they are not getting enough feedback, affection, or recognition in their family lives.

Indeed, video game dependency often develops in children whose parents are stressed and exhausted by their work. Such parents are less available to play with their children and are even happy when the kids play quietly with their video games. Instead, responsible parents should limit the time that their children spend playing video games and try to get them interested in other activities.


There has never been such a thing as a drug-free society. The consumption of substances that create dependencies is universal and has been common to all cultures since human history began.

In Asia, the leaves of the cannabis plant have been used for therapeutic purposes for millennia. Alcohol has been consumed since ancient times. In ancient Greece, physicians used opium as a medicine, but warned of its dangers even then. In the 16th and 17th centuries, tobacco was used to heal wounds, and in the 19th century, surgeons used cocaine as an anaesthetic.

Drugs have been used not only in the treatment of injuries and illnesses, but also in highly ritualized religious ceremonies and celebrations, for the purpose of altering consciousness and strengthening ties among the participants.

Men chewing coca leaves in the town of Apolobamba, in the Bolivian Andes

In our modern societies, we too often consume substances that are produced in industrial volumes, with excessive concentrations of psychotropic ingredients, and sold in mixtures where they are "cut" with other substances that are often toxic. The use of these drugs is detached from any ceremonial or ritual purpose, and most often serves to soothe spiritual, emotional, or economic misery. In addition, modern society now provides access to other activities that can cause dependencies (see sidebars).

Many drugs that are legal in our societies, such as alcohol, tobacco, and coffee, can create strong dependencies that can become very harmful in the long run. To understand why some drugs are legal and others are not, we must consider religious, economic, and political factors.

Television dependency

The facts speak for themselves: a typical middle-class family owns three television sets; three out of four people cannot get through a week without watching television; children spend more time in front of the television every day than they do on all their other activities, except sleeping. People who abuse television go out less often, get less exercise, and weaken their imaginations (since everything is there right in front of them). They also become desensitized to violence, do less reading and writing, and so on.

Though TV can provide a window on the world, enrich your vocabulary, and teach you about experiences of all kinds in heavy doses, it can also be just as stupefying as any hard drug!

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