Shift Happens

Musings on the mind and the perennial capacity for change

Addicted to Law & Order

When I work at certain clinics, I am usually the only one in the room without a chemical addiction. But I do have my issues and I do understand addiction. Trading one addiction for another is very common, but I'm not giving mine up for any reason at all. Read More

I would contend that all

I would contend that all addictions and I mean any and all possible addictions are chemically based. No matter what the addiction is, even Law and Order.

In such cases as Law and Order or another such as a sex addiction or the need to cheat on a spouse. The addict is looking for a chemical high, caused by self induced and self produced chemically based neurotransmitters such as dopamine or adrenaline on the way up and even cortisol on the way down.

To me it is obvious and I wonder why psychological professionals don't dig much deeper into this.

Oh yea and one other thing.

Oh yea and one other thing. GUNSMOKE was surpassed by STAR TREK years ago and I highly doubt that Law and Order is yet to even come close. But I could be wrong so I think I will do a little research now.

Even though Star Trek only

Even though Star Trek only ran for 3 seasons. It is the most played, most syndicated, longest running television series of all time.

The term Trekie and addict should be interchangeable.

Law & Order addiction

interesting article, Susan. I lived with a guy who was a recovering addict -- the guy spent 10+ years in a booze & prescription drug stupor that pretty much ruined his academic career. He went into AA and became a coin-carrying member and now, many years later, he too has displaced his addiction with "Law & Order" reruns.

I don't really like the show but I'd watch HIM watching the episodes over and over again and realized there was something to it. First off, the shows provide the comfort of predictability: Dick Wolf structures every episode the same way -- the "hook" prologue, the opening voice-over, the theme song, the 'doink doink' gavel sound, the Jerry Orbach wisecrack, and so on. The big, cathartic plot points (the arrest, "the reveal," and the verdict) are almost mathematical in timing. Writers have learned psychological tricks to nab their audience and you've been sucked in. Then you combine it with a premise that's LITERALLY about "ORDER" and you get the perfect escape from the chaos that lurks inside the addict's brain. I have also seen court programs like Judge Judy having a similar effect on people. (It was fictionalized in "Rain Man"; Raymond would have a nervous breakdown without his daily dose of Wapner). No psychological study here; just my anecdotal evidence. You're not alone.

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Susan Winston, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a television producer and writer in Los Angeles.



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