Where Science Meets the Steps

The new science of addiction

Are You Addicted to Unhappiness?

People who are addicted to unhappiness tend to find reasons to be miserable, focus on the negative, compete with others about who has the toughest life, and user drugs, alcohol, or compulsive behaviors to cope. Read More

Is happiness/unhapiness a

Is happiness/unhapiness a choice - sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't - I would suggest it's highly dependent upon your worldview - whether you see yourself as seperate from everything or interconnected with everything. I would also suggest that it is dependent on the amount of 'inner work' that you have undertaken - how much you have managed to individuate on a personal level.
When combining a highly individuated person with an interconnected worldview you acheive a realisation that things are not quite what they appear to be. You also progress from an either/or world to an either/or/both/and world - the paradox ceases to be absurd and in effect become a very natural way of being.
In 'seeing' things this way - which is considered to be 'abnormal' by many who live in an 'either/or' mindset - it becomes very clear to determine whether I am creating my happiness/unhappiness internally or whether that happiness/unhappiness is coming from an external source.
In our constant drive to seek happiness as some sort of ideal, as opposed to half of the picture that it actually is, we project our unhappiness outwards and never consider that we are actually the ones that are creating it.
When we remain in ignorance of our unhappiness, it doesn't diminish but actually increases - hence we actually perpetuate our unhappiness externally whilst continuing to ignore it (pretend that we are happy - because we feel/think we should be) and in so doing we are increasing an external unhappiness.
Unhappiness is not a 'bad' thing - it is a sign that something is not quite right - and what should be done that isn't done - is to assess whether there is something not quite right with the individual or the society/culture/world/environment we are living in. I would suggest that it's both - the interaction between the individual and the environment is perpetuating the unhappiness.
Otherwise how would you explain the fact that mental 'illness' has increased so dramatically over the last century or so?
Is it because we are better at diagnosing it or is it because it's been there for a long time but we never noticed it previously - we've ignored it?

I neglected to say - in line

I neglected to say - in line with the paradox - that when we project our unhappiness externally we also suppress it internally - when the internal suppression becomes greater than the external expression - that's when we succumb to mental health issues. We continue to believe that we should be happy - perhaps we have what we perceive to be or what society perceives to be a 'good' job/marriage/lifestyle - however we don't 'feel' happy.
As society reinforces this perception of what 'good' or what 'happy' is that makes us 'feel' worse - so rather than dealing with our unhappiness, we suppress it or express it even further. We are dishonest with ourselves and dishonest with our reasons for the 'felt' unhappiness. The more we suppress/express the unhappiness, the more we are made to 'feel' that there is something wrong with 'me'. This may or may not be the case or additionally it could be both.
Until we come to 'know ourselves' it is impossible to know another - regardless of the amount of external study undertaken. We also require 'in tuition' - an inner learning or knowing.

You're a medical doctor and addiction specialist

And you are seriously saying that unhappiness addiction reflects the same biological basis as substance addictions like alcohol and meth, and process addictions like gambling and sex? Seriously? Really? If it does, how does it differ from contentedness addiction, medititative addiction, and happiness addiction?

Chronic unhappiness. Have you

Chronic unhappiness. Have you ever encountered it? If you have you already know what the writer was talking about. When you're unhappy all the time naturally, when other things are piled on i.e work, money, relationships, the stress is unbeliveable, and people look for an escape. I know someone who knows a girl, when she was a kid she was abused, she was in an unhapy place, so naturally, she was unhappy. You know what happened to her? She did turn to meth and alcohol. She became a prostitite. Got pregnant and the child came out a meth addict and went through serious withdrawal symptoms. The baby was taken, and the girl is in and out of rehab. Unhappiness and stress do hae big knock-on effects on peoples lives. So yes, people do turn to drugs, alcohol and sex. Different addictions have different needs. You need to treat them as living things and fulfill their needs, but you can't because of the consequences. People with addictions to anything are in a very serious, scary dilemna.

I believe...

I believe that people can develop a stockholm syndrome with their unhappines, anger or any mental health issue. I personally suffer from chronic unhappiness and anger isues, but when someone tries to offer me help, do I take it? No. I don't want it. Me being miserable is a part of who I am. Me getting angry is a part of who I am. They are characteristics that make me unique and I'm comfortable with it. Sure at first my anger scared me and people commented on me being moody all the time, but now when people offer me a chance to be happy, or the possibility of being happy, I really don't think I'd be happy. I'd feel empty.


I see a family member of mine in this article. She has been through a lot of trauma and I think it isn't so much that she wants to be unhappy, but it's that she doesn't know how to live her life without some semblance of trauma going on - she recently got severely anguished over the impact people were having on the environment and global warming. It had been a good day but this distress blew in and seemed to really impact her mood. It made me realize that without SOMETHING going on to be stressed about, she wouldn't know how to live her life normally and would probably find something.

I agree

My point exactly

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David Sack, M.D. is board certified in Addiction Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine and serves as CEO of Elements Behavioral Health and Promises Treatment Centers.


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