Another way to look at addiction

I have been reading  and talking to many people for an article I’m writing about gambling addiction. I came across this, in the New York Times from 2005:

Q. I gamble as a social outlet. I’d much rather do something to reform society, which is in a mess at the moment…If a healthy environment gave addicts the release they seek in drugs, there would be no addicts.

A. Dr. Timothy Fong

Your comment taps into the idea that recovery from addictive disorders is a voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterized by sobriety, self-care and citizenship. The reality is that our current environment is one that promotes consumption, recreation and instant rewards, all of which are very reinforcing and compelling to the brain.

It would be interesting if we invested as much energy into making our society one that promotes health, instead of just looking to treat the psychiatric side effects of that so many of us experience as a result of the way our society is organized.