Apparently, in the mid to late 1990’s through the early 2000’s, a bunch of folks were working on some version of this concept orthogonally. To name just a few:
In the engineering and psychological sectors, Alan Carter, Colston Sanger, Philip Arickx, Bill and Mary Allsopp, Howard Shaw III and many others were collating their research, personal experiences, testing and teaching results in diverse fields including ADHD research and offered their feedback and collaboration.
In the psychiatric profession, Russell Barkley announced the discovery of the polymorphic DRD4 gene and got busy modifying the Executive Functions Model of the frontal lobes in order to account for the research results involving the dopamine system (specifically the DRD4 gene) and its connection to ‘ADHD’.
In the medical occupation, people like Dr. Gabor Maté put his neurochemical understanding of dopamine and brain chemistry to work helping people with addictions and other life problems whose source can be found in the drive to suppress, repress or otherwise deal with previously experienced emotional and physical pain – including trauma. Very interesting talks here and here.
In the marketing field a Garrett John LoPorto has culled the neuroscience for the polymorphic dopamine gene info and shaped it all into a package he calls “The WaySeers” (formerly the DaVinci Personality).
As an aside, one thing I would like to say about these various efforts: in my opinion, anyone who knows about the dopamine addiction model and the cognitive differences between healthy levels vs. unhealthy levels of the stuff and keeps this info to themselves for their own edification, is doing humanity a disservice. There, I said it. 🙂
For the most part, the ‘feelings’ we are most familiar with seem to have their physiological basis in the endocrine system and its interaction with the dopaminergic system with its effects on cognitive ability, so in terms of the underlying neurochemistry, it appears everyone’s talking about the same thing – within the framework of the point they are making.
Because the neuroscience data has been scientifically discovered, gathered and brought to light and (for the most part) critically and accurately interpreted, all the various versions mesh together quite well. We can now draw a model that we can call: The Dopamine Addiction Model (or Hypothesis). This hypothesis is able to explain what we actually see people doing, predict what they will do and is fully testable and falsifiable. As well, it is evolving into increasing accuracy with the passing of time.
Everyone who is involved in this work has a different name for this hypothesis. When you couple it with the cognitive distortion tagged as “dyadic”, we can say the following: In esoteric contexts it is “the predator’s mind” or “flyer’s mind”; for the engineers it’s called M0 (em-zero; formerly known as “the stupidity virus”); in the psychiatric work mentioned, it is represented in the distorted version and application of the executive functions model; in the Sufi work it is called “the commanding self”; in Gurdjieff’s work, the reference is to “maleficent now-law-conformable effects of the organ Kundabuffer”; in the Dilbert cartoon strips, it’s embodied as “Pointy hair”. 🙂 All of this will become clear with an understanding of the model and how it works.
No matter how you “noun” it, the processes and flows are what’s important. That’s what’s real. It is what’s happening, and we can explain it. We don’t know all the whys yet, but what we do know…and what we can now do with what we know, is what most all the esoteric work seems to lead to.
The people who have directly and indirectly contributed to this project, past and present, include the ordinary and the extraordinary on every point of the human variability continuum – including ‘AD/HD’ers and those who, through their own efforts, connected with their full range of cognitive faculties – our birthright. And the fascinating thing is, we can show the way for others as well.
What more could we ask for? 🙂
How about this:
Is there a way for me to know if I’m a dopamine self-addict?
See what you think when you finish reading the remainder of this post:
At this moment you are perhaps sitting on a bus, a train, or at a workstation or home computer, reading this on paper. You are “aware” of the paper. But are you also aware of being aware of the paper? Is there a part of you that watches the rest sitting on the bus or train or in the armchair and reading the paper (through the eyes of course, we are not talking excursions to the ceiling here), that when it wants to can control the rest? As you read this, you probably became aware of yourself in just this way. People with healthy dopamine levels always have this “monitor” going in their heads.
The monitor is very important. When you are aware of yourself you can notice when you are making a complete mess of something. You can recognize problems more easily, because you tend to step back and insult your own work while you are doing it!
In order to make the monitor happen, there must be some sort of feedback happening in the brain. Information about the world is gathered by the senses and fed to the brain, which interprets the information and can respond on full automatic. But what is then supposed to happen is that the whole scenario, the picture of the world you started with, but with you now in it as a part of the situation, is fed back into the brain to make sure that what is happening is what was supposed to happen. It’s a “systems perspective” made possible by the “inductive faculty”, or “context-based awareness”.
When dopamine levels are low because of a ‘defective’ DRD4 receptor, an overactive dopamine cleanup mechanism, or because a person, through his own efforts, has suffered through the gradual lowering of stress/dopamine levels, the monitor can happen along with the restoration of a whole class of cognitive functions referred to above as the inductive faculty, or context-based awareness. Esoterically, we also notice that our consciousness seems located in the feeling center. (In this context, ‘feeling center’ can also be called the inductive faculty because the automatic physiological/emotional responses are in the moving center).
The most unfortunate aspect of dopamine self-addiction is that what we lose, in terms of a whole class of cognitive functions, in no way makes up for what is gained by the self-medicated state.