Is addiction positive or negative feedback?

Instead of generating the euphoric feeling that the individual desires, they simply find themselves thinking that more substance will achieve the desired effect. This increase in the level of substance abuse and the lack of benefits result in a negative feedback cycle or what is known as addiction. A common positive feedback cycle that can occur in your lifetime is dependence on a substance. For example, if you drink a few alcoholic beverages in a short time, your blood alcohol level rises rapidly.

While this level is increasing, it can be a pleasant race. The repetition of a habit based on a relationship with a stimulus is known as reinforcement. Reinforcement can be classified as positive or negative. That doesn't equal “good or bad”, as you might think.

Both types of reinforcement increase drug use in this context. Reinforcement is generally facilitated by an external stimulus or some type of trigger, by increasing the desired effect or eliminating an aversive stimulus. The key result of any “reinforcement” is that it maintains the behavior, in the case of addiction, the drug use process, regardless of whether it is a positive or negative reinforcement. Peterson argues that it is these positive feedback systems that are at play when it comes to mental illness and addictions.

Peterson uses the example of alcohol addiction;. What about positive feedback? Engaging with others can also give you a positive opinion about how to adopt the habit, if you can inform them of your successes. And you can set rewards, such as giving yourself a treat, a massage or a relaxing tea, or whatever is rewarding for you personally. In the next chapter, we'll look at mindfulness as a way to generate positive feedback.

Positive feedback circuits also exist, but are generally associated with illness or change (for example, drug addiction).