Can Cocaine In The City Really Be To Blame For The Recent Financial Crisis?
Mr. Alastair Mordey, Programme Director for The Cabin Chiang Mai, a prominent addiction treatment centre based in Asia, finds Professor Nutt’s claims tenuous and over-generalised at best.
He believes that some people with the disease of addiction are drawn to highly competitive environments where acquiring status, power and money are normal and encouraged behaviours abundant in jobs found in such places as The City. However, these addictive personalities are in place long before drugs enter the scene.
Mr Mordey comments: “A drug user use drugs because they have dysfunctional brain circuitry and are therefore drawn to excessive over achieving, ultra-competitive environments, risk taking, and drug use. These people are likely to be over-represented in professions such as banking, but also in many other professions including medicine, the armed forces, the arts and so on.”
Mordey, who treats predominantly high-functioning professionals at The Cabin, explains “Professions such as banking attract risk taking high achievers who are drawn to ultra-competitive environments. My assertion, and that of medical bodies researching drug abuse and addiction, is that there are certain people who are predisposed not only to using drugs, but also to risk taking and high octane environments like banking, because they have a deficiency in certain brain chemicals, which deliver reward and pleasure. Such people will experience boredom more acutely and require greater stimulation, greater reward and greater pleasure than the average person.”
The American Society of Addiction Medicine and the National Institute of Drug Abuse at the US department of Health second this in their public policy document in 2011 stating that ‘addiction is a primary chronic disease, which affects the brain’s reward system and that this is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.’
“We used to call these people addicts,” Mordey elaborates, “but it is now becoming clear that not all addicts will medicate themselves with drugs or alcohol. People pre-disposed to drug or alcohol abuse have very poor quality or ‘low’ dopamine functioning in their brains’ reward circuitry. Because dopamine is the primary pleasure and reward-giving chemical in the brain, sufferers of this disease experience a blunted pleasure response to ordinary life and consequently they seek dopamine reinforcers (boosters) which could be drugs, but equally could be sex, risk, gambling, high status, acquiring monetary rewards and many other behaviours.
“So to put it in a nutshell, if you’ll pardon the pun, drug users use drugs because they have dysfunctional brain circuitry and are therefore drawn to excessive over achieving, ultra-competitive environments, risk taking, and drug use. These people are likely to be over-represented in professions such as banking, but also in many other professions including medicine, the armed forces, the arts and so on. In fact, The Butler Centre for Research in the US found in 2009 that the highest rates of substance abuse in the US were typically found in food service, construction, arts, design, entertainment, sports and media occupations. Bankers have so many other sources of dopamine reinforcement at their disposal that actual cocaine abuse is unlikely to play a major role in the lives of those bankers who suffer from the disease of addiction,” Mordey concludes.
About the Cabin – The Cabin Chiang Mai is Asia’s most respected Drug and Alcohol treatment centre, with two facilities and a secondary treatment Sober House located in Chiang Mai. Since 2009 the Cabin has treated over 300 men and women from around the world with a programme completion rate of 96% and a recovery rate amongst the highest in the world. The unique programme at The Cabin combines CBT, the 12 Steps, mind mapping, mindfulness therapy and physical exercise therapy. A fully inclusive 28 day programme at The Cabin Chiang Mai costs $12,900, about a third of the cost of private rehabs in countries such as Australia.