Hedonistic Addiction and Boredom

Hedonistic addiction is a type of addiction that comes not from a desire to suppress or dull a pain and thus escape it; rather it comes from an urge to experience pleasure or entertainment. Unfortunately that behavior is as addictive as any other activity that involves consuming drugs. Boredom plagues us all in life, but it can be more than an irritant, especially for young people. Boredom can lead to experimentation with drugs or alcohol, and kids these days don’t need to go to a seedy street corner to find an addictive drug.

Hedonistic Addiction can Happen Anywhere

The USA is the world’s leader in the number of narcotic pain reliever prescriptions written every year. The US consumes about 80% of the world’s legal narcotics. Teens looking for a quick high often have no further to look than the medicine cabinet. After all, how many people know exactly how many pain tablets they have? A recent study showed about 1/3 of all teenagers who’d had at least one to three drinks in the past month had done so out of boredom. Using drugs or drinking to have something to do isn’t just a teen problem, but the issue is simple. Studies have shown over and over that the earlier a person starts abusing substances, the more harm they do to their body, the harder it is to get clean, and the harder it becomes to establish healthy habits.

Using out of boredom seldom happens after a person is in their mid-20s. The obvious things are going on: graduate or professional education, the start of families, jobs. These all raise the likelihood of avoidant or escapist addiction, but pretty much kill hedonistic addiction. No one facing life as an adult has much time to be bored. Nonetheless, teens can and do use the prescription drugs they find at their home, friends’ homes and other places, often as an introduction to drug abuse. Right after alcohol, opioid class pain relievers are the most commonly abused legally prescribed drug in the USA.

Not only is boredom a route to addiction, but it can be a relapse trigger for many people. People who’ve perhaps never had to deal with boredom before suddenly find themselves with time on their hands. That time derives from the time they once spent getting high. If that time is not channeled, it can lead to thoughts of using.