Daniel Regan -Threshold 2018
Hannah Redler-Hawes
Independent contemporary art curator Hannah Redler-Hawes.

London’s New Science Gallery has opened an exhibition that is most certainly food for thought. Entitled Hooked: When Want Becomes Need, the art exhibition invites viewers to explore the complex and multifaceted world of addiction – steering you away from the stereotypical alcoholic and drug addict.

Hannah Redler-Hawes, the curator responsible for pulling together resources and collaborating input from scientists, psychologists, addicts, artists, communities and photographers from around the globe, depicts a compelling timeline of addiction leading up to the current day.

Phases Of Addiction

Hooked – when want becomes need can be freely viewed and walks you through a series of photos and artwork showcasing 4 primary phases of addiction that challenges you to set aside pigeonholing addicts and think outside of the box, looking at the bigger picture.

The four thought provoking phases of addiction that Hooked asks you to consider are:

Natural Born Thrillers

We all like to have fun, to seek new experiences and test our own boundaries, but how and when do you know if enough is enough? What if your all-consuming desire is causing harm to yourself and others?

Speed Of Light

Going online means we can satisfy our cravings and desires for everything with just a few clicks, literally at the speed of light. How are we coping in a world awash with digital media where inbuilt, habit-forming loops are designed to seek and keep our attention?

Free Will

Who is to blame for addiction? People living in and with addiction are frequently maligned by society, but how far does society itself need resetting?

Safe From Harm

What happens when things get out of hand? When does ‘use’ become ‘misuse’, or the balance tip into harm?

Hannah announced the finished exhibition on Twitter:

Who Is Responsible For Addiction?

Hooked is truly compelling in that it encourages us to look at who is responsible for addiction in its many varying forms.

PCP agree that there is so much more to addiction than alcohol and drugs; there is win or lose, like and dislike, regression, projection, denial, maintenance, self esteem reducing, egoism, progression, false belief systems, gradiousity, shame, blame, guilt etc…. Do not every single one of us have a vice, a weakness or a vulnerability that we hide from the rest of the world?

Understanding the true nature of addiction as PCP do, we feel that no one is at fault, but there is one thing that is glaringly obvious and that is that today’s businesses and marketing are capitalising on our deepest vulnerabilities.

Smartphones and the internet mean that a gamble, gaming fix, social media distraction, a validation or purchase of an illicit drug are only a quick click away.

Yes some of us are more vulnerable to developing addiction, but is society actually encouraging recovery from addiction or is it aiding in self annihilation through numerous forms of enabling and temptation?

Smartphones – the carrier of addiction or cause of addiction?

These are all very poignant and relevant questions when it comes to understanding addiction and removing the stigma associated with it.

Daniel Regan -Threshold 2018
Contemporary artist and photographer Daniel Regan’s contribution – Threshold 2018

The Facts Of Addiction

The fact is that medical science has proven that addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease and that it is progressive in its nature.

Addiction is characterized by numerous futile attempts to stop a self-harming activity or drug and repeatedly relapsing. The brain is the control centre of any addiction. Removal of the drug, alcohol, utility or activity is simply not enough for an addicted individual to maintain recovery and avoid future relapse.

Successful addiction recovery treatment models address the physical, emotional, intellectual, social and psychological components of this disease.

This means applying a number of individualised evidence based addiction treatments to unearth and treat the root causes of the addiction as well as rewire and retrain the brain with healthier coping mechanisms and strategies.

How Does Hooked Help Us Understand Addiction And Recovery

Hooked exhibition encourages the mind to ask its own questions and find its own answers. By understanding addiction in its true raw nature, we are able to break away from the stereotypical idea of what addiction is and look objectively without shame at the recovery and treatment options available.

  • What if we saw an addict as someone who is sick and needs medical and psychotherapeutic treatment in order to get well?
  • What if we saw that addiction has a similar relapse rate to those who suffer from diabetes?
  • What if we treated addiction on a par to any other illness that occurs outside of our willpower?
  • What if we set aside judgements and unhelpful belief systems and actually focused on a helpful solution, pulling together our worldly resources?

If we did view addiction in the same way we as a society view any other life threatening illness, NHS resources would be more cost effective and more lives would be saved!

Interesting thought isn’t it?

Source & References

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