To classify addictive behavior, we expand on a model suggested by Harvey Milkman and Stanley Sunderwirth (1987). They suggested the addictive states of arousal, satiety, and fantasy. They also mentioned what they called super-reality, though they did not elaborate on it. We call it control, the fourth state or direction for addictive behavior.


The arousal direction includes all the substances and activities that produce an “up” feeling. Stimulant drugs such as caffeine, amphetamines, or cocaine increase concentrations of the catecholamine neurotransmitters. These include epinephrine (which used to be called adrenaline), norepinephrine, and dopamine. Activities like gambling, risk-taking, high-pressure jobs, and crime stimulate biochemical reactions that can cause powerful mood changes and mind alterations.

Lifestyle The stronger your addictions point to arousal patterns, the more the obsession for power and activity and doing things. It is no accident that cocaine addicts are more often involved in a fast-paced, performance-oriented lifestyle. The jet set is part of the general addictive process.

Combinations If you like to combine the arousal state or direction with fantasy, you may be drawn to mystical experiences, where you have both arousal and fantasy. If, instead, you lean toward control, you may like precision excitement, like flying jet planes or very precise sports.

Arousal, see also: Anger, Cocaine, Codependency, Control, Emotional aspects, Fantasy, Satiety.

Updated 5 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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