The word satiety means the state of being supplied to the full extent with what is wished for. A typical addict will read that sentence and exclaim, “All RIGHT!” Satiety is one of the four major addictive states. The others are arousal, fantasy, and control.

Relief of Suffering

Satiety involves the opioid receptors, especially in the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system is the seat of most of what we call emotions. Neuronal pathways for pain also pass through this system. Opioid neurotransmitters, like the endorphins, do not change the pain, but they mediate suffering, the perception of pain.

Opiate Activities

What do heroin, exercise, good food, and TV have in common? All increase the neurotransmitters that fill the opioid receptors in the brain, including the limbic system. They help you relax, feel good, and forget most of your worries. The main difference between heroin and the others is that it is much easier to overdose on heroin. There is no doubt that its effects are more dramatic, because it is far more concentrated. But heroin is doing the same thing in your body as exercise, good food, and TV. All that differs is the potency.


Whatever the reason you started using opiates, exercising excessively, overeating, or watching too much TV, you probably liked the effect. A lot. Remember satiety — being able to have all you want. Well, what happens when “all you want” does not satisfy as much?

You probably increased the dosage to “more than you wanted to take.” This begins the tolerance, and the addiction.

Mixed States

Many addictions include satiety as an important addictive state. Heroin and other opiate addiction is primarily satiety, with some fantasy. Alcoholism involves satiety, but at times all the other addictive states also. Sex addiction certainly includes all four states, as the sex addict may feel extreme control, fantasy, arousal, and satiety all within a few minutes.


Satiety and the other addictive states are a useful model to help understand addiction. Recovery does not mean staying out of these states. It simply means giving up the idea of taking up residence in one or more of them.

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

Updated 18 Oct 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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