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Hello! I am a graduate marine biologist heading into a specialisation of marine mammals! Here at Conduct Science I am lead of Team Kilo, we produce articles and The Conduct Science Podcast hosted by myself and Mitch. Come listen to us talk about a whole variety of topics, new episodes every Thursday! I also host an interview series called Under the Microscope where I talk to scientists from around the world in many different fields about their experience, work and methodologies. And as if that wasn’t enough content every Friday I release a short form podcast called The Method Section, this is aimed at scientists old and new looking at the community, methodologies and many other topical and interesting science news!
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Tom Jenks PostManager
Hello! I am a graduate marine biologist heading into a specialisation of marine mammals! Here at Conduct Science I am lead of Team Kilo, we produce articles and The Conduct Science Podcast hosted by myself and Mitch. Come listen to us talk about a whole variety of topics, new episodes every Thursday! I also host an interview series called Under the Microscope where I talk to scientists from around the world in many different fields about their experience, work and methodologies. And as if that wasn’t enough content every Friday I release a short form podcast called The Method Section, this is aimed at scientists old and new looking at the community, methodologies and many other topical and interesting science news!
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Addiction – Timestamps

00:00 – Intro

1:10 – Factoids

11:55 – What we think we know about addiction

20:08 – Addiction treatment

36:10 – Gaming addiction

56:57 – Social media addiction

1:06:51 – Ending and Outro

You can listen to The Conduct Science Podcast by using the player above, searching for “The Conduct Science Podcast” on any place you listen to your podcasts, using any of the links below or you can download it HERE!

Episode Description

This week on the conduct science podcast Tom and Mitch decide to intervene on the topic of addiction. Take everything you thought you knew about addiction and discard it, a trip through history will reveal why we think what we do about addiction and what we now know. The guys take you on a crash course through drug addiction and treatment, video game addiction and the ever more important, social media addiction. Come find out how these things are affecting your mental state! Music by: Joakim Karud – https://soundcloud.com/joakimkarud.

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Transcript

Tom:                      Hello Ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Conduct Science Podcast where this week we will be talking about our Twitter addictions, but perhaps no one will follow us. If you want to check out all the latest goings on, you have to conductscience.com you can find us on Facebook and Twitter by searching @conductscience. If you want to get in touch, ask a question, suggest a guest, please use the #ConductScience. I am your host, Tom Jenks. And joining me as usual to help us get on the straight edge of lifestyle is Mitchell Gatting.

Mitch:                   Hello there.

Tom:                      And today’s topic is addiction.

Mitch:                   It is, and I’m appalled at your terrible, terrible pun at the intro.

Tom:                      Well, you know, I made many bad decisions, so I’m sure this will not be the last one. Ah, so as usual we kind of prepared some factoids. We can actually do them this week. Last week it was a bit of a rocky road on that, on that topic. So my first one is, so last week, this is very current data. They released like the, the drug use and statistics of the UK for 2018. And it shows the highest drug related deaths since the records began in the UK was 2018 and the highest use as well. I’m not sure where that comes from. I guess.

Mitch:                   Ooh, uncertainty, uh, political sort of happenings in the UK. Poverty rising, I think maybe.

Tom:                      Yeah, there’s definitely more people on under the poverty line isn’t there? There used to be is.

Mitch:                   Always a direct correlation between drug use and um, poverty increases.

Tom:                      Yeah. And also I guess is the, the social aspect like social drug taking is a lot bigger than it used to be. Certainly in certain areas. So you know, a little like the early adults nights out, they will tend to take drugs than rather than just alcohol sometimes. So I guess that’s also a reason why.

Mitch:                   I also hink there’s a shift away from alcohol. Cause I know, I know a lot of um, sort of people our age or younger have moved away from drinking as much and that may be because they’re moving to drugs instead.

Tom:                      Yeah, yeah, I can see that. Definitely. I know in Scotland it’s even worse than it is in the UK is and the UK is average. Then another thing I came across was, cause obviously addiction covers drugs mainly. So this is not strictly related to addiction, but something interesting I found was I was looking at the war on drugs and the homicide rate in the US is estimated to be around 25 to 70% higher than it would have been if the war on drugs never happened. And I was like, well that’s scary. I knew it was a failure, but yeah, no. How much of a, a failure actually was.

Mitch:                   Then other countries for the suit, like the United Kingdom and then we stopped it as well.

Tom:                      Yeah. But, uh, I think we may even come onto that a bit later as it is a very interesting topic to talk about. So South Korea when I was looking at types of addiction, Internet addiction, gaming addiction came up and South Korea is conduct the world capital for this. And they think one in 10 teenagers are addicted to being online and mostly through games and they have like rehab centers and stuff. Like gaming addiction. And I’ll watch a little documentary on it. It was, I don’t want to say funny because that’s like bad, but they were having like alcoholic anonymous meetings about how long they spend online. So that was an interesting peek into a different society.

Mitch:                   Yeah. I know a, I know China also suffers from this problem and Japan suffers from this problem. I can’t remember what the, there’s, they’ve got, they have a word for it. Oh yeah. Okay. So, um, otaku. Uh, and it’s someone that is a young person who is obsessed with computers or and games or popular culture who stay in and don’t go out much and struggle with social skills. And Japan culture is a finding at the moment that they’re struggling to like with the population or to repopulate like because young guys and also girls are struggling to like intermingle and be able to socialize to like form relationships because they are too like they’re shut-ins. It’s like an actual problem at the moment.

Tom:                      Cause they have a, I think, well I like us here in Devon, they have an extremely high age aging population don’t they? And I like some young really top heavy population dynamic. Yeah. That’s interesting. But one thing I realized is, well they said in this documentary is the amount of gaming addiction kind of correlates with the speed of the Internet. So they think as it cause Seoul in South Korea how this has the highest internet connections speeds in the world. They think as a kind of progresses and other places online gaming becomes more open to everyone. So it’s more likely to catch more people. So they’re thinking it’s going to spread.

Mitch:                   I’m not sure how much I agree with that too. Cause that seems to be like just a tenuous link. They’ve gone like oh high internet speeds must be the reason for the gaming.

Tom:                      They think is because it makes it more accessible. But I’m not going to say this wasn’t a completely one sided documentary from Panorama’s point of view. Which of course it was not biased at all that unfortunately you can’t find non-biased. A documentary is about video gaming.

Mitch:                   They’ve also got a culture there which they have gaming cafes are a big thing where there’s not really much the same as the UK as well.

Tom:                      Yeah they have on every street corner they’re open 24 seven.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Cause like people that like buying computers isn’t as accessible as maybe in other countries they’ve got a bigger culture. So that could be it as well.

Tom:                      That’s true. Yeah, definitely.

Mitch:                   Some of my factoids I realized, I always find it depressing factoids. The sad kind of factoids. [Laughter].

Tom:                      [Laughter]. Well we need a balance on the show.

Mitch:                   [Laughter]. Yeah, that is true. So my, I have three factoids. The first one is that alcohol and drug addiction costs the US economy over 600 billion every year.

Tom:                      Wow. That’s a, you know, if only they treated it right. But that’s was something we’ll come on to later if, if any.

Mitch:                   Yeah. If there’s, if they had the correct attitude towards it and there that could change about 300 million people throughout the world have an alcohol use disorder.

Tom:                      Oh really? That’s a lot.

Mitch:                   Yeah, I think there’s a lot of like undiagnosed situations of that. Cause I’ve had friends who I’ve been like concerned about with amount they drink.

Tom:                      And also in the UK we have such a high pub culture, but it’s acceptable. So even you get, you know, the generation above ours I guess go to the pub, you know, they have four pints, six, seven nights a week, but it’s fine. Well it’s not, but you know, it’s accepted in society.

Mitch:                   And then there’s the whole clubbing thing, which I personally don’t get or like, um,.

Tom:                      I go through peaks and troughs phases.

Mitch:                   It’s not as much to drinking. It’s more the, um, the subculture around it kind of breeds never, it never breeds good things. You never, it’s never like a positive thing that comes out of, it’s either the stories that you hear are negative. It like laddish culture that comes from it.

Tom:                      Yeah. But then because the stories people think about are normally the most extreme ones and they’re normally negative in a nightclub setting.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Do you know that the thing that I, I did some research into like why people can’t remember on a night out when they drink too much and they think it’s just because they’re like drunk and they just can’t remember that section. What actually happens is if you get so, so drunk, the brain can’t actually create the memories to store them.

Tom:                      Yeah. It stops recording. It’s mad.

Mitch:                   So it’s not the fact you can’t remember it. It’s the fact that it was never recorded and put in your brain in the first place.

Tom:                      Yeah. It’s, yeah, just almost scary at that point because you can think about, you know, what you remember doing is kind of some how some people define who they are. So if you’re a point where you’re doing stuff semi-autonomously at that point, because you’re not even storing it, it’s a, it’s a scary way to look at it, I think. Before we kind of like head into it, I had one thing to mention, I think I just touched on it was obviously we’re talking about addiction and we’re going to be talking I guess mostly about extreme cases about either end. So I mean, we’re going to be talking about all these people and these people, but it’s not a necessarily a, the representation of the average because they don’t want listen to this. Someone might listen to this and be like, oh, all gamblers are like this, or this is the median or the average. But in most cases, what you find reading about is the actual extreme cases. And when I was watching this documentary on gaming disorders it’s what annoyed me the most because not once did they say this is the extreme that happens, one in 1000 or something. It was like, ah, every game will do this to every child. It’s like, Oh God, no.

Mitch:                   It’s, yeah, it’s the current fad is to hate on video games like currently with the, the tragedies that happened in America with um, the gun violence and like those sorts of things. The the most recent one was immediately pinned on video gaming. It’s just like, there’s no scientific correlation between like the people that perpetrate these horrendous crimes and then playing video games there. There’s, there’s no link there and there’s been like, ah, you’re advocating something on the internet, something that you’re playing. Like you’re, you’re shooting someone on a game, so you must shoot people in real life. It’s like, no, Karen, I like playing, you know, cooking games, but I’m not a chef. Uh, it’s just, ugh.

Tom:                      I actually came prepared for that exact topic of conversation. Yeah. And the scientific evidence that is there is actually the exact opposite shows the exact opposite. So I’m just going to read off a couple of numbers. So say in Japan for 2019, the estimate each person will spend just on average $150. In South Korea, it was around 120 in the US 115, in the UK. It’s like 83.

Mitch:                   Like per year?

Tom:                      Yeah. Per Year. Per person on average like, yeah. But the amount of violent gun deaths in Japan per 100,000 people in Japan, it’s like 0.01 in South Korea it’s 0.01 in the UK is 0.02. And in the U S it’s 4.5 nearly, you know, like 10 times, way more than 10 times more. It’s uh, so I think really it kind of comes down to uh, unfortunately the society.

Mitch:                   The gun laws, I would say 40 add it to it a bit more than, you know, the actual, you know, playing video games.

Tom:                      Yeah. But uh, wow. We managed, we managed to derail the topic very quickly. Very fast.

Mitch:                   Back onto my last factoid.

Tom:                      Yeah. Go for it.

Mitch:                   So about 25% of people who try cocaine, heroin, no cocaine, heroin will become addicted. How’s that for you? So one in four chance of immediately becoming addicted to heroin. If you try it.

Tom:                      Oh, see I have some contention about this. I watched Louis through absolute national treasure and he was doing something with heroin addicts and they were like, yeah, you try it once you are, you’re done for, you’re absolutely done for. But this leads perfectly on to the first topic of what we think we know about addiction and it is exactly to do with heroin. So in heroin, what we think or what most people think is there’s lots of chemical hooks and heroin is used because it’s like an extreme example. It’s one of the most addictive drugs out there. And the typical time frame for becoming a heroin addict is 20 days. So if you use it for 20 days, that’s when the chemical hooks are so strong. You cannot live without it. Now people were like, okay fine, we kind of accept that theres chemical hooks in that. But say my, my granny like broke her hip, went into the hospital. She be given diamorphine, which is a medically pure heroin and for a long amount of time for more than 20 days. Right? But she doesn’t come out with junkie, you know, and she’s been giving a lot more potent stuff than what you would find on the streets. Cause what you find on the street as often cut with uh, like cutting agents or other types of drugs.

Mitch:                   Cement.

Tom:                      Cement? Oh God.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s one.

Tom:                      Yeah?

Mitch:                   Oh yeah. I watched Gordon Ramsay, which it sounds weird. Uh, he went out to where they produced cocaine.

Tom:                      Oh that was in Columbia, in like the rainforest?

Mitch:                   Yeah. Yeah. And they were like right we’re just going to add a whole tanker full of a gasoline and it’s going to add some cement in here and he’s just like, this is ridiculous.

Tom:                      Gordon Ramsey, the well known cocaine chef.

Mitch:                   Yeah. It’s why he’s so angry all the time. [Laughter]. He’s having withdrawal symptoms in the kitchen.

Tom:                      [Laughter]. That’s not salt you’re putting on that.

Mitch:                   So I think, and another reason why people like say that you get immediately addicted to heroin is because they, I’m like how early on the withdrawal symptoms set in. So of heroin, the draws like may occur, but most likely will occur within a few after few hours after the last drug was taken. So immediately what people do is try and get rid of those withdrawal senators then take more. So I can see why they’re saying you can like get addicted so quickly is because even like a few hours after you finish taking it or you’ve come down, you’re going to want to take more to get yourself to that place where you’re not, you don’t have withdrawal symptoms anymore.

Tom:                      That’s what I was thinking. Is it the come down or is it like actual withdrawal symptoms?

Mitch:                   Withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms may include muscle, bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flushes, goosebumps.

Tom:                      That’s nasty. So I guess in that situation you would take some to just stop pooing yourself.

Mitch:                   Yeah. And then major of drawers symptoms. So that’s like the minor stuff is a few hours after, but the major symptoms peak within 24 and 48 hours later. And I guess these are just the same ones for like, but rammed up to 10.

Tom:                      Okay. That’s interesting. But I was looking at where did this view of addiction first come from? And you know, the physiological kind of side came from experiments done on rats in the 60s and they’d put them in what’s called like a Skinner box is basically just a box where a rat is there by itself and is given two bottles of water. One is laced with cocaine or heroin and the is just normal water. And almost every single time these rats would take the drugged water and overdose and kill themselves. So they were like, well obviously if this if they’re gonna take it every single time. It must be similar to maybe how it happens in humans. But then in the 70s professor Bruce Alexander came along and he was like, well you’re putting rats in an isolated box or cage. And the only thing they have to do is to drink normal water or to get high as a kite. Now I’m pretty sure if you put a person in that situation, they’d get high as a kite until they OD’d as well.

Mitch:                   Yeah, I can see that. Cause I was gonna say if you, if you put me in a small, like in a room, I can only drink water or like fruit flavored water. I’m going to drink the fruit flavoured water every time. It doesn’t improve that. I’m like addicted to fruit juice.

Tom:                      No, exactly. So he created like rat park, I don’t know if you’ve heard of this or came across it. It’s basically heaven for rats. They had lots of things to play with. They had lots of shoots. They could sleep, they had lots of late toys. They were very social. They weren’t alone, and rats a very social incense of how like a lot of sex, they are like they sleep together, all of these kinds of things. So they will also given the two different types of water in that situation. And like 95% always took from the normal water. And the 5% that didn’t take from the normal water, they only took it recreationally. They took it once every so often. But they went from like 100% overdose rate to a 0%. But then they were like, okay, well you know these, these are rats. We are not rats. But at the same time, an unsolicited social experiment was going on called the Vietnam War, in which 20% of US troops were slamming heroin like a lot. And everyone knew this was like a big problem. So they were worried that all the soldiers were gonna come back. Heroin addicts. So they did a study and they followed them home and 95% of them just stopped. No withdrawal symptoms, nothing. They just completely stopped. So if we believe what we did about chemical hooks that you would think that can’t be the case. So this changed our way of thinking about it. So possibly it changed it to far in the other direction for it being basically it’s not, is the cage that we are in, it’s our social cage. If we are isolated and alone, we are going to take drugs because as social beings we rely on bonds with other people, with friends, with family, with know. And if we don’t have those bonds in our life, we are going to find something to bond with. Whether that’s gambling, drugs, gaming, social media. Whatever. Um, unfortunately it kind of, I think threw it, the too far in that direction. So now some people think it’s only psychological. It’s only on your state of mind. Whereas I think the conclusion I kind of came to through this week of research was it’s definitely both.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Also it brings on to um, something that I found, which I would try to remember the name of co-morbidity I think it is. Which is that you don’t just get, um, well… The word means that when you get, say you’re suffering from one mental illness, it normally isn’t just one. There’s normally can be a couple or it is linked. You get um, multi-morbidity which is like, uh, loads, but is the idea that it’s co-occurring disorders like they happen when someone has two or more health conditions. Mental health condition, sorry for saying that. Like illnesses, mental health conditions at the same time. So you would see sort of drug abuse is a mental health condition and addiction be the mental health condition, but it also is coupled with, uh, another thing going on. So like with the rats that they would be, they’d have to be depressed or they would be in a state of like loneliness because they’re by themselves so much. And then that, that’s coupled with, then they get grab the addiction because it’s a way of like dealing with that and helps and not helps but eases that sort of that situation. And I think a lot of bile people these days, they could also be the case to be honest.

Tom:                      I think it is. I think that is 100% the case. I mean, not that I want to be stereotypical, but when you think stereotypically of say a drug addict, I don’t think of someone in like high social standing, especially if I’m thinking about heroin, maybe for the documentaries I’ve seen and stuff like that. And well, I used to live in Swansea, so heroin or the UK. Um, and there’s a documentary on it, but uh, yeah, it’s they never. The obvious ones are never particularly highly social standing, but I knew that, I know that highly social standing people also do have drug addictions but it’s more maybe like cocaine.

Mitch:                   Yeah. And that’s, I would say their mental health condition is probably stress and anxiety. And then because of that is then coupling with…

Tom:                      With addiction and just making it worse. So that I guess comes on to treatment is a big thing, especially when it comes to… Unfortunately. I guess the way that we treat drug addicts is really wrong. I wasn’t too long versed on the subject, but yeah.

Mitch:                   I think our social construct or the, the, the image that we have as a society about how we view, um, addicts is negative.

Tom:                      Ah, so negative, so negative.

Mitch:                   And I think that’s majorly perpetuated by media from when we were growing up. Like trainspotting is a good example of this. The skinhead gaunt person who’s undesirable and doesn’t want, doesn’t need our help and his horrible, well nothorrible but, you know what I mean. And that you shouldn’t help them. They should just be ignored and it’s their own fault. I could go on a tangent about how our society is very um, metacratic.

Tom:                      Okay. We can do an episode on that. Yeah. Well, to sum it up is our, our society is based on, well not our but a metrocratic society is based on a, your pegging in social, uh, sort of leaderboard is about how like not how well you’re doing, but your achievements. So if you are homeless, however you would, that sort of society would view a homeless person as it’s their own fault. They didn’t put enough work in it. That’s the same for same for drug dealers. I try dealers, but um, addicts, it’s their own fault. They got themselves in that position. They didn’t put enough work into not be addicted.

Mitch:                   Yeah. I think that’s just the wrong way to look at it, isn’t it?

Mitch:                   There’s a lot, a large percentage of our current society definitely in the UK that that’s how they view sort of addicts and homelessness.

Tom:                      Yeah. Yeah, 100% I was looking at… I know you’ve got a bit to say about this, but like, cause our system is an America is perfectly designed to make addiction worse. We take people who have, yes, they’ve broken the law. I understand that they’ve, they’ve, they’ve got drug in the possession of a drug they shouldn’t have, but then we’re putting them literally as we did with the rats in a box. You have nothing to do for years, especially for nonviolent ones, I know that’s a massive issue in America. But we’re putting them in an isolated box for years where they have nothing to think about apart from withdrawal symptoms and the bonds that they don’t have. So when they come back, how is just much worse and one in nine people in the US get help with addiction. One in nine and yeah, it’s just really like a shame because these people, if I went to the hospital, I was like, aw, look, I broke my wrist. Uh, can you help me? They Blah. Yeah, sure. But if I went there and I was like, Oh, I’ve got a drug addiction is, you’re not going to get help as quick. They’re like, okay, yeah, we’ll see you next Thursday. Yeah. Do you know what I mean? It’s is not seen as at a health problem when it is.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Yeah. As yet. Definitely. Definitely. So I think a lot of people who are addicted don’t see it as a health problem as well.

Tom:                      Yeah. That’s also the case is like, it’s much harder to see the scene when you’re in it rather than looking at it.

Mitch:                   So going back to the American system. Uh, it actually propagate the right word. Probably. It makes it worse when you get people who are addicted, who are then incarcerated because I think it’s something, I can’t remember exactly, but there’s more drugs or availability in prison, so you’re more likely to get the addiction more or make it worse when you’re inside American prisons.

Tom:                      Oh really?

Mitch:                   Yeah. I’m not sure if the UK is prison system is more tightly secured, but apparently there’s lots of like as well, there’s gangs, um, in both. Uh, there’s gangs who then like can get drugs in and then it creates like this more vicious cycle. So when they come out, they could potentially be worse than when they went in. There’s no rehabilitation program for someone that gets prosecuted for being a drug addict is you’re stumped as drug addicts get them away, lock ’em up.

Tom:                      Yeah. They’re just immediately seen as a bad person rather than someone that needs help.

Mitch:                   Yeah. And now that certain drugs are being decriminalized, like marijuana, especially in America, not in the UK yet. Um,..

Tom:                      Yet…

Mitch:                   Well they have to debate it. But you know, Brexit is a big deal. Is that moment is that like now people that are found in marijuana, I can’t be arrested, it’s more lax in other states, but you’ve got people that have been incarcerated for five to 10 years who are on a marijuana charge and they’re not going back and expunging their sort of rap sheet, I’m releasing these people…

Tom:                      Oh they’re not retroactively like fixing it you mean?

Mitch:                   Yeah. So like a few people have, but it’s taken a lot of like, um, protesting and to sort of heads of state and stuff to get them released. But yeah, there’s a lot of people that are still locked away when they shouldn’t be. But that’s sort of, it is.

Tom:                      It’s mental, because I saw a little nugget of fact here. I think the US population global population is like, you know, two, 3%, 4% and another maybe even not that high. But they have 25% of the world by incarceration. Of all the people in jail in the world, 25% is in America. And it’s because they just have these excessive nonviolent drug incarceration rates and extended periods of time in the jail. Which as you just said, often makes people worse.

Mitch:                   Yeah. not getting too much into like prison systems, but a lot of American prisons are for profit prisons, which means that they have no financial interest in making these people better. It’s better to keep them in a place that they are, will keep offending because it means they get more money. That that is all I’m going to say on that for all, for this episode.

Tom:                      That’s something we can circle back to.

Mitch:                   Yeah. We can compare America with better countries, like say Switzerland.

Tom:                      [Laughter].

Mitch:                   What?!

Tom:                      We can compare them with better countries.

Mitch:                   Better countries that treat addicts correctly. Like Switzerland. The Swiss government is done an amazing job.

Tom:                      Yeah and Portugal too, but I can add on the end there.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So I think that did this, it was the Swiss or Portuguese government completely decriminalized drugs?

Tom:                      That was Portugal in 2000.

Mitch:                   That was Portugal. But I think the Swiss did something similar or they had, um, a harm reduction program.

Tom:                      Yeah, that was Portugal, Switzerland, sorry.

Mitch:                   Yeah, that’s Switzerland. And that came about in the 1980s and it came about because there was a very big HIV and aids, uh, sort of melting pot that came together in the 1980s and it was a very severe. Well it was a problem that was spreading very viciously and they wanted to sort of stop it, well not stop it, but reduce it as much as they can. So Switzerland at the time created this program where if you did suffer from addiction, and you were sharing needles, you could come in and instead of them like charging you with possession, they would provide counseling, housing for you to help you stop this, the addiction. Um, and there was even supervised injection rooms for addicts.

Tom:                      Yeah. They would provide, sorry to barge in and they would provide heroin for the users. But clean heroin. And clean needles and safe injection rooms. Yeah.

Mitch:                   And the reason that a, that may be like, be like, oh, why are they doing that? Is, it’s a type of method to sort of get rid of an addiction is over time you slowly incrementally decrease the amount that they need.

Tom:                      Stops the withdrawals.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So you start with like 10 and then for the first week and then the next week they go to nine and then after the 10 week program they’ll have a week where they’ll take nothing and I’ll see how it goes and if it goes badly they’ll go back up to one and they’ll keep trying to like completely get out of their system.

Tom:                      And it’s very, very good way to cause it’s about rehabilitation and harm reduction as you said. Because the only way to stop these people taking drugs is to get them back as functioning members of society.

Mitch:                   Yeah. And that’s what a lot of sort of Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, they’re very societal driven countries where they care. If you are a functioning member of society and want to get you to a place where you help sort of build a society to make it a better place.

Tom:                      Yeah. In Portugal, they did something well they, they put lots of money, the amount of money they were spending on the war, on drugs, they just completely took it and spent it on decriminalization and like rehabilitation. They would take people and give them like micro-loans to set up their own businesses. Or they would go to a mechanic and say, if you hire this person for a year, we will pay half of their wages. So businesses had incentives to hire drug addicts or ex drug addicts and in 15 years there’s a 50% decrease in heroin use. Considering 1% of their population was addicted to heroin. It’s a fair amount. A is a lot

Mitch:                   in the, it’s a recurring thing that you, you’ll see with like a decriminalization of drugs is, oh, that’s a great example. But also marijuana in America at the moment. Like the usage when it was decriminalized went down. And the to m general interest in teens with it went down as well. And it’s cos it stopped being like a rebel thing where you like go against it cause it’s bad.

Tom:                      Yeah. And think about the prohibition, you know, in the twenties like it didn’t stop people stop some people drinking alcohol, but what it did to the alcohol that was left in the country is it made it more potent and made it stronger. Which is exactly what’s happening with weed at the minute as well. And.

Mitch:                   has an adverse effect.

Tom:                      Yeah. As, yeah. As an adverse effect. It’s just the complete opposite. Whereas when you make it legal and you can regulate it and you realize it, maybe it’s not as bad as you thought, then you know, people stop using as much.

Mitch:                   The thing that shocked me about what like, or why they wouldn’t just legalize it was the lead from a, from a government point of view, the tax that they made that the one state made off of marijuana in the first year, it was $1 billion.

Tom:                      Yeah. If nothing else, but a monetary incentive.

Mitch:                   Yeah. The amount of the spending on the war on drugs. They could potentially be doing the opposite and making money from it.

Tom:                      and it’s like medically or scientifically alcohol is potentially worse than marijuana. A lot of people would argue and the science is there to back that up. Yet governments won’t get rid of that because it makes money. Same with tobacco and smoking. You’re not gonna get rid of that because it makes money. But imagine tobacco was invented now and everyone was getting addicted to it. Like they would be like a class A drug.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Nicotine, a class A drug.

Tom:                      Yeah, exactly. But one of the things I had before we kind of move on was imagine these Portuguese / Swiss systems being implemented here in the UK because of what you said earlier about our, the way we look at drug addicts as being the bottom of the ladder. There would be an a massive uproar. Can you imagine them trying to implement this? How badly would that go down?

Mitch:                   I don’t, I don’t know and I don’t actually know cause I think the whole opinion is on a very individual basis. Like when you, when you walk past someone in the street and you’re like, people do, they ignore them even though like they say hello and I was like, you always should say hello back cause they’re human being. Um, I think there’s a very individual, but I think when it’s a group, like a group of people like us as a society, we have a very different sort mental gauge when it comes to what’s good. So as a group we’d be like, oh, that’s really good for society. But at an individual level we’re like, well, screw that guy. So I don’t, I don’t really know how that would go down. I’d like to think it would be positive. I’m not sure who would go against it.

Tom:                      But with the whole Brexit scenario that’s going on and people being as against immigration as they are, when that’s obviously good for our country, I can only imagine this going badly as well. But politics.

Mitch:                   Um, the final section of, uh, I wanna talk about when the treatment is China.

Tom:                      Oh, I haven’t come, like I didn’t, I didn’t look at China that much.

Mitch:                   It’s very much like the South Korea that you said yeah. About their they’ve got, like their addiction. So China has, um, video game addiction centers. Where they’re called, like boot camps they’re they’re called for people who are severely addicted to video games where they’re kind of like very militaryesque sort of training where they get, like, yeah, I was just like, oh, what’s your, what’d you, what’d you think about that? Like if say that your parent, when you were a teenager thought that you were playing too many video games and I know that I definitely was playing way too many games, video games strolled in your room, like handcuffed, you and a government official came in and took you away and fortunate to go to this boot camp because you’re playing too many video games. How’d you feel about that?

Tom:                      I’d be pretty pissed off.

Mitch:                   On a personal level. Are you like agreeing with it if you think it’s too much?

Tom:                      I think that is, the wrong way to go about it. Having that much level of force. So in South Korea is a bit less military and it’s more like what you would think Rehab is. And they play social games and they just talk about things and they learn. The main point of the schools in South Korea is to learn self control. So that after it’s a month long course, so after they go back home, they’re still allowed to play games. But after one or two hours they realize that’s enough and that they can exercise enough self control to then do things they need to like schoolwork and stuff like that. So I think that if I was going to one of those, which I think my Mum probably would have loved to send me to, um, that would kind of be okay. But going to the military style China camp, uh, I will be, I’m far less on board with that idea. But yeah, I don’t know what else they do there. Do you have any more information? Um, so what are your thoughts on it?

Mitch:                   I’m very much against it.

Tom:                      I don’t think you should have to send your kid to a camp for it.

Mitch:                   So let me, let me read a, a snippet from the article. So treatment for the patients, most of whom have been forced to attend by their parents or government officials include such forms of pain inducing shock therapy. So from a moral standpoint, I’m kinda, no shock therapy should never be used against anyone cause it doesn’t work.

Tom:                      Yeah. That’s messed up. It works in very specific neurologically damaged scenarios but not for addiction. No, not at all. No. For torture. Yeah, pretty much.

Mitch:                   Um, but moving on…

Tom:                      Is that legal?

Mitch:                   Uh, I guess so cause the parents agree to it. And they’re the guardians.

Tom:                      That’s messed up.

Mitch:                   Shall we go into gaming addiction?

Tom:                      Yeah.

Mitch:                   Before it probably do. Can I, can I ask you some questions about, you play video games don’t you Tom?

Tom:                      I do.

Mitch:                   Okay. I’m going to ask you some questions.

Tom:                      You’re going to see if I’m addicted?

Mitch:                   Yes. Yes.

Tom:                      Okay. Go for it.

Mitch:                   Do you think about gaming a lot of the time?

Tom:                      Uh, yeah? Like what, what kinds of, what’s considered a lot?

Mitch:                   See, you don’t get to ask the questions, Tom. That’s a yes. Uh, is there ever been a situation that you’ve not wanted to do other things that you used to like?

Tom:                      What?

Mitch:                   So say that you liked going and catching butterflies and you started playing video games and no longer like to go catching butterflies that happens like you’ve given up at something so you’ve played games?

Tom:                      So I’ve given up something that I wanted to do so I could play games instead? Has tha ever happened in my life or is that happening now? Do you mean?

Mitch:                   Ever, ever Tom ever?

Tom:                      Oh yeah, that’s happened.

Mitch:                   Okay. Okay. Have you lied to the people close to you about how much time you, you’re playing pretty. Pretty sure. You just, you just did to Tom to me.

Tom:                      Would you mean?

Mitch:                   Well you said you think about playing games a lot of the time.

Tom:                      I think about it [Laughter]. Doesn’t mean I do.

Mitch:                   That’s true.

Tom:                      And it depends what you mean by games. So you talk about video games or like board games? Because I mean I think about D&D a lot, but.

Mitch:                   You don’t get to play. [Laughter].

Tom:                      Yeah. [Laughter].

Mitch:                   This is, I think this specifically video games.

Tom:                      Okay, well if you asking 15 year old me. Yes.

Mitch:                   Okay. That’s a good shout 15 let’s go 15 year old year old Tom.

Tom:                      He was one hundred percent addicted. He needed to go to rehab.

Mitch:                   Okay, so you lied about how much you’re playing, yeah?

Tom:                      No, I don’t think so because I don’t think I lie about it because it was just, it was pretty obvious. If I was in my room I was probably playing. So my Mum knew and all my friends at school, well they’d see me online because they were also there. No, I don’t think I lied about how much I played.

Mitch:                   Needed to spend more and more time to play to feel good?

Tom:                      No, I don’t think it was more and more.

Mitch:                   Yeah, I don’t really get that. This is like one of the official ones and I as a gamer myself needing to spend more and more time playing to feel good, it’s just very like depends what game you playing depends on what you enjoy.

Tom:                      The difference between like wanting to play an extra hour and needing to play an extra hour, you know?

Mitch:                   Yeah. Okay. Not being able to quit or even play less?

Tom:                      No, I could quit cause I went to bed and stuff. So it was like, yeah, I could come off if I needed. It’s not like I didn’t eat or didn’t do my homework. I didn’t do all of it.

Mitch:                   Having problems at work, school or home because of your gaming?

Tom:                      Uh, I’d say sometimes yes. Work never, by the time I was working I depend to work was fine. Uh, at school I inevitable my homework, not all of it. I did the bits I needed to to, yeah, a little.

Mitch:                   Using game to ease, bad moods and feelings. So I disagree with this very like vehemently cause that’s like talking, asking someone like, Oh gee, that book you’re reading and you’re doing it to ease a bad mood? And then be like, yeah, I’m chilling out. I’ve had a stressful day. I’m trying to not read reading a book. you wouldn’t accuse them of being addicted to reading. Would you?

Tom:                      Yeah. This was my, this is all, this is one of my big problems with the, I mean not the we’re biased at all towards video games. [Laughter]. Uh, we are obviously cause we’re both gamers, but I think trying to approach this from an objective point of view nonetheless. If I, someone was mad or angry and they went to play football, you wouldn’t be annoyed with that person. But if someone was mad or angry and they went to like, right, I need to escape, I need my escapeism,whether as you say, it was reading a book or going to play a game as I think’s not the worst thing.

Mitch:                   No, I definitely, if I was talking to you about 50 on Mitchell, a lot of these would be right.

Tom:                      Oh yeah, yeah.

Mitch:                   Like, uh, not being able to play less, not doing schoolwork. I nearly failed my GCSE’s, lied to their parents about how much was I was playing. Yeah, definitely some bad moods and feelings by playing.

Tom:                      Oh yeah. There was definitely bad moments and feelings.

Mitch:                   Always thinking about play. And then feeling bad when I couldn’t play. Like if we were to go on a day out or be like, oh this is sucks, I want to be playing video games.

Tom:                      Yeah, I relate to that. Definitely.

Mitch:                   Yeah, yeah.

Tom:                      Yeah. So did we come out like highly addicted on that chart?

Mitch:                   I think. Yeah. But yeah. I think that was a, it was a very small period of time and that was just when I got into gaming. Like I was very out, very outdoorsy child until that point. And then I even was after that. But like it was just like that at first stage. And that is, I would say that it was like the stage where when you get a new hobby and you’re very like, this is, this is the be all and end all. Now I, this is my new hobby. And it was, it was just like that to be honest.

Tom:                      And one of the things people think about is like, Oh, you’re gaming you’re sat in a dark room, your’re not socializing, you’re playing and yeah, but that, that’s, I think it’s wrong because for me gaming has always been an incredibly social thing. When I used to play call of duty, I was like in a clan, very nerdy. I know, but I got to meet new people and then I switched over to Xbox and I was playing with I think you and the guys and then come later to where I switched to PC and I was working on twitch. I was speaking to like 300 people a day. And okay yeah, of course you don’t know those people very well, but I made some really good friends up and down the country and completely different countries that I’d speak. I’d speak to every day for like a good three or four hours it’s a very social thing at the same time. And as you say, it becomes that that hobby as as much as I’d say it’s better than watching TV. If I was a parent right now, I’m not thankfully, and if I had a kid and someone was like, okay, they can either only watch TV or only play games, I’d be like well they’re only playing games. It’s interactive. They’re thinking about what they’re doing. There is not just passive entertainment. There are, there are studies that show that it increases cognitive processing, intelligence slightly, reaction times and gives you lots of skills that you wouldn’t otherwise have. I think we’ve had the conversation before where my spatial awareness and orientation is fantastic. And I think you said the same to me before, but I’ve attributed mine slightly to running around a map, like I can go somwhere and not have to use a map to get there again.

Mitch:                   So that was um, I went to Venice last year and for those that don’t know, Counter Strike is a game and they released a Venice map and then I didn’t, I didn’t twig until I was in Venice, I saw one particularly structure and then I could sort of make my way round certain parts of Venice purely by the visual memory of it, like in game. Of a game that hadn’t played in months, but I could still like, yeah.

Tom:                      I think something that we kind of skipped over was like dopamine, dopamine release in when it comes to addiction. And it’s basically with drugs for example, it’s easier to kind of visualize. It’s like the final carrier of any activities, drugs or whatever that or gaming or gambling that induce pleasure. And the more you start to do it, the less your body will release without that stimulus. So you kind of get a sort of dependence. And there’s two theories. There’s the ying, the ying and Yang theory as they’ve been coupled together that one of them says that the activity seeking whatever you’re desiring, so whether it’s gaming or taking drugs, the actual activity in the acquiring them activates reward pathways similar to taking the drug or doing the activity itself.

Mitch:                   The brains mesolimbic dopamine system.

Tom:                      That’s the one. And the other one suggest that actually the activity produces a hyperfunctional state of reward pathways, which leads to dysphoria and anxiety when you’re not participating. And the reason why I mentioned that now is because with games they’re, they are somewhat designed to keep people playing and to reinforce kind of addictive behavior. Because games do dopamine, they can trigger neurological pathways through sensation seeking self-control, aggression, neuroticism and anxiety. These are all emotions, people experience whilst playing. And one of the most controversial I think points of online videos gamesat the moment is loot boxes that, and I think anyone with a keyboard and mouse knows they are a pile of @#%$. [Laughter].

Mitch:                   [Laughter]. Yes. Yeah.

Tom:                      But basically they stimulate dopamine release through what is called the variable rate of reinforcement.

Mitch:                   They’re kind of the in gaming terms. It’s called a game feedback loop, which is a bit of a, a point of contention currently in game design and especially like multiplayer online games is that um, game developers deploy manipulative game design such as the microtransactions, the loot boxes that some governments have now declared illegal and waiting for this country because they see it as a form of gambling. And gambling addiction is, is a huge thing cause children can get addicted to that sort of stuff, but they, because they have all the information in the system about when people do certain things, they can perfectly tune the experience for that person, not just everybody for that individual person to get them and feed them enough like dopamine to get them to keep playing.

Tom:                      Yeah, it’s scary.

Mitch:                   So when a normal person be like I play for, I’ll play for an hour and then I’ll finish just at that time that he knows you play for an hour, something will happen at the 55 minute mark that will release the dopamine and get you to play for half an hour more. Like it’ll give you…

Tom:                      Really?!

Mitch:                   … give you a new item. Yeah it like it tracks how much you play, what areas you play and what guns you like. I remember there being, I found the article about the system that he uses and then read it. And was horrified. But it was like if you use a particular gun, it’ll put you against players that are better against that play style so you lose more. So you’re more likely to buy the in app purchases to get better or different gun like, because they control the complete the whole system and all the information. They can perfectly manipulate you into becoming addicted to this and it’s kind of like this big thing at the moment where the games that you won’t see it as much as single player games but multiplayer games. Whether that’s effortly right or not. Now some of that, these disorders and they are coming out.

Tom:                      Yeah. So where this.. I was like, okay, cool. I heard it. No, any of that. That’s horrifying. I mean I was horrified just to the loot box thing, but okay now I’ll never touch a game again. [Laughter]. But in the 70s they did. Obviously they did lots of studies on rats at this point in addiction and they, they found if you teach a rat to feed itself by pressing a lever, yeah. But the food comes out randomly rather than every time they press it they will press it obsessively. And in casinos they found the exact same thing happens with humans and slot machines because literally all you’re doing is a lever and seeing if rewards come out. And humans do it compulsively. Obsessively. So loot box are essentially the same things or to random loot drops as well rather than loot crates, loot boxes are kind of at the same thing in games and they intentionally create this impulsion loop to keep people playing. And that’s why mobile games are so addictive because that’s what they’re completely full of.

Mitch:                   Yeah I think candy crush is like one of the worst of, was like perpetrators of this. It’s completely designed to get people addicted, to keep playing. Like it’ll lock out stages until you do sand things or you spend enough time where you set enough people, friends requests and that sort of stuff. It’s just agh.. Mobile gaming is,.

Tom:                      Yeah. It’s mad. And a new addiction I came across, uh, I read a paper that came out a couple of months ago on virtual reality addiction.

Mitch:                   Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tom:                      And I think it, well, it makes sense because it’s far more engaging than traditional gaming. You’re in the environment. And one of the things I kind of thought about, it’s not backed up any kind of scientific thing, but do you know VRChat?

Mitch:                   Yeah, I know.

Tom:                      It’s basically you create an avatar and interact with other people’s avatars in various environments and watching videos on youtube, it’s everything from funny to scary, to depressing to not safe for work stuff. And for some people is their only chance. They don’t have these bonds in real life with friends. Maybe they don’t have many friends or their family life isn’t that great. But in VRChat they can be someone else. They can speak to people. They, they have these bonds that they can make and they make friends through these things. So you can see how that kind of fuels their desire to keep coming back. This impulsion loop. So it’s a double edged sword because it’s good because they have these bonds with even essential strangers over the internet. But it’s bad because in the most extreme cases it keeps them trapped there and stops them making these bonds with other people.

Mitch:                   That, yeah, that brings it back to I kills the co-occurring disorder. If you go, if you’re going to bond it with like VRChat if you like, is using it as your as your escape, you could say anxiety disorders and not being able to go out in like into the real world and talk to people cause you, you can’t go outside because of the anxiety of that or talking to people makes you anxious. Um, did that, that couples with the VR, because it gives you the dope, like the dopamine for the same as like you’re, I already get from going out… Well you… not me [Laughter].

Tom:                      [Laughter]. And as it gets and as technology progresses, that can only be more of a trap I guess.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Because it will only get better, like it’d be more realistic and that sort of stuff.

Tom:                      I was thinking about the source of gaming addiction and thinking from as we’ve just established my own experience as a 15 year old semi gaming addict, not as bad as I realized in other people’s documentaries. Like they stopped going, they got kicked out of university and school because they wouldn’t go because they were gaming. I was never that bad. Like I went to school.

Mitch:                   Yeah. The same, like let’s just say, have you ever, uh, fained an illness day to play a game? When it came out?

Tom:                      I used to book it off work. [Laughter].

Mitch:                   [Laughter]. I’ve done that.

Tom:                      Ah, I booked the release day off work so I could play, but I don’t, I don’t know. I’ve never pretended to be ill to play a game on release. I probably pretended to be ill once so I could stay home and play. Like it was like once, you know? Uh, but I was thinking, where does this like problem come from? And again, this isn’t backed up by anything. This was my own kind of thinking. So it may be horribly wrong and shout out to me if it is. But I was thinking it affects mostly kids because they don’t have the self control or the time management skills to realize what they’re doing. So if that, if from that thinking you could say it’s kind of the parents’ fault. But…

Mitch:                   I would agree say there’s a certain level of responsibility that is placed on the parents because the parents needs to, they should know what their child is doing. Especially when it comes to video games and i would say that’s of utter most importance, but I don’t think just saying it’s cause they’re children and they don’t know about time management would be. right.

Tom:                      Okay. Maybe they’re more susceptible to the tricks of the trade.

Mitch:                   Yeah. As well. That age. I like the reason that I paid so much was peer group or were you ever we were all play like playing so it was either play or you know, social ostracization. So yeah, I think it depends on that.

Tom:                      I was also thinking with the parent thing, while they do have some responsibility, you’ve got to think when they were growing up, they had nothing of the sort in their houses. You know, the technology just wasn’t there at all. And a lot of people or the generation above us don’t have a grasp on tech. Not to our level anyway. So it’s their children are growing up in a completely different world of stuff they didn’t fully understand, maybe. So I was thinking if we are, when we become parents, if that ever comes around, our generation might be slightly better at handling that?

Mitch:                   Yeah. I don’t know. I’m sure there’ll be something new that comes around that we won’t understand. But I think…depends if you think that you should fully get involved, where I know a lot of parents may use it as a like sit down in the corner and play. Like to shut the kid up, they give them their, their phone. I’ve seen that before and that, that irks me. Not even as a parent, but that makes me almost like it’s not.

Tom:                      …I was walking around Sainsbury’s yesterday, tangent,and there was literally, she must’ve been about three or four. She was like toddler, barely could walk, but she was just walking round with an iPhone that was probably about as big as her head. Just like looking at videos and I’m just like, is really, is that, is that the best thing? Um, yeah, yeah. No, I feel you. Do you have anything more to say on immigration?

Mitch:                   Um, other than the technical stuff.

Tom:                      Technical?

Mitch:                   Yeah. It’s now a recognized actual gaming disorder as classified by the World Health Organization.

Tom:                      Is that IDG? Internet gaming disorder?

Mitch:                   Uh, as well as just the gaming disorder. It’s got an international classification of diseases, um, which is ICD-11 and it’s defined by a pattern of persistent or reoccurring gaming behaviors which may be online or offline manifested by impaired control over gaming, which is what you said. Um, increasing priority given to gaming to the extent of the gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

Tom:                      I know they’ve done a lot of studies with gaming disorder and comparing it to OCD.

Mitch:                   Yes, I did see that.

Tom:                      I have very mild OCD, not like officially diagnosed but my doctor was like, yeah, you do. I was like, okay, great. So I could kind of relate to that a little bit. But there’s like two sides of the camp. The stories were like either yes, there’s a strong link between OCD and gaming disorder because it does seem to look like it’s compulsive patterns, right?

Mitch:                   Yeah. Like the need to finish to complete something like have having to get it done.

Tom:                      And I would probably say gaming does make my OCD slightly worse. And when I think back on that, I can understand, but then there’s the other side of the camp that says gaming is completely impulsive when you actually kind of, you’re doing it. So doing patterns and so there’s two sides of the camp. I didn’t go too much into that because yeah, there’s two sides of the camp.

Mitch:                   When it comes down to it. Everyone’s like the game. There’s video games that when you say video game and people will just be like, oh, call of duty or now Fortnite. So it’s either first person shooter or another shooter game, there are so many different like games. The spectrum is massive. Like I said earlier, like Cooking Mama, it is a Wii game that you, you chop and dice vegetables. Um, Overcooked your, you’re a chef and kitchen running rounds and it’s these people that are like, everything’s like, things are impulses. Well, chess online, that’s a video game that’s not impulsive, that is strategical mental thinking and a lot like things like Age of Empires, which is a strategy game that’s not impulse that, that strategy. So yeah, a lot of these things. It depends on what game it is.

Tom:                      100%. I had that exact point written down. If you asked my Mum to think of a video game, she’d be like, ah, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto. But if you asked us, I’d be like, oh, well as exactly as you said, a complete spectrum. Like what do you want to do? What world do you want to explore? What kinds of things you wanna do you wanna play football? You can do that. You want to do a puzzle game like portal or the Talos Principle. Absolutely incredible games. Play them if you haven’t.

Mitch:                   Like I got my Mum hooked on, can’t remember what the name is, but it was like a 3DS game and it was to do with like puzzles and stuff. But there’s a story that went along as you solved the puzzles.She got absolutely hooked. Didn’t put down the 3DS for about like two weeks.

Tom:                      Exactly and it’s just people realizing that, okay, you don’t have to play shooter games, especially you’ve got a younger kid, like maybe play them on like the witness or like a puzzle games. Um, but yeah, so gaming addiction, that’s a thing. I know we’re kind of coming up to the hour, but I want to just quickly mention social media addiction.

Mitch:                   Yes. Please do.

Tom:                      Because it is such a massive problem and it’s just, uh, you could just see it everywhere. But yeah. So there’s a couple, a few amazing ted talks on this watch. Um, social media addiction and mental health or just type in social media addiction Ted Talk, you’ll come up with some great ted talks, really worth a watch. But basically more and more people are on social media. More people are on social media and that turn out to vote in almost every single western country. So that’s something and if you go back 20/10, even 10 years, we used to look at celebrities on TVs and newspapers and be like, that’s like pinnacle of life, you know? Whereas now rather than comparing yourself to celebrities, which you still do, you are doing it every moment of every day with celebrities and also people you know around you. And many people live for the life that they represent on social media rather than the life that they actually live.

Mitch:                   Like influencers.

Tom:                      Yeah. And I mean I know people who will get dressed up, make sure they look really nice just so that when they go out they can take a picture to do, take on social media. Like not that they’re going out anywhere just to the beach, but they’ll make sure they look really pretty in case a picture is taken. Yeah. And I have many friends who do that well, not a lot to like an extreme extent, but I’ve known a couple and it’s kind of like…okay.

Tom:                      I think our a generation is on the cusp of that so there’s, there’ll be, we’re not all that way inclined. Like I personally don’t get social media. I don’t post on social media. I don’t post on Instagram like I’ll use it to follow artists that I like. That’s the reason I’m on Instagram and Twitter is to follow most mostly comedians. Ricky Gervais is like a big, big thing but I never post, I just don’t get it. I think the generation below us, it’s so like woven into their peer group. There’s they’re, they’re like how they form friends. They have to create like a brand for themselves as they’re coming through school. Like when I was going through school, I was friends with a bunch of people. That was it some of them i didn’t see outside of school. Most of some of them I did death. Don’t worry about those things. But now if to be so conscious of like how they appear on social media, what things they post like show they’re active like.

Mitch:                   It’s a nightmare, I was thinking I would not make it through school nowadays if that was the case.

Tom:                      Yeah, I’ll just like, if you’re not on it, then you’re not someone and it’s, it sounds like a really weird that you’re not someone, but like that’s how they see themselves. If they’re not out there or they’re not being popular on the not getting likes, their likes are directly representative of like how happy and like how popular they are, which is. Is is like an addiction really is, is what we come to about, social media addiction.

Mitch:                   Because dopamine is released by the trigger from like if you, someone shares your post, if someone likes your post, if in a creating posts like, oh, how is it going to be? But it’s not like, Oh man, at least for a crack addict they have to phone some dodgy guy who knows someone who knows someone who can meet them in ally at a certain time it’s hard for them to get crack, you know? Whereas if you’re on social media, your, you just look at your phone and you get your instant gratification 24 hours a day. It’s never not the case and I mean for us at least when we were at school where it was like Bebo myspace and MSN. I never got, I got into MSN a little bit. I remember speaking to people on MSN and now I go into school the next day, sit in the same class as them and not even speak to them. tI is so weird like, and I can’t imagine what it’d be like now.

Tom:                      I was going to say the, the big change came recently, which I was reading into. I thought it was quite an interesting, his Instagram has been rolling an experiment where they are removing how many likes you can see from other people’s posts.

Mitch:                   Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a really good step forward. Not one that’s going to be taken well through sponsorships and money and things.

Tom:                      But yes, this, this is my, like the thing which I really sort of irked me was the, a lot of articles that I found around it and like the research I was trying to do to find like actual proper information, statistics, statistics, all the articles were like, ah, how will the like free Instagram effect influencers and brands, how will this affect their income and businesses? And I was like that no one is talking about what the positive effects on mental health this will have for young people in our society. Yeah. I couldn’t find one article like, I’m not sure if I was googling the wrong things, but one article that was like, oh this is, this is incredible. This is so good.

Tom:                      This is the problem is because it’s a lot of the places who are making these articles also have prolific Instagram accounts. That they advertise on or make money from. So yeah. Yeah. It’s a problem.

Mitch:                   The endpoint along with video game addiction to money. People would try and make the most money they can and yeah.

Tom:                      And it’s strange cause it’s like we’re the most connected. We have ever been, but these aren’t real connections. You know, like if you ever get in trouble, it’s not your Facebook friends or your Instagram followers who can help you. It’s your real life connections. And more and more people are, especially at university, I think it was like 23% of people at university in the UK experienced some kind of stress, anxiety or depression through social media related like causation. Um, there’s, I think four main courses just quickly for the stresses that people get from social media. Firstly I think this is obvious is what you post on social media is like your highlight reel is your best bits. So if I see Mitch is have an absolutely great time, he’s bought a car, uh, he’s going on holiday, I see this on his Facebook or something. I’m like, oh, he’s having a real good time. And then I’m sat here comparing that to my worst times because I’m just sat at a computer or I’m lying in bed or I’m not feeling great. You know, you’re comparing your troughs, the worst bits to someone else’s peaks.

Mitch:                   Yeah. And issue is there, they’re just posting peaks.

Tom:                      Yeah, exactly. Just as everyone post is to post peaks really Yeah. The majority. So yeah. You’re comparing your low life to someone’s high life.

Mitch:                   Yeah. And then yeah. Gonna say and then there’s, there’s like um, body issues that come with it.

Tom:                      Yeah. As a, as another topic I guess. It’s the media and what people should look like. Yeah. The second cause of stress is social currency. So just like a real currency, we use, you know, money to attribute value to things we use, likes, comments and shares as a way to value posts. So likes, comments and shares become a social currency. So it’s like I’m worth this much because I get this many likes, comments and posts and shares. And it kind of attributes to people’s self worth, which is sucks. Third one is Fomo. Do you get a lot of Fomo Mitch?

Mitch:                   I used to know what I meant but I don’t, I can’t it remember anymore.

Tom:                      Fomo is the fear of missing out people. A lot of people say, I think it was, it was a reasonable percent of people between 20 and 30% of people said they would get rid of their social media if they didn’t think they would be missing out on seeing what other people are doing on events on this kind of thing.

Mitch:                   Okay, I see what you mean. It depends if you’re defining like uh, the chat groups as being social media, cause I’m part like you always got your, like your Facebook chats.

Tom:                      I’d say no because then those could just as easily it like we used to have texts, right?

Mitch:                   Yeah. We still do have texts [Laughter].

Tom:                      It’s just another platform for texts that, well, okay. Yeah but no one uses them.

Mitch:                   I don’t, I don’t get fomo. I get annoyed that I don’t have the skills of other people [Laughter]. Cause a lot of the people that I follow, like artists, I’m like, I just wish I was as good as you.

Tom:                      One day, one day, but I thought with that. It also increases the fear of missing out because if you see someone at a party you’d be like, ah, I’m that. You didn’t know what’s happening maybe or you got invited to and said you couldn’t go to you then instead of just being, the fear of missing out like becomes exaggerated because you then see people having a good time. It’s something that you could’ve been at. And then the last cause of stress for social media is online harassment. Everyone kind of sees and yeah, the percentages of this are just crazy. 40% of adults will receive online harassment at some point. 73% of people will witness it and that doubles if you are any kind of minority ethnic group.

Mitch:                   I had to do a project while it was part of um, sub psychology on and it was to deal with cyber bullying and the statistics for it are like horrifying it’s disgusting.

Tom:                      Yeah. I can imagine.

Mitch:                   I can’t remember the exact and I don’t want to say it wrong, but it’s really, really high. It’s like one in ten under 13 year olds who are cyber bullied, like attempt suicide. It’s ridiculously high and is a massive problem that a lot of companies don’t try and fix. I know Facebook has made “attempts” to um, like help it by like being able to block people and stuff.

Tom:                      But like this doesn’t help if those people, if you, especially if you’re at school when you’re 13, yeah. People who are bullying you are probably going gonna be people you know in real life as well.

Mitch:                   Yeah. So that’s one of the major things is the the ability for bullies to follow you home via your like the social media. Being really, really big thing. So yeah…

Tom:                      That’s crazy. All right. But I think that is as much as we have time for this week, we are well over the hour I think. But yeah, if you guys want to check out all the latest goings on, you can head to conductscience.com you can find us on Facebook and Twitter by searching @conductscience. If you want to get in touch, ask a question, suggest a guest for you know any of the shows. Please use the #ConductScience on Monday. We released the first episode of the conduct science’s data analysis. It was a guide to coding bootcamp, so be sure to check that out. Next week we’re going to be doing something a little bit different. We are going to be covering a variety of questions that either we find interesting or that you guys submit, so please use the #ConductScience, get in touch. We would love to answer your questions on this show, so thank you guys for listening. Remember to wherever you’re listening, give us a follow. Give us a rating is hugely helpful to us as we’re a fairly new podcast. That’s it. So thank you very much for listening and we’ll see you guys. A–next time.

Mitch:                   Ciao for now.

method section by Conduct Science
PodcastPodcast: Method Section
August 9, 2019

The Method Section: Bad Science

The Method Section: Bad Science - Timestamps 00:00 – Introduction 01:10 – The importance of fighting bad science 04:16 – Who’s fault is this? 05:23 – What bad science leads to -> Anti-vaxx movement 11:18 – How bad science started the Anti-Vaxx movement 13:55 – The fault of scientific journals…