Can You Find Happiness By Taking Drugs?

For the last couple of weeks, I have focused my literature review (which never stops)on the question whether one can find happiness by taking drugs. The answer seems obvious: No. But why? Aren't drugs "sources of pleasure"? Let's briefly talk about the process of addiction. Whenever we do something, there are chemical reactions in our brains and electrical pathways are created on the surface of our brain. From a purely scientific perspective, happiness is what happens when certain chemicals are released in the brain. These chemicals can be released by taking certain substances (like alcohol, cigarettes, soft drugs or hard drugs)or by behaving in a certain way (like sexual relationships, shopping, working hard and being rewarded by the boss and so forth). Such behaviour creates stronger pathways in the brain. Repetition of such behaviour leads to deeper pathways. Ultimately, addiction arises when the structure of the brain (it's anatomy) and the way it is organized (physiology)changes so that the anatomy and physiology of an addict's brain is different from that of a normal person. Typically, addiction leads to a harmful way of living where short-term pleasure is always followed by long-term pain. The funny thing is that we now know - scientifically - that such an approach to finding happiness is totally counter-productive. We also know - scientifically - that one of the best ways to find happiness is through developing a spiritual connection with God. Andrew Newberg and Robert Waldman in their book "How God Changes Your Brain" tells of research in which brain scans of people who did not meditate (i.e. "baseline scans")were compared to brain scans of people who did meditate (i.e. "meditation scans"). They found that meditation and prayer did much more to stimulate the parts of the brain that leads to internal peace of mind. However, there is ONE CONDITION. Andrew Newberg and Robert Waldam found that when people perceived God as being a tyrant, the brain released chemicals that lead to a situation of fear and anti-social behaviour. When people perceived God as being loving, kind and merciful, the brain released chemicals that lead to happiness and pro-social behaviour.


peace November 13, 2013 at 5:27 AM

I thought one of the many way to happiness is when you excel in convincing yourself that something brings you happiness!
I.E. when your subconscious mind and conscious one believe in same thing.

Dr. Rodrigue "Ridhwan" Fontaine November 13, 2013 at 8:59 PM

A good comment. The question is whether happiness is a trick or whether it is a real feeling. You can trick yourself for a short period of time but never for a long period of time. Real happiness must be when your values are aligned with your existing lifestyle. In Islam, that means that our lifestyle must be aligned with our religious beliefs.

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