Suffering from ... Reward Deficiency Syndrome

If getting past the snacks trolley is impossible and not ordering dessert is inconceivable, you may be suffering from Reward Deficiency Syndrome.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

This means you just can't get enough satisfaction from life's thrills and pleasures as they are; you need more, more, more. One drink doesn't do the trick: you need six. A biscuit at teatime doesn't make an impact: you need the whole pack. Normal people can have their slice of pie and feel 'calm': people with RDS lack the neurotransmitter that sends the 'all is well, we're happy now' signal. But this affliction isn't just about wine or Mars bars: it applies to serial daters and deal junkies too. Every office has some guy who's not happy unless he's always in the office negotiating with China. Years ago, anyone with RDS would have been written off as undisciplined and self-indulgent. Today, it's so OK to be addicted to alcohol, food, sex or cocaine that you almost don't have to do anything about it. Food addiction is now a recognised disorder (meaning it's fine to be fat). And cross-addictions are as common as addictions, so you can swap the sugary croissant habit for the work habit, or the cigarette habit for the running habit. Bad addictions are called illnesses; good ones are seen as virtues. Take your pick.

- helen@kirwantaylor.com

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