On Dependencies and Dependent Behaviour

Ilya Berdyshev

On Dependencies and Dependent Behaviour

Numerous academics and specialists are talking and arguing more and more about dependent behaviour. Ever more frequently the word ‘dependency’ is used instead of the former ‘addiction’, i.e., an addiction to alcoholic drinks, narcotics and other chemical substances. Why is this? Has the old word ‘need’ simply been substituted by the new, fine-sounding and fashionable word ‘dependency’? No! This is not a case of substitution.

Dependency is first of all a form of behaviour. It is a particular form of behaviour, an abnormal form of human behaviour aimed at getting hold of something or someone on which or whom one can depend. You ask: ‘What do people need to depend on someone or something for?’ And you are right to do so. Usually adults are self-confident, mature individuals with the fortitude to overcome all the hardships of life. And, of course, such mature individuals do need to depend on anyone or anything. However, there are also people who have great difficulty overcoming any form of hardship. They quickly become worn out, lose faith in themselves, and end feeling bad mentally. So bad, moreover, that they can no longer exist as before. The mental anguish gives them no peace. And this is when the need to blunt, or even stifle altogether, this mental anguish arises. The person begins to look for the best means of doing this. And he or she finds it. It is necessary to alter one’s mind -to make it joyful, cheerful, carefree. Here some opt for vodka, others narcotics, others the excitement of risk (risking life by driving at high speeds; slot machines; cards, etc.). Another category of such people needs constant company, every day.

In this way, people who have been disappointed in life find a ‘magic wand’, without which they now cannot even live. They begin to depend on it: some need to ‘relieve stress’ through vodka after work every day; others need to run to someone else after arguing with their wife; a third group wants to sit at cards and lose their last pair of trousers. A fourth group has had enough of everything, and are so fed up everything around them that they prefer to stick a needle in themselves rather than changing anything in their life. And look what happens: these people end up seeing nothing risky about a game of cards; some get high; others fall asleep after three or four shots of vodka; others watch television twenty-four hours a day. This is the dependent behaviour we are talking about today. In escaping their problems through vodka, narcotics, and so on, people begin to depend on them. Without them, on their own, they are incapable of changing anything in their life. For instance, if a man is on edge after a row with his wife he will not be able to relax without vodka. Imagine how distressing it is for him, wretched fellow, if he cannot find any vodka at home, his mate doesn’t come round for a game of cards, or the TV and video break one day.

Why is dependent behaviour dangerous? ‘Well, what of it?’ some will be thinking. ‘What’s so terrible about someone having a few shots after work, or watching TV for three hours?’ The answer is: If this happens sometimes, it’s just one of those things -of course there’s nothing terrible about it. However, if it happens every day, especially when the person feels bad mentally, it’s dangerous. Why? Because each time the person concerned needs more and more vodka, more hours in front of the television, more narcotics, etc., in order to relax. And then the moment comes when that person needs it all the time. And imperceptibly his or her whole life is subjugated to this endless ‘relaxation’. Now they only think of new ways of fighting grief, sadness, boredom and fear. They lose interest in their work, family and children. This comes about as a result of alcoholism, drug addiction and substance abuse, as do many cases of neurosis, psychopathy and depression. And the sources of these conditions lie in childhood and adolescence, about which we shall talk next time.


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