Lock down can be likened to being a caged rat, using the famous Rat Park Experiment John explains how it can lead us into temptations and addictions

rat park

Back in the days i was studying i came across a research experiment, a famous one conducted by Bruce K Alexander. It is famously known as the Rat Park Experiment. At that time i never realised, and who could ever realise that there’d be so many parallels to Bruce K Alexander’s experiment of Rat Park and the experiences we are all having now throughout Australia and throughout the world with lockdowns.

So this what i’m going to tell you the story of Bruce Alexander’s experiment unlocks and answers the questions about what stress and boredom can do to people faced in a lockdown.

Bruce Alexander built a rat park and he put some rats in it and he made it very pleasant for the rats, he put seeded shavings that they enjoy eating, there were little trees and plenty of toys for the rats to play in, there was grass and the rats had plenty of space and they were contented. So Bruce Alexander then put a bowl of water into the park and he also put a bowl of sucrose laced opioids next to the bowl of water. The rats didn’t go anywhere near or weren’t interested in in the opioids.

So Dr. Alexander decided he would reverse that experiment and he build another rat park and he put a lot of rats in there and they were crammed in there and there was nothing for them to do or play with. They were bored and the food was very ordinary and Dr. Alexander put down the water and the sucrose laced opioids and it’s no surprise that the rats started drinking the opioids and they were clearly off their faces.

If you think about this, how easy it is for us in this lockdown situation to feel crammed, maybe we’re in our place of residence and we’ve got one room where we’re trying to home school the children, we’ve got another room where we’re trying to work from home and maybe our partner is in another room trying to also work from home and in the lockdown situation people are 24/7 together and they feel very very stressed, they feel very bored.

So it’s no wonder, no wonder now that so many people in my clinic are presenting with alcohol issues, escaping wanting that euphoric feeling with the alcohol, perhaps they’re whiling away their bored hours becoming addicted to pornography, looking for that spike in dopamine rush, they might be getting addicted to online gambling because of the online anticipation and excitement that this is the time they’re going to win or they might even become addicted to online shopping.

So you can see how stress and boredom can really push us, so i just want to normalise that and they’re is plenty of people that are experiencing this and if you feel that you’re overwhelmed and you’re stressed and you’re bored or you want someone to chat to you’re welcome to give me a call 0418 720 176 Thank you.

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