BS: the Brain Science behind BS'ing

BS: the Brain Science behind BS’ing

Addiction has a nefarious reputation when it comes to honesty and telling the truth. Men who are addicted to drugs and/alcohol are notorious for lying, stealing, cheating, and manipulating. Many might argue that these are unfair labels to use as generalizations for addicted behavior. While it is true that not every man who has become addicted to drugs and/or alcohol will resort to lying behaviors, many men will. Men who are addicted are not bad men if they lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate. The influence of addiction on the brain is all encompassing and controlling. Addiction shifts the order of survival operations in the brain, putting drugs and alcohol first. Each time the body and brain start to undergo withdrawal, the brain sends out signals that addiction must be protected at all costs. No matter who is hurt or what lie needs to be told in the process, the ability to get intoxicated is most important. It doesn’t help that addiction influences the areas of the brain responsible for regulating consideration and consequence. As a result, addiction comes with a copious amount of BS and oftentimes, men who are severely addicted, are master BS’ers. Once men choose to enter treatment for recovery, the BS has to come to an abrupt and brutal end. Recovery from addiction is a matter of life or death. BS has no place in that equation.

Still, men in early recovery persist in their old ways when it comes to acting without a total foundation of factuality. Regaining a moral and ethical compass takes time as the brain heals the areas which help make good decisions. Men tend to act without much background information and, like toddlers caught covered in chocolate syrup and feathers, can’t offer much of an answer for the reason behind their behaviors or their answers. When asked did you do this, men in early recovery are likely to say no, even though the answer is yes.

John Petrocelli is one of the first researchers to focus on the science of BS, publishing his work in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. “In essence,” Big Think cites, “the [BS’er] is a relatively careless thinker/communicator and plays fast and loose with ideas and/or information as he bypasses consideration of, or concern for, evidence and establish knowledge.”

In active addiction, men are playing “fast and loose” with their very lives, bypassing consideration for the strong evidence which indicates the odds are risky for survival. Addiction inhibits men from establishing the knowledge necessary to not BS about their addiction. Rather than commit to knowing that intravenous heroin use is dangerous, for example, men bypass their concern for overdose, HIV, or other transmittable diseases.

Petrocelli’s research suggests that calling out BS “can reduce the propensity for [BS’ing] to take place,” the article explains. Men in treatment and recovery are not strangers to being called out on their BS as part of their need to be awakened to honesty. Petrocelli notes, however, that being called out doesn’t necessarily mean a man will suddenly become better at “evidence-based communication”, but may just shut down. Thankfully, treatment providers and therapists aren’t certified experts in calling out BS alone. Treatment offers men a variety of therapeutic applications to take their awakening further than recognition of their BS tendencies. Going to treatment for multiple months helps men build a foundation of honesty, morality, and better decision making- BS free.

From the mountains to the coastline, the possibilities of living a life without limits are endless. At Tree House Recovery in Orange County, California, we’re helping men recover their lives from addiction through innovative treatment designed to transform their lives inside and out. For information, call to speak with one of our graduates: (855) 202-2138

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