Is there an evolutionary explanation for addiction?
I did a Web search and all I found was speculation, mostly not very convincing. Let’s leave aside emotional addiction and just concentrate on physical addiction, and to narrow the discussion still further, let’s concentrate on the most common form of addiction, which would be alcohol addiction. It is not just humans that can become addicted. Laboratory mice can also become alcoholics.
I don’t know how often mice in the wild become alcoholics. I would guess not too often. Such an addiction would not seem to confer any advantage to either plant or animal. Maybe there is some underlying body mechanism that the alcohol triggers. Hunger and thirst are types of cravings with obvious advantages. People can also develop a craving for salt if there is a deficiency. Might it be that there is a generalized craving mechanism in the brain that is necessary for the development of drug dependencies? Just a speculation, and not even a complete explanation, but no worse than what I have come across on the Web.
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.