Addiction as temporal disruption: interoception,
Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract Addiction remains a challenging disorder, both to treat and to conceptualise.
While the temporal dimension of addiction has been noted before, here the aim is to
ground this understanding in a coherent phenomenological-neuroscience framework.
Addiction is partly understood as drawing the subject into a predominantly Bnow^
orientated existence, with the future closed or experienced as extremely distant.
Another feature of this temporal structuring is that past experiences, which are crucial
in advancing intentionally forward, are experienced in addiction as a void. This has
implications for the generation of meaning and forming of self, amongst others. While
there are areas of the brain that regulate temporal processing, there is no single location.
Recent addiction research has implicated the insula and in turn this area is implicated in
temporal and interoceptive awareness. Similarly these areas of disruption may affect
self processes. Disruption of interoception and thus of self, may help explain why
addiction is complex and involves multiple aspects of subjectivity.
Addiction is a complex phenomenon which could be organised in different ways, for
example around brain science, psychology or even a criminal justice perspective. In this
contribution addiction will be approached as a form of pathology, attempting to knit the
phenomenology and neuroscience of this disorder constructively together. As such it is
implicitly argued that addiction can be regarded as a health condition and is amenable
to treatment. It is not argued that this is its exclusive characteristic, rather it is the
Phenom Cogn Sci
* Ryan Kemp
Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Regents University London, Stephenson
House, 75 Hampstead Road, London NW1 2PL, UK