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The Cult Addict

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The Cult Addict:

In 2004, at the Annual Conference of the European Federation of Centers for Research and Information on Cults in Marseilles, FR, doctors Josep Jansà and Miguel Perlado presented their assessment of "Cults Viewed from a Socio-Addictive Perspective". Both members of the Attention and Research on Social Addictions (AIS), a "cult clinic" specialized in the treatment of cult-related effects, the two doctors recognize and treat the symptoms of manipulation and emotional abuse within the cult structure.

In their assessment, it was pointed out that strong similarities exist between a "follower" of a cult and an "addict" of a chemical or other destructive habit. Similar states of depersonalization were experienced when an individual became addicted to a drug or became deeply involved with a cult. Similar discomforts were experienced when individuals abandoned a drug or cult group. Similar emotional experiences were present during the both experiences. Like an addict exchanging addiction from one habit to another, it was noted that those joining a cult were able to exchange drug habits for cult habits. Though levels of destruction differed between the former and latter habit, both share destructive qualities.

Specialists unanimously decided that cults promote an intense dependency. Through unethical techniques of persuasion and control, these destructive groups create dependents who isolate themselves from friends and family while creating a fear of leaving the group. The self-destructive qualities of drug addiction were clearly displayed in cases of "cult addiction". Both former members of cults and former drug addicts often experience similar withdrawal symptoms, returning to the same addiction or replacing it with another. Doctors Jansà and Perlado concluded that these were "social addictions", and in many ways were similar to chemical addiction.

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