In Search of Addiction’s Roots, Part 7

As mentioned in Part 3 of this series, we all go through times of feeling like we can neither change nor escape an unpleasant situation. It is a good idea to choose, and keep ready in your back pocket, a conscious displacement behavior to use in that event. Preferably, one that has been planned ahead of time and you don’t have to think about.

The reason for this is simple. Unconscious displacement behaviors, for instance, most overeating, are automatic. They usually are harmful to the self, and only make things worse. Your pants don’t fit anymore and a voice in your head taunts, “Oh, so it wasn’t enough for you to be an unemployed sign-spinner. Now, you’re an unemployed, morbidly obese sign-spinner. Nice going!”

The great thing about this dilemma is, it’s addressable and even preventable. Here is a quotation from Dr. Pretlow:

Success does not depend on totally resolving or avoiding the person’s problematic situation, it is just necessary that the opposing drives are pushed off dead center (either face or escape) and no longer in equilibrium.

Often, success depends on the person being prepared to jump in there with a positive displacement behavior to take the heat off. It seems to be a law of human nature, that someone who makes a habit of taking a pro-active stance will tend to evolve. Before too long, they figure out how to take the next step, which is (no surprise here) meeting the problem head-on.

Face it, don’t displace it

What the developers of the BrainWeighve app did was think up ways to break up old patterns and map out some new territory. It begins with a two-step process:

(1) helping the individual identify the problems or stressors that form the basis of the opposing drives (displacement sources), and (2) creating strategies to either avoid or effectively resolve these problems/stressors.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “A Unified Theory of Addiction,”, 03/09/23

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources