Can you die of boredom?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by wegs, Jun 24, 2022.

  1. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/bored-to-death1.htm

    "Scientists do know something about brain activity in high-risk, boredom-prone people. When we experience joy and excitement in a new situation, a chemical messenger or neurotransmitter, called dopamine, triggers that response in our brains. It appears that high-risk, boredom-prone people may have naturally lower levels of dopamine, meaning that they require a heightened sense of novelty to stimulate their brains [source: Schneider et al]. In this light, boredom may serve as the lackluster yin to our yang of excitement and pleasure."


    I wonder what influence this aspect of our brains has had on evolution? Sounds like ''boredom'' would serve as an evolutionary advantage, considering our brains are wired for constant stimulation, and this drives creativity.
     
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    It's an interesting article but I don't think it's a very meaningful. For one, it asks "Can we die from boredom" but doesn't really address that.

    It also links boredom and high risk behavior but the only basis for that conclusion is using people with brain damage to make that conclusion.

    I'm never bored for long and I've had a lot of interests that most would consider as high risk. I agree that if you have many interests that reduces boredom. I think (with no evidence) that people who are continually bored are just people who aren't very bright or imaginative.

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    I don't even agree when people assume (not this article though) that if you engage in higher risk activities it must be for the adrenaline rush. I don't do those activities personally for the adrenaline rush and try to keep that down in most cases because it makes doing everything harder.

    So, I guess my point is that many of these articles, when they try to simply some concept for the general public, end up misrepresenting the subject matter.

    I guess that shouldn't be too surprising. Anyone who engages in any interests outside the mainstream already knows that when something happens (rock climbing, scuba diving, flying, etc) the reports in the press are usually almost useless where the technical details are concerned.
     
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  5. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    (From the article) Run-of-the-mill boredom alone won't kill you. But, in a roundabout way, it can pose problems for adolescents. Today's teenagers in particular may be susceptible to boredom from a combination of overstimulation and lack of coping skills when action dies down.

    Some adults, however, don't grow out of typical teenage boredom. Certain personalities that gravitate toward high-risk lifestyles also experience chronic boredom. While the relationship between the two isn't completely understood by science, it can spiral into danger. In fact, boredom-prone people are more likely to engage in activities including alcohol abuse, drug addiction, compulsive gambling and eating disorders [source: Gosline].

    This type of endless ennui also happens more to men and people with brain injuries and certain psychotic disorders. For drug addicts, fighting boredom can predict their success in kicking their habit as well.


    I thought that above part touches upon it, the reader would have to take it from there to do further research. (The article is two pages, which at first I didn't notice, and was like...that was really short.) The source itself is considered credible, but it's more of a fun/factoid kind of news source. Point being though, boredom won't directly kill you by itself...but it can affect your mental health, and could potentially lead to destructive behaviors that would inhibit your safety.

    Your desire to take on high risk activities may not entirely be about the adrenaline rush for you, but it could be something that you've simply grown accustomed to (the dopamine hit) and if you went without doing these activities for a long time, you might feel frustrated or a bit anxious...or perhaps, bored. I wouldn't say one needs to take ''dangerous'' risks in life, in order to keep from becoming bored. People enjoy different activities, it's whatever your brain interprets as stimulating...and of course, that differs from person to person.

    Thanks for chiming in.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
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  7. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I don't understand the concept of boredom. I'm more at the ADHD end of the spectrum rather than the high-risk, boredom-prone end.
     
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Not sure how you're putting these on opposite ends of a spectrum. ADHD peeps are quite capable of getting bored.

    What do you do if you're stuck in an empty room for two hours with no book/phone/company?

    Or are you just talking about having a million ideas floating around in your head, even when trying to sleep?
     
  9. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Just Googled “ADHD and boredom” and some who have ADHD are describing it as “chronic boredom.” Do you feel that’s a good way to describe it?

    I don’t think that the “cure” for boredom is engaging in high risk activities for everyone across the board. Boredom for me would be repetition, not feeling challenged in my work or routines that need a change.

    I wonder if the struggle with ADHD is that it brings a person to a point of dissatisfaction and restlessness quicker than someone who doesn’t have it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    ADHD is generally someone who finds it hard to focus, can't sit still, got to move, etc. I'm at the opposite end of that spectrum. I can focus like a mf...

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    I don't think having an interest in "adventure sports" has anything to do with boredom or ADHD. Some with ADHD may be more drawn to it just because of the constant stimulation but you don't need ADHD to be drawn to those activities and it's generally better if you don't have ADHD because you need to focus even more for those activities.

    I have a buddy who is affected by ADHD somewhat. I have to be more careful around him when we are rock climbing or scuba diving because his focus and judgement are somewhat suspect.

    I don't see where there is any connect at all to boredom and adventure sports.
     
  11. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Never been attracted to sports or high risk ventures

    I do enjoy the fun park rides and Waterbom types of rides

    Those which have been designed to give you a exhilarating ride while keeping you strapped in a chair

    Waterbom does have activity where you are dropped down a clear plastic tube which gives you enough speed to go through a loop in the tube and onto a open straight section where your feet slow you down pushing against the water in the channel where you finish

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  12. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I often go to bed trying to solve some problem in my head and when I wake up I haven't thought about it at all. I do have a million ideas floating around in my head, which is why I can never get bored.
     
  13. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I would desribe it exactly the opposite. There's always something interesting going on, even if it's only in my head.

    (Maybe ADHD was not the best terminology.)
     
  14. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I have a friend who was diagnosed with ADHD, and she’s not able to concentrate on any one project at work for very long. But if you google “ADHD and boredom,” those who have ADHD are comparing it to chronic boredom. I’ve never heard of it described like that.

    That would be a bit scary to have ADHD in the middle of a steep rock climb!
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2022
  15. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Yea, that doesn’t sound like ADHD. So you never get bored then, in other words. That’s a good thing, I suppose.
     
  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    That's not what is scary. What is scary is to have your belayer have ADHD and lose focus while you are in the middle of a steep rock climb. My friend who I was referring to once dropped me from the ceiling in the climbing gym (40 ft ceiling) to within inches of the floor before he got things under control (we are talking about a fraction of a second here). He isn't much better outside rock climbing.

    His technique was bad, it wasn't a big problem usually but always a bit annoying and this time it bit him (and me). It's a similar problem sometimes with scuba and not paying enough attention when things go bad. I dive with him sometimes but I never count on him.

    I can see how you could describe ADHD as chronic boredom in that they need excessive stimulation because they can't just sit and focus but as they say correlation isn't causation. They don't have ADHD because they are bored. They just can't focus on anything, like a kid in a candy store.

    They also don't focus on books or lessons on best practices in rock climbing. They have to re-invest the wheel every time. After he dropped me then he became more careful. After he had some other issues and I, and everyone else, tried to show him that his technique wasn't solid and he eventually changed somewhat.

    He is more prone to think "I've done this for a long time and nothing bad ever happens". Most people are able to figure out a problem before it happens rather than only after something has happened. With him, he starts to read the details of what something is a bad idea and then just skips over it as too complicated and not important.

    He has two daughter's . One graduated from college. The other never went to college (couldn't focus) and got addicted to drugs and died of an overdose last summer (28 years old).

    I have another friend who is a medical doctor. She has a mild case of ADHD. She got though med school obviously but she just can't sit still. She likes to travel. Many people do like to travel of course but when she has a little time of she may fly to Hawaii for 3 days and then come back home. What's the point. Most of her time is spent on the plane. She does the same thing locally spending most of her time in the car.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2022
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  17. Neddy Bate Valued Senior Member

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    Solitary confinement comes to mind. That is probably boredom to the point of desperation. It seems like it would be quite challenging for one's mind, and health, which could be deadly in some circumstances.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2022
  18. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Agree. It seems like a form of torture. I've read stories about people who have spent time in solitary confinement, saying that they have severe anxiety and mental issues from it. Not just from the boredom, but the lack of socializing, human touch and I'd imagine one would feel like the outside world has forgotten about them. Boredom and isolation... to the point of despair.
     

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