Updated from 8:36 p.m. EDT

When you are addicted to something, whether it's a substance, an activity or a person, it seems as if nothing can replace the object of your addiction. You go to sleep at night thinking about it. You wake up in the morning thinking about it. If you don't have it for a day, it feels as if the whole world can fall apart.

Many daytraders are addicted to the adrenalin they get when they place a trade. Being a workaholic is a very serious addiction that makes you feel as if you are only functioning normally if you are in the middle of a heavy and stressful work-related schedule.

Addiction is not curable. Most people reading this column are addicts of some sort, and it's a painful way to go through life. The safest way to end an addiction is with a "methadone": replacing one addiction with another, hopefully more mild, form of the original addiction.

For better or worse, capitalism is a philosophy of addiction. We want oil and can't do without it. We want Hannah Montana or Crocs ( CROX) shoes or McDonald's ( MCD). We want a latte every morning from Starbux ( SBUX) and a fresh pack of Malboro' cigarettes ( Altria ( MO)) as soon as the old one runs out.

Companies are set up to deliver us our addictions and make it as easy as possible to satisfy our desires. The time it takes for McDonald's to sell its second trillion hamburgers will certainly be less than the time it takes to sell its first trillion hamburgers. Occasionally, government interference tries to curb our addictive behavior (no TV advertising for cigarettes, for instance), but it's a raft going up against a tidal wave.

And when we can't get what we want, the forces of capitalism instantly conspire to create our methadones until we find the next addiction. When our addiction to oil in the Middle East becomes too great, we'll turn to the tar sands of Canada, or we'll more heavily invest in ethanol or coal-related fuels.

A great example of all this was in the Great Vanilla Wars of Madagascar in 2002. The country, which was the largest producer of vanilla, was engulfed in civil war, causing the price of vanilla to skyrocket from $25 per kilogram to $400 per kilogram. Nothing could stand in the way of the world's desire for vanilla (a known aphrodisiac), and scientists went into overdrive creating synthetic vanillin (a byproduct of petroleum production, ironically) and utilizing hydroponics to create vanilla in environments other than off the coast of Africa. Synthetic or "homegrown" vanilla quickly occupied 99% of the vanilla market, causing prices to drop to about $125 per kilogram.

Phew! I'm going to take a sip of my vanilla milkshake before I finish writing this.

Chocolate, however, might be the one addiction we will never be able to escape.

To read the rest of the story, and to find out how to turn a chocolate addiction into a moneymaker, please click here.

A note from James Altucher:

Every weekend I send an email to Jim Cramer and several hedge fund managers about the most interesting portfolios posted on Stockpickr that week. Usually those portfolios not only list stocks according to a theme but also offer significant analysis as to why the stocks are cheap.

Here are some examples:

Here's the challenge: Build a portfolio at Stockpickr.com with great analysis, and send me the link. Each great portfolio (with analysis) will get posted on TheStreet.com with your byline (as a "Stockpickr Guest Columnist") and will be included in my email I send to Jim and the other hedge fund managers on my list.
At the time of publication, Altucher and/or his fund had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

James Altucher is president of Stockpickr LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of TheStreet.com and part of its network of Web properties, and a managing partner at Formula Capital, an alternative asset management firm that runs a fund of hedge funds. He is also a weekly columnist for the Financial Times and the author of Trade Like a Hedge Fund, Trade Like Warren Buffett and SuperCa$h. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Altucher appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

TheStreet.com has a revenue-sharing relationship with Trader's Library under which it receives a portion of the revenue from purchases by customers directed there from TheStreet.com.