Very helpful post from someone who has recovered.
I'm ex-pizzagate / right-wing follower, I want to help others understand how people in conspiracies feel
There are a few posts on this subreddit from people who are ex-qanon. Even though I never followed this conspiracy, I used to be into pizzagate during Trump's first term around the time he was elected in 2016. I wanted to share my experience to help people affected by QAnon to choose how to act in their relationships. I'm not from US and I'm not a native speaker.
I think a precondition for all of this is some kind of unresolved trauma and mental health issues. I was dealing with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and some panic attacks here and there. On top of that, I was kind of an asshole to begin with, with dark triad personality traits showing: narcissistic, manipulative, revengeful etc. I never had any relationships and I was really good at alienating people. I rarely see people in good mental health (even though it's so rare nowadays) to be invested in any conspiracies. In fact, I don't recall any that I know personally.
So, it all started on reddit. It began with stumbling upon a few "alternative" subreddits, you know those with prefixes "real", "anarchy", "true", etc. To this day I'm still not sure what triggered the hate spiral in me. I think one of possibilities is that any unresolved conflicts are channeled in anger and negative energy.
There are ways to use those conflicts in other ways, for example art and creation is often a result of sublimation, but this is considered a "mature" defence mechanism and it still requires some effort.
Hate, however, is easy, especially when there are so many communities online offering hate in a ready-to-eat form.
Nowadays I think there's a link between this up/down voting system and hate; I feel like direct influence on content visibility allows people invested in extremist movements to religiously bring more and more of such content to be discovered by others, brigade social media platforms, and so on. I think hate gives an incredibly strong motivation for doing what might initially appear as a mindless and repetitive task.
Anyway, I became a part of this toxic system. I wasn't feeling better, no, but seeing someone posting a meme about (ugly name deleted --C) or (ugly name deleted--C) would trigger some kind of a hormone response that fed the addiction.
A lot of people describe their relatives watching qanon videos all day -- know that they're essentially on an IV drip of some stuff they crave.
I have no idea how it works inside body, but I'm willing to bet there's a physical response to this behavior.
This post is full of excellent material. Sit down and read the entire thing.
The author will tell you how he or she got out of conspiracy theory mode: feeling miserable, hitting bottom and wanting a better life. The person got out of social isolation and learned how to make friends and handle painful emotions. Improvement in mental and social health caused conspiracy theory material to lose its appeal!