Causes of Addiction

There are no specific causes of any addiction aside from use of a substance or activity, and there is no way to predict who will become dependent on use.

Any substance or activity that has the capacity to be pleasurable can provide the conditions for addiction.

All addictions impact various neural circuits of the brain, including those related to reward, motivation, and memory.

Recent Posts on Addiction

Germanwings Talk Is Worsening the Stigma of Mental Illness

The problem is that labeling a person as “crazy” or “mentally ill” does not in any way explain why the plane was crashed and those on board murdered.

Study Folly?

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in In Excess
One of the more interesting types of Culture Bound Syndromes is Brain Fag Syndrome (BFS). The symptoms are such as to prevent students from carrying on with their work and include various unpleasant head symptoms, memory loss, visual difficulties, inability to concentrate, and inability to write. But is this real and what does the psychological literature say?

5 Ingredients of an Extraordinary Ordinary Life

Extraordinary people exist within even the most ordinary lives. They are the ones with the knack for living genuinely and who inspire us to attempt the same.

Music Therapy Activities Wiki

Learn more about music therapy, the value of music therapists and how music therapists envision and develop music therapy strategies. MusicTherapyActivities.Wikia.com is an encyclopedic collection of therapeutic music activities, indexed by goal and objective—and it will help you understand more about the range of this dynamic approach to health.

Another Guy Who Isn't a Sex Addict

By Marty Klein PhD on March 31, 2015 in Sexual Intelligence
"Sex addiction" is a very poor way to understand people.

The Adjustment of Adoptees

By A Guest Blogger on March 31, 2015 in Brainstorm
Does the emotional, behavioral and academic adjustment of adopted children differ from that of non-adopted children? New research sheds light on the differences—and similarities—between both groups.

Mental Health Screening Wouldn't Have Saved Germanwings 9525

By Jean Kim M.D. on March 30, 2015 in Culture Shrink
Screening must balance concerns of rare high-risk cases versus the vast majority of functional people with mental illness trying to overcome stigma and judgment

One Key to Happiness, Success, and Resilience

By Sherry Hamby Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in The Web of Violence
What is your goal in life? To be happy? Successful? Resilient? How about “psychologically regulated"? That last one might not be a popular response to the question I posed, but it should be. And I will tell you why.

Say ‘No’ to the Fiction of Brain Diseases

During my lifetime I have witnessed the fall of Freudian psychiatry and the ascension of molecular psychiatry. Unfortunately, we have gone from the frying pan into the fire. We need to restore psychiatry where it belongs. The psychotherapy of character is an art and a science that bridges the old divide between psychotherapy and the brain.

Can Healthy Living Reduce Cancer Risk? (Part One of Two)

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Media Spotlight
According to available statistics, roughly fourteen million people worldwide were newly diagnosed with cancer in 2012 alone. That same year saw about eight million cancer deaths. How many of those deaths might have been prevented using available medical knowledge about cancer risks? And how many more cancer deaths can we expect over the next three decades?

The Suicide-Mass Murder Connection: A Growing Epidemic

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
Negative and alienating social forces have made suicide the new murder as frustrated and fearful Americans turn their anger onto themselves and take their own lives in unprecedented numbers. These same social forces also explain the sharp rise in mass public shootings as fatalistic individuals increasingly kill themselves and others in catastrophic acts of violent rage.

A Surprising Ingredient for Lasting Relationships

You'll be surprised by this key ingredient to make your marriage work.

Misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, Part II

A case study illustrating comorbidity and distinctions between bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and attention deficit disorder.

Mental Illness Among Nurses

By Scott Haas on March 29, 2015 in Shrink in the Kitchen
Workplace Stress: Identification and Intervention. Pilots, yes. And let's look at other professions that are also down-to-earth.

No Substitute for “Real” Relationships

Studies confirm that things, money, material riches are not the solution to human longing. Despite unprecedented affluence, health care, and technological advances, few--even among the best off elites--claim to be truly satisfied. What really matters requires riches of the heart, riches of the spirit.

Could Your Therapist Help You Solve This?

By Donna Barstow on March 28, 2015 in Ink Blots Cartoons
Don't be afraid to ask your therapist the hard questions, even when they're personal, passionate, and somewhat embarrassing.

Changing the ‘No Casserole’ Response to Mental Illness

A mother of two who is active in the International Bipolar Foundation shared a story the other day. When her youngest daughter was diagnosed with diabetes, friends called, sent cards and flowers, brought food, and posted encouraging Facebook messages.

Understanding Transgender Reality

In February, at the annual International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) symposium, I was honored to hear Ryan Sallans, an international speaker, transgender man and author of the book Second Son, speak.

Why Sleepy Shopping May Lead to a Bigger Waistline

By Nicole Avena Ph.D. on March 27, 2015 in Food Junkie
Research suggests that combing the aisles of the supermarket with drooping eyelids may have unintended consequences for your pantry and possibly your diet.

Addiction or Dependency? Does it Matter?

Many of my patients often ask me, “What’s the difference between being addicted to prescription pain medications versus being dependent?” To help shed light on this important topic, I’d like to examine each classification.

Changing Our Perspectives on Mental Illness and Health

Addicts and those with co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD are frequently overwhelmed by shame. This is not just an internal issue of being ashamed of past behaviors.

What Parents Can’t Do

More than twice as many states required parental consent for mental health treatment than for substance abuse treatment.

Irrationality of A.A.?

My friend recently forwarded me the April 2015 Atlantic Magazine article “The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous” by Gabrielle Glaser. If I did not have personal and professional experience with alcoholism and in treating alcoholics, then I imagine I would not have felt such a need to respond to this article.

Are You a Promiscuous Shopper?

I’ve been known to unashamedly grab something off a shelf if I knew it would make me happy for a few months, a few weeks, even—dare I admit it—a few days. That’s the kind of loose shopper I am.

How Drug Addiction Impacts Infant Care

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on March 24, 2015 in The Me in We
Drug abuse short circuits neural connections between child and caregiver.

Why AA is Bad Science…and What It Means for Treatment

Why then is AA’s 12-step model the “go to” treatment choice for most Americans? The answer is simple—for most of its history, AA really was the only treatment available for addicts and alcoholics.

In at the Sharp End

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on March 24, 2015 in In Excess
Belonophilia refers to the deriving of sexual pleasure and arousal from pins or needles. Although media stories relating to ‘needle fetishes’ appear to be relatively rare, clinical and medical case studies in the academic literature are almost non-existent. So, what do we know psychologically about this apparently rare sexual fetish?

Racism: Our Collective Complicity, Denial and Naiveté

To honestly confront the psychological illness of racism, America needs a true mirror, one that reflects our light and our shadow; one that provokes a real moral and spiritual awakening.

Is Digital Life Risky?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on March 24, 2015 in The Human Beast
Young people who grew up with digital technologies and cannot conceive of a life without the Internet, digital games, and social media are sometimes called “digital natives” whereas older generations who acquired these technologies as adults are “digital immigrants.” Digital natives have many advantages but “addiction” to screens has its critics.

Yes, You Can Get Addicted to Exercise

For approximately 3 percent of the population, striving to stay fit does them more harm than good.