Relapse of Addiction

Relapse is now seen as the rule rather than the exception in addiction recovery. And it is no longer viewed as a catastrophe but as an opportunity for learning more and better strategies for overcoming urges and for identifying the moods and situations that are likely to be difficult.

What is inappropriate is black-and-white thinking about success that turns a slip-up into a disaster and sees it as a sure sign of defeat. The fact is that it takes time to change all the mental apparatus that supports any particular habit-the memories, the situations that trigger craving, and more. Addiction changes brains, and it takes time to change brains back.

Recent Posts on Addiction

Why Buy Clothes You Don't Wear?

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.

Work Meetings in a Bar?

Holding work meetings in a bar disadvantages some people

Is A Bad MarrIage Dangerous To Your Health?

Is an alienated spouse a matter of life or death?

Addicted to Being Right!

I’ve found that even the best fighters – the proverbial smartest guys in the room – can break their addiction to being right by getting hooked on oxytocin-inducing behavior instead. Connecting and bonding with others trumps conflict. The more you learn about other peoples’ perspectives, the more likely you are to feel empathy for them.

The Politicization of Mental Health

By David J Ley Ph.D. on March 22, 2015 in Women Who Stray
Shootings, deaths and tragedies involving mental illness fill our news every day. Politicians are talking about mental health more than ever before. But, most political efforts to reform these issues ignore the deep underlying issues of funding, regulatory complexity and access which inhibit real reform.

Book Review: Wisdom from the Couch

By Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP on March 22, 2015 in In Therapy
Dr. Jennifer Kunst shares the warmer, friendlier side of Kleinian psychology in this interview and book review.

So You Think You Are In Recovery? Maybe Not.

Does you recovery contain these 10 components?

Prenatal Drug Exposure and Disruption of Attachment

By Ira J. Chasnoff M.D. on March 20, 2015 in Aristotle's Child
For successful attachment between caregiver and infant to occur, the caregiver must be able to read and respond to the infant's cues and the infant must be able to read and respond to the caregiver's cues.

The End of Stigma

Brazil's campaign to tackle mental health discrimination.

The Urge to Connect

A 3 billion year perspective on where the human race is headed

Rumination and Your Health

By Dr. Amelia Aldao Ph.D. on March 19, 2015 in Sweet Emotion
Getting suck in ruminative cycles is associated with poor physiological outcomes, such as increased cortisol reactivity and prolonged cardiovascular reactivity

The Blissful Torture of Unrequited Love

Whether fast or slow, it comes on hard—as powerful as a bludgeon, but one covered in the softest velvet. It’s two-faced as well, like an optical illusion. And it’s also supremely paradoxical. How can an unreturned love engender such ecstatic, sublime feelings? Yet the chemical dynamics of reciprocation fantasies can be incredibly powerful...

4 Predictions for the Future of Addiction Treatment

While there are no easy answers, either for those struggling with substance use disorders or those attempting to help them, science gives us much to hope for, and accumulated experience is teaching us better each day what works and what doesn’t.

Sexism in Mental Health Practice

Misogyny in the mental health system warrants special attention during Women's History Month.

Are You Ready to Change?

We're always changing. We want to stop bad habits and start new ones. We want to move our life in a new direction, but the prospect of doing so is daunting. So let's stop forcing ourselves and others to change and deal with where we are at the moment.

How OxyContin Was Allowed to Kill so Many

While it is true that OxyContin abuse is decreasing, the epidemic of prescription drug abuse hasn’t gone away.