Essential Reads

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

10 Ways to Be Less Reactive in Difficult Situations

Breakup: How to Tell If You Suffer from Complicated Grief

The emotional responses to a severe breakup can resemble the responses to death.

The Joy of Distraction

Why do people fail at self-control?

When Introverts and Extroverts Attract

Tips for relationships between introverts and extroverts

Recent Posts on Addiction

This Was the Year in Willpower

This round-up features the most-read posts and most-watched videos on this blog in the past year. Plus, the blog post you probably didn't read (it got the fewest hits of the year), but that I picked as the defining post of 2012.

The Breath of Freedom

By Mark Matousek on December 10, 2012 in Ethical Wisdom
Nearly all of us breathe incorrectly. This can have disastrous results. Even everyday stress can be relieved with the power of one deep breath

Tis the Season

Let’s just paint a little picture. It is a picture we already know pretty well, but still every year this picture seems to take many of us by irritable surprise.

Are Porn Actresses “Damaged Goods”?

By Gad Saad Ph.D. on December 10, 2012 in Homo Consumericus
Anti-porn advocates often proclaim that porn actresses are “damaged goods.” Supposedly they're more likely to: (1) have been victims of childhood sexual abuse, (2) be psychologically damaged and (3) use alcohol and other substances to numb the pain. A recent study sheds some light.

Hook-Up and Alcohol Cultures

Have the "Hook-Up Culture" and the "Alcohol Culture" become the dominant ones on our college campuses? If so, what are the various causes—and solutions?

Time for Digital Hat Racks

By Nir Eyal on December 10, 2012 in Automatic You
How often are you digitally masturbating?

Turning From Success to Significance

By David J. Powell Ph.D. on December 10, 2012 in Game Plan
What's it like for a man to get older? Are there differences between life's first and second halves?

What's Your Drinking Style?

By Leah Odze Epstein on December 10, 2012 in Drinking Diaries
In the end, the most helpful thing you can do is ask yourself: What kind of a drinking life do I feel most comfortable with, given who I really am?

Searching for Now? It's Already Here.

When we stop trying to be present, there is just the present. If there is a task for the mind to accomplish, it is to stop trying to figure out how to get us here, how to insert us into now.

Workaholic Breakdown: Second Turning Point

By Barbara Killinger Ph.D. on December 10, 2012 in The Workaholics
The loss of integrity is a tragic outcome that occurs as the workaholic breakdown progresses.

Another 'Addiction'?

Excess does not an "addiction" make.

The Healing Gift of Non-Gratitude

By Ken Page L.C.S.W. on December 10, 2012 in Finding Love
Cultivating gratitude is a wonderful thing, but forced gratitude clouds our discrimination, and usually mutates into self-recrimination. We’re all exhorted to feel gratitude, but who teaches us to honor feelings of non-gratitude: emptiness, longing, or a gut-level sense that something’s wrong? These feelings hold half the key for achieving our most precious life-goals.

Brain of the intellect vs. Brain of the serial killer

By Jack Pemment MA, MS on December 10, 2012 in Blame the Amygdala
Which is more valuable to society, the secrets to intelligence or the secrets to serial killing?

“Can men feel how much I want to have an affair?”

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on December 09, 2012 in In the Name of Love
Recognizing the other’s emotions is a significant aspect of emotional intelligence. In romantic love this ability is considerably enhanced when you are ready to fall in love or are sexually aroused. Other people can sense your readiness or eagerness for romance, which in turn increases their attraction toward you. Can this happen after 30 years of faithful marriage?

Making fun of fat people

By Deborah Schurman-Kauflin Ph.D. on December 09, 2012 in Disturbed
Making fun of overweight people is one of the last socially accepted forms of bigotry.

December 12 Is Global Bullying Prevention Day

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on December 09, 2012 in Media Spotlight
Bullying can take many forms, all of them ugly. Though news stories continue to report bullied students who lash out in violence, whether in the form of suicide or through shooting rampages punishing teachers and students alike, the epidemic of bullying continues. And the damage can last into adulthood.

A Medical Rx for a Stress Free Holiday

By Stanley H. Block M.D. on December 08, 2012 in Come To Your Senses
A stress-free Holiday Season is really possible. Read how you can allow the joy of the season be your Holiday Lifestyle.

How Long Can We Maintain the Rush of New Love?

Typically, the law of diminishing returns applies in the realm of love relationships. Over time, a kiss generally has relatively diminished power to produce the same explosion of feeling as it once did. No relationship remains in the cocaine-rush phase forever as a rule. There are exceptions to every rule however…

Alcohol Is a Way of Coping

By Stephen Joseph Ph.D. on December 06, 2012 in What Doesn't Kill Us
To what extent do people drink to help them deal with unresolved traumas and conflicts?

Survival Mode and Evolutionary Mismatch

By John Montgomery Ph.D. on December 06, 2012 in The Embodied Mind
When we live in environments that are drastically different from the ones we’re biologically adapted for, our threshold for "survival mode" triggers is lowered. Repeated triggering leads to stress and pain.

Yet Another Reason to Legalize Marijuana

By Kristian Marlow on December 05, 2012 in The Superhuman Mind
Studies show our youth have been turning to dangerous synthetic cannabinoids to get high. Eliminate the temptation by relaxing drug laws.

Sex Addiction: Rejected Yet Again by APA

By David J Ley Ph.D. on December 05, 2012 in Women Who Stray
It was a fight to the finish: would sex addiction be in or out of the new "Bible" of psychiatric disorders? In the end, sex addiction was ruled as "not worth further research" by the American Psychiatric Association.

Quitting Cold Turkey: Better Than Smoking Cessation Programs

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on December 05, 2012 in The Human Beast
The vast majority of smokers who quit succeed by themselves. This raises an interesting dilemma for planned treatments both drug-based and behavioral. Are supposed help givers doing the opposite?

Opening the Heart of a Child

With the holidays approaching, expectations of peace, love, giving, receiving, and forgiving abound. My mind and heart naturally wander to thoughts of compassion and self-compassion and where these very critical values stand in our consciousness. Especially at this time of year when many feel they are supposed to be joyful yet are not.

Is Not Marrying Harmful to Children?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on December 04, 2012 in The Human Beast
The impact of marriage on social problems of children is one of the most important, and most researched questions in child development and family studies. Yet, clear answers are hard to find. Children of single parents fare much worse in terms of social problems in the U.S. Yet the same is not true in many European countries.

We Admitted We Were Powerless

It's not easy to admit we aren't in the driver's seat.

Narcissism vs. Authentic Self-Esteem

By Joseph Burgo Ph.D. on December 03, 2012 in Shame
Genuine self-respect grows from living up to our own standards. Narcissism is a defensive cover for an underlying sense of shame, the very opposite of authentic self-esteem.

Legalization of Marijuana Is Okay

By Lance Dodes M.D. on December 03, 2012 in The Heart of Addiction
Readers of this blog know that addiction is a psychological symptom, a compulsive behavior driven exactly like other compulsions, and readily understandable and treatable. This perspective can be helpful in thinking about the recent election, in which two states legalized the recreational use of marijuana.

Psychiatry Rejects Novel Sexual Disorder "Hebephilia"

By Karen Franklin Ph.D. on December 02, 2012 in Witness
Hebephilia, or the sexual attraction to young adolescents, was one of three highly controversial new sexual disorders proposed for the upcoming fifth edition of the influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). All three were rejected.

Skill at Substance Use

By Stanton Peele on December 02, 2012 in Addiction in Society
Alcohol use has always been ubiquitous among human societies, while new drugs are regularly added to our pharmaceutical cornucopia - and increasingly so for young Americans in the form of psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Under these conditions, skill at use of substances is a necessary concomitant to modern life.