Essential Reads

Are We Finally Ready to Invest in People, Not Prisons?

For the addict - and for all of us - prison reform can’t come soon enough.

3 Kinds of Motivation for Addiction Recovery

How to know you have done all you can

Living in the Candy Store

How to Detox a Motivationally Toxic World

Should Amy Winehouse Have Been Taught Controlled Drinking?

Reviewing the myths of Winehouse's substance use and death

Recent Posts on Addiction

Medical Jargon Part 2

Defining the terms addiction and dependence; case, patient and person; and subject and participant.

Want To, Don't Want To: The Psychology of Craving

By Mindy Greenstein Ph.D. on February 15, 2012 in The Flip Side
What does it mean to crave something?

Before We Jump to Whitney Houston Conclusions

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on February 14, 2012 in All About Addiction
Long distance diagnosis is dangerous and inappropriate. When there's no information, it's also unprofessional, irresponsible, and stupid. So for now, let's leave conclusions about Whitney Houston's death to ourselves.

The Greatest Love Addiction Songs of All Time

By Stanton Peele on February 14, 2012 in Addiction in Society
The existential experience of addiction has been captured best by the songs of Smokey Robinson, Leonard Cohen, and Lucinda Williams—an artist America should build a monument to next to the Lincoln Memorial.

Relationship Patterns That May Reveal A Substance Abuse Issue

By Brenda Iliff on February 13, 2012 in A Remarkable Recovery
Last week, I wrote a blog about addiction and relationships with Heart Month and Valentine's Day in mind. However, it somehow feels even more important to share after learning about the tragic death of Whitney Houston on Saturday.

The Top Three Misconceptions About Whitney Houston's Substance Abuse and Death

By Stanton Peele on February 13, 2012 in Addiction in Society
The early, sad returns are in—people, confounded by prominent singer Whitney Houston's death, immediately turned to the wrong sources for explanations and drew the wrong conclusions from her death.

The Whitney Houston Story – A Warning to Young Girls

By Allison Conner Psy.D. on February 12, 2012 in Therapy in Mind
Whitney Houston's mistakes can positively impact young girls.

Paying Attention to Complementary Medical Treatment

By Joseph Cardillo Ph.D. on February 12, 2012 in Attention Training
Tens of millions of people in the U.S. are using complementary and alternative therapies in combination with other treatments to enhance their quality of life.

Eight Keys to Life Hardiness and Resiliency

Helen Keller once wrote: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” As we navigate through challenging times toward a better future, it’s useful to visit some tried and true ideas regarding life hardiness and resiliency.

4 Science-Based Strategies for Getting Over an Ex

Yahoo! Shine asked me if the science of willpower could be applied to a romantic addiction. Can research on other bad habits help you break the "ex" habit and move on for good? Never one to shy away from a willpower challenge, here's my best advice.

Why Can’t We Get Rid of Our Boss From Hell?

Do you have a boss who is a nightmare? Is your boss incompetent? A tyrant, who makes your workplace a stress factory? Do you wonder why they don't fire your boss-from-hell? Here is why (and what you can do about the situation).

Ego Fatigue and the Pull of the Present

By Marc Lewis Ph.D. on February 09, 2012 in Addicted Brains
In the field of addiction research, there has been increasing recognition that ego fatigue is a serious problem for recovering addicts. But I'd say that those of us who have been addicts are the real experts.

If Inability to Delay Gratification Causes Addiction—Uh, Oh!

By Stanton Peele on February 09, 2012 in Addiction in Society
A slew of books and articles (okay, a couple) seem to think that the American style of child-rearing creates kids unable to delay gratification. Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous? Ask Nora Volkow, Science (the journal), and Time Healthland—impulsiveness is a result of kids' brain structures. Once we fix those, none of us will become addicted!

Ernst Fleischl von Marxow (1846-1891)

How Freud got his friend Ernst Fleischl von Marxow addicted to cocaine and lied about it.

Nora Volkow Can't Explain Why People Don't Become Addicted

By Stanton Peele on February 07, 2012 in Addiction in Society
The latest study purporting to identify the inbred biological factors in addiction calls to mind age-old questions about the nature of science. We in America prefer neat-sounding—but useless—laboratory findings over identifying the factors that actually account for behavior.

Treating Depression With Deep Brain Stimulation

A recent paper in the Archives of General Psychiatry, a leading psychiatric journal, describes a study investigating deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of depression.

Self-Diagnosing Your Marriage Problems? Beware!

Eric Clapton's famed song suggests "Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself." To diagnose and fix problems that come up in your marriage, sit down and look inward instead of pointing fingers at your spouse's errors.

Psychological Diagnosis: Dangerous, Desirable, or Both?

Assigning a psychological diagnostic label to yourself or others can harm your emotional health. It can tarnish your relationships. At the same time, diagnostic clarity also can be a great benefit. Proceed with caution!

Do I "Wiki-Meet" Diagnostic Criteria for ADHD?

I read an article about ADHD and seem to have many of those symptoms. Does that mean that I have the disorder?

Video Game Addiction: Does It Occur? If So, Why?

By Peter Gray on February 02, 2012 in Freedom to Learn
The concept of "video game addiction" has been rejected by the American Psychiatric Association, by many video game researchers, and by many psychotherapists who work with video gamers. I reject it too. Here's why; and here's how you might help someone you know who spends lots of time at video games and seems unhappy.

Addicted to Lies

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on February 01, 2012 in Shadow Boxing
We're often surprised when people lie easily and persistently, even when it's clear they'll be exposed. Casey Anthony gained as much attention for this behavior as for her status as an alleged child-killer. What's behind it?

The Meaning of Recovery Has Changed, You Just Don't Know It

By Stanton Peele on February 01, 2012 in Addiction in Society
Do you think recovery equates to abstinence? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, recovery is "A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential." A bit different from the 12 steps version of recovery, wouldn't you say?

"Casual Sex" You Say?

By Lynn Phillips on January 31, 2012 in Dream On
The phrase “casual sex” turns out to be a most treacherously roomy category. It can include good sex, bad sex, safe sex, risky sex, sex alone or with others, sex with friends or strangers, sex with partners older or younger. But few who use the term seem to notice.

Is Anorexia a Disease, a Series of Bad Decisions, or Both?

By Emily T. Troscianko on January 31, 2012 in A Hunger Artist
Genetic and environmental factors in the development of anorexia, along with the feedback loops between the physiological and the psychological in its progression, make anorexia a difficult condition to recover from. However, everyday decisions also play a role, not only in becoming ill but also in bringing about recovery.

Can Facebook Boost Your Social Brain?

Social networks exist not only in the virtual world, but also in our brains. There’s evidence that the two might even be linked. Regions of the brain involved in social relationships seem to be larger in people with larger and more complex social networks.