Essential Reads

American Masculinity and Drugs

Changing relationship between men and their transitional object

Emotion Regulation

Conditioned Emotional Responses Become Habits

Why Are the Candy Crushes of the World Dominating Our Lives?

Darwin goes searching for the gas pedal in this evolutionary phenomenon of his.

The Pain Mess

Treatment of chronic pain is a scandal

Recent Posts on Addiction

DSM-5 Controversy Rages On in the Bereavement Community

With normal grief, you can muster your coping skills and still function when necessary. Over time, you adjust and reengage with your life and the people around you. But what happens if you crawl into the cave of grief, and lose sight of the light at its entrance? What if you find yourself giving up in despair, stuck and perhaps falling deeper and deeper into the abyss?

The People Hurt by Sex Addiction

By David J Ley Ph.D. on March 21, 2012 in Women Who Stray
A woman's son was told he was a sex addict, and it must be because he was sexually abused. But was he? Or is this just more evidence of the unethical and dangerous use of the sex addiction label?

Why People Get Better

By Stanton Peele on March 21, 2012 in Addiction in Society
While durable personality traits in people—partly inherited—might seem to be limiting factors in life, the personality characteristic of novelty-seeking seems to be a moving target. Once seen as the root of addiction and crime, it is now perceived as a way of maintaining fresh outlooks and approaches to life as people mature.

The Family Meal

I recently prepared a lecture on parenting from a positive psychology perspective. Although psychologists have had much to say about parenting, often the focus has been on eliminating undesirable actions on the part of kids, like talking back, tantrums, and tattling. These behaviors are of course annoying, but what about encouraging desirable actions?

Can't Get In: Barriers to Addiction Treatment Entry

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on March 20, 2012 in All About Addiction
What keeps people who need it out of addiction treatment? Barriers inside and out, that's what! But there's quite a bit we can do about it, and several occurrences where we don't need to.

All in the Family. Is materialism in your genes?

Given the implications for individuals and society in general, it certainly seems like we should be striving to determine the sources of materialistic desires and tendencies. And yet, there is no consensus about the origins or causes of materialism. Do materialistic desires result from our upbringing? Our culture? Our genes?

Self-Control: (a) Innate, or (b) Dependent on Mom and Dad?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on March 18, 2012 in Moral Landscapes
A recent study shows that non-addict siblings of drug addicts have similar deficits in circuitry for self-control (Ersche et al., 2012). The study has been reported as indicative of inborn capacities for self-control. BIG MISTAKE.

Does ‘No Such Thing As Bad Publicity’ Apply To Psychologists?

Psychologists who appear in the media is a topic of much debate, especially since there is no such thing as isolated 'mass' media anymore. Bad publicity is pretty clearly bad for professionals, but no publicity or presence can be bad too when people use the Internet to check the legitimacy of services and information and can’t find you.

Emotional Habits: The Key to Addiction

Last night at the dinner table I shared my working theory of emotional habits with the kids. The kids nodded patiently. It's another one of Mom's theories.

Workaholism and the myth of hard work

By Ray Williams on March 15, 2012 in Wired for Success
Workaholism is the respectable addiction in our society but it's costing organizations in terms of loss of productivity, poor relationships and employee engagement.

The Perfect Republican Politician and Drug Addiction

By Stanton Peele on March 15, 2012 in Addiction in Society
Christine Whitman, twice elected governor of blue state New Jersey, is a paragon of moderate Republicanism. That she rejected her own AIDS Commission's recommendation to institute clean-needle programs for heroin addicts hasn't hurt her sterling reputation, although it led to the U.S.'s highest rate of H.I.V. infection among women and children.

Shame, Blame and Eating Disorders

For parents or loved ones of someone with an eating disorder, accepting responsibility is often the first step in the recovery process. In no way does this assign shame or blame, which is in fact counterproductive. Instead, it is a critical steps in helping the sufferer and family heal together.

Lovers' Dreams: Are They Always Illusions?

Romantic love involves seeing the person that you love as embodying your personal ideals of manhood or womanhood. In romance, idealization is part of the deal. Romance often, but not always, involves a fantasy of a perfect love. Idealization is different from fantasy.

Addiction Research — Who Are We Studying?

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on March 12, 2012 in All About Addiction
When reading about addiction research, it's important to consider the subjects we're studying in the first place. Our participants may not be who you'd expected.

Kooky American Positions X: Drug Legalization

By Stanton Peele on March 12, 2012 in Addiction in Society
The United States is an incredible force for repression worldwide, no better example of which is our international drug policy and undermining of governments that want to try alternatives.

After Brain Injury: The Dark Side of Personality Change Part 2

When anger and agitation are ongoing problems after brain injury, life can get dangerous. Dangerous for the survivor, and for the family caregiver.

Adolescence and Addiction

Addictive use of alcohol and other drugs tends to be associated with later adolescence.

Unemployed and Stressed Out

Ignoring the stress you may be experiencing is not in your best interest and won't necessarily get you another job faster.

Addicted to Facebook? Take the Quiz and Find Out

By Pamela Cytrynbaum on March 08, 2012 in Because I'm the Mom
A new study says social media like Facebook and Twitter are more addictive than cigarettes or alcohol.

Girls Get Called "Slut" Everyday

Girls get called "slut" every day. My students are so used to getting bullied and harassed they can't imagine a school without bullying. The repercussions are growing however, even as students become more resigned.

The War of the Addiction Worlds

By Stanton Peele on March 08, 2012 in Addiction in Society
While the "chronic brain disease" meme dominates American views of addiction, there are actually four such world views at war in our collective consciousness. Which one prevails will determine not only American drug policy, but our psychological future and clinical practice.

Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy

Trauma-informed expressive arts therapy is based on the idea that art expression is helpful in reconnecting implicit (sensory) and explicit (declarative) memories of trauma. Here is a primer to get you started.

Sensitive Children: Do They Struggle With Depression More?

By Maureen D Healy on March 06, 2012 in Creative Development
Children want to be happy and avoid pain. This is no new news. But highly sensitive children experience their emotional worlds more intensely.

Will Our Children Have It Better Than We Do?

By Marc Freedman on March 06, 2012 in The Encore Years
A recent poll by AARP found that Americans in the second half of life worry that they will be the first generation in American history to leave things worse off for the next generation. I know I do.

Adolescence and Aging Out of High School Early

Some students are ready to graduate high school before four years.

Why Mad Men Doesn't Make Us (Too) Mad

Watching people act badly on television gives us a sense of elation. We can project our fears onto the characters we view, thereby creating distance from their behavior. Mad Men is one of those shows whose characters we love to hate.

Are You Sure You Want a Habit?

Is creating new habits the solution to changing bad behavior? Unfortunately, we aren't so easily programmed (or deprogrammed).