Essential Reads

Risk of Relapse to Alcohol Drops After 5 Years of Sobriety

By Matthew MacKinnon MD on July 18, 2016 in Neuraptitude
New research reveals that a former alcoholic's risk of relapse after 5 years of sobriety is about the same as the risk of developing alcoholism in the general US population.

New Research Asks, “Does Why You Look at Porn Matter?”

A new study links “escapist porn use” to negative life consequences.

Misdiagnosis of a Behavioral Addiction

By Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Brian L. Odlaug, PhD, MPH, and Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD on July 12, 2016 in Why Can't I Stop?
Many people with behavioral addictions have been told that they have a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Why You Can’t Get Enough Sugar

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on July 11, 2016 in Cravings
There are many reasons why you crave sugary foods, and just as many reasons why you cave into your cravings.

More Posts on Addiction

Recovery Is Still Possible in Challenging Times

By Harris B Stratyner Ph.D., CASAC on January 28, 2009 in
These days, I am very mindful that while we begin 2009 with hope - tremendous uncertainty and fear seems to lurk around the corner. No wonder that first drink or drug is taken to self-medicate. 

Mindfulness and Unaddressed Patterns of Behavior

If you hold a small water balloon between your two hands and squeeze one side, the water has to go somewhere. This is a lovely global metaphor, as it is perfectly descriptive of the human experience. If we have a pattern of behavior and we clamp down on it without actually addressing its genesis, as well as its applicability or necessity in our lives, it tends to come out sideways. What this speaks to, in part, is our degree of mindfulness. 

Real Recovery Requires Life-Building

By Stanton Peele on January 25, 2009 in Addiction in Society
Addiction is like the tail wagging the dog, with the tail being a habit that dominates the person's whole life. Addiction therapy concentrates on the tail - cutting it off in abstinence therapy, making it smaller in behavioral treatment. But the real task is for the person to build a life - body and soul - that can't be wagged by even a very powerful tail.Here are the five elements to successful treatment and recovery:

AA's declining dogmatism

By Stanton Peele on January 19, 2009 in Addiction in Society
Although it might seem surprising for me to say so, responses to my post "Addiction Myth #4: moments of clarity lead ONLY to AA" actually indicate a decline in the dominance and dogmatism of AA in the 21st Century.

Aikido Politics

By Christopher Ryan Ph.D. on January 19, 2009 in Sex at Dawn
In aikido, you learn to care for, honor, and protect your opponent. The point is not to dominate, but to resolve the conflict with minimal damage to everyone involved. Obama gets that.

The Superbowl of Mind Control

By Steven Kotler on January 18, 2009 in The Playing Field
Tune into almost any sports radio show and they're filled with TV talk. Same thing with their television cohorts. Sports journalism has become de-facto advertisement for the rest for television, a shame since the thing that makes sports so wonderful is they're one of the only forms of spontaneous entertainment left.

Dogs as Therapists: The Case of Actor Mickey Rourke

 Mickey Rourke, winner of the 2009 Golden Globe award for best actor for his role in "The Wrestler", was saved from  suicidal depression by his dog Beau Jack.

Fatal Attraction in Paradise

By Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D. on January 08, 2009 in Evil Deeds
Joran van der Sloot is the now twenty-year-old young man suspected of being involved in the 2005 disappearance and probable death of Natalee Holloway in Aruba. Since being released by Aruban authorities with no formal charges pending against him, Joran has presented at least three different versions of what happened that night to Natalee on a dark, deserted Caribbean beach in the wee hours of the morning. 

Addiction IS a treatable disease

By Phil Newton on January 08, 2009 in From Mouse to Man

Trauma, Once Upon a Time

By Anneli Rufus on January 08, 2009 in Stuck
Memoirs recounting horrific traumas have become one of the most popular literary genres of the past decade. 

Seven Questions for David D. Burns

By Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP on January 07, 2009 in In Therapy
The author of the "most prescribed self-help book" has a lot to say about the Seven Questions. Brace yourself, he doesn't pull any punches.

Addiction Myth #3 -- addiction is a treatable disease

By Stanton Peele on January 07, 2009 in Addiction in Society
It is not that addicts don't get better - the vast majority do. But the disease theory actually does damage by conveying the image of addiction as an alien force that medical experts can remove. In fact, recovery is a natural process that helpers can encourage by building on existing forces in the addict's life.  George Vaillant is a world renown alcoholism expert who identified this truth, then became a spokesperson for Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 steps. When he determined that his 12-step program did no good, Vaillant concluded, "the best that can be said for our exciting treatment effort at Cambridge Hospital is that we were certainly not interfering with the normal recovery process."

Addiction Myth #2 -- alcoholics are addiction experts

By Stanton Peele on January 05, 2009 in Addiction in Society
Addiction differs from such DSM-IV disorders as, say, schizophrenia, in that having the condition qualifies a person as an expert. What alcohol does to me is reality, and so I know all about alcoholism. Susan Cheever, who added her 1999 book, Note Found in a Bottle, to the massive first-person literature on alcoholism, is considered an alcoholism expert, for example, by the Times' Proof blog. In truth, Ms. Cheevers' condition actually expresses her, and our cultural, confusion about alcoholism.

The Charlie Brown Christmas Blog

By David Pincus Ph.D. on December 24, 2008 in The Chaotic Life

Ads Instill "Addictude"

By Anneli Rufus on December 19, 2008 in Stuck
In all of our discussions about addiction, which is undeniably a devastating problem worldwide, what gets insufficient attention is the role that advertising plays in grooming us all to become addicts - whether to substances or behaviors - by imbuing us with a set of impulses, values and beliefs that I call "addictude." From infancy onward, ads teach us to crave. They teach us that there is no difference between "want" and "need." They trick us into believing that brand loyalty equals identity. They teach us that not getting what we want, and not getting it fast, is torture. They teach us that instant gratification is a basic human right. Ads teach us that restraint is a bad thing and that patience is ridiculous. Ads make us gullible, reckless, ruthless, dependent. Like addicts.

The New York Times on the DSM V

By Lennard J Davis on December 18, 2008 in Obsessively Yours

How the hell do you decide love is a tougher addiction than heroin?

By Stanton Peele on December 18, 2008 in Addiction in Society
Marc responded to my post "The seven hardest addictions to quit - love is the worst": "Nice post Stanton, and actually not that surprising to me are behavioural (addictions are worse) and NOT substance abuse problems. I'm curious though, what are your sources? How was this measured?"

Stuck in the Mud of De Nial, or Harm Reducer in Chief?

By Stanton Peele on December 08, 2008 in Addiction in Society
Let's see, which of my views on addiction is least popular? That most heroin, cocaine, and crack users don't become addicted, and only a small minority of addicts remain addicted? That most alcoholics reduce their drinking over their life spans? That most smokers, alcoholics, and drug addicts recover without treatment? I know - that reducing smoking is possible and healthy (that is, healthier than not reducing it).Recent presidents have been a boon for my crazy views - George W. quit drinking and smoking on his own (okay, with a religious epiphany). Barack Obama quit his early drug use when he got serious about life. Now, Barack is tackling the biggest taboo of all - cutting out his cigarette addiction but not quitting smoking altogether! 

Addictive-Driving Ads -- Detroit Fouls the Environment

By Stanton Peele on November 18, 2008 in Addiction in Society
As the big three automakers beg for American taxpayers to rescue them because they are going bankrupt, they claim they are busy developing innovative cars that will save the environment. Yet their ads are still replete with people driving gas-guzzling monstrosities fouling the earth while they are intoxicated with addictive sensations of speed and power.

Sex Addiction? An Obsession? A Disease?

By Lennard J Davis on November 04, 2008 in Obsessively Yours

Candidates Debate -- Who Has the Worst Trauma?

By Stanton Peele on October 27, 2008 in Addiction in Society
Candidates debate who has it worst!