Essential Reads

A Startling Update on Addiction

New research suggests it's not about the pleasure, it's about the craving

Is Fitspiration Bad For You?

The psychological impact of viewing thin and muscular ideals

Self-Deception Has Many Faces

Self-deception involves incongruity between beliefs, actions, and the world

The Mindful Geek

A Radically New Way to Quit Smoking

Recent Posts on Addiction

Detoxing after Detox: The Perils of Post-Acute Withdrawal

Detoxification is only the first of a two phase process of withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs. A common misconception is that soon after the offending substances are out of the body, life will get noticeably better and “normal” functioning will return. If only that were true.

The Painful Effects of Smoking

Many people who suffer from chronic pain are cigarette smokers. In fact, recent epidemiological and clinical data indicate that the prevalence of smoking among those in pain may be up to twice the rate found in the general population.

10 Wishes What Loved Ones of Addicts Really Want

By Fran Simone Ph.D. on May 26, 2015 in A Family Affair
If you are related to or in a relationship with someone who abuses alcohol or drugs, life can be filled with many highs and lows. What are some TRUE DESIRES that you might have in common with someone else going through the same process of acceptance and self-help?

Religion and Addiction: Void-Fillers?

By Marc Lewis Ph.D. on May 26, 2015 in Addicted Brains
When addicts face the prospect of permanent abstinence, they stare into a frightening abyss. But that's not so different from the experience of religious people who are losing their faith. For both, the neural circuitry of desire has been harnessed to a fundamental need for connection. And that's a terrible thing to lose.

Reflections on ‘Montage of Heck’

Cobain is the poster child for emotional devastation. And yet, at the same time, there is something in his music which resonates powerfully with his generation. This documentary affords us a view as to how it all got established and played itself out – his pain, his shame, his his inability to relate, his drug addiction, his art, his suicide.

TV Binge Watching Disorder

Hi, I'm Larry, and I Binge Watch TV

No Way Did I Want to Die

Adolescents want to feel pleasure, takes risks and be social. Add in a brain that is impulsive and emotional and you have a set up for potential addiction. This is a story about just such a teen.

Four Tips for Loving Someone with Depression

What do you say and how do you help someone who has depression? What do you do when you fear your loved one’s depression may be turning suicidal? There are many ways you can help.

Pew on Pot and What We Can Learn from Portugal

At the addiction treatment center I founded and serve, we treat people without thought of whether or not their drug of choice is legal or illegal.

Understanding Nomophobia: Just Something Else to Worry About

My appreciation of the connection and conveniences offered by my smartphone might qualify as a pathology. That’s right folks, according to a recent study, I may have a disorder called nomophobia, which means that I get anxious, fearful and stressed out if and when I’m unable to access or use my smartphone.

The Changing Face of the Heroin Addict

Heroin use is spiking across the United States, especially among middle-class populations without prior history of use.

Alcohol Does More Harm Than Heroin or Crack

By Temma Ehrenfeld on May 21, 2015 in Open Gently
We talk about secondhand smoke, but not about "secondhand alcohol abuse," the harm alcohol abusers do to everyone else.

A Startling Update on Addiction

By Denise Cummins Ph.D. on May 20, 2015 in Good Thinking
A growing body of research suggests addiction to certain drugs may be more about avoiding cravings than seeking pleasure.

Is Addiction Really a Medical Problem? It's Complicated

By Temma Ehrenfeld on May 20, 2015 in Open Gently
Addiction, like most health issues, arises from personal choices, physical weakness, and social context.

Pot’s Evolution: How the Drug Has Changed Over the Years

It’s a topic of near-constant conversation in our communities; “Should marijuana be legalized?” In an increasing number of states, the answer is yes. But the debates are clouded by a great deal of misinformation.

How Prescription Pain Meds Hijack Your Brain

In this post, I’d like to explore the science of chronic pain and paint a picture that shows how the brain operates on opiates.

Game On

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on May 19, 2015 in In Excess
In January 2015, a 32-year old male gamer was found dead at a Taiwanese Internet café following a non-stop three-day gaming session. I have spent nearly three decades studying video game addiction — but what turns a hobby into a health risk? Find out more in this article on Internet Gaming Disorder.

Cannabis Addiction Is Linked to Higher Levels of Cortisol

Heavy marijuana use may trigger a stress response that increases cortisol levels.

Behavioral Economics and Health / Part 1

How a short term pleasure, like a cigarette, trumps having a long life.

How Do Drugs Hijack Your Brain?

Occasional use of certain drugs can trigger structural changes in your brain that make some people more likely to become addicts.

Prom Night and the Kids Are Going to Drink: What Do You Do?

Early exposure to alcohol in the home can be harmful to children if it leads to drunkenness, but coaching kids on how to drink responsibly at the prom may keep them safer than just preaching abstinence.

Is Fitspiration Bad For You?

If viewing extremely toned bodies slapped with sentences making us feel guilty for stomaching anything other than a steamed vegetable does galvanize us to go for a jog, is that really so bad?

Why's It So Hard to Quit Smoking? Neuroscience Has New Clues

Neuroscientists have pinpointed specific brain regions that explain why smoking is one of the hardest habits to kick.

Wired To Eat For All The Wrong Reasons

If you don’t understand that evolution has wired you to eat sugary carbohydrates in order to self-soothe and calm you, then you will never be able to control your appetite. Find out what role neuroscience plays in our food cravings...

One Billion People Share This Addiction. Are You Among Them?

The global statistics on substance abuse and addiction are surprising. One billion people around the world share a common addiction. Are you one of them?

8 Reasons It's So Tough to Overcome a Bad Childhood

Trauma experienced in childhood has special power to wound and can often lead to alcohol and drug use as a way to numb the pain or, conversely, to feel something, as those of us in the addiction treatment field know too well. But help is available and the recovery process can be helped along with an understanding of the things that so commonly get in the way of healing.

Break the Self-Betrayal Habit

By Kimberly Key on May 12, 2015 in Counseling Keys
People generally fear the disapproval of others—society, family, a first crush, bullies, or fear being different and alone. To compensate, sometimes people will work harder to acquire money and possessions, sex, love, food, alcohol, drugs, constant relocating and starting over, and/or isolating. Here is what you can do to identify and heal the source so many bad habits.

Episodic Memories

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on May 12, 2015 in In Excess
Over the past year I have been interviewed a couple of times about the seeming increase in ‘binge watching’ of DVD box sets of television series. But what is it that makes us sit down and watch a whole television series on one day back-to-back? What is the psychology behind 'box set bingeing?'

8 Ways to Boost Your Self-Control

By Temma Ehrenfeld on May 11, 2015 in Open Gently
Some research-tested self-discipline strategies--like gargling sugar-water--aren't obvious.

A Woman's Father is Key To Her Power

By Mark Matousek on May 09, 2015 in Ethical Wisdom
The daughter of an alcoholic, Greatest Generation pilot father was shocked when he called her to his deathbed for a series of life-changing exchanges that healed their relationship and freed Pythia Peay as a woman. Deeply moving, universal, and wise.