Addiction is Not a Disease; It is Learned by the Brain and Can Be Unlearned

Salon discusses the ideas of neuroscientist Marc Lewis, a psychologist, former addict, and author of the book, The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease. More →

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Many Physicians Don’t Understand Key Facts about Prescription Opioid Addictions

A Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health survey of 1000 US primary care physicians found that many do not understand important facts about the addictive nature of the opioids they are prescribing or about how people become addicted to them. The study was published in The Clinical Journal of Pain. More →

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Researchers Gain Insight into Stimulant Effects on Brain

In what a press release described as "a major advance in the field of neuropsychiatry," researchers from Oregon Health & Science University said they believe that they have gained a clearer understanding of precisely how cocaine, amphetamines and related psychostimulant drugs "disrupt the normal functioning of the dopamine transporter in the brain." The study appeared in Nature. More →

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Does Substance Abuse Lead to Homelessness or Vice Versa?

There are strong links between substance abuse and homelessness, according to three Australian researchers writing in Social Science & Medicine. However, they argue, contrary to common beliefs, there seem to be no causal relationships between the two, with the possible exception of "risky" alcohol consumption. More →

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A Review of Issues Surrounding Marijuana and Madness

In Psychiatric Times, Robin Murray discusses a number of studies and what the balance of evidence seems to be saying about the relationship between cannabis use and increased risk of short or long-term psychotic reactions in some people. More →

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Critics Attack Headline-making Marijuana-Psychosis Study

In letters to The Lancet Psychiatry, James Coyne and others criticize a UK study for deliberately trying to be politically manipulative. The study made global headlines this year with a finding that smoking high potency marijuana tripled the risk of developing psychosis and schizophrenia. More →

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Brain Drugs and Corporate Climbers

Both the New York Observer and New York Times investigate the rise of the use of "cognitive enhancement" and energy-increasing psychiatric drugs among stressed workers and ambitious executives. More →

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“My Road to Hell was Paved with Xanax”

In Salon, Ashley Zlatopolsky writes about how receiving a common benzodiazepine from a doctor for anxiety led to a severe, problematic addiction. More →

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Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work?

The Atlantic investigates the scientific evidence -- and lack thereof -- for Alcoholics Anonymous and other types of addiction treatment. More →

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One-sixth of College Students Misuse ADHD Stimulants

About 17% of college students take stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, primarily because they believe the drugs will help them improve their academic performance, according to a meta-analysis published in Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. More →

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Highly Praised Anti-Addiction Program For Prisoners Was “Fraud”

A medical study that was widely hailed in Swedish media and led to new treatment guidelines was a "fraud," states health reporter and researcher Janne Larsson. The study involved giving prisoners high doses of the ADHD drug Concerta to help "treat" addiction. More →

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Quitting Smoking More Effective than Antidepressants

Quitting smoking is in some ways more strongly associated with improvements in people's mental health than is the use of antidepressant medications, according to research in BMJ Open. More →

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Towards a Ban on Psychiatrically Diagnosing and Drugging Children

Instead of hope and enthusiasm for their futures, too many children now grow up believing they are inherently defective, and controlled by bad genes and biochemical imbalances. They are shackled by the idea that they have ADHD and then subdued by the drugs that inevitably go along with the diagnosis. Unless something intervenes, many of them will go on to pass their days on Earth in a drug-impaired, demoralized state.
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Personal Stories Are Carefully Edited During Addiction Treatment

People's perceptions of their own life stories are carefully and methodically changed during the course of treatment for drug addiction, according to an ethnographic study published in Sociology of Health and Illness. And some self-perceptions and stories are significantly less welcomed by treatment providers. More →

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Is Addiction a Brain Disease? — Debating the 12-Step Model

Dr. Lance Dodes and Dr. Joseph Nowinski debate the disease-based model of addiction and the 12-step approach in The Fix. More →

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Why Mental Health Systems Should Be Organized Under Alcohol and Drug Systems

While I was in charge of the public systems for both mental health and addictions in Oregon, I found it a challenge to maintain an equal focus on alcohol/drug problems compared to mental health. One big reason for the emphasis on mental health was that the mental health budget was big, about 6 times greater than that for addictions. And that doesn’t even count the hidden funding for psychiatric drugs which probably added another 30 or 40% to mental health —atypical antipsychotics are a lot more expensive than Antabuse.
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Most People Who Use Drugs Don’t Become Addicted — And Why That’s Important

The former CEO of the UK's National Treatment Agency explains in The Conversation why the vast majority of people who use addictive drugs don't ever become addicted, and why that's important when it comes to developing social policy. More →

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Playpen Rats Making Popular Comeback, Defy the Brain-disease Model of Addiction

Three University of Queensland addictions experts challenge last year's Nature editorial that claimed there is a scientific "consensus" that addiction is a brain disease. There is better evidence, the authors state, to support a social model of addiction. And parts of their evidence -- the 1970s experiments with rats in constructed play-parks in Vancouver -- are re-visited in a new book. More →

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The Substance of Substance Use: Talking About Marijuana, Alcohol, and Other Drugs

When I was locked in a psychiatric hospital, I wasn’t able to have much of a conversation with my parents about what was going on. Phone calls were tense and filled with silence, and as I stood at the ward payphone I was so confused and frozen in fear that each call just confirmed to them how lost I was. Every day as a patient centered around the various prescriptions I was on, and like so many people suffering in a psychosis, helping me became a wait to “find the right combination of medications.”
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Long-term Painkiller Use on Rise, 1/3rd Dangerously Mix with Anti-anxiety Meds

About 9% fewer Americans are using prescription opioids than were five years ago, but those people are taking more of the drugs for longer periods of time, according to a study by pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts reported in FiercePharma. And nearly one-third are being put in serious risk of overdose death by taking the opioids alongside prescriptions for benzodiazepine sedatives, stated the New York Times. More →

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CDC: Most Heavy Drinkers Need Higher Taxes, Not Treatment

MinnPost reports on a recent study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that nearly a third of American adults drink excessive amounts of alcohol, but only 10 percent of them are alcoholics. "That’s a surprising finding," comments MinnPost. "For the prevailing assumption has been that most people who drink excessively are alcohol dependent... The new CDC finding also has important public-health implications, for it suggests that most excessive drinkers don’t need to be treated for addiction." More →

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Why Do So Many Ignore that Most Addictions are Temporary?

On Substance.com, Maia Szalavitz discusses her own experiences with addiction, and examines the research that suggests addiction is less a chronic disease of the brain and more a passing creature of age and circumstance. More →

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Can Psychedelics Help End Addictions with One Dose?

Q13 Fox News discusses recent research giving psychedelics to people struggling with alcohol or cigarettes. David Nutt, an Imperial College London neuro-psychopharmacologist "thinks psilocybin could be a game-changer," reports Fox, when "used as part of a therapeutic package where the mind-altering and confronting nature of psychedelics are combined with therapy to treat people within just one or two doses of treatment." More →

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Peter Gøtzsche Tells Daily Show, Big Pharma Like Drug Cartels

MIA Foreign Correspondent Peter Gøtzsche, author of the book Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime, was interviewed on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night as part of a feature about the pharmaceutical industry and the marketing of prescription addictions. More →

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Doctors Rarely Warn about Benzo Withdrawal

The Boston Globe interviews people who became ever more severely dependent on sedating benzodiazepines without realizing it, because as they tried to stop taking the drugs they thought their withdrawal symptoms were actually symptoms of underlying anxiety problems. “My anxiety was getting worse; I was getting dizzy spells; I was getting sick more often, and my capacity to deal with stress was less,” Alison Page told the Globe. “I thought I had a worsening anxiety disorder.” More →

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