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  • The Opiate Epidemic: Solving the Crisis

    Posted on August 25, 2017
    How to Solve the Opioid Crisis by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. In an age when Americans agree on few things, an issue that unites us toward a common goal could be deeply and profoundly healing. On the costs of the opioid crisis in America, there is little disagreement. People from both sides of the aisle, all walks of life, and every socio-economic stratum are affected by the opioid epidemic. Even President Trump and former President Obama agree on this issue, with the former recently calling (but not officially declaring) the opioid crisis a national emergency and the latter recognizing it as an epidemic. While many agree the opioid crisis is a major problem, there is a need for increasing clarity and agreement on how to solve it. Officially Declare a National Emergency The first step...
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  • The War on Drugs: History and Implications

    Posted on May 5, 2017
    The War on Drugs: History and Implications by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. The Politics of Consciousness Few political issues today are sources of unity and shared vision.  Politics has become vehemently binary to the point that extremes on both sides see opposing views as subhuman.  In the current climate of ‘us and them,’ drugs may be one of the few remaining topics that many people from both sides of the aisle can agree upon.  Ending the drug war aligns with advocates for limited government, human rights, conservative economics, and liberal social policy.  However, as the war drums currently pound for a renewed call to arms in an impossible war, an in-depth analysis of the war on drugs is important for anyone who chooses to use  substances or knows someone who does. This article di...
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  • State of the Addiction Treatment Field: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go

    Posted on March 13, 2017
    State of the Addiction Treatment Field: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go by Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP The following article is based on the presentation I gave at the Evolution of Addiction Treatment Conference in Los Angeles, February 2-5, in a Keynote Panel Presentation entitled “State of the field address: Where we are and where we need to go.” I was one of seven presenters. We each had up to 15 minutes. The entire presentation lasted two hours, including a brief discussion period at the end. The two presenters before me were not proposing the radical changes I was, so I began by addressing the fact that my presentation was likely to be an outlier in this group. I want to focus primarily on where we need to go. If you work from a disease model, 12-step, abstinence only fra...
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  • Highlights from The Surgeon General's Report

    Posted on January 26, 2017
    Alcohol, Drugs, and Health: Highlights from The Surgeon General's Report Tom Horvath, Ph.D., and Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, released in November, has received considerable attention. The massive effort involved in creating this document is in itself worthy of respect. The opening pages list seven science editors, three managing editors, five contributing editors, 21 contributing authors, one science writer, 117 reviewers, and 10 other contributors (these individuals apparently being mostly involved in production). The professionals involved include many of the most important individuals in the fields of addiction and recovery. You may have heard the expression that a camel is a horse that was des...
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  • Addiction as a Brain Disease? Cherry-Picking the Surgeon General's Report

    Posted on December 2, 2016
    Addiction as a Brain Disease? Cherry-Picking the Surgeon General’s Report by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. The Surgeon General’s “landmark” report is generating a fair amount of media attention and discussion.  While it is valuable that substance use and related issues are receiving more attention, the aspects of the report receiving the lion’s share of the limelight are disappointing. Yes it is a true, as many media stories highlight, the report refers to addiction as a chronic brain disease multiple times – 10 times in 428 pages by my count.  Unfortunately, the reporting stops there.  What is not covered in the media is that the Surgeon General’s report specifically states that addiction is a chronic brain disease, and the term addiction refers only to the most severe form of subst...
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  • The Biggest Lies in Recovery, Pt. VI: Addiction as a Disease

    Posted on November 4, 2016
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. This week’s topic is the sixth and final installment in a series exploring lies that have permeated the recovery culture.  Thus far, lies about success, failure, everyone in recovery being the same, shaming, and labeling have been challenged.  While there are many more lies than six that have infiltrated the consciousness of recovery, I am forcing myself to stop here.  This final article may have saved the most controversial topic for last.  This article challenges the lie that we know “addiction” is a disease. There is no consensus amongst professionals or conclusive research that puts an end to the lively debate over whether or not “addiction” is a disease.  What research does show, however, is that believing “addiction” is a disease combined with a la...
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  • What if the insurance companies are right?

    Posted on August 12, 2016
    By Reya Kost, Psy.D. According to Fonthill Counseling, “Insurance companies count on your ignorance, laziness and distractibility to avoid paying for services they are legally obligated to cover.”  Any person who has been responsible for getting treatment authorized, or utilization review, will tell you it is like going to battle.  The treatment staff is armed with what they believe is undeniable evidence of their client meeting “medical necessity.”  The insurance caremanager is tasked with finding anyway possible to justify a lower level of care, hence a lower payout, for the insurance providers.  For any veteran of the rehab industry, this is a tale as old as time.  “It’s not enough time.” “How can they expect someone to make it after only a week?”  “They have barely finished detox...
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  • The Stigma of Addiction and the Inadvertent Contribution of the Recovery Community

    Posted on June 21, 2016
    Does the recovery community inadvertently contribute to the stigma of addiction? by Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP Although the recovery community opposes stigmatizing individuals with addiction, the widespread use of the labels “addict” and “alcoholic,” and the view that addiction is a disease, actually contribute to the stigma of addiction. Alternative language, suggested here, could work against stigma rather than contribute to it. What is stigma? The Oxford English Dictionary defines stigma as 1) “a mark made upon the skin by burning with a hot iron (rarely, by cutting or pricking) as a token of infamy or subjection,” 2) “a mark of disgrace or infamy; a sign of severe censure or condemnation, regarded as impressed on a person or thing; a ‘brand,’” (this meaning is introduced as...
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  • Addiction is a Habit Not a Disease

    Posted on January 14, 2016
    Addiction as a Disease In the traditional addiction approach, which used by almost all treatment programs and support groups in the United States, addiction is a medical and spiritual problem. Attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other 12-step groups is seen as necessary for recovery. AA’s 12 steps describe how recovery occurs by turning over one’s will and one’s life to the care of a higher power (God, as understood by each individual). A Fresh Perspective But there is an alternative viewpoint, in which addiction in its varying degrees is an extreme version of habit. Overcoming addiction then occurs using the same processes by which one changes other habits. To be sure, severe addiction can result in horrendous consequences, but even severe addiction can be changed using normal hu...
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  • Is Addiction a Disease?

    Posted on January 14, 2016
    Is Addiction a Disease? If you believe addiction is a disease, you won’t like this article.  I am writing for individuals who are not sure what to believe about addiction.  My hope is to persuade you that addiction is not a disease, but a type of habit you can learn to change just as you change other habits. With the substantial attention given lately to pictures of the brain on drugs, it would be easy to overlook the fact that the brain will look different moment to moment, and that anything we do (or take into our bodies) will show up somehow in a brain picture.  That different parts of the brain “light up” for different experiences is a basic fact of interest to neuroscientists, but what does it mean? Is addiction a disease? Then How Do You Stop? Let’s approach the question...
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