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  • A Mirror for The Language of Addiction

    Posted on October 13, 2017
    Using Treatment Jargon to Describe Treatment By Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. The insulting, dehumanizing rhetoric of the addiction ‘treatment’ industry never ceases to amaze and dishearten.  People who are hurting and vulnerable are called manipulative, junkie liars so often that such language is widely accepted and implemented in treatment settings by so-called professionals.  What if we fought fire with fire and the same critical, cruel language used to ‘shame addicts into change’ was mirrored back to describe the addiction treatment industry?  Well, let us indulge the imagination a bit and give the addiction treatment industry a taste of its own medicine… (Note: the following is not intended to be a true representation of addiction treatment, it is merely an imaginative exercise to...
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  • Addiction and Society: Snowflakes and a Culture of Outrage

    Posted on June 23, 2017
    Snowflakes and Addiction: A Culture of Outrage by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. In today’s culture of outrage everything seems to be offensive to someone.  The term ‘snowflake’ is generally viewed as derogatory and refers to people who are entitled, genuinely distressed by ideas that run contrary to their worldview, and carry an inflated sense of their own uniqueness.  Fair or not, millennials are increasingly referred to as the snowflake generation.  Some argue that “snowflakes” are created by “helicopter parents,” who tiptoe around the sensitivities of their children and shield them from the realities of life.  With much still unknown about the implications of insulating oneself from the discomfort of encountering competing ideas, one question worth asking is:  “Is there a relationship ...
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  • Why Do People Use Drugs? The Relationship Between Emotions and Addiction, pt. 6: Happiness

    Posted on April 14, 2017
    Why Do People Use Drugs? The Relationship Between Emotions and Addiction, pt. 6: Happiness by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. The final topic of our in-depth exploration of each core emotion is happiness.  Happiness is the most pleasurable, desired, pursued, elusive, mercurial emotion of all.  If happiness is so pleasurable and desired then it can’t be a reason people use drugs, right?  Wrong.  People often use drugs to both achieve and sustain happiness and the drugs work, sort of.  As Tolstoy astutely observed, there appear to be many more ways not to be happy than there are ways to be happy.  Drugs are one method people employ to feel happy.  Therefore, understanding happiness is vital to understanding addiction. Did you miss part 5 of this series? Learn about the relationship betwee...
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  • Why Do People Use Drugs? The Relationship Between Emotions and Addiction, pt. 5: Fear

    Posted on April 7, 2017
    Why Do People Use Drugs? The Relationship Between Emotions and Addiction, pt: 5: Fear by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. This week fear is the topic that continues our in-depth exploration of each core emotion. Why do people use drugs?  Often times, people use drugs to assuage fear and alleviate anxiety.  In healthy doses, many researchers consider fear to be the most vital and motivating emotion.  In excessive doses, fear fuels much dysfunctional, disabling, and destructive behavior. Missed last week's post? Learn about the relationship between addiction and disgust here. Normal, healthy fear prepares and empowers us.  Physiologically, fear arouses muscle tension, perspiration, stomach butterflies, and dry mouth.  Fear primes the release of adrenaline and readies us to run, fight, o...
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  • Why Do People Use Drugs? The Relationship Between Emotions and Addiction, pt. 4: Disgust

    Posted on March 31, 2017
    Why Do People Use Drugs? The Relationship Between Emotions and Addiction, pt. 4: Disgust by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. This week disgust is the topic that continues our in-depth exploration of each core emotion.  Believe it or not, disgust is often an answer to the question, ‘why do people use drugs?’  Disgust is the most generalizable of the core emotions (stepping on an earthworm when barefoot is almost universally experienced as disgusting).  When disgust is self-directed it forms the core of many emotional and psychological disturbances.  Despite its universality and significance in wellbeing, disgust is the most under-researched core emotion. Missed pt. 3 of this series? Learn more about the link between sadness and addiction here. In evolutionary terms, disgust evolved to ...
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  • Why Do People Use Drugs? The Relationship Between Emotions and Addiction, pt. 3: Sadness

    Posted on March 24, 2017
    Why Do People Use Drugs? The Relationship Between Sadness and Addiction by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. This week sadness is the topic that continues our in-depth exploration of each core emotion.  If you ever wonder, ‘why do people use drugs?’ sadness is often an answer.  Many of the most painful emotions (e.g. grief, bereavement, mourning) and debilitating disorders (e.g. major depression) are rooted in sadness.  Humans often put forth valiant efforts to avoid and ward off sadness and its related emotions.  However, sadness is not inherently negative and efforts to avoid it are often destructive because sadness is crucial to the human experience. Did you miss part 2 of this series? Explore the relationship between anger and addiction here. Sadness generally features an appraisal...
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  • Why Do People Use Drugs? The Relationship Between Emotions and Addiction, pt. 2: Anger

    Posted on March 17, 2017
    Why Do People Use Drugs? The Relationship Between Emotions and Addiction, pt. 2: Anger by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. For the first in-depth look at each core emotion we begin with anger.  Few would object that anger is one answer to the question, ‘why do people use drugs?’  Anger tends to conjure potent associations like violence, hatred, and destruction, but anger is not all bad.  Sometimes substance use helps suppress and manage anger, other times substance use helps facilitate the release of anger.  Anger and substance use certainly have a storied history (stereotypes of ‘angry drunks’ are abundant).  This article investigates the nature of anger and its relationship to substance use. Missed last week's article? Learn more about the relationship between substance use and emotion...
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  • Recovery from Addiction: Forgiving Yourself

    Posted on April 8, 2016
    Learning to forgive yourself in recovery is essential. Learning to forgive yourself is essential as you begin to do more self-healing in your recovery.  We often have a tendency to hold ourselves to such strict standards that we find no reason or justification to forgive ourselves.  Maybe you’ve found yourself in a certain situation, able to forgive someone else for even the harshest of pains yet you may be torturing yourself over a lesser offense. It is common to hold on to past mistakes that we feel are not forgivable out of fear of forgetting the hurt and repeating the behavior. So, we torture ourselves by replaying the feelings, punishment or guilt over and over again.  Staying in this cycle keeps us stuck. It is nearly impossible to truly move through the stages of healing while h...
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  • A Look at Irrational Beliefs

    Posted on March 10, 2016
    Irrational beliefs are those that are untrue, don’t make sense, or are harmful to us. While we all have some irrational beliefs, we can learn to recognize them and challenge them. Here are some common types of irrational beliefs that can cause negative feelings and fuel addictive behaviors. 1. Demands—Telling yourself that you “must” or “should” do something often leads to frustration and emotional distress. Having overly rigid demands on yourself or others can lead to disappointment when those demands are not met. Instead, try telling yourself that you “want” or “would like” to do something. 2. Over-generalizations—This is also known as “all or nothing” thinking. Believing that you “always” or “never” do something may lead to feelings of frustration and helplessness. Instead, rec...
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  • We Can Get Addicted to Anything

    Posted on March 3, 2016
    Addictions typically develop to substances or activities that make us feel good. For instance, alcohol can relax us and cocaine can make us feel energized and happy. Substances that influence emotion because of their biochemical effects are called psychoactive. Even substances which are not “biochemically psychoactive” can become “psychologically psychoactive” because of learned associations to them. For instance, someone who drinks water after every workout might associate water and relaxation. Or an herbal tea (which has no caffeine) might be associated with peacefulness or relaxation. To help clarify the significance of substances or activities making us feel good, let’s make a comparison to something that makes us feel bad: phobias. Most of us are exposed to elevators, freeway dr...
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