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  • The Future of Addiction Treatment

    Posted on September 8, 2017
    Alternatives to Abstinence Will Be Mainstream by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Step aside ‘abstinence-only,’ your monopoly on addiction treatment is finally coming to an end.  It has taken some time, decades even, for practical approaches to recovery to gain respect and prominence.  Finally, with an opioid epidemic in full swing, treatment rooted in approaches that are nearly a century old, and rehabs crumbling under the scandal of insurance scams, the climate in addiction treatment is on a fulcrum tipping towards change.  This article explores some of the exciting changes on the horizon of addiction treatment. For nearly a century, addiction treatment has been plagued by the erroneous beliefs that most people fail, that only one outcome is viable (total abstinence), and that only one ...
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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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  • Mushroom Therapy for Addiction Treatment

    Posted on May 26, 2017
    Mushroom Therapy for Addiction Treatment by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Psilocybin: The Magic in the Mushroom Empirical research supporting the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin (the psychoactive compound in "magic mushrooms") just keeps piling up.  The idea of mushroom therapy for addiction treatment may sound like a pipe dream espoused by someone named Moonbeam on hippie-hill in Golden Gate Park who smells like patchouli.  But the truth is that psilocybin research from renowned institutions like UCLA, Johns Hopkins, and NYU shows promising results for the treatment of ailments like treatment-resistant depression, OCD, anxiety, and addiction.  In the words of the June, 2017 edition of Psychology Today, psilocybin may be “A One Hit Cure for Addiction.” Cave paintings that are many th...
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  • High Sobriety: An Interview with Joe Schrank

    Posted on February 17, 2017
    High Sobriety: Cannabis Inclusive Treatment Opens in Los Angeles An Interview with Joe Schrank, by Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP In an effort to offer another pathway to recovery, High Sobriety in Los Angeles opened last month a residential treatment facility that includes the option of prescribed cannabis. The home page states: “For generations we have been told marijuana is a gateway drug; this has been debunked by science and common sense. At High Sobriety, we believe marijuana can be an exit drug.” Reinforcing the notion of an exit transition process, the facility’s tagline is “lethal > non-lethal > life.” I have great admiration for the courage demonstrated by the founder of this facility, Joe Schrank. Several years ago I contemplated offering a similar option, but finally ...
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  • Using Marijuana to Treat Addiction

    Posted on February 17, 2017
    Using Marijuana to Treat Addiction Cannabis:  A Gateway to Recovery? by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. As the failed cannabis prohibition effort continues to die a slow death, some interesting new growth is emerging in the wake.  One Cannabis friendly treatment center, High Sobriety, is already up and running in California and it may be a prelude to a much larger movement in the treatment of addiction. Rather than seeing cannabis as a gateway to addiction (a view without research to support it), those involved in marijuana-friendly treatment see it as a gateway to recovery.  As harm reduction continues to compile mounds of empirical support, the attitude towards an approach like transitioning someone off heroin with cannabis appears to be shifting from insanity to rationality. In re...
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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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  • Acupuncture and Addiction

    Posted on April 15, 2016
    Does acupuncture help in the treatment of addiction? Chinese medicine, such as acupuncture, has long been used to treat an array of illness. More recently, Eastern methods have become increasingly popular within many addiction treatment approaches, as a supplement to other therapies.  Acupuncture is said to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and physical pain, cure insomnia, and even help soothe emotional problems. So what is acupuncture? Basically stated, it is Chinese therapy involving pricking the skin with small/thin needles. It is used to treat a variety of physical symptoms, improve mental health, balance emotional conditions and alleviate pain. Acupuncture is based on a theory of energy. As the theory goes, “chi,” also known as energy, flows through our body along pathways...
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  • CRAFT Training with Bob Meyers, Ph.D.

    Posted on January 20, 2016
    Practical Recovery presents: CRAFT training led by Dr. Bob Meyers! 2/29/16-3/2/16 in San Diego. Click here to register! CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) provides an evidence-based approach to helping families support loved ones who need additional assistance to overcome problematic addictive behavior. CRAFT provides an alternative approach to the 12-step based Al-Anon, and to “intervention,” often a surprise family meeting with the identified patient (IP). This surprise meeting is intended to motivate the IP to enter treatment. The goals for CRAFT are to improve the lives of Concerned Significant Others (CSOs), reduce the problematic addictive behavior of the Identified Patient (IP), and increase the IP’s motivation to enter treatment. Treatment initiation typ...
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  • How to Quit Drinking: 5 Tangible Steps

    Posted on January 8, 2016
    By Devon Berkheiser, Psy.D. (originally posted March 2015) Discover how you can quit drinking (and using)... for good. Do you want to know how to quit drinking for good? While this can be a challenging task, it is definitely possible to quit an addictive substance and establish a happy, meaningful life in recovery. There is no one way to quit drinking; different paths work for different people. It may take some trial and error to find the recovery tools that work best for you. However, there are some general guidelines that you may want to consider when attempting to quit drinking. Read on for some helpful tips. 1. Make a commitment to change your drinking habits First and foremost, you need to make a commitment to change. Ask yourself why you want to quit drinking. Perhaps ...
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  • A Shout Out to New Horizons in Hawaii

    Posted on December 14, 2015
    by Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP When I began specializing in addiction treatment in 1985 I affiliated with the New Horizons outpatient network of providers. To my knowledge none of the original providers (nearly two dozen at one point) are still in practice. However, one newer practitioner works in Hawaii. Mark Turansky became involved some years after I left (to focus on the development of Practical Recovery). Mark and I met in 2014. I still appreciate many aspects of the New Horizons approach. In this article I focus on that approach and Mark’s activities. To place any recovery approach in context, nothing works for everyone, and almost any approach will work for someone. The challenge to providers is matching services, approaches and options with individuals who might benefit from ...
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