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  • The Goal of Addiction Treatment Completely Misses the Mark

    Posted on October 6, 2017
    The Entire Aim of Addiction Treatment is Off by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. The goal of nearly the entire field of addiction treatment is to help people stop using substances forever. However, a closer look at the goal of stopping forever reveals fatal flaws. This article aims to expose the flaws in the goal of stopping forever while proposing the broader, more effective goal of changing. The Flawed Goals of Addiction Treatment A goal of stopping substance use forever is problematic in two fundamental ways. The first fundamental flaw in a goal of stopping forever is that the goal is set in negative terms. Effective goals are constructed in a positive framework, which means goals are phrased in terms of what will be done rather than what will be avoided. For example, a goal set as ...
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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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  • 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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  • Recovery from Addiction: Self-Control

    Posted on May 19, 2017
    Recovery from Addiction The Coordinates to Self-Control by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Self-control is treated like a four-letter word in some recovery circles.  Many people in the process of changing a problematic pattern of behavior are told their only hope is to give-up control.  The truth is that every single one of us has the ability to control our behavior.  To improve our ability to control our behavior it is important to understand how to arrive at a state of self-control.  We either control our behavior or our behavior controls us. Simply put, self-control is the ability to perform behaviors that will produce desired outcomes.  Researchers generally agree on three primary characteristics that, when they are the aim of personal growth, increase an individual’s self-control. ...
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  • SMART Recovery’s First Systematic Scientific Review

    Posted on April 25, 2017
    SMART Recovery’s First Systematic Scientific Review by Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP The first systematic scientific review of SMART Recovery was published earlier this year. What is a systematic review? It reports the process of “identifying, summarizing and evaluating the quality of evidence for SMART Recovery” (Beck, Forbes, Baker, Kelly, et al, 2017, p. 2). Prior reviews had become outdated, and they were “narrative in nature and tend[ed] to focus on the origins, development and principles of SMART Recovery….since Horvath & Yeterian’s narrative review (Horvath & Yeterian, 2012), the evidence base has doubled—an additional four studies, including the first randomized controlled trial (RCT), have been published” (p. 2). Although I regret that our 2012 review is no longer the...
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  • Gauging Success in Recovery

    Posted on April 21, 2017
    Gauging Success in Recovery by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Success in recovery is about much more than abstinence. In fact, for about half of the people who recover moderation is the outcome. Basing success on abstinence sets people up for the abstinence violation effect, which can be a major factor in pushing a minor slip into an all-out relapse. So when someone is not measuring success by counting days of abstinence, what factors are useful in gauging success? Three factors have been shown to predict successful recovery. The first is a change in attitude towards substances. How people first felt about substance use compared to how they feel now often differs. People who once idealized substance use may now find it to be a nuisance or an impediment to more important things in life. I...
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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. 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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  • 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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