‘Finding Human Life on Earth’ by Carina Håkansson

chakanssonHere is an excellent blog from the Mad in America website. Carina Håkansson is a psychotherapist and manager at Family Care Foundation in Gothenburg, Sweden, which was founded in 1987.

It’s a funny old world because I spent three years in Gothenburg from 1981 in the early stages of my neuroscience career, conducting postdoctoral research with Arvid Carlsson, the father of dopamine research. Dopamine is the brain neurotransmitter classically associated with schizophrenia.

As some of you know, I left my neuroscience career behind me in 2000 because I did not believe that drug treatments were helping people recover from addiction and mental health problems. Anyway, here is Carina:

‘Through the ISPS listserve, I read a blog this morning written by Thomas Insel, director of the NIMH. The way he described people I daily meet in work and in my own life created a rising pulse, so I decided to find  out some more about his thoughts and practice. I am not saying that what I read on his blog is unknown to me, but still it made me wonder how on earth is it possible to invest so much money – and resources – in research which is so distant from practice, and so far away from humanistic and holistic ideas and theories.

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The Addicted Brain: Interview with Marc Lewis

4033340-4x3-340x255Here’s a fascinating interview with Marc Lewis as part of the ABC Radio Big Ideas series here in Australia. Well worth putting your feet up and listening – or have it running in the background.

‘Marc Lewis took every drug imaginable over a 15 year period. He knows drugs can make you feel good, and he experienced the desperate lows of addiction. He’s been drug free for 30 years and is now a neuroscientist.

So what do the drugs he took actually do to your brain?  Why do they make you feel the way they do? And – crucially – how is the brain responsible for addiction? He speaks to Paul Barclay.’

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Neuroscientist Marc Lewis On His Drug Addiction

Marc Lewis knows the power of addiction. His relationship with drugs took many forms over many years and accompanied him around the world. It was a story that seemed unlikely to have a happy ending.

It began in a New England boarding school where, bullied and homesick for Canada, he made brief escapes from reality by way of cough medicine and alcohol. Then a move to California in its hippie heyday brought him face to face with LSD, and finally heroin. In Asia, he joined American medics sniffing nitrous oxide in the Malay jungle and found a second home in the opium dens of Calcutta.

Back in Canada as a student, he resorted to stealing drugs from labs and medical centres. He then got clean for a while, but ended up working in a mental hospital, where he fled the madness around and within him through a desperate return to drugs.

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