‘A Different Kind of Evidence’ by Bill White

Addiction Journals Credit Wiley Asia BlogMore wisdom from Bill White.

‘Some years ago, a noted research scientist was invited to speak at a local community forum on the subject of addiction. The presentation to more than one hundred interested citizens consisted of a sweeping overview of modern scientific studies on addiction and its clinical treatment.

In the question and answer session that followed the presentation, a member of the audience posed a question about the effectiveness of recovery mutual aid groups like AA, NA, Women for Sobriety, and SMART Recovery.

The speaker responded that there had been few randomized trials comparing the differences in long-term recovery outcomes between these individuals who had achieved recovery with and without mutual aid participation.  The scientist declared that no definitive scientific evidence yet existed on the effectiveness of such groups.

Read More ➔

‘Dying of a Heroin Overdose Does Not Make You a Scumbag’ by A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D.

Unknown-6Great article in the Huffington Post by one of the leading addiction treatment researchers involving the loss of one of my favourite actors.

‘In the wake of the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, I am shocked by the vast range of opinions and emotions that have been voiced in the public discourse. Media outlets of all shapes and forms are weighing in on his death – and specifically, the foolish, self-destructive choices he made associated with his addiction.

The explosion of speculation and moralizing surrounding this death brings to light how conflicted our feelings, as a society, are about this disease. And the science is clear on this point.

Read More ➔

‘The True, The Good and The Beautiful’ by Phil Hanlon

‘In this video Professor Phil Hanlon suggests that if we are to transcend the problems of modernity we will have to understand why we are in our current predicament. To do so, he explores Plato’s idea that human beings naturally integrate the true (science), the good (ethics) and the beautiful (aesthetics or art).

We do this in our private lives but modernity has allowed a perverted version of one of the three (a reductionist and numerically driven version of science) to eclipse the other two particularly in government and organisations. The result is ‘scientism’ which is an ideology, as distinct from true science, which is an invaluable tool.

Read More ➔

Jon Kabat-Zinn: How can mindfulness change your life?

The role that Jon Kabat-Zinn has played in getting mindfulness into mainstream medical practice (and beyond) in the Western world has been huge.  He is a true hero.

Here’s a fascinating video that describes how mindfulness-based stress reduction {MBSR] ‘grew up’ on the eastern side of the US. It’s important to hear how Jon and his colleagues emphasise the importance of research and scientific evidence in underlying the widening acceptance of MBSR as an important therapeutic tool.

You can find much more about mindfulness on Recovery Stories – try a search.

‘Want to reduce mental illness? Address trauma. Want to save the world? Address trauma.’ by Laura K Kerr

ScapegoatIt’s time we spent more time reflecting upon the role of trauma in mental health problems and addiction. Here’s a thought-provoking blog from Laura K Kerr.

‘Different explanations have been given for the increased number of people suffering from mental illness. Some have claimed the increase is the result of ever-expanding diagnostic criteria and syndromes that risk medicalizing normal emotional reactions.

Others argue the increase is the result of the pharmaceutical industry financially courting the medical establishment as well as using advertisements to attract potential users of their medications.

While both these arguments seem correct, they nevertheless fail to address that an increasing number of people regularly experience despair and anguish and are struggling to make a meaningful life, if not keep themselves psychologically, socially, and financially afloat.

Read More ➔

Recommended Website: Greater Good – The Science of a Meaningful Life

temp_wellsThe Greater Good website from the University of California, Berkeley is definitely worth a look. I’ll be highlighting various content from this website over the coming months. Here is what they say in the About Us section:

‘The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

Based at the University of California, Berkeley, the GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: not only do we sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, we help people apply this research to their personal and professional lives. Since 2001, we have been at the fore of a new scientific movement to explore the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior – the science of a meaningful life. And we have been without peer in our award-winning efforts to translate and disseminate this science to the public.

Read More ➔

The GreaterGood website

Unknown-2The GreaterGood website from Berkeley University is well worth spending some time on. Here is what they say in the About section:

‘The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

Based at the University of California, Berkeley, the GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: not only do we sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, we help people apply this research to their personal and professional lives.

Read More ➔

‘Moral panics, the limits of science & personal responsibility’ by Bill White

Time-Crack kidsFrom the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, new patterns of crack cocaine use dominated cultural headlines in sensationalized media frenzies that sociologists refer to as moral panics. 

Other than cocaine-related violence, no aspect of this alarm garnered greater attention than the images of premature, cocaine-exposed infants trembling within incubators of neonatal intensive care units.  Those infants and children became widely caricatured as “crack babies” and “crack kids” and their images were exploited to forge new laws and policies that in turn fueled dramatic expansions of the U.S. criminal justice and child welfare systems. 

Those most dramatically affected by the expansions were poor communities of color who witnessed unprecedented numbers of their young men imprisoned and their young women and children placed under the control of state child protection authorities.

Read More ➔

‘Helping Yourself to Recovery’ by Bill White

Helping Others ImageHelping others has been an integral part of the folk wisdom about addiction recovery for more than 250 years. 

From early Native American recovery circles, early Euro-American recovery mutual aid societies and the 20th century advent of 12-Step recovery through the ever-widening menu of religious, spiritual and secular recovery pathways, the message has been clear:  help yourself by helping others. 

The helping prescription is based on two core ideas.  The first is the concept of wounded healer – the notion that people who have experienced and survived an illness or great trauma may have acquired unique perspectives that allow them to offer assistance to others in similar circumstances. 

Read More ➔

‘What a surprise. I don’t know everything!’ by Peapod

2007_0118walpole0094Life got a bit easier for me in early recovery when I let go of my need-to-know-and-understand-everything mentality.

My background and training before I came to work in addiction treatment was scientific. I had to break the world down into understandable components and had a fairly rigid and cognitive world view. In many ways I was trapped in my head. Science can explain everything and if it can’t be explained, I’m not interested.

Well, science didn’t help me particularly with my addiction when it arrived and I certainly tried to understand it. Do you know there are over 40 theories of addiction? It’s likely when there are so many that we won’t really ever agree completely on what’s going on. The funny thing is that I’m okay with that today.

Read More ➔

‘Building the science of recovery – what I have learned goes far beyond our studies (Part 1)’ by Alexandre Laudet

IMG_3049Hi, I’m Alexandre. I’m an addiction recovery scientist. I’m not in recovery.

Seeking to do science on recovery, rather than addiction, has been a liability with the National Institute of Health (NIH), American scientists’ primary source of research funding. Not being in recovery has cost me points in many sectors of the recovery community.

Most often, I feel professionally ignored at best, by colleagues who do so-called ‘real’ research – on treatment, medication or vaccine development, or (the pinnacle of research stardom), the brain …

Yet, I can’t seem to want to do anything else. I am hooked on trying to build a science of recovery. Why am I doing this?

Read More ➔