• Johns Hopkins Opens Psychedelic Research Center

    Posted on September 6, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. They said acid fries your brain and makes you jump off buildings.  They said shrooms make your brain bleed and that’s why they cause hallucinations.  They said pot makes people murder their families.  I don’t know exactly who ‘they’ are, but boy were they wrong.  The prestigious Johns Hopkins University just announced the opening of a nearly $20 million dollar research center to study psychedelic medicines.  The announcement from Johns Hopkins is arguably the single biggest acknowledgment that Western Society has been embarrassingly wrong about psychedelics all along.  Research trials forthcoming from the new research center include the use of psychedelics to treat addiction, anorexia, Alzheimer’s related distress and cognitive impairment, depression, PTSD, ...
    full story
  • MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Reduces Alcohol Relapse, New Study Shows

    Posted on August 23, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. When it comes to addiction treatment, it is well-known that the United States is embarrassingly and shamefully behind the rest of the industrialized world.  It is no surprise then that evidence for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy reducing alcohol relapse is coming out of the UK. We know MDMA-assisted psychotherapy was designated breakthrough status as a treatment for PTSD, and we know that trauma is at the etiological heart of most addictive behaviors (see Atkins, 2014, p.195). So it would naturally follow that if MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy helps treat the etiology of addiction, it will probably help treat addiction. Yet, the misinformed notion that all addicts are the same and can never touch mind-altering substances again (except of course for boat-loads...
    full story
  • HBO’s Euphoria TV Show Misses Mark on Addiction

    Posted on August 9, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. HBO’s hit television series, Euphoria, pushed the envelope on many important topics, except one – addiction.  The show depicted a biracial romance between two women, one of whom was transgender. The show offered gritty, raw depictions of sexual assault, teenage substance use, physical and emotional abuse, and abortion.  When it comes to addiction, however, the show somehow missed the memo that there are no experimental studies that unequivocally demonstrate the effectiveness of traditional addiction treatment.  Euphoria pushed boundaries on a number of important social issues, but when it comes to addiction, the show succeeded only in being yet another example of mainstream media perpetuating the harmful messages that all addicts are the same and thus, all de...
    full story
  • Brain Surgery for Addiction

    Posted on May 17, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Addiction treatment needs improvement.  Exploring new methods is essential to advancing the field.  To imagine the latest radical approach to treating addiction one might envision an amalgamation of electro-shock therapy and trepanning.  Brain surgery for addiction is not a futuristic concept at the dawn of its conception.  On the contrary, brain surgery for addiction is happening now in China and a clinical trial is scheduled in West Virginia this year.  Like any emerging treatment, brain surgery to treat addiction is worth a closer look to consider potential costs, benefits, risks, rewards, and ethical delivery of services. The Technique The brain surgery technique used to treat addiction is deep brain stimulation (DBS).  DBS is already an established t...
    full story
  • There is No Such Thing as an Addictive Personality

    Posted on March 15, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. The concentration of misinformation in the world of addiction is as dense as osmium.  One of the most well-known misconceptions in addiction is the idea of an addictive personality.  I hear references to someone with an addictive personality all the time from professionals and lay folk alike.  The idea of an addictive personality is reminiscent of an availability cascade, in that people talked about it long enough that it became “true.”  The reality, however, is that scientific evidence does not support the concept of an addictive personality. A Closer Look at the "Addictive Personality" Anti-social and depressive behavior frequently accompany addictive problems, but the keyword is behavior.  Behavior is not personality.  According to research, no persona...
    full story
  • How to Provide Basic Addiction Treatment

    Posted on December 11, 2018
    by Tom Horvath, PhD., ABPP This blog is addressed to psychotherapists who do not view themselves as capable of providing addiction treatment. Many (if not most) therapists have this perspective. However, as I have suggested for many years, individual therapy (possibly supplemented by couple’s and family therapy) is the setting of choice for most individuals with addictive problems, and therapists should learn to address these problems. Unfortunately, many therapists lack the confidence even to learn about addiction treatment. Therapists already know most of what they need to know for basic addiction treatment. They also need some basic information about addiction and recovery. In an effort to boost the confidence of these therapists, below are the principles they would keep in min...
    full story
  • Addiction is Learning, Not Disease

    Posted on November 16, 2018
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD New England Journal of Medicine Article Says: Addiction is Learning, Not Disease One of the world’s most prestigious journals just published an article saying that addiction is not disease.  Not surprisingly, an uproar is underway.  Devotees to the disease model of addiction are not happy, but sometimes the truth hurts.  The article in the New England Journal of Medicine is a major step towards improving the standard of care in addiction treatment and deepening our understanding of the true nature of addictive behaviors. Including and Transcending the Disease Model of Addiction The article in the New England Journal of Medicine, written by Marc Lewis, Ph.D., does a masterful job of presenting the current state of the evidence about the etiology and maintenan...
    full story
  • Person-First Language in Addiction Treatment is Long Overdue

    Posted on October 5, 2018
    By Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Mental health professions are big on person-first language, and rightly so.  Defining people by their problems is widely agreed upon to be below the standard of care.  People are much more than their diagnoses, and thus, mental health professions now routinely opt for descriptions like, ‘a person with schizophrenia’ rather than, ‘a schizophrenic,’ or ‘a person with borderline personality’ rather than ‘a borderline.’  As sensitivity to mental health issues grew in recent years and person-first language became the standard of care, one notable category of diagnoses was conspicuously left behind: substance use disorders. Addiction Treatment and Double Standards While the frequency of hearing a psychologist say something like "he’s a schizophrenic" continues ...
    full story
  • 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...
    full story
  • 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 ...
    full story