• Questioning the 'Substance Abuse' Label

    Posted on November 13, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD Abuse conjures amongst the most abhorrent of associations.  People who are abused often turn to substances because they provide reliable and effective short-term relief from intrusive and disruptive trauma symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks, and panic attacks.  From that perspective, referring to people who were abused as ‘substances abusers’ doesn’t make much sense.  Thus, some leaders in the field of addiction medicine and treatment are calling on national drug institutions like NIDA and NIAAA to remove the ‘substance abuse’ label from the addiction lexicon.  We shall see if the call for change is answered. Addiction language doublethink is familiar territory for us at Practical Recovery.  Examples of hypocrisy abound when the common vernacular of ...
    full story
  • Anecdotal Account of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy

    Posted on October 2, 2020
    by Anonymous A psychedelic treatment renaissance is underway, driven by a proliferating body of empirical support.  The schedule I status of psychedelic compounds all but suffocated scientific research for decades and continues to stifle the pace of progress.  While the weight of excessive bureaucracy continues be a drag on scientific investigation of psychedelics and their implementation in various treatments, those who may benefit significantly from such treatments are forced to either go without or get creative.  What follows is an account (lightly edited and reprinted here with permission) from someone who chose to get creative.  The stirring account illustrates the intensity, power, and healing that can occur in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.  The psychotherapist referred t...
    full story
  • Why People Choose Drugs and Alcohol Over Family

    Posted on September 25, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD The aphorism ‘blood is thicker than water’ reminds us to prioritize family.  When it appears that people choose drugs and alcohol over family doubt reverberates through the deepest truths of human bonds.  We become so focused on how someone could choose drugs and alcohol over family that we miss the bigger question:  Why is someone in a position to choose drugs and alcohol over family in the first place?  Often, people are issued an ultimatum something to the effect of: “It’s us, or the booze.”  Rather than reflecting a corrosive character defect in the so-called “addict,” the answer to why people choose drugs and alcohol over family may instead lie, at least in part, at the hands of those who issued the ultimatum in the first place. Anyone who ever is...
    full story
  • 2020 Cochrane Study Says AA is More Effective than CBT

    Posted on September 11, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD A 2020 mega study from research juggernauts Cochrane garnered substantial attention when it concluded that “there is high quality evidence that manualized AA/[Twelve Step Facilitation] interventions are more effective than other established treatments, such as CBT.”  Click-bait headlines proliferated touting things like, “AA Superior to CBT for Alcohol Addiction,” and, “AA Still Best to Beat Problem Drinking.”  The 2020 Cochrane study conclusion was strikingly divergent from a similar Cochrane mega-study in 2006, which concluded that “no experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA or [Twelve Step Facilitation] approaches.”  Such discrepancies warrant further investigation. Beyond the surface of the click-bait headlines, details ...
    full story
  • How Absorbing Activities Can Help Addictive Problems

    Posted on September 4, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD Addiction is characterized by a narrowing of behavior patterns.  As a particular behavior begins to dominate others, problems are likely to arise.  Expanding and diversifying behavior patterns is vital to overcoming addictive problems.  Identifying and participating in activities that capture and sustain our engaged interest is essential to well-being, and improved well-being is an excellent outcome in addictive problems and life in general. A lesser known SMART Recovery tool is called VACI, or Vital Absorbing Creative Interests.  When we engage in VACI, neural networks can be activated that promote a state of consciousness some researchers call flow.  Although the human brain remains a highly unexplored scientific frontier, it is not a stretch to wonder i...
    full story
  • Pulse on the Pandemic: Addiction & Treatment

    Posted on August 6, 2020
    The coronavirus has affected nearly every aspect of our society. Just as our daily routines, personal habits, and day to day frameworks we use to navigate the human experience have all been disrupted, so too, has the social capacity to help those who are struggling.  To keep a pulse on the impact of the pandemic on addiction and treatment, this article surveyed four experts to get a sense of where we are with addiction and treatment during the coronavirus crisis. This article covers the impact on those seeking treatment, modes of treatment (remote vs. in-person sessions), and the opioid crisis, as well as tips to manage the lifting of restrictions and resources for those who cannot access care. Post-Pandemic Increase in Intakes/People Needing Treatment When asked whether there ...
    full story
  • Drug Overdoses on the Rise Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

    Posted on July 10, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD We know that close connections and a breadth of quality relationships are often at the heart of overcoming addictive problems.  The coronavirus and subsequent safety measures mandating isolation make close connections with others more challenging than ever.  It is no surprise then, amidst a pandemic forcing social isolation, that people are turning to substances to cope with disconnection from others.  Sadly, recent data from first responders and hospitals suggests that during social isolation restrictions overdoses increased 18% in March, 29% in April, and 42% in May.  The harrowing overdose statistics further evidence the notion that, to a large extent, the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection. Spiking alcohol sales during coronavir...
    full story
  • Oregon Sets Stage to Legalize Mushroom Therapy for Addiction Treatment

    Posted on July 3, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD Good news for people interested in effective treatment innovations, Oregon recently set the stage to legalize mushroom therapy for addiction.  The measure will be on the ballot for voters in the fall of 2020, and if passed, Oregon could be the first state to legally offer psilocybin treatment.  Years later, our first piece on mushroom therapy for addiction remains one of our most heavily trafficked editorials.  Thanks to the intrepid spirit of Oregonian voters, the days of jetting off to mycology retreat centers in paradisian locations with legal grey areas on drug policies and paying tens of thousands of dollars for psilocybin treatment may be coming to a close sooner than expected. Research continues to mount in support of mushroom therapy for addict...
    full story
  • Addiction Prevention is About the Same as Recovery

    Posted on June 26, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. We spend ample time opining on how addiction treatment can be improved.  We don't talk as often about what helps prevent addictive problems in the first place.  Interestingly, what helps people overcome addictive problems is essentially the same as what helps prevent addictive problems.  In this article we’ll take a look at what helps prevent addiction, and of course, toss in a few sarcasm-laden critiques of some of the traditional prevention methods.   If only addiction prevention was as easy as trying to terrify children about how bad drugs are so they just say no.  DARE programs, just say no, scared straight, and hateful propaganda campaigns encouraging and promoting harmful addiction stigma awaken kids to the possibilities of drug use more than they ...
    full story
  • Fortune Favors Adaptation Over Control, in Life & Addiction

    Posted on June 19, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Humans are masters of control.  We push a button for the exact temperature we want, the exact food we want, the exact gift we want, the exact date match we want, the exact everything we want.  God forbid the one-click purchase sends the grey headphones instead of the black ones I ordered, and that darned grubhub driver better not forget my side of special garlic sauce again!  Human efforts to bend nature to our will undoubtedly resulted in numerous advancements that help our survival.  However, when it comes to trying to bend people with addictive problems to the will of counselors and pre-fabricated rehab programs the results often backfire.  In both life and addiction the hyper-focus on control comes at the expense of developing and refining the profound ...
    full story