• Managing Interpersonal Boundaries, pt. II

    Posted on April 23, 2021
    by Tom Horvath, PhD, ABPP Interpersonal boundaries are part of the rules we establish about how we interact with other people. In this blog we focus on protecting ourselves from the outside. In a parallel blog we focused on keeping inside what needs to stay there. In both cases we can compare interpersonal boundaries to a house, which protects us from the outside, and keeps inside what needs to be there. We prevent violations to ourselves by establishing and managing boundaries. For instance, who can touch us and how, who can enter our living space and how far, whom we respond to online and whom we do not, whom we will accept advice from and whom we won’t, and so forth. The challenge often is that these boundaries need to be communicated and enforced, and communication and enforce...
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  • New Year's Resolutions & The Abstinence Violation Effect

    Posted on January 1, 2021
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD The ‘us & them,’ ‘normies and addicts’ mentality continues to lose its stronghold in addiction theory.  The more addictive behaviors are recognized as a manifestation of normal human learning rather than diseased character defects and spiritual maladies, the better.  New Year’s resolutions, and their reputation for failure that often precedes them, offer yet another opportunity to highlight the universality of addictive behaviors.  New Year’s resolutions often fail because of a phenomenon of all-or-nothing thinking frequently referred to in the world of addiction as the ‘abstinence violation effect,’ where a single breach of a vow to change is viewed as failure and justifies absconding from the entire change attempt. Old habits die hard, new habits for...
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  • Sparks of Hope for the Holidays

    Posted on December 18, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD Sparks do not burst from a vacuum, they are incandescent blasts from intense heat and friction.  The famous Christmas Carol ‘Feliz Navidad’ was back in the headlines recently celebrating its 50th anniversary.  Most stories talked about the song-writing process of its creator, José Feliciano, as one of magical ease, a spark of hope and inspiration.  The magical spark storyline fits, given that 'Feliz Navidad' contains only 19 words, was written in ten minutes, and recorded in one take.  What is missed in the magical story of Feliz Navidad’s inception is the backdrop of toil, perseverance, sacrifice, and hardship in the life of the songwriter that constituted the rich soil from which the Christmas Carol gem burst forth. Feliciano was born in Puerto Rico in 1...
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  • 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 ...
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  • Oregon Decriminalizes Drugs & Legalizes Psilocybin Treatment

    Posted on November 6, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD The glare cast from the hot spotlight on the Presidential Election drowned out what is arguably the single best day for drug policy reform in U.S. history.  Oregon became the first state to both decriminalize drugs and legalize psilocybin treatment. Four additional U.S. states legalized recreational cannabis.  All drug policy reform propositions up for vote in 2020 passed.  Even in South Dakota, where many believed recreational cannabis would not be legalized, voters chose to put an end to charging people with pot felonies that strip voting rights and rob employment opportunities.  Hope for meaningful drug policy reform is abundant and calls for federal reform are gaining steam. The legalization of psilocybin treatment in Oregon will take about two yea...
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  • The Urgency of Drug Policy Reform

    Posted on October 23, 2020
    By Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD The urgent need for drug policy reform cannot be understated.  In the past few weeks, two stories about drug crime shone yet another spotlight on the lunacy of U.S. drug policy.  Oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma plead guilty to three felony charges and incurred an $8 billion dollar fine for actions contributing to the deaths of nearly half a million Americans.  No owners or executives from Purdue Pharma, including the Sackler Family in charge, will serve any jail time (at least for now).  Many heralded the decision as justice served to the big pharma corporate conglomerate notorious for its strategically misleading information about the addictive properties of its potent opiate cash cow, oxycontin.  Meanwhile, a smaller story arose out of Georgia where Sa...
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  • 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...
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  • 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 ...
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  • 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...
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  • Mushroom Therapy Sublingual Strips: A Trip on a Strip

    Posted on August 21, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD Few things scare big pharma like effective medicines people don’t have to take every day.  Many are familiar with the sardonic notion that there is no money in the cure.  The psychedelic treatment renaissance is arguably the biggest existential threat to big pharma’s decades-long chokehold on America’s addiction to psychotropic medications.  Patents on naturally occurring alkaloids are not permitted in the U.S., so for those looking to capitalize on the resurgence of effective plant medicines creative strategies must be employed.  Enter psilocybin sublingual strips.  A Toronto based company recently announced its efforts to develop a patentable delivery mechanism for the psychoactive compounds in magic mushrooms, namely, psilocybin and psilocyn.  Administ...
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