• Avoiding Rock Bottom is Good

    Posted on April 19, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. It has been said that the problem with good advice is that it usually interferes with our plans.  In the spirit of a human tendency to give advice in buckets and take it in grains, SMART Recovery starts off its meetings by asking participants to refrain from advice and instead encourages people to offer others ideas to consider.  This week’s article is the first installment in a series that will offer ideas to consider rather than direct advice on how to improve the rather dismal track record of treatment for addictive problems.  This week the idea up for consideration is that avoiding rock bottom is good. Rock Bottom The concept of rock bottom implies that if I want to change a pattern of addictive behavior then I must lose everything and hit the lowest ...
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  • 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...
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  • Most Effective Ways to Prevent Teenage Substance Abuse

    Posted on February 22, 2019
    By Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD Teens and drugs go together like soap and suds.  Nearly 80% of kids try alcohol before aging out of the teen years.  Last month about a third of high school seniors in the US drank.  Over 80% of teens are offered illegal substances, and over half accept.  Teens experiment with drugs.  Rather than entertain fantasy that somehow we can eliminate all teenage substance experimentation, it is important to look honestly into the most effective ways to prevent teenage substance abuse. What Doesn't Work To date, efforts to prevent teenage substance abuse fell flat.  The ebb and flow of a few percentage points within margins of error demarcated by pretty graphs is pretty much all we have to show for the billions of our tax dollars spent on drug prevention.  The Just...
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  • Drugs Do Not Hijack The Brain

    Posted on February 1, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin. Psy.D. Change happens slowly over time.  Gradually, habits develop and patterns of behavior establish routines.  Whether we are changing our eating habits, sleeping habits, work habits, love habits, or drinking habits, the change process is the same.  As behaviors develop into well-maintained patterns and habits, some self-regulatory control is compromised due to neurobiological adaptations – it’s harder to not add sugar to coffee for someone who always added sugar to coffee than it is for someone who only added sugar to coffee once.  Luckily, the brain of the coffee-sugar cross-fader has not been hijacked because drugs do not hijack the brain. Myth: Drugs Hijack the Brain Saying drugs hijack the brain is like filming a two year time lapse, then playing it back ...
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  • Scientists Say James Bond is a Drunk…  They’re Wrong.

    Posted on December 14, 2018
    By Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. By now most are accustomed to so-called addiction experts purporting hair-brained ideas about substance use.  Examples of hair-brained ideas from addiction experts include but most certainly are not limited to: don’t give an alcoholic drugs, once an addict always an addict, addicts are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves, there’s only one way to recover…   and the list goes on ad nauseam.  This week addiction experts from down under pushed a click-bait claim, based on "scientific analysis" of all James Bond films, that the man with a golden gun’s alcohol intake is so severe that he might not die another day.  In the spirit of challenging the litany of misinformation about addiction, let us look closely at the claim from Aussie experts...
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  • Is Sugar Addictive?

    Posted on August 17, 2018
    Sugar's Shadow: Is Sugar Addictive? By Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Cultural conditioning (aka brainwashing) will produce a recoiling, dismissive reaction in many to the idea that sugar not only deserves a seat at the table in the discussion of addiction, but that sugar’s rightful place at the table of addiction is on the throne of rule and dominance.  For those not interested in stepping into the muddy trenches of deconditioned thought it is probably best to cease reading here.  For those who enjoy getting their thoughts a little dirty with the stains that come from the territories outside the boxes of comfort and familiarity, let us openly consider the arguments that refined sugar addiction is the least discussed, most rampant, and most difficult to kick of all addictions.  Is sugar ad...
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  • Changing Addictive Behavior: The Perils and Promise of Perfectionism

    Posted on June 1, 2018
    By Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. For many, perfectionism is a guilty pleasure – we know it isn’t good for us but we can’t seem to let it go.  Well, difficulty in letting something go is almost always a sign of that thing being beneficial in some ways, and perfectionism is no different.  When it comes to changing addictive behavior, perfectionism is not only common, but often demanded.  People are routinely kicked out of treatment for not being perfect, or at least coerced into stepping up to a higher (more expensive) level of care.  Because perfectionism is demanded of people attempting to change addictive behavior, it might be worth exploring the concept a bit further. Perfectionism As a Measure of Success in Changing Addictive Behavior There is arguably no arena in which perfection...
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  • Over Stimulation: The Cultural Doublethink of Amphetamines

    Posted on April 27, 2018
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Adderall vs. Meth When it comes to amphetamines, our culture seems to want to eat our drugs and have them too.  On one hand, Adderall is marketed with promises of saving marriages or images of smiling children with taglines like, “Finally, schoolwork that matches his intelligence.”  On the other hand, we’re inundated with images of  “meth mouth” and propaganda campaigns with wholesome slogans like, “15 bucks for sex isn’t normal, but on meth it is,” and, “Before meth I had a daughter, now I have a prostitute.”  Well, if tooth decay, cost-effective intimate companionship, and disowning children are normal for meth, we must ask ourselves why meth is still a prescribed medication for ADHD and weight loss. Yes, you read correctly, today, right now, in 2018, y...
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  • 12 Myths of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

    Posted on April 13, 2018
    If you have ever experienced drug and alcohol addiction, whether it was your own substance use or a loved one's, you were likely on the receiving end of opinions from others. US culture and its collective views on addiction are often rooted in shame, degradation, and negativity. More importantly, however, the mainstream conversation is all too often shrouded in myths and misinformation. These myths of drug and alcohol addiction are not only untrue,  they are dangerous for those who are in need of treatment and unsupportive for those in recovery. The misinformation paints a scary uphill battle for those who enter recovery, when, really, recovery is a journey of healing, hope, and self-empowerment. We've collected 12 of the most common myths of drug and alcohol addiction in an attempt ...
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  • 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...
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