• The Beauty of Basic

    Posted on May 1, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D.   Lifestyle impositions stifle our sense of freedom and challenge us to get back to the basics in order to maintain psychological and emotional wellbeing.  Restriction conjures rebellion.  Rarely is the spirit more determined than when caged.  The essence of finding the feeling of freedom amidst extreme limitation lies in reconnecting with the senses.  The modern human has been conditioned to life with a plethora of sophisticated distractions at our beck and call.  With the world and everything we want in it just a one click, buy-it-now, 2-day shipping, instant transfer of ones and zeros is a database away, the beauty of the basics are rendered, well, in millennial vernacular, ‘basic.’  To cultivate the feeling of freedom we need not look beyond the...
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  • COVID Crisis Highlights Value of Long-Term Rewards

    Posted on April 17, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD Some experts argue that it takes about 10,000 hours to build mastery, others disagree.  Few would disagree that building mastery requires discipline and a significant sacrifice of immediate pleasures over time (aka work).  Sacrificing right now for later is not something humans are particularly well equipped to do.  Sheltering-in-place during the COVID crisis is itself a pay-now, buy-later deal, the exact opposite of addictive behaviors who sell us on our predilection towards buy-now, pay-later deals.  Send me the bill, put it on my tab, charge it to my room, run it on my card, just give me what I want now and I’ll deal with the rest later. Hard-wired human preferences for now over later make sense, given that right now is our only guarantee, tomorrow… who kn...
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  • Harm Reduction Tips from the Experts

    Posted on April 10, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD Leading harm-reduction experts, April Smith and Kenneth Anderson, recently released an article outlining harm-reduction tips for safer drinking amidst shelter-in-place restrictions.  Many are choosing to abstain entirely, others, not so much.  Many, many industries are hit hard by the societal shutdowns, however, the adult beverage industry is not one of them.  Alcohol sales are up, way up, during the COVID-19 crisis.  Nothing like heroic doses of uncertainty and boredom to drive one to drink!  For those who may be struggling to adhere to their drinking goals, Smith & Anderson offer tips to help maximize drinking safety. Lack of structure is one of the biggest challenges many people face in the era of shelter-in-place.  With external structure no longe...
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  • 5 Ways of Coping with Isolation

    Posted on March 27, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. As the late, great Jim Morrison crooned, strange days have found us.  As millions adjust to social life filtered almost exclusively through the cold, unforgiving pixilation of digital screens, the need for genuine connection is more intense than ever.  Below are five ways of coping with isolation that do not involve more screens and may be helpful amidst these strange days that have tracked us down. 1. Phone Calls Phone calls rather than facetime, skype, zoom, whatever, eliminate the visual element.  There’s nothing like real-time visual feedback of ourselves to distract us and heighten our insecurities.  Pacing around a living room while talking on the phone can help free the mind.  Feeling more unencumbered when talking with a friend or loved one might ...
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  • The Benefits of Novel Experience

    Posted on March 6, 2020
    It Can Be Good to Get Out of Your Head by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Our website content is no stranger to controversy.  A few months back a blog on the benefits of drugs may have been our single best pot-stirrer to-date based on the number of fervent responses of discontent.  Never mind that we live in a society that uses more drugs than any other.  Never mind that our culture often espouses the credo ‘better living through chemistry.’  Never mind that research shows that non-ordinary states of consciousness often have lasting positive impact on overall functioning and wellbeing.  Never mind that the idea of a drug free society is delusional.  Never mind that our controversy-laden blog entitled 'Drugs are Good?' would have likely generated absolutely no outrage had it used the euphemi...
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  • How to Forgive

    Posted on February 21, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Forgiveness is often discussed in addiction treatment, and in general has been shown to bolster mental health, hope, and self-esteem.  People are frequently told that they ‘should’ forgive a loved one, or that they ‘need to’ forgive themselves.  Tangible tactics on how to forgive are oft-omitted.  This article neglects philosophical pontifications as to what forgiveness is and instead focuses on specific techniques, based on the Enright model of forgiveness, that actually result in the experience of forgiveness. According to researchers, forgiveness starts with an unflinching look directly into the nature of the offense and the objective and subjective effects caused by it.  To forgive, one must identify and work through the layers of pain, shame, guilt,...
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  • Addiction is a Natural Response to an Unnatural World

    Posted on December 6, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. There are no known examples of addiction in the natural world.  There are, however, ample examples of animals shifting their consciousness with substances, a favorite of which is the infamous drunken moose who got himself stuck in an apple tree.  Even though animals often experiment with substances, the only examples of animals getting addicted are found in labs run by humans.  If addiction then is conspicuously absent from the natural world, it follows that addiction is a product of an unnatural world. Scientists widely agree that the human brain’s evolution has not had time to catch up to human society’s evolution since the onset of the industrial revolution.  Once a daily necessity, our fight or flight response is rarely needed now that we hit the eje...
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  • Can Cannabis Cure Cancer?

    Posted on November 1, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Pretty much anyone who likes to think knows that truth in cannabis propaganda for the past century was about as scarce as a direct answer in politics.  Reefer madness told us that ingesting a single cannabis joint would make us rape and murder.  Nixon and his cronies put cannabis in the harshest category of the arbitrary drug schedule, making it the official stance of the U.S. government that cocaine, morphine, and methamphetamine are all safer and more medicinal than the versatile plant.  However, despite the stringent restrictions on cannabis as a result of its schedule I status, studies slowly trickle in that suggest the various medicinal potentials of cannabis, including the potential to help beat cancer.  Of particular interest is a recent study from Har...
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  • Stand By Family No Matter What

    Posted on October 18, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Family is forever, or at least, that’s what the chintzy wall stencils say.  During times of hardship, sickness, death, misfortune, mistakes, and malaise it is helpful to rest assured that our families will stand by us and help us.  My esteemed mentor, Dr. Horvath, often says that 90% of social support is who shows up.  Who shows up in the hospital during chemo?  Who shows up to console after a break-up or job loss?  Often times, family shows up when no one else will.  But who shows up when a so-called ‘addict’ hits the proverbial ‘rock bottom?’  Often times family members desert loved ones when addictive problems are at their most severe.  Why is an exception to the golden rule of family standing by one another made when it comes to addiction?  The hypocriti...
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  • What is Considered Binge Drinking? (Hint: It's Not Just a College Fad)

    Posted on October 4, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. The term ‘binge-drinking’ generally conjures up images of frat boys in pastel polos guzzling litres of PBR out of a homemade beer bong, or something along those lines.  The stereotype is that binge-drinking is a college thing, not a mature adult thing. The truth, according to the current dean at USC’s School of Social Work, is that binge-drinking is on the rise amongst adults in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.  A 2017 survey conducted by the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality found that over 30% percent of men 26 years or older binge drink, and under 40% of men ages 18-25 binge drink – a difference in percentages pretty close to the margin of error in many surveys.  Based on recent findings, the stereotypical binge drinker may be about as l...
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