• A Closer Look at the Rat Park Experiment, Part 1

    Posted on June 1, 2023
    A Closer Look at the Rat Park Experiment, Part 1 By Kenneth Anderson, MA Bruce K. Alexander's rat park experiment series have become a very popular topic among people interested in addiction in recent years. The rat park experiments, published in 1978, 1979, and 1981, showed that albino Wistar rats living in a naturalistic environment with other rats consumed a lot less morphine than rats in solitary confinement in individual cages. In this article, I will give some of the historical background which led up to the rat park studies (Part 1), review the rat park studies themselves (Part 2), and take a look at where we have gone since (Part 3). A huge number of studies have been conducted on the effect of environment on addiction in animal models since the days of the rat park experi...
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  • The Year of the Dog - Movie Review

    Posted on April 6, 2023
    by Tom Horvath, PhD The Year of the Dog, a roughly 90-minute film, presents a fictional account of a mid-30s man and his early to middle change process out of alcohol problems. The story begins at the end of day 2. Matt has been released from jail, still experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Over the next several months he experiences various emotional setbacks, and several positive events he has worked to bring about. My interest in this film arose from the fact that the trailer showed Matt arguing forcefully with someone whom I suspected was his AA sponsor. Matt significantly ignores the sponsor’s advice. How open to alternative recovery approaches would this film be? This indie film, shot in Montana, impressively uses its resources to create a story I expect anyone dealing with alc...
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  • Stanton Peele interviews Tom Horvath

    Posted on November 18, 2022
    Stanton Peele Interviews Tom Horvath by Tom Horvath, ABPP, Ph.D. In an unexpected honor I was invited to be interviewed for one hour on video by Stanton Peele. I have admired Peele’s work since early in my days specializing in addictive problems. Along with the Sobell’s, Alan Marlatt (now deceased), and Bill Miller, he is one of the thinkers I have learned the most from. I view him as the most important theorist about addiction. As I wrote in my review of his latest book: Peele revolutionized our understanding of addiction. Love and Addiction, published in 1975 (and co-authored with Archie Brodsky), presented a new perspective on what addiction is, how it arises, and how it can be addressed. His insights are still far from being fully understood and acted upon, especially in th...
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  • Addicted in Film: Movies We Love About the Habits We Hate (A Review)

    Posted on October 7, 2022
    Addicted in Film: Movies We Love About the Habits We Hate, by Ted Perkins A review by Tom Horvath, PhD www.addictedinfilm.com I have already provided advance praise for this book, and I am pleased to repeat it: [Addicted in Film: Movies We Love About the Habits We Hate] is a must-have if you or anyone you know has been touched by addictive problems. It's filled with enlightening stories about powerful films that could become a turning point for people. You might also be interested in: 14 Addiction and Recovery Movies to Add to Your Queue Perkins** reviews over two dozen addiction-related films (culled from over 100 that he considered including). The reviews are thorough and cover the main components of each film. He selected films that might help someone change. He exc...
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  • Sage Money Podcast - Interview with Dr. Horvath

    Posted on February 4, 2022
    Sage Money Conversations with Barbara Norman, CFP® - Interview with Dr. Tom Horvath Episode 010: Dealing With Family Addiction Addiction can be financially devastating, it can destroy a life, and it can tear a family apart. It’s common for individuals with addictive problems to attend several expensive treatment programs, with little lasting progress. In this revealing episode, Dr. Tom Horvath reveals some of the problems with traditional approaches to treatment, and he offers alternative ways to treat addictive problems, talk with our loved ones, and create a happier home life. Dr. Horvath, author of Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions, has specialized in addictive problems since 1985.  He is a California licensed (PSY7732) and board-...
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  • 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...
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  • Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in California

    Posted on April 4, 2019
    The U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is hosting its 17th annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 27th, 2019 from 10AM - 2PM. National Prescription Drug-Take Back Day is a nationwide event that aims to provide a safe, anonymous, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while simultaneously informing the general public about the potential for medication abuse. If it is time to clean out your medicine cabinet and you want to take part in reducing the risk of prescription abuse, consider visiting one of the San Diego Take-Back Day locations mentioned below. Some of the major risks associated with improper disposal of prescription drugs include, but are not limited to: Medications that are unused, expired, or lost...
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  • Jails, Institutions, and Death: Did 12-Step Programs Get it Wrong?

    Posted on February 8, 2019
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Bromides abound in traditional recovery circles, arguably none more common than the folklore fantasy that substance use invariably leads to jails, institutions, and death.   If threats, shaming, and fear mongering worked then the United States would be justifiably priggish in its approach to treating addiction.  Instead, after nearly a century of tyrannical abstinence fervor and frenetic consciousness oppression the United States remains the undisputed world champion of drug use.  It is inarguable fact that most people try drugs (86% try alcohol), and most who try drugs do not end up incarcerated, institutionalized, or dead from drug use.  When it comes to drug use inevitably resulting in jails, institutions, and death, did the 12-step program get it wrong?...
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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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  • 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...
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