Johann Hari TED Talks Video

Johann Hari’s 18 minute TED Talks Video, based upon his 2015 New York Times best selling book, “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs”. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-620-408902.

In this enlightening video Johann Hari asks some very common sense questions about the institutionalized assumptions that have been in place for decades around the issue of addiction. He highlights contrasts between the standard “War on Drugs” incarceration model and recent developments in how Portugal treats and rehabilitates its’ own addicts.

Hari points out how the “chemical hook” model for addiction is contradicted by evidence that suggests that addiction is actually related to disconnection. Healthy, happy, relationships-connected individuals who look forward to getting up in the morning somehow possess an immunity to the standard model of chemical hook addiction. Hari shows how this is reflected in both human and animal studies dating back to the Vietnam war where regular heroin users returned from war and simply stopped using heroin without any negative side affects or standard rehab treatments. Hari’s motto: The opposite of addiction is connection.

Gladstones Clinic applies this same attitude about addiction in our own treatment model. It makes no difference whether our clients are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, social media or eating disorders. We treat all addictions the same and the purpose of our rehab programmes is to get to the heart of the pain, the wounds and the disconnections that allowed the addiction to take hold in the first place.

We highly recommend this TED Talk video. Take 20 minutes out of your life and prepare to have your assumptions and beliefs about addiction challenged and hopefully be inspired to apply a new perspective.

For more information on TED Talks:
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate

Follow TED news on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tednews
Like TED on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TED

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Drugs Don’t Cause Addiction

Gladstones Clinic has always believed that the root cause of addiction lies in inner pain and trauma. Unhealed pain and trauma sets up negative feedback loops and coping mechanisms that express themselves through addictions of all kinds. Drugs don’t cause addiction. The cages we place ourselves in due to unhealthy disconnection is what really causes addiction.

The accompanying short video was compiled from the work of Johann Hari in his New York Times best-selling book ‘Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.’

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London Drug & Alcohol Rehab

Gladstones Clinic has launched it’s newest Drug and Alcohol Rehab Clinic in Notting Hill, London. Located in a Victorian townhouse on St Charles Square, the clinic is a fully residential 8 bed detox and primary care facility. Specializing in drug and alcohol detox and rehab, the clinic also treats addictions to gambling and sex, as well as eating disorders.

The treatments and services offered to all clients follow the Gladstones Clinic model and philosophy in every detail. By combining traditional medical, psychiatric and counselling techniques with the latest alternative remedies and therapies, the London Clinic is able to deliver a uniquely effective Recovery Programme to all clients.

What To Expect

Detox

Gladstones Clinic has a fully abstinence-based treatment policy. Upon admission, clients will undergo a medically supervised alcohol or drug detox programme that usually lasts two weeks. During this period a short course of doctor prescribed medication may be administered to take the edge off of the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. Successful completion of detox is necessary before the Primary Care stage of Recovery treatment can begin.

Primary Care

The Primary Care phase of treatment lasts for four weeks. During this stage clients are exposed to a range of group and one-to-one counselling, cognitive and dialectical behaviour therapies, creative psychodrama, transactional analysis and alternative therapies like meditation and acupuncture. This unique combination of therapies is aimed at getting to the root of the addiction and healing it at the base level. Coping mechanisms and effective strategies for maintaining long-term sobriety are essential to any lasting recovery back in the real world. Clients leave Gladstones Clinic London armed with the knowledge and skills necessary to face life’s challenges without reverting back to old, damaging habits.

Aftercare

Should clients wish to continue their association with Gladstones after successfully completing Primary Care, Our Bristol Clinic offers a range of Secondary, aftercare and half-way services. Additionally, all clients who complete the Primary Programme are offered free Saturday morning group aftercare meetings for life.

 

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Chocolate as Addictive as Heroin?

Multiple studies find that typical sweets like chocolate or cookies can be as addictive as cocaine or morphine. So is chocolate the gift that keeps on giving or is it merely hysteria?

A university of Michigan study found that chocolate locks a rodent’s brain into an addictive cycle of addiction, joy and despair, much like other addictive drugs. Rats fed M&Ms produced a naturally occurring opioid-receptor binding compound called enkephalin which binds to similar reward pathways in the neostriatum area of the brain as opiates like heroin. The neostriatum region is linked to food and drug addiction in humans. When these same rats were given an opioid injection to this area of the brain, they proceeded to eat double the amount of M&Ms as previously. Even exposing a human food or drug addict test subject to photographs of their desired “fix” will stimulate the neostriatum, so this particular study shows a strong correlation between addiction and the enkephalin receptor site to be valid.

Another non-invasive “maze” study conducted by Connecticut College revealed that rats chose the cookie side of the maze as often as they chose the cocaine side. Later when the researchers “used immunohistochemistry to measure the expression of a protein called c-Fos, a marker of neuronal activation, in the brain’s ‘pleasure center,’” they discovered that “the Oreos activated significantly more neurons than cocaine or morphine.”

Researchers at the University of Tampere in Finland found that people who identified themselves as chocolate addicts salivated more profusely when exposed to chocolate, as well as showing elevated levels of anxiety.

Chocolate undoubtedly contains biologically active ingredients that have the potential to stimulate behaviours and psychological sensations similar to other addictive substances. It must be pointed out however that so does broccoli. In fact broccoli possesses these chemicals in higher concentrations than chocolate and few people, if any, would claim an addiction to broccoli. This would suggest that smell, texture, taste and possibly other cultural phenomenon, together with hormonal and mood swings play an important role in chocolate cravings.

A balanced view of the whole nature vs nurture and how it relates to chocolate cravings would take a holistic view. Massive advertising budgets and glossy chocolate displays compete with size zero expectations and swirl around in a world full of the stresses of modern living. We seek comfort, often in the form of food, then punish ourselves with restrictive diets and administer lashings of guilt when we fail to achieve our perception of perfection. To make matters worse, when we restrain our inner chocolate cravings before we are satisfied we inadvertently increase our desire for more chocolate, creating a viscous cycle of reward and guilt.

Top 10 tips to control chocolate cravings

  1. Replace chocolate with healthy snacks. Eat less more frequently to balance out blood sugar levels.
  2. Avoid those “trigger events” that you naturally associate with consuming sugar/chocolate.
  3. Cut back on coffee. The crash is inevitable and will require yet another “pick me up”.
  4. Identify whether your cravings are actually related to emotional/comfort/self-esteem issues and take action accordingly.
  5. Avoid boredom. Go for a walk, call a friend or read a book to take your mind off cravings.
  6. Increase exercise levels to burn calories and release helpful endorphins.
  7. Apply a ten minute rule to satisfying cravings. Give yourself ten minutes to come up with a better plan.
  8. Avoid the food/consumption/guilt/over consumption wheel of pain. If you blow your plan the worst thing you can do is to eat another tub of ice cream as punishment. You already know how that ends.
  9. Ban chocolate from the house if necessary.
  10. Explore the world of natural healthy treats like yogurt and honey. Get a recipe book and get inspired!

References:

Research Shows Cocaine And Heroin Are Less Addictive Than Oreos

Is Chocolate as Addictive as Heroin?

Control Your Cravings for Good

The Peril of Palatability

 

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Study: Nicotine Changes Marijuana’s Effect On Brain

New research is changing the way that science evaluates marijuana’s effects on the brain. Until now, marijuana research tended to neglect tobacco users from the research studies.  However, a study just completed at the Cognitive Neuroscience of Addictive Behaviors at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas may change all that.  New results demonstrate significant differences between the brains of those who use both cannabis and tobacco and those who only smoke cannabis.

“Approximately 70% of individuals who use marijuana also use tobacco,” according to Francesca Filbey, Ph.D., the study’s principal investigator and Director of Cognitive Neuroscience of Addictive Behaviors at the Center for BrainHealth. “Our findings exemplify why the effects of marijuana on the brain may not generalize to the vast majority of the marijuana using population, because most studies do not account for tobacco use. This study is one of the first to tease apart the unique effects of each substance on the brain as well as their combined effects.”

The hippocampus is that part of the brain associated with learning and memory. It tends to be smaller in marijuana smokers compared to non-using control subjects. In non-users, the size of the hippocampus has a direct relationship to memory: the smaller the hippocampus, the worse the memory function of the test subject. So far so good, however users who smoked marijuana and tobacco together demonstrated an inverse relationship between hippocampus size and memory. In their case, the smaller the hippocampus, the better for their memory and learning functions. The role of nicotine in the relationship was directly proportional to hippocampal size. The more tobacco was smoked alongside marijuana, the smaller the hippocampul volume and better the memory performance. Most interestingly, there were no significant  associations between hippocampul size in individuals who only use tobacco or only use marijuana on its’ own.

Scientists have always been aware of the physiological affects of tobacco and marijuana but now they are becoming interested in the compound interactions between the two. For now, the study may offer hope for users who fear their marijuana use has done permanent or irreparable damage to their memories. Don’t throw in the towel or give up hope just yet!

Gladstones Clinic has a specialist cannabis detox and cannabis rehab programme that successfully empowers clients to break their addiction to cannabis.

Source: http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/blog_page/study-finds-nicotine-changes-marijuanas-effect-on-the-brain

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An Invitation To Our Annual Reunion

Attention all former clients and their family members:

Gladstones Clinic cordially invites you to attend our annual reunion!

Saturday 10th October, 2015

Location: The new Gladstones Clinic Cotswolds

annual gladstones clinic reunion invitation

This is an R.S.V.P. event

Please contact admin@gladstonesclinic.com to confirm participation

Click this link for directions to Gladstones Clinic Cotswolds

We very much look forward to seeing you all there!

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Eternal Sunshine Of An Addict’s Mind?

Gladstones Clinic always endeavors to stay up-to-date on the latest scientific studies and research into addiction and recovery. Sometimes new findings look promising, and other times, like the following recently published study, they look decidedly disturbing. Have a read and decide for yourself.

Most people are familiar with the cult-classic 2004 film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. In the film, Carrey and Winslet’s characters go to extreme lengths to get over a difficult break-up. Eventually they opt to have their memories of the entire relationship mechanically and permanently erased in order to move on. Madcap non-linear cinematic hilarity ensues as the characters inevitably discover that some memories, even painful ones, are best left alone to do their jobs.

Back in the real world, research conducted at the Department of Neuroscience at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida and just published in this month’s Molecular Psychiatry  has revealed a method of using a specific chemical to wipe away memories. And they claim that the new procedure will only suppress memories of drug use.

“The idea is that someone would go into a rehab program with the typical abstinence therapies and while they are in the treatment program they would receive this medication one time and it should remove all of the associations with the drug,” said Courtney A. Miller, Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida.

These researchers are convinced that reducing memory invoked “triggers” will reduce relapses that can occur one to three months into recovery. They are also certain that they can show that addiction memories are different to ordinary memories and so can be excised from the brain safely..

“Memories that are storing associations with drugs like methamphetamine seem to be using different mechanisms in the brain than other, more mundane memories,” “When the [meth] memory is sort of sitting there in the brain it’s behaving differently than other memories.” according to Miller. This would allow that memory to be safely dumped.

Strategies to reduce triggers are certainly welcome, however we do wonder just how certain any one can be when declaring that memories of one’s first kiss differ enough from one’s memory of drug use that the latter could be safely targeted by a hunter-seeker chemical while ignoring the first kiss memory completely.

“The findings here are real game changers,” Gary S. Lynch, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at University of California School of Medicine, told Discovery News. “What this points to is a completely new strategy for treatment of addiction. For the past 10 years there have been many challenges to the notion that memories are cemented in. But this study shows that memory really is still a dynamic, malleable business and that there can be another way of dealing with dependency.”

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Intellectual Stimulation A Defense Against Addiction?

A new study recently conducted by the University Of California, Berkely challenges the assumption that addiction is hard-wired in the brain. In short – the study indicated that even a short time spent in a stimulating learning environment could rewire the brain’s reward system and protect it against cocaine addiction. If correct, this would negate any assumption that addiction is a hereditary destiny or foregone conclusion.

Let’s have a look at the actual study: Scientists at Berkely tracked the cocaine cravings of around 70 adult mice. They noticed that those mice that had a daily routine that included exploration of their environment and learning how to find hidden and tasty treats were less likely than their enrichment-deprived neighbors to seek out the “cocaine chamber.” Those mice who’s activities and diets were artificially restricted or were not intellectually challenged were eager to return to the source of their cocaine “fix.”

A quote from the actual study report: “We have compelling behavioral evidence that self-directed exploration and learning altered their reward systems so that when cocaine was experienced it made less of an impact on their brain,” said Linda Wilbrecht, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley and senior author of the paper just published in the journal, Neuropharmacology.

Studies previous to this have often found that poverty, trauma, mental illness and other environmental and physiological factors can alter the brain’s naturally occurring reward circuitry and lead to higher instances of substance abuse in individuals.

Quoting Dr Wilbrecht again: “Our data are exciting because they suggest that positive learning experiences, through education or play in a structured environment, could sculpt and develop brain circuits to build resilience in at-risk individuals, and that even brief cognitive interventions may be somewhat protective and last a relatively long time,” Wilbrecht said.

From this study, the results suggest that that introverted, anti-social, stimulation-deprived mental and physical environments may be associated with an increased vulnerability to drug seeking behavior. The study also suggests that mentally and socially stimulating environments offer at least some protection against addiction.

Of course, these results come as no surprise to those who work in the field of addiction on a daily basis. In fact, clients who successfully complete the detox and primary care phases of drug and alcohol rehab are encouraged to seek stimulating and socially supportive aftercare environments to encourage and increase the likelihood of long-term and permanent sobriety.

The study also suggests that the same would apply as a preventative measure with young people who should be encouraged to seek out healthy and stimulating activities rather than being left in a deprived environment with too much time on their hands. That old adage that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” may have been based on simple country wisdom that are now being validated by science.

Reference:

University of California – Berkeley. “Intellectual pursuits may buffer brain against addiction: Study finds that mice who were intellectually stimulated were less likely to seek a cocaine high.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150714131554.htm>.
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Internet Addicts & Screen Zombies

Despite the growing anecdotal evidence that children and young people in the West spend far too much time in front of their game consoles and video media screens, little, if anything is being done to either assess the risks or adopt a policy of discretionary caution in the mean time.  A 2013 policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics cited the following alarming statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2010: “The average 8 to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day.”

11 hours of electronic stimuli per day as opposed to thousands of years of human evolution based upon physical activity, mental imagination skills and social interactions must surely have an affect on individuals and society of some kind mustn’t it?

Studies Reveal Very Real Dangers

According to a recent study reported in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, teenagers who devote hours a day to playing violent video games or watching violent shows on television have been found to be more aggressive in general and more likely to fight with their peers and get into troubles at school.

Another aspect of sedentary video game and electronic media addiction is the correlation between lack of physical activity and childhood and youth obesity. Factor in high fat and high sugar fast and convenience foods to this couch-bound youth cocktail and it doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to start worrying about the future health of the nation’s young people.

Texting could well be the next national epidemic, with half of US teenagers sending 50 or more text messages a day and those aged 13 through 17 averaging 3,364 texts a month, according to a 2012 study by Amanda Lenhart of the Pew Research Center.

Only China has taken the step to label the condition of internet addiction an actual clinical disorder. Not surprisingly, they have also taken a somewhat extreme approach to treatment of the individual and their affliction. For those interested, next week the US station PBS will be airing a documentary called Web Junky on Daxing Boot Camp, a center in Beijing that offers treatment to young addicts.

Gladstones Clinic is well aware of the risks and dangers of addiction to electronic media. To be fair, adults are equally at risk of addiction as young persons, but young people have had less time to establish their identities and so their risks may well be greater.

Sources

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/06/screen-addiction-is-taking-a-toll-on-children/?action=click&contentCollection=Movies&module=MostEmailed&version=Full&region=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article

http://www.away.gr/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/PIP_Teens_Smartphones_and_Texting.pdf

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A cure for binge drinking and alcoholism?

Latest scientific discovery a cure for binge drinking and alcoholism?

The journal Nature Neuroscience has just published the results of a unique study on binge drinking and brain chemistry. Scientists at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have discovered a natural protein in the brain that shows potential for suppressing episodes of binge drinking. It  may even prevent some people from becoming an alcoholic. The protein Neuropeptide Y (NPY) acts in the part of the brain known as the extended amygdala, or bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. This area of the brain is associated with stress and reward.

The anti-drinking affect increases inhibition on a group of cells that produce a pro-drinking molecule called corticotropin releasing factor (CFR). Scientists introduced synthetic NPY using engineered proteins and were able to suppress binge alcohol drinking in mice.

Scientists also discovered that the normal NPY production mechanism is altered by long-term alcohol consumption in multiple species. This could either indicate a useful diagnostic marker or even a treatment for alcohol dependency and abuse.

According to professor of psychology Todd Thiele: “The identification of where in the brain and how NPY blunts binge drinking, and the observation that the NPY system is compromised during early binge drinking prior to the transition to dependence, are novel and important observations.

The gist of their findings is restoring NPY to normal levels may not only be useful in treating alcohol abuse and dependency, but it may also protect some people from alcoholism in the first place. The findings also seem particularly suited to combating episodes of binge drinking

Previous studies relating to NPY have shown that mice who lacked NPY receptors were less likely to consume alcohol than control groups who had the receptors. Other studies have pointed to other proteins like RGS6 that may influence alcohol craving as well.

It is too soon to make any predictions as to when or if drug manufacturers will capitalize on this research.

Detoxing from alcohol without professional medical help can be extremely dangerous without the correct medical help. Call us today on 080 774 7024 now for more information on binge drinking, alcohol dependency and whether or not you are at risk.

Sources:

http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2015/march/protein-in-the-brain-can-put-the-brakes-on-binge-drinking

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11459207/Scientific-discovery-could-bring-a-cure-for-binge-drinking-and-alcoholism.html

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