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.

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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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fight those cravings

Tips For Dealing With Addiction Cravings

As anyone who has ever faced beating an addiction will tell you, one of the peskiest aspects of “withdrawal” would have to be the “cravings”. Cravings are an unavoidable hurdle on the road to Recovery. They can be extremely powerful and can be triggered by obvious or unrelated events, thoughts or experiences.  In the early days of Recovery, cravings can be triggered by almost anything and hit with the emotionally compelling force of a powerful tsunami. Remember: your addiction does not want to release it’s hold on you and will use every emotional trick in the book to trick you into using again. But also remember that cravings frequency, power and duration tends to diminish over time so there is a very real light waiting at the end of the tunnel.

What Triggers a Craving?

Almost anything can trigger a craving to relapse back into addiction. The following list of potential triggers is by no means exhaustive but does demonstrate the range fairly well:

  • Seeing someone “use” on film, tv, music
  • Bumping into a friend who still uses
  • Passing a pub, casino or pizza shack serving your fix of choice
  • Arguing with just about anyone about anything at all
  • Feeling particularly happy (believe it or not)
  • Feeling particularly down/sad
  • Apparently from nowhere and for no reason at all (yes it happens too)
  • Feeling lonely, hungry or tired

Positive Steps To Counter Cravings

It is incredibly important to have a plan and coping strategies in place to combat cravings. Do not leave things to chance, especially in the early stages of withdrawal.  Get as cunning as possible and be prepared to manipulate your cravings with the same zeal with which they attempt to manipulate you! The following list is suitable for the early stages of withdrawal and recovery:

  • Avoid known triggers ie people, places, events – at least initially
  • Keep your Sponsor close and speak with them as soon as your craving rears its head
  • Change your activity – take a walk, wash the dishes, try press-ups
  • Deconstruct the thought process that led to the craving
  • Apply positive coping strategies learned in rehab
  • Never ever just sit there allowing the full force of the craving to wash over you without taking some form of positive action
  • Do not succumb to an impulsive “what the heck” reaction. You will only regret it later
  • Use positive affirmations like post it notes. Scatter them about the house accordingly with messages to yourself to remember why you are in Recovery in the first place.

Long-Term Coping Strategies

Long term coping strategies for dealing with cravings incorporate the above tips with more measured and stable mechanisms and lifestyle changes. These strategies are generally taught during primary care rehab and reinforced more deeply during the secondary or half-way house stages of addiction rehab.

  • Meditation
  • New friends, pets, activities, interests or hobbies
  • Physical fitness, nutrition
  • Regular contact for group shares
  • Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques



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Cold Turkey & Shackles

In Uruzgan, a rural province in southern Afghanistan, a private home is the only drug rehabilitation clinic in the entire, impoverished southern region. Considering that a recent US study suggests that up to 11% of the Afghan population use drugs and that this year’s opium crop is supposed to break all previous records, it seems fair to wonder if western NGO’s and governments are doing their fair share to help.

The only drug rehab clinic in Uruzgan is run by Hamidullah Bawari, who opened his home to addicts three years ago. Despite having only four days of rudimentary training from the Afghan ministry of counter narcotics, Bawari felt compelled to open his clinic after Save The Children recently closed the only rehab clinic in the region after treating nearly 500 patients free of charge. Jennifer El-Sibai, spokesperson for Save the Children, says that the closure was an indirect result of aid cuts in Australia which funded the clinic.

Treatment at Bawari’s clinic costs $100 a month and some might find the treatment model to be rather basic, but patients agree that it is effective and necessary. Upon arrival, they are shaved and placed in leg shackles to prevent escape. “If we didn’t have chains on, we would escape like this,” says patient Agha Shahi as he snaps his fingers. Treatment mainly consists of pain killers purchased from a local pharmacy, and a cold turkey philosophy which even bans cigarettes. For anyone familiar with the drug detox experience it is easy to see why the chains are necessary, as giving up the tobacco and the opium at once must surely require some form of monumental strength or at least an inability to do anything about obtaining that fix in the first place.

While many westerners might find the idea of a drug rehab shackling its’ clients to be a bridge too far, there can be no doubting that there is simply no other option for some addicts in the poorest regions of the world. It would  also be fortuitous if westerners were able to apply pressure on their regional governments and NGO’s to contribute more towards organisations like Save The Children who were forced to depart for lack of funding.


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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.


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Cannabis Most Abused Teenage UK Substance 2013

Cannabis Most Abused Teenage UK Substance 2013

Public Health England has just published the results of its’ 2013-2014 “Young people’s statistics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) and some of the results are enlightening to say the least.

Executive Summary

  • 19,126 young people (under 18 years) accessed specialist substance misuse services. This figure is actually down 7.6% from 2011-2012.
  • The most common routes into specialist substance misuse services were from youth offending teams (27%) and mainstream education (19%).
  • The majority of young people accessing specialist services did so for problems with cannabis (71%) or alcohol (20%) as their primary substance.
  • 82% of young people accessing specialist services stated they were living at home with parents or other relatives.
  • of the 19,126 young people in treatment, 66% were male and 53% were aged 16 or over.

Teenage Cannabis Use

Although teenage cannabis use has been dropping for several years in the general population, treatment for cannabis abuse has seen a steady rise since 2005. This contrasts to alcohol and opiate use and treatment which are both falling across all ages, especially younger people. So what makes cannabis use different and why are more young people in treatment for cannabis addiction?

Cannabis and alcohol are considered gateway drugs. Cannabis differs from alcohol because because there is no such thing as a standardized unit of thc that one can “safely” consume. Varieties of cannabis are becoming stronger and, in the UK, users also combine cannabis with an even more addictive substance – tobacco. Could this perfect storm of addiction be the cause of the worrying trend in treatment admissions for young people?

At Gladstones Clinic, our treatment model uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, individual counseling and group therapy work to address the root cause of addiction. Our private, residential Cannabis Rehab Programme has proven to be incredibly successful, especially with younger people. If you or a family member are suffering from a compulsive addiction to smoking cannabis and you would like to discuss treatment options, feel free to give us a call.


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Is Cannabis Addiction being taken seriously?

180px-Cannabis_PlantDoctor Adam Winstock, a leading drugs expert and founder of the Global Drug Survey believes that “cannabis can be as tough to give up as heroin”.

Cannabis use is actually falling in the UK, however the number of people seeking help for cannabis addiction is rising. In 2005 the number of 18-24 year olds seeking treatment for cannabis addiction was 3,328. That figure had risen to 4,997 by 2013/14.

According to Winstock, 50% to 60% of all dependent cannabis users face serious withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to come off of smoking cannabis products. Many become irritable, sleepless and ultimately violent. For those who believe cannabis is not physically addictive, Winstock responds that:

“I think people get confused with physical withdrawal symptoms and equating those to being addicted.

“Addiction for me is a loss of control and when you stop you feel uncomfortable.

“[It] could be you feel miserable, you can’t sleep, you lose your appetite or it can be very physical as it is with heroin or alcohol”.

Compounding the problem for many users may be the fact that the younger the user, the more likely they are to experience problems withdrawing from use in the future.

According to Dr. Winstock:

“About 10% of people who use cannabis are dependent and two-thirds of those people, when they stop, will experience withdrawal symptoms.

“They last seven to 10 days for most people. You are more likely to run into those problems if you start using early.”

For young people addicted to cannabis, social pressures compound the problem. Many feel it is impossible to avoid because everyone else is doing it. Some may fear loss of social connections or status if they stop using.

Cannabis is currently a class B drug, carrying a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison for possession and up to 14 years for supply and production.

Gladstones Clinic understands how difficult it can be to beat cannabis addiction. Please do not feel that you have nowhere to turn for help. Feel free to call us today.

BBC Newsbeat
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Alcohol Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Don’t Be Afraid of Facing Withdrawal Symptoms

If you have you ever wanted to quit abusing alcohol but were afraid to begin the process because you were terrified that the withdrawal symptoms would be too severe, then you are definitely not alone.

There is no doubt  about it; alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be incredibly severe, and in some cases even fatal. If you are an every day drinker, a heavy drinker or a frequent binge drinker, then suddenly quitting the consumption of alcohol could very well lead to a variety of unpleasant physical and mental symptoms otherwise collectively known as alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Most People Welcome a Bit of Help

The essential factor in successfully quitting alcohol while avoiding the worst of the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms is asking for professional help. If you have reached the point where you know that it is in your best interest to stop drinking, begin by seeking help or advice from your family doctor, primary healthcare provider or a substance abuse detox facility like Gladstones Clinic.

There are clinically proven methods and medical treatments that a qualified physician can provide you with that will stop or reduce most of the symptoms you would normally experience if you quit cold turkey. Gladstones provides a fully medically supervised alcohol detox program that can involve a short course of supportive medication to assist you through the initial stage of your recovery.

Benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) can be carefully administered to mitigate the worst symptoms of withdrawal, like the shakes, and are also a main factor in preventing and treating Delerium Tremens, or (DTs). Serious long-term addicts may also be prescribed beta-blockers to reduce their heart rate, and anti-seizure medications in case they do go into the DTs.

If you have experienced severe withdrawal symptoms in the past, the best advice is to check yourself into a professional, registered Alcohol Detox facility. Detox programs involve short-term (usually less than seven days) inpatient treatment during which specially trained professionals monitor your withdrawal closely and administer medications as needed.

One advantage of an “In-Patient Supervised Detox” facility is that you will be securely isolated from all of your usual drinking triggers and therefore be less likely to pick up a drink to banish the symptoms the moment they begin and things start getting tough.   The other main advantage is that your detox will be medically supervised and your health monitored for safety. And no, you do not have to be falling-down drunk or at below rock bottom to check into detox. People check themselves in voluntarily every day for a variety of reasons.

The Bottom Line

If you have decided that you need to quit drinking, don’t let alcohol withdrawal symptoms scare you away from acting on your decision. There are accepted medications and treatments available that can help you to get through those crucial first days of no alcohol consumption. You don’t have to do it on your own and it doesn’t have to be a living nightmare to get through.

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UK Children as young as eleven treated for drugs use

UK Charities have called for improved drugs education in schools after an investigation demonstrated that primary school aged children are being flagged as at risk of becoming future addicts.

Children as young as 11 from the Westcountry are among literally hundreds of young people being referred to specialist drug and alcohol treatment services in the UK, both privately and within the NHS.

The most common reason that children come into contact with drugs and alcohol is through their parent’s activities and preventative work is essential to discourage misuse among youngsters, say treatment experts.

The Government has defended the old and new curriculum, and feels that all pupils should be taught about how drugs and other substances can have harmful effects on a person’s physical and mental health.

Using freedom of information laws, the UK Press Association approached councils across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in order to assess the scale of the problem today.

It found that youngest age of children being referred to specialist drug and alcohol drug services was 11 in Dorset, 12 in Somerset and 13 in both Plymouth and neighbouring Cornwall.

Elsewhere in the country, a four-year-old child was referred for treatment in South Ayrshire, eight-year-olds in Waltham Forest and East Ayrshire, and nine-year-olds had been referred in Herefordshire, Liverpool, Oxfordshire, Rutland, the Scottish Borders and West Berkshire.

Approximately 366 children aged 12 or under were referred for treatment in 2012/13 in England, according to the most recent figures from Public Health England, compared with 433 in 2011/12, meaning there may be cause for hope.

More than half of under-13 year olds (59%) received treatment for cannabis abuse or addiction, while a third were treated for alcohol misuse/abuse.

Despite the positive change of direction, these figures still represent an alarming statistic and state of affairs.

Gladstones Clinic is one of the only rehabs in the UK with a dedicated Teen Rehab Programme. Please give us a call if you are having problems with your own young person.

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Advice on How to Stop Online Gaming

If you have acknowledged to yourself that you have an online gaming addiction and are looking for advice and hep to stop your online video game habit then do not hesitate to contact the expert highly experienced team at Gladstones Clinic in Bristol who offer the very best professional help to people with addictions in the South West. We are the only rehab in the UK with a specialist online gaming addiction rehab programme.

Addiction to online gaming can range from constant playing of video games to gambling on online casino websites but whichever is your form of addiction it will undoubtedly be impacting upon your life in terms of your relationships with family and friends, your employment and in some cases your mental and emotional health.

Gladstones Clinic is one of the UK’s leading state-of-the-art treatment centres where professional non-judgmental help can be found for your addiction, helping you to build a better life going forward.

The expert and caring team at the Gladstones Clinic provides professional counseling and support for both addicts and their families in a friendly and secure environment.

If you feel that you may be struggling with an addiction to online gaming, for attentive care and superior treatment, contact Gladstones Clinic  today on 0117 925 2995.


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