Addiction and the factors that fuel it

Addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

As Department of Psychiatry associate professor Sheila Specker, M.D., has seen time and again, it’s often accompanied by depression, bipolar disorder, an eating disorder, or another mental health problem. Sometimes it’s one thread in a tangle of issues; often it’s tough to tease out which problem came first.

Two decades ago, when Specker was running an outpatient treatment program she’d developed for women battling addiction and eating disorders, she learned that in many cases, depression had often preceded both.

Heroine of the Day - Betty Ford

Betty was an alcoholic and hooked on prescription drugs when her family staged an intervention. She was in denial and is quoted as saying "My makeup wasn't smeared, I wasn't disheveled, I behaved politely, and I never finished off a bottle, so how could I be alcoholic?" Once she became honest with herself she became known for her open and honest manner in dealing with her substance abuse and recovery. This led to an improvement in how Americans talked about addictions and alcoholism.

This is your brain on drugs

Brain on marijuana image.

A Harvard-Northwestern study has found differences between the brains of young adult marijuana smokers and those of nonsmokers. In these composite scans, colors represent the differences — in the shape of the amygdala, top, and nucleus accumbens. Yellow indicates areas that are most different, red the least. interview with "Kino" and "Seven Son of Allah."

Click Here to Watch Directly from YouTube interview with "Kino" and "Seven Son of Allah." "Kino" discusses his battle with addiction and homelessness after 5 years of clean time. "Seven Son of Allah" discusses survival on the street.

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