The Science of Addiction
During a visit to Vancouver, BC I had the opportunity to attend a seminar by Dr. Carlton Erickson, Ph.D., Prof. of Pharmacology, Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies, and director of the Addiction Science Research & Education Centre in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas. His Bio is more extensive but I’m going to stop there – he is a man of science with many years of experience and achievement. Dr. Erickson’s presentation was on substance abuse and dependency. Since alcoholism and drug dependency is an on going problem in society, I thought I would share what I learned from the seminar.
Dr. Erickson explained the new avenues of treatment and the proven discovery that drug dependency (alcohol or other drugs) is a chronic brain disease and should be treated as other lifelong diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma. The last three diseases can be controlled by medication, diet and exercise, etc. The alcoholic or drug addict requires:
2. inpatient treatment (including assessment)
3. Aftercare. If lapses occur with the diabetic eating sweet desserts or ice cream, we support and encourage him/her to get back to the diet. The same type of support should be given to the drug dependent person who is in recovery as part of the aftercare.
Following is a short summary of what a layperson (myself) gathered from the seminar:
If you have the opportunity to
hear Dr. Carlton Erickson speak, don’t miss it. At the end of the day’s
seminar, Dr Erickson asked all participants to raise their hand and take
an oath to pass this information along to others so we can stop the
misunderstanding of this disease and encourage more research. The
sooner we start talking about it without shame labels the sooner the
dependent person will seek treatment.
If you wish to know more, look at Dr. Erickson’s favourite web sites:
- University of Texas Addiction Science Research & Education www.utexas.edu/research/asrec
- Nat. Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) www.drugabuse.gov
- Nat. Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA) www.niaaa.nih.gov
- Join Together Online www.jointogether.org
- Faces & Voices of Recovery
- Brain SPECT Imaging (Daniel Amen, M.D.) www.amenclinic.com
- NIH/NLM Publications www.pubmed.gov
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Thursday, October 15, 2009