Archive for Monday, September 5, 2011


Mind Matters: Refocusing treatment as ‘addiction’ is redefined

September 5, 2011


Recently The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) changed the definition of “addiction.” Addiction, no longer viewed as a simple disease, is now a “primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.”

In other words, addiction is now a brain disorder, not driven by personality or psychological processes, but an unbalanced, disorganized brain that is seeking balance.

Many professionals are concerned about the implications of the new definition. Some believe that it does nothing to decrease the stigma of addiction. Though de-stigmatizing addiction may have been part of the intent of the change in definition, it is the least important aspect of it.

The fact of the matter is if our intention is to assist addicts in overcoming their addictions, then we need to place our attention on the causal point — a dysfunctional brain. Thus far, placing our attention on personality and psychological factors has helped only a small percentage of addicts. Even the most effective interventions, like 12-step processes or residential treatment programs have only minimal to moderate long-term success rates.

In our experience, the most effective strategies combine supportive processes like 12-step programs, short-term medication regimens, psychotherapy, family education and more.

Recognizing that addiction’s roots are brain-based helps us to understand the depths of the problem, enabling an opportunity to design even more effective strategies. In the case of addiction (and many other emotional and physical afflictions) it is best not to take an either/or approach, but instead a both/and approach.

Along with traditional treatment options there are some alternative strategies that our clients have found helpful in getting to the underlying energy associated with addiction.

We will only briefly describe them here. It is for you to investigate them further should you have interest. One methodology is contained in a book by Michael Brown titled The Presence Process. The other is a new technology called Brainwave Optimization.

The Presence Process

The Presence Process is a self driven process that enables you to work with trapped emotional energy that inhibits your authentic self from emerging and creating the need for self-medicating behaviors. It is a gentle and noninvasive process that does, however, require a strong commitment. We have had several clients who have found The Presence Process a most powerful and beneficial means to significant changes.

Brainwave Optimization

There are now several different new neuro-technologies that can be very helpful with addiction and other mental health issues. One noninvasive approach is Brainwave Optimization, which enables the brain to observe itself in an optimized condition, leading it to change to a balanced and harmonic state. We have witnessed individuals with recalcitrant mental health conditions improve dramatically with the use of this technology, lowering the need for medications, freeing themselves to live more fulfilling lives.

The above processes can be helpful for all mental health conditions and many physical problems. It is important to note that before embarking on either, the addict may be required to undergo conventional treatment options to stop substance abuse.

The Presence Process is available through most book retailers and an audio version is available through Namaste Publishing. Information on Brainwave Optimization can be found at Keep in mind that most alternative strategies are not supported by rigorous research. As always, an appropriate mental health and/or medical consultation should be received prior to utilizing any form of treatment.— Ed Bloch, LSCSW, and Jena Bloch, LCMFT, are directors of the Life Enrichment Center in Lawrence.

—Ed Bloch, LSCSW, and Jena Bloch, LCMFT, are directors of the Life Enrichment Center in Lawrence.


Liberty275 6 years, 8 months ago

"Even the most effective interventions"

Why are we so quick to accept telling people how to run their lives? Help the people that ask and stay out of the lives of those that don't.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

1) My opinion is that intervention is sometimes a good idea for several reasons. But, I also believe that telling people how to run their lives is a bad idea.

I'll address the second one first, that is, why telling people how to run their lives is a bad idea, because the answer to that one is short and simple:

It's not going to work.

There is not much hope of helping someone who will not admit there is a problem to change his behavior and therefore also his life simply by telling him to do so.

And, there is also no hope of helping someone to change his life simply by telling him to do so if he does not want to do so.

So any effort in either of those situations is wasted.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

2) And to address the first part of my statement, I believe that there are very often good reasons for intervention.

I'll start by telling a brief story. I've been told a quite a few times about something that happened when I was very young. It simply dumbfounded my mother when it occurred. That is the time she was baking something and told me to not touch the oven because it was hot. I immediately walked up to it and put hand on it.

While I don't recall the incident, I am sure I know why I did it. I did it because I did not know what "hot" meant, and I was presented with a very quick and easy way to find out. Unfortunately, it was also a very painful way to learn the concept of "hot". Now I know what it means, and it's not necessary to tell me to not touch a hot object, just let me know that it is so, and I will know enough to not touch it.

So, a good reason to intervene is that a person might not be aware of the consequences of his actions, in the same way that I was not aware of the future result of my choice of how to discover what "hot" meant.

You could present other options that are better choices. A person might not be aware that better choices exist. Do you want to get stinking drunk tonight? What if someone pointed out to you that a movie you had been talking about seeing for months was finally showing in the theater tonight, and then suggest that you make a few phone calls to your friends and see who is up to going to see it and then have snacks somewhere afterward. Maybe you didn't realize that movie was already showing in town, and that suggestion alone would be all it would take for you to make a different decision as to what to do tonight.

Another is to point out the consequences of what you are planning to do. Like, my mother should have told me that I was going to be hurt by touching the oven instead of simply telling me not to do it because it was hot. That didn't work because I didn't know what "hot" meant.

Just the simple statement that you are never going to lose weight if you keep on getting drunk every night will at least make you stop and think for a second, if you've been complaining for a long time about how your diet never seems to help and you are really bothered that it appears as though you're never going to fit into your nice clothes again. And plus, everyone has been talking about your gut, and you're damn tired of that.

Here's another situation where it might be a good reason to intervene, and that is to prevent someone from having problems with the law. It might be a good idea to point out to a friend who is stinking drunk and walking out the bar to get in his car to drive west to go home that you just happened to have driven by that way and you know there is a DUI checkpoint he is going to be driving through if he persists in the plan he just announced.

Liberty275 6 years, 8 months ago

I'll agree wholeheartedly about people below the age of consent. They don't know how to act and need help learning and they need to be protected. That's pretty much a given.

I still have trouble with telling adults how to live their lives, whether it be touching stoves (or getting branded), getting drunk or shooting up. An adult person needs develop from the inside, not out of fear from scary stories.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

3) But the very best reason of all to intervene is to prevent injuries to others. And here's a good example. Tell someone this:

"If you get my kids involved in what you are doing, I'm not going to kill you. But after you've found out what your new friend Bruno likes to do in the new home you will be sharing with him for a quite a while, you're going to wish I had."

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 8 months ago

You may think that sounds like an appropriate solution. The problem with your approach, though, is that it exists in a vacuum...while addiction does NOT exist in a vacuum.

Liberty275 6 years, 8 months ago

Then who are you serving? The addict or the "not vacuum" around them? Is it right to try forcing a person to be something different to suit the "not vacuum"?

We shouldn't only be afforded freedom from the tyranny of those that would harm us, but also from the tyranny of those with our best interest at heart.

edmclinn 6 years, 8 months ago

This should give you clinicians something to keep you busy for a few days, maybe I can have some peace for a few days...LOL. Really though, they have this nice little racket going on in Kansas these days. 1) They have law enforcement tap you home, car, work 2) they follow you everywhere just to bug the crap out of you. 3) They are self serving morons that over analyze and would have the whole world on anti-depression medications if they could....what a buch of idiots.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Here's something for edmclinn to think about. I had a little brother until January 4, 2000.

The evening before January 4, 2000, he got drunk, and summoned up the courage to swallow over 200 of his pills, which he knew was a lethal dose. I knew that a whole bottle of his pills was lethal because of the simple fact that he had told me so. Today, I feel really stupid because when he told me that, it went right over my head. There was another comment he made also, and that one went right over my head at the time also.

Maybe if he had been on anti-depression medications he would have been better able to deal with his life situation, and the event of January 4, 2000 would not have occurred.

I do miss my little brother, and often I think of things I want to tell him. Only a second later, I realize that it's too late now.

And sometimes, I have dreams about him from happier times, when we were just little boys playing together with our toys.

And edmclinn thinks that clinicians are self serving morons that over analyze people. I wish an over analyzing clinician had recognized what was probably going to happen could have there to over analyze my little brother. If that had been the case, maybe things would have been been different.

I think it's quite obvious that edmclinn has never lost a close relative or friend the way I lost my little brother, and a few other friends besides, or he would not be trying to give clinicians something to think about when he obviously knows nothing about the subject himself.

But actually, he is giving them something to think about. What he is giving them to think about is how uncaring people can be, and how absolutely insane some of their claims are.

Or maybe, they are thinking about how easy it is to be very cruel towards others while hiding behind the cloak of anonymity.

edmclinn 6 years, 8 months ago

It must not be that obvious since I have lost a brother. Your just a bit ignorant on what tactics are used. Stay tuned if you want to hear unfiltered truthful information.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 8 months ago

"They have law enforcement tap you home, car, work"?

"They follow you everywhere"??

Out of curiosity, just who is this mysterious "they" that you're talking about? It certainly isn't clinicians.

edmclinn 6 years, 8 months ago

Well if they would actually admit their actions to the public, i would be the first to tell you who "they" are. Since "they" don't and I obviously do not know all of the details I can only tell about my observations. It is a law enforcement entity, but they will never admit the tactics they use. I will say I have observed both Police and Sheriff Officers listening to what I say in my car real time. When I called them to my house and asked them about it, they obviously denied it. Also, watch out if you ever go to the pool room, they record audio up in that place as well. Good Job law enforcement!

MarcoPogo 6 years, 8 months ago

How can they hear conversations over that jukebox?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

They use the little chip they have implanted in the back of everyone's neck.

Didn't you see that movie?

Liberty275 6 years, 8 months ago

They took mine out after I realized what was going on. I only figured it out because it malfunctioned and sounded like a swarm of cicadas in my head as I drifted off to sleep.

Come to think of it, they might have just fixed it and put it back.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 8 months ago

Oh, come on, now. What a copout.

If "they" admitted their actions to the public, then we wouldn't need "you" to tell us who "they" are, now would we???

And...if you actually know who "they" are, then telling us who "they" are would bring their behavior out into the open where it could be dealt with.

So why keep it secret?

And, if you think police/sheriff were listening to what you said in your car (and it's not simply because you have paranoid delusions) then you must have a reason why you think they would bother listening to you.

After all, we have something like 1 officer per every 500 residents, which doesn't allow for a whole lot of time being spent eavesdropping on each one of us individually.

Now, if you were talking to someone else in your car and arranging, say, a drug deal and that is why your conversation was being monitored, I don't expect you'll admit to it :-)

At the same time, if that's what you were doing, then you actually brought this "listening" on all by yourself, and can't very well get mad at law enforcement for doing their job. You don't like it? Stop breaking the law.

(As an aside, if the Pool Room not only videotapes but records audio on their security tapes, then that's on the Pool Room, NOT on law enforcement. You need to place responsibility where it belongs, not on who you're mad at.)

Pete Kennamore 6 years, 8 months ago

Successful recover rate for those sentenced to 12 step program - 7% successful recover rate for those that do not use 12 step type program for addiction problem - 7%

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

It is unfortunate that I have absolutely no way to argue with you.

Because the statistics back up your statements.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 8 months ago

Well...that statistic refers to people SENTENCED to a 12 step program. Not quite the same thing as comparing the success rate of someone willingly attending a 12-step program and the success rate of someone not using a 12-step program.

Ain't statistics grand :-)

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." - Mark Twain

Next time, credit your source!

Pete Kennamore 6 years, 8 months ago

sorry, didn't know the source. I assumed everyone knew that old adage and did not intend to imply it was orginal work.

somedude20 6 years, 8 months ago

I am going to have to face it that I am addicted to love: My lights are on but I am not home and my mind is not my own. My heart sweats and my body shakes and another kiss is all it takes. I can't sleep and I can't eat no doubt that I am in deep. My throat gets tight and I can't breathe another kiss is all i need

Pete Kennamore 6 years, 8 months ago

Credit due to Robert Palmer for the above

edmclinn 6 years, 8 months ago

So MarcoPogo, how do you know who I am? I am interested in knowing, as long as you tell the truth!

MarcoPogo 6 years, 8 months ago

I don't, I simply responded to your post. Just because I know how loud their jukebox is doesn't mean I'm after you. Settle down, Beavis.

edmclinn 6 years, 8 months ago

Just keep in mind I've been harassed by law enforcement for close to 4 years now. They know me and I know them...they have a constant surveillance presence at the Pool Room and I'm sure if you go their very often you have came into contact with more than one CI they have in that place. The CI's record the audio that is around them, at least that is my current assumption.

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