Radiolab Episode on Addiction

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Radiolab Episode on Addiction

Hey guys,

I ended a relatively severe bout of relapse recently and almost immediately stumbled across a Radio Lab episode about addiction that I thought was fascinating and wanted to share in case any of you might be interested.

Hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think! 

Last seen: 6 months 4 weeks ago
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Joined: 06/04/2015 - 3:09pm


I ended a relatively severe bout of relapse recently

Welcome back.  A relapse can be useful when we learn from them.  Come to some meetings and listen, maybe share a bit about yourself.  You might find like I did that getting off the games and turning our lives around for the better is possible when we work on it together.

I read the summary on the radio piece.  I don't doubt some symptoms of addiction could possibly be lessened by a pill, but the idea that a pill could eliminate a severe mental condition like addiction is delusional... but no doubt very profitable for pill pushers.

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Joined: 02/17/2014 - 11:33am
This is quite an interesting

This is quite an interesting listen about the possible role of drugs to reduce cravings and stop feeling the highs for addicts.

As the advent of Prozac for depression/anxiety meant that drug prescription for depression became more widespread, the show suggests we are on the cusp of a similar wave of addiction medication prescribing.

No doubt that the drugs can do what they say they will do, (eg stop cravings/highs) but the show later concedes that treating addiction is not that simple.

We hear the story of an alcoholic who went through many 12 step rehabs, back to the same drunk life. After being inspired in rehab when he got back home he just started drinking again. Then he went to a new clinic that offered drug therapy. The drug enabled him to be content to drink only 2 to 6 drinks per night and feel he was just a "normal" person because he could stop. He started to get a life back, a girl friend and a job. We catch up with this guy a couple of months later and he is not happy. He missed the feeling he got being drunk...the creative, social person. He had deliberately missed taking meds one weekend so he could feel like that person again. He missed 'feeling like myself' and he was just 'an empty guy'.

I wasn't sure if this guy was still skipping meds to get drunk or that his emptiness because he was now sober meant that he has lost the girlfriend, friendships and job. Now he is on a new med and going to AA 12 step again so he can be with people who understand.

We then hear about how a drug will hijack the brain circuits for 'love', and how the people with greatest sensitivity who respond best to taking care of evolutionary business such as finding a mate, finding food because they get the greatest mental reward are likely to be manipulated by addictive substances/behaviours. These people  more at risk of addiction can be termed "overly responsive to reward".

In the middle of the episode there is a bit of an assault on AA, their prevalent use of God or higher power in literature, and their seemingly poor success rate, which many of the listeners comments on the show web site are angry about. Also the presenter suggests that if drugs can work against addiction (where AA fails) that it may be that addicts 'are not bad people'  after all [an assumption which he infers is part of AA philosophy] but just sick. I felt that there was a simplistic, disingenuous misrepresentation of AA culture there.

One can conclude that these drugs may have a role to play for the committed person wanting to recover, but are far from the whole solution.



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