ADHD Medication and Risk for Later Alcohol and Drug Use

Many parents have to make difficult choices about how to help their children with an ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) diagnosis. Two treatments have been proven in well-designed and carefully controlled research studies to be effective: behavioral management (also known as parent training) and medication (typically Ritatin or Adderall). Medication treatment has raised concerns about whether the use of medication to treat ADHD may be either a “gateway” for future substance use (e.g., ever trying…

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New paper by UCLA alums highlights emerging trend in cognitive neuroscience

Psychologists aim to better understand the link between internal and external states, that is, between cognitions and behaviors. Behaviors are often clear enough to measure, but accurately capturing the essence of a cognition can be a much fuzzier task.

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Engagement…in therapy!

Most people think of the word engagement and automatically start imagining a tiny box, a diamond ring, and someone down on one knee. I think of engagement and start thinking about therapy. Strange, huh? Well, if you think of what the word actually means, it’s not too strange. The noun engagement is “the act of engaging or the state of being in engaged.” The verb engage is “to occupy the attentions or efforts of (a…

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The Adderall Assistance: the study drug

By: Diana Elihu http://www.streetbonersandtvcarnage.com/blog/adderall-doesnt-work/   At universities across America, students are becoming increasingly addicted to a popular prescription drugs, not because they’re trying to get high, but because they hope to get smarter. The prescription drugs Adderall and Ritalin, which are normally prescribed for children with ADHD (formerly known as ADD), are under heavy abuse by students. Many of the symptoms of ADHD occur from time to time in everyone’s lives, including inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, difficulty focusing…

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Is all risk taking bad?

He that is over-cautious will accomplish little. Friedrich Von Schiller German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright Individuals who psychologists describe as “risk takers” are generally identified as being at-risk for a number of dangerous or maladaptive behaviors, including high risk sex, gambling, substance use disorders. However, frequent or high risk takers may be a heterogeneous group, and as a result, it may be difficult to know whether a tendency to take risks is uniformly associative…

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Decision Making: Biology, Free-Will and Accountability

The concept of decision making, has been a central focus of intellectual pursuit since the dawn of man. Previously a philosophical and theological discussion, in recent years this task has been taken up by neuroscientists and biological psychologists. This blog entry will consist of two sections. The first is a brief overview of some of the evidence linking biology and decision making. The second is a discussion of moral accountability in light of biology.

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Children with ADHD have greater likelihood of trying substances and developing substance use disorders.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders in childhood. In fact, estimates of the rates of ADHD had found that between 5-10 percent of all children meet diagnostic criteria for the disorder. Children with and without ADHD, at a group level, show several differences, including poorer school performance, more peer rejection, and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and acting out behavior. Following children over time is a common way…

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Alcohol blackouts: What to remember to remember?

Do you remember what you did last night? Have you ever not remembered what you did after drinking? Drinking alcohol over a long time period can affect the brain and cause lasting damage including, but not limited to, slips in memory. These memory slips can be due to lack of blood flow to brain areas that are important for memory consolidation and are more commonly known as blackouts. Contrary to what most people seem to…

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ADHD and Memory: Differences in What is Remembered

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD (formerly known also as ADD) are classically seen as the kids in class who have trouble staying in their seats and paying attention during long lessons. Underlying these problematic behaviors is a confluence of factors, with evidence pointing to genetics, neural function, and environmental factors (including parenting and lead exposure), which all can affect ADHD behavior. Many children diagnosed with ADHD seem to simply “grow out” of…

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Teens and drugs: Drug use statistics and a different approach to prevention

Here are some drug use statistics: Over 80% of teens engage in some form of deviant behavior (1). Over 50% of high-school seniors admit to having used drugs (2). Only 10%-15% of the population develop drug addiction problems related to their drug use (1). The question is: If the majority of teens experiment with drug use, and so few eventually develop drug addiction problems, should we be focusing on something other than stopping kids from…

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Even when you know it’s fake: The strength of the placebo effect

Almost everyone has heard about the placebo effect – the finding that treatment that have no particularly relevant effect (like a sugar or vitamin pill, or a behavioral equivalent) can make patients feel better. The placebo effect is actually the reason that all FDA approved drugs have to go through a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial before being approved for use – It has to be shown that using a specific medication is more beneficial than…

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The genetics of quitting smoking- Bupropion and nicotine metabolism

If you’ve been reading A3 for a while, you know that we’re big supporters of scientific progress in addiction treatment. While it may be true that addicts need to want recovery in order to truly turn their lives around, the choice is hardly ever that simple and if we can tip the balance in the favor of treatment, or a better way of life, I say let’s go for it. When it comes to genetics…

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People, places, and things – How important are drug-related triggers for addiction relapse?

In cognitive behavioral therapy they’re a big part of the “Five W’s” = When, Where, Why, With, and What. In the various 12-step programs they’re simply referred to as “People, places, and things.” But no matter how you refer to them, drug-associated cues, or “triggers” as they are more commonly known, obviously play a big role in reminding addicted individuals about their drug-seeking behavior, and they are often enough to restart old behavior, even among…

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How doctors treat doctors with drug use problems: Addiction treatment that works

Physician Health Programs (PHP) are reporting an astonishing success rate when it comes to providing addiction treatment for addicted doctors: Only about 20% of doctors ever test positive after being admitted to the program within a 5 year period. More than 70% maintain their license and continue working within the same 5 year period. These are the kind of addiction treatment results we want! I’ve been saying for a long time that I believe in…

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Helping Addicts with medications for cravings

If we could make it so drug addicts could stop craving the substances that have brought them to their knees, would relapse rates drop and addiction-treatment success rates soar? I sure hope so! Medications that stop cravings? I’ve already written about a study by the renowned addiction researcher Barry Everitt showing that medications could be used in treatment to help addicts who are struggling with strong cravings and the effect of triggers (see it here).…

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