by Lisa Frederiksen
I wrote my first blog post for BreakingTheCycles.com three years ago, today! Since then, I have expanded my work to include workshops and presentations, consulting services, books, and collaborative efforts focused on 21st century brain and addiction-related research in an attempt to help all concerned better understand that addiction, its causes (aka Risk Factors) and the coping skills one wires as a result actually change the brain, thereby changing how one behaves, what one thinks, what one says and how ones feels.
It is a viscous cycle, unfortunately — passed from one generation to the next — and one that perpetuates itself because of a lack of understanding of addiction as a brain disease and that living with it causes brain changes as well. Why? Because addiction is still considered a moral weakness, a shameful lack of willpower, and as a result, all concerned fight a brain disease they don’t understand — shrouded in secrecy and shame.
But it is an exciting time, now, thanks to the changes in imaging technologies and the funding being applied to the study of the human brain in action. The potential of this far-reaching, rapidly advancing neuroscience research to change how we prevent, treat and intervene with substance abuse and/or addiction is huge. The role exercise, nutrition and sleep play in contributing to a person’s brain health, for example, is shedding new light on what these health activities can do to heal the brain affected by this disease. Learning what chronic stress and childhood trauma (verbal, physical or emotional abuse, as examples) do to the brain are no less far-reaching in helping us create better programs to help the children, family and friends of a loved one who abuses and/or is addicted to a substance. Perhaps most important of all is the ability of these brain scans and neuroscience research to “prove” that addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease, and as such, it can fully and successfully be treated.
So, I encourage you to add your voice ~ all cross-posts and/or articles related to any one of our categories are more than welcome. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most of all — thank YOU for reading, passing along these posts, submitting posts and articles, adding comments, and doing what you do to help those affected by substance misuse. Together, we are changing conversations.