Addiction is a Treatable Brain Disease – Really!

Addiction is a Treatable Brain Disease – Really!

The Senate’s unanimous confirmation of Michael Botticelli as the Director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy is a milestone to celebrate.

Whether you personally struggle with the disease of addiction or you are a family member trying to help a loved one who is, Mr. Botticelli’s appointment is proof positive that addiction is a treatable brain disease.

Not only that, but he’s proof positive that being open about one’s long-term recovery is okay (not that everyone need be public about their recovery, but if they so choose, it’s okay). As Director Botticelli described his decision in his message, “The Work Before Us,”

Michael Botticelli - Director of the White House's National Drug Control Policy

Michael Botticelli – Director of the White House’s National Drug Control Policy

“I am open about my recovery not to be self-congratulatory, I am open about my recovery to change public policy. I have dedicated my life to treating drug use as a public health issue, and that’s how I approach this new role, as well.  I hope that many more of the millions of Americans in recovery like me will also choose to “come out” and to fight to be treated like anyone else with a chronic disease. By putting faces and voices to the disease of addiction and the promise of recovery, we can lift the curtain of conventional wisdom that continues to keep too many of us hidden and without access to lifesaving treatment.” Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Addiction is a Treatable Brain Disease

As exciting as Director Botticelli’s unanimous Senate confirmation is, so, too, is his example of the life a person can live when they treat their addiction.

Thanks to new imaging technologies, funding opportunities and the collaborative work of brilliant minds in the recent 15-20 years, there’s a whole new body of scientific research that explains the treatable brain disease of addiction and effective treatment options.

Below, please find a few key resources that introduce or share this work.

The first is a short video from the NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) titled, “Anyone Can Become Addicted to Drugs,”

This next one is also a short video from NIH/NIDA, “Why Drugs are So Hard to Quit,”


These next three are online resources:

And this last one is a Quick Guide I’ve written, which will be of help to families wanting to understand what has happened to them (the family member), as well:

Truly exciting times we’re living in, I’d say. As I explain in my About section on why I founded in 2008…

We Now Have the Science to Break the Cycles

Recall the early 1970s – many adults smoked cigarettes, we didn’t use bike helmets, infant car seats hadn’t been invented and we rarely used our seat belts. And think about how we viewed and treated HIV-Aids!

All of that changed drastically in just 20+ years — simply because people started talking about and sharing the new research and taking action as they gathered knowledge. Today, bike helmets are mandatory for children under 18, seat belts are mandatory for every passenger, fire departments install infant car seats, and HIV-Aids is recognized as a body fluid-to-body fluid transmitted disease that is “treated like this” and “prevented like this.”

It is Lisa’s hope we can do the same with addiction, which in turn will help the more than 100 million people who are also affected by a loved one’s alcohol or drug addiction or misuse, what Lisa Frederiksen has identified as Secondhand Drinking | Secondhand Drugging. These 100 million people – roughly one-third the American population – are the husbands, wives, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, boyfriends, girlfriends, aunts, uncles, close friends and in-laws of a loved one who misuses drugs or alcohol.

Today, there are 1.1 million Americans living with HIV. By contrast, there are 23.2 million Americans struggling with the brain disease of addiction (whether to drugs or alcohol), of which only 10 percent seek help.

The science is now available to boldly, unequivocally state, addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that can be “prevented like this” and “treated like this.” The science is now here to also help the 100 million Americans who struggle with Secondhand Drinking | Secondhand Drugging change how they cope and how they protect themselves from the negative impacts of a person’s drinking (or drugging) behaviors.

It’s time.

Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen

Author | Speaker | Consultant | Founder at
Lisa is the author of hundreds of articles and 11 books, including "If You Loved Me, You'd Stop!," "Addiction Recovery: What Helps, What Doesn't," and "Secondhand Drinking: the Phenomenon That Affects Millions." She is a national keynote speaker with over 25 years speaking experience, consultant, and founder of She has spent more than 14 years studying 21st century brain research in order to write, speak, and consult on substance use disorders prevention, intervention and treatment; mental disorders; addiction (aka substance use disorders) as a brain disease; adolescent addiction treatment vs adult addiction treatment; effective treatment for co-occurring disorders (having both a substance use and mental disorder); secondhand drinking | drugging; help for the family; and related subjects. In 2015, she founded SHD Prevention, providing training and consulting to companies, public agencies, unions, nonprofits and other entities to address the workplace impacts of employee secondhand drinking and alcohol misuse.

4 Responses to Addiction is a Treatable Brain Disease – Really!

  1. Robert Yoder says:

    What a great story to wake up to. It’s just like the storyline in west wing, but real.

    I feel the best people to have in any role related to treating types of addiction should be someone who lived it or helped someone live thru similar addictions.

    No one understands what an addict goes thru if they haven’t been there themselves.

    Thanks for sharing Lisa.


  2. Dan Stenberg says:

    Congrats to you, Mr Botticelli! I really enjoyed this this am and my one wish is for this to be featured on mainstream TV now!

  3. Stephanie Brenner says:

    This is such great news!

  4. Mr Botticelli congratulations as well, you have your work cut out for you. Addiction has been killing us For over 100years, every knows it, some admit to it , millions struggle to understand …
    Today’s Science is certainly keeping many more alive , than we Have in the past 100 years of research & Development.
    What has changed is the way we look at and understand addiction today…
    What has to change is how we teach History to our Babies. They need the truth about addiction along with their ABCs / 123s…
    In 20 years we can Teach Out Addiction to the next Two Generations of AMERICAs Future !
    Lisa is a fellow advocate of mine in this field Of Addiction /Recovery , and I admire her work. She also knows my feelings toward the future of Addiction.
    Sincerely , Craig/Dad-2

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