Food is one of our primary sources of pleasure, and critical to our survival. In a healthy reward pathway of the brain, food is a natural stimulus that produces feelings of pleasure from the release of dopamine. This gratifying feeling makes this activity worthy of repeating, as we want to experience it again. However, not all foods have the same effect on the brains’ reward system. So why do certain foods activate the brains’ reward system more than others? Sugar, salt and fat are three substances that ‘hijack’ the brains’ reward system, by releasing a burst of dopamine, similar to the effects of drugs and alcohol. As more research emerges, we gain knowledge about how a diet of large portions of refined and processed foods affect the way our brain responds to food. Some individuals develop a dependence on these foods to feel happy and satisfied, and eventually develop a tolerance by needing more of these ‘addictive’ foods to experience feelings of pleasure. Read more
The 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and Religion
Our clients come from all walks of life and while some people identify with a particular religion, others describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, humanists or freethinkers. One question we are frequently asked by clients relates to the 12-steps aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous. People often wonder: “Do I need to believe in God or religion to benefit from the 12-Step process?’ or “I am not religious, is AA right for me?”.
While it is true that six of the original 12-Steps refer to ‘God’ or a ‘Higher Power, it also true that Alcoholics Anonymous is the most common self-help source for individuals dealing with alcohol addiction in North America.
Although it is an undeniable fact that the original 12-Steps were based on Christian teachings, today, AA has grown into a spiritual program. Spirituality being much broader and more encompassing can be defined as “that which gives people meaning and purpose in life” (Puchalski, Dorff, & Hendi, 2004). Read more
We know it is not always easy to find the right addiction treatment centre. It can be confusing in deciding what questions to ask to understand the quality of treatment you will receive, or the track-record of different treatment providers.
As a follow-up to our blog ‘The Most Important Questions to Ask a Treatment Provider’, we developed this smart infographic to help you find the right addiction treatment centre for yourself or a loved one.
Always ask the rights questions and understand all the facts before you choose. Addiction treatment is an investment in your health and future. Be well everyone!
CLICK HERE to view an enlarged version of the infographic
Addiction has become one of the most critical health problems facing our species.
A new study released last month from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that alcohol kills 1 person every 10 seconds. The study states that alcohol was the reason that 3.3 million deaths occurred in the world in 2012 and that 16% of people who drink alcohol alcohol binge drink. In addition, not only does risky alcohol consumption lead to addiction, it also puts people at a higher risk for developing more than 200 different disorders. Shekhar Saxena, head of the WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse department, has stated that these numbers actually translate into 1 death every 10 seconds.
Several people who work in the addictions field were probably thinking the same thing I was. Well, that’s no surprise. What was alarming to me was the number of deaths that were accounted for alcohol only! Read more
As clinicians and researchers learn more, categorization of various mental health issues and disorders changes to reflect more precise diagnostic criteria, thus helping those who are seeking treatment and understanding. For example, the tool that mental healthcare professionals use to help guide their diagnoses and treatment plans – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is revised from time-to-time to ensure that updates are made as more information about various disorders becomes clearer. In its latest edition, the DSM-5 has included an important revision in the chapter involving Feeding and Eating Disorders.
Definition of Binge Eating Disorder According to the DSM-5
In the latest edition of the DSM, Binge Eating Disorder has now been recognized as separate and distinct from the “catch-all” category of eating disorders labeled “Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS).” In the past, this category was used for individuals who had disordered eating and behavioural patterns that did not fit into the DSM-IV criteria of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Read more