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Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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March 14, 2007

The Addiction Project, Thursday Night on HBO

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Addiction is the number one brain-related illness on the planet. Worldwide nearly 800 million people are addicted to a substance. (Note that most 'addiction surveys' fail to recognize nicotine addiction. A fact I find truly confounding.)

In an effort to shed a spotlight on this vast and growing neurosocial epidemic, HBO has produced the Addiction Project, a 90-Minute film that will air this Thursday at 9:00 pm. Immediately following the premiere, the website will offer this and 14 other films in their entirety for free on the site. So if you don't have HBO go to the website.

The website is meant to be a resource for people who are interested in the science of addiction, and for individuals and families who need help. If you believe you may have a problem go you might take a minute and read this webpage.

Here are some mind numbing statistics on addiction:

- Nearly 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 are classified with substance abuse or dependence.
- Over 18 million adults suffer from alcohol use disorders.
- Alcohol and drug abuse costs the American economy an estimated $366 billion per year in lost productivity, health care expenditures and crime.
- Of the 22.2 million Americans who needed treatment for illicit drugs or alcohol, only 3.9 million received it.
- Among those who felt they needed treatment but did not receive it, 44% attributed it to cost or insurance barriers.
- More than half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking.
- One-fourth of all persons admitted to general hospitals are admitted for problems related to alcohol.
- More than 100,000 deaths in the United States each year are attributable to excessive alcohol consumption

The Addiction Project is produced by HBO in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Bravo to these organizations.

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Mental Health Issues


1. Michael Cohen on March 15, 2007 10:44 AM writes...

Zack, the number one way to impact someone suffering from chemical dependency is neurofeedback. Yet it's virtually invisible (lack of major funding).

It's far more successful than any other intervention. Read the research that exist, and you'd probably agree.

As a very small example, I've got 2 clients currently who've relapsed many times age 50+). They were referred by a psychiatrist. Both are learning with neurofeedback how to regulate anxiety, depression and racing thoughts without
relying on either medications or substances to do it for them. It's remarkable how far they've both come in such a short time. They are learning to enjoy life again on their own - without substances to help.

There are no vendors marketing neurofeedback for addiction. So you can imagine how much is being sold. Only those who specifically seek it out have a chance to use it. And there are some big learning curves.

As a result, the addiction establishment is almost completely oblivious to the technology. Research is also limited for anything without large commercial payback.

I know you are looking into neurofeedback. I've studied these specific issues carefully. If it would be ever be helpful, I'm glad to talk with you about it. It's probably a solution years off till someone figures out how to make big bucks with it.

Michael Cohen
Center for Brain Training

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2. Dr. Methodius Isaac Bonkers, M.D. on March 17, 2007 10:54 AM writes...

Addictive Properties of Shiitake Sesame Vinaigrette --

Compared with other addictions, shiitake sesame vinaigrette abuse and dependency is practically unheard of:

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