Addiction & The Brain: Is Recovery Possible?


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I am just back from the 2016 Couples Conference in San Francisco where I co-presented a workshop with Dr. Ellyn Bader on Addictions and Self-Absorption in Couples Therapy.  The Conference was sensational with exceptional keynotes by some of the most renowned people in their fields.  I will be writing more about that in a future post, but for now I wanted to share a little about this quote that I included in my presentation.

I think that struggling with addiction is one of the most devastating life events anyone can endure.  It’s happening in a part of the brain known as the limbic system, which is based in “survival” and interested only in self-preservation and protection of the self.  It is also taking place below conscious awareness, which means that most people are becoming addicted but they don’t know it – until it’s too late.

Another important fact that most of us are not aware of, is that certain brains are literarily “wired for addiction”.  That’s right – certain brains are hyper-sensitive to addictive cues and that once the drug of choice – which can be either a substance or a behaviour, is engaged with, the brain responds by flooding with dopamine, the neurotransmitter that communicates “I gotta have it”.  There is a dysregulation in shutting off the dopamine production and addicts’ brains continue to convey a message, “more, more, more…”.  This never happens in non-addicted brains.

The bad news is that often families and loved ones are hurt, jobs are lost, health declines and at the extreme, homelessness, insanity or death.  The good news is that if treated, lives can flourish and struggles with addiction can be transformed into a life filled with joy, meaning and service. 

If you or someone you know or love is struggling with addiction, trauma or relationship problems don’t hesitate to contact us.  We are here for you.

Until next time, I wish you all the best,


All the best,



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