I’m formatting today’s news and blogs differently because I needed to do a longer excerpt on the second post:
Last year, a 7-year-old foster boy named Gabriel Myers committed suicide in Florida and, after reams of publicity and hand-wringing over the use of psychotropic medications in such children, a state task force recommended, among other things, that children never be allowed to participate in a clinical trial designed to evaluate new psychotropic meds or whether such drugs approved for adults should be given to children.
And on addiction:
Long excerpt from a long article. Looks interesting.
The most popular “theory,” however, is that addictive behaviors are diseases. In this view, an addict, like a cancer patient or a diabetic, either has it or does not have it. Popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous, the disease theory holds that addictions are irreversible, constitutional, and altogether abnormal and that the only appropriate treatment is total avoidance of the alcohol or other substance, lifelong abstinence, and constant vigilance.
The problem with all of these theories and models is that they lead to control measures doomed to failure by mixing up the process of addiction with its impact. Worse, from the scientific standpoint, they don’t hold up to the tests of observation, time, and consistent utility. They don’t explain much and they don’t account for a lot.
What we now call “addictions,” in this sense, Childers says, are cases of a good and useful phenomenon taken hostage, with terrible social and medical consequences. Moreover, that insight is leading to the identification of specific areas of the brain that link feelings and behavior to reward circuits. “In the case of addictive drugs, we know that areas of the brain involved in memory and learning and with the most ancient part of our brain, the emotional brain, are the most interesting. I’m very optimistic that we will be able to develop new strategies for preventing and treating addictions.”
The new concept of addiction is in sharp contrast to the conventional, frustrating, and some would say cynical view that everything causes addiction.
Ask 10 Americans what addiction is and what causes it and you might get at least 10 answers. Some will insist addiction is a failure of morality or a spiritual weakness, a sin and a crime by people who won’t take responsibility for their behavior. If addicts want to self-destruct, let them. It’s their fault; they choose to abuse.
For the teetotaler and politicians, it’s a self-control problem; for sociologists, poverty; for educators, ignorance. Ask some psychiatrists or psychologists and you’re told that personality traits, temperament, and “character” are at the root of addictive “personalities.” Social-learning and cognitive-behavior theorists will tell you it’s a case of conditioned response and intended or unintended reinforcement of inappropriate behaviors. The biologically oriented will say it’s all in the genes and heredity; anthropologists that it’s culturally determined. And Dan Quayle will blame it on the breakdown of family values. read the rest
And I like this format so I may stick with it. It will be easier to read!