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Training the Brain to Think Ahead — 5 Comments

  1. Abuse, intoxication etc are “cool”. For example, I wanted to start smoking and drinking just to be like the big kids. They counted for much more in my picture of the world than boring old teachers, doctors and the rest of the establishment. Add to that the fact that I suffered from an undiagnosed psychiatric disorder then you have a recipe for chronic abuse.

    O.k. that’s personal experience, not research but how many others were like me?

    • In a word, millions were like you. I started smoking for the same reasons you did, and drinking to feel like “one of the guys,” for the first time in my life. What this article is addressing is the condition that results from continued use. Many High School and College students drink, use, and raise hell, but the majority “mature out of it.” Some don’t. They lose, or more accurately, never acquire the ability that most people have to put long-term goals ahead of short-term gratification. It’s one of the unfortunate things that happen to our brains as part of the mechanism of addiction, and adds to the denial that all addicts must overcome in order to recover.

  2. Delay discounting sounds to me like an idea worthy of investigation but does not really take into consideration the withdrawal a daily user has to deal with which is often the key for turning a user into an abuser. This withdrawal isn’t necessarily a body sensation or just feeling badly or the shakes or whatever. I think a fairly high percentage of addicts start off using to overcome anxiety or just a generalized fear of their environment. If the drug of choice relieves this anxiety, the anxiety returns when the chemical effects wear off and often times to a heightened degree. Someone who has suffered from panic attacks and the like will often do anything to relieve them-even commit suicide. Risk-reward is not a consideration and cognitive based treatment is a long stretch for an individual who is regulasly experiences anxiety on a daily basis

  3. That anxiety can be, and is addressed by cognitive therapy. First the addict needs to understand where it comes from, the dopamine system, affecting the self-preservation mechanism. Studies have repeatedly shown that when an addict firmly makes the decision that the consequences of using clearly outweigh the benefits of continuing to use, these withdrawal symptoms, along with their associated urges can be dealt with using cognitive techniques.

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