Checked this out again last night and well worth another listen. In the first half hour, in particular, I explain why I think addictive behaviours of all sorts are emotional disorders – how the “spiritual malady” of 12 step recovery can also be seen as an emotional disease.
Trying to get to the heart of what constitutes this pathology of addiction and the pathomechanism that drives it is still the burning issue.
For us emotion processing deficits are the most likely candidate that explains all the important aspects of addiction demonstrated in research, it explains impulsive behaviour, distress based thinking and decision making, it explains heightened reward systems, obsessive compulsive behaviour, intolerance of uncertainty etc and it also explains why most people relapse.
We have to help people in recovery learn how to cope with negative emotions and distress as well as negative self schemas which wrongly say we are not good enough have a successful recovery.
The recovery brain is different to the addicted brain. Recovery alters the brain’s functions. The brain does recover.
Here is Paul Henry being interviewed at length by Chris Aguirre on his excellent Since Right Now podcast about his theories of addiction, and other research, his experience of addiction and recovery and how academic and so-called anecdotal or “experiential” evidence have been combined to shape his world view regarding what he believes is at the heart, the pathomechansim, of addictive behaviour and also what recovers in recovery and why?