According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” However, that’s not what the epidemiology of the disorder suggests. By age 35, half of all people who qualified for active alcoholism or addiction diagnoses during their teens and 20s no longer do, according to a study of over 42,000 Americans in a sample designed to represent the adult population.
Only a quarter of people who recover have ever sought assistance in doing so (including via 12-step programs). This actually makes addictions the psychiatric disorder with the highest odds of recovery.Metafilter's own maias on myths surrounding the disease(?) of substance addiction, and their impact on medicine and policy.
"Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Long Suicide of Montgomery Clift" by Anne Helen Petersen for Vanity Fair. (Warning: graphic description of car accident in the link.) [more inside]
The art world's food fetish is nothing new, triggering equal parts salivation and repulsion we gorge on so-called 'food porn' every day, saturating our screens with sugar. But beneath that candy-cane filter there's a darker side to our fetishisation of all-things sweet. With their Twix noses, salami decolletage and strawberry laces spewing from donut-shaped carverns, James Ostrer's saccharine-warped creations are delectably disturbing. Born out of a textbook childhood junk addiction, his new series Wotsit All About takes sugar worship to the extreme, sculpting mutated, larger-than-life candy characters from truck-loads of pick 'n' mix favourites. Pushing his sitters to the extreme he smothers them in cream cheese, frazzles and ice-cream cones, the food masks leaving a claustrophic, bitter-sweet taste on the tongue. Interview with the photographer. [NSFW]
You may know Neill Jameson as the frontman/honcho for black metal favorites Krieg, who have a new LP Transient for Candlelight Records, or via his involvement in Twilight, the supergroup headed up by Blake Judd of Nachtmystium and featuring members like Thurston Moore, Aaron Turner, Jef Whitehead (Leviathan), Stavros Giannopoulos (The Atlas Moth), and more. But Neill's involvement with Blake Judd goes much deeper than that: Theirs is a friendship that was initally forged based on a mutually shared interest in music many years ago. In the following firsthand account, Neill recalls the history of some of the darker moments of his friendship with Blake Judd, ones that eventually lead to him severing his ties with the celebrated black metal musician, and the stark reality of drug addiction.
The Editorial Team of Substance Abuse make[s] an appeal for the use of language that (1) Respects the worth and dignity of all persons (“people-first language”), (2) Focuses on the medical nature of substance use disorders and treatment, (3) Promotes the recovery process, and (4) Avoids perpetuating negative stereotype biases through the use of slang and idioms. We ask authors, reviewers, and readers to carefully and intentionally consider the language used to describe alcohol and other drug use and disorders, the individuals affected by these conditions, and their related behaviors, comorbidities, treatment, and recovery in our publication. [more inside]
How much separates ADHD drugs from street meth? Not much. And where is it all going? "Aside from some foul cutting material, Winnebago methamphetamine and pharmaceutical amphetamine are kissing chemical cousins. The difference between them boils down to one methyl-group molecule that lets crank race a little faster across the blood-brain barrier and kick just a little harder. After that, meth breaks down fast into good old dextroamphetamine, the dominant salt in America’s leading ADHD drug and cram-study aid, Adderall."
This is a collection of Francisco "Puree Tomatoes" Taccir's blog posts from Myspace and Friendster from 2005 – 2010. Tomatoes was a writer, artist, and addict who was born on February 26. 1977. He died on October 10, 2010 from a heroin overdose. [more inside]
"Everything is fine and the world is beautiful. It's raining, it's dark, I woke up at 5:30AM, I'm commuting in traffic. I would have had a headache, I would have been miserable, I would have wondered how my life took me to this point. This point I'm at right now. But no, no, everything is fine. Life is beautiful. The rain drops are just falling and in each one I see the reflection of every persons life around me. Humanity is beautiful. In this still frame shot of traffic on this crowded bus I just found love and peace. Heroin is a wonder drug. Heroin is better than everything else. Heroin makes me who I wish I was. Heroin makes life worth living. Heroin is better than everything else." [more inside]
Despite years of unabashed support, Canada's most conservative newspaper The Toronto Sun has published a 7-part recap of the Rob Ford scandal(s): Part 1: From penny-pinching councillor to crack mayor - Part 2: Rob Ford crack video hits the fan - Part 3: Mad scramble for the Rob Ford crack video - Part 4: Cops seize the Rob Ford crack video - Part 5: Walls close in on scandal-plagued Mayor Rob Ford - Part 6: The meltdown of a mayor - Part 7: Scandal-plagued Rob Ford unsinkable? (warning: only 20 free articles/month) [more inside]
The Ninth Floor. [NSFW] The Ninth Floor documents a group of addicts who moved into the apartment of a former millionaire in a wealthy neighborhood in downtown Manhattan. Shocking, haunting photographs by Jessica Dimmock. [more inside]
In my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted. … I wanted a billion dollars. It’s staggering to think that in the course of five years, I’d gone from being thrilled at my first bonus — $40,000 — to being disappointed when, my second year at the hedge fund, I was paid “only” $1.5 million.For the Love of Money by Sam Polk
I smoked for years. I would quit for a few weeks at a time occasionally, but I always went back. For me, smoking cured everything; it could be anything I needed it to be. I could celebrate, mourn, fume, and daydream. It was proof that I existed: I was interacting with my environment and leaving evidence, all the while putting forth pretty much the least amount of physical effort possible. It was an excuse to sit and look at things. I could sit and stare into the middle distance and think to myself all I wanted because I was still doing something: I was smoking.
***WARNING ALL LINKS IN THIS POST POTENTIAL NIGHTMARE FUEL*** Crocodile (Krokodil), the super-powerful Flesh-Eating Russian version of morphine, has been called the World's Most Dangerous drug by such connoisseurs as Vice Magazine. Last week, news broke that it has spread to the United States, and even [gasp] New York City. [more inside]
Raised by two drug addicts with virtually unlimited wealth, Georgia and Patterson survived a gilded childhood that was also a horror story of Dickensian neglect and abuse. They were globe-trotting trust-fund babies who snorkeled in Fiji, owned a pet lion cub and considered it normal to bring loose diamonds to elementary school for show and tell. And yet they also spent their childhoods inhaling freebase fumes, locked in cellars and deadbolted into their bedrooms at night in the secluded Wyoming mountains and on their ancestral South Carolina plantation. While their father spent millions on drug binges and extravagances, the children lived like terrified prisoners, kept at bay by a revolving door of some four dozen nannies and caregivers, underfed, undereducated, scarcely noticed except as objects of wrath.
Alexander Trocchi—A Life in Pieces is a short biographical film about the once notorious Scottish writer, provocateur and ‘ungentlemanly junkie,’ including reminiscences from William S. Burroughs and Leonard Cohen. [more inside]
Former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page has recently emerged as a health guru of sorts, with an exercise routine based on Yoga. He's also reaching out to former wrestlers who are battling addiction problems, Scott Hall and Jake Roberts. via [more inside]
Via Gamasutra: "I used to work at [company], and it paid well and advanced my career," the person told me. "But I recognize that [company]'s games cause great harm to people's lives. They are designed for addiction. [company] chooses what to add to their games based on metrics that maximize players' investments of time and money. [company]'s games find and exploit the right people, and then suck everything they can out of them, without giving much in return. It's not hard to see the parallels to the tobacco industry."
A new brain study questions the existence of sexual addiction. The study, posted in the Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, concludes that so-called "hypersexuality" does not appear to explain brain differences in sexual response.
Sly Stone's history of drug addiction and eccentricity is well known. But, a recent California Court of Appeals ruling details how a series of ill advised business deals left Stone destitute. [more inside]
Around dusk on Feb. 17, Dr. Drew Pinsky was sitting at the computer in his hillside home in Pasadena, Calif., when he received an e-mail from a friend with some troubling news. Mindy McCready, a 37-year-old country singer and a star of the third season of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” a television show that made its debut on VH1 in 2008, had shot herself at her house in Heber Springs, Ark.
"My name is Buzz Bissinger. I am 58 years old, the best-selling author of 'Friday Night Lights,' father of three, husband. And I am a shopaholic." Link to single page printer format.
I began to buy, as silly an understatement as somebody drinking a quart of vodka a day and insisting that he or she is not an alcoholic. Clothing became my shot glass, another round, Net-a-Porter. But too often hits wear off, and the laws of supply and demand for an addict are pretty simple: You replenish. And replenish. And replenish. You fool yourself at certain times into thinking that's it and you have quenched the beast. But the beast is never conquered, and you don't really want to conquer the beast anyway, until there is disaster.
Valibation: It isn't in you, it is you. NSFW short film in which a man's addiction to his smartphone gets a bit out of hand. [Via]
Back in March, 2011 comedian Paul Gilmartin started a podcast called The Mental Illness Happy Hour. He interviews fellow comedians, listener guests, and health professionals about issues surrounding addiction and mental health. 93 episodes later, the show has thrived and expanded with a community forum, anonymous surveys, and now a blog. Paul Gilmartin was also recently a guest on fellow comedian Chris Hardwick's Nerdist podcast, making for an entertaining episode about computer art, comedy and mental illness. [more inside]
In this interview with Collectors Weekly, opium antiques expert Steven Martin talks about How Collecting Opium Antiques Turned Me Into an Opium Addict.
291 diseases and injuries + 67 risk factors + 1,160 non-fatal complications = 650 million estimates of how we age, sicken, and die
As humans live longer, what ails us isn't necessarily what kills us: five data visualizations of how we age, sicken, and die. Causes of death by age, sex, region, and year. Heat map of leading causes and risks by region. Changes in leading causes and risks between 1990 and 2010. Healthy years lost to disability vs. life expectancy in 1990 and 2010. Uncertainties of causes and risks. From the team for the massive Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010. [more inside]
Rapid Growth Seen in Addiction to Painkillers The escalating use and abuse of powerful painkillers can be found in rich societies from the UK, across Europe to the antipodes. But the country that really knows all about prescription pill excess, and the human toll it claims, is the US. Americans make up less than 5% of the global population but consume 80% of the world's supply of opioid prescription pills. [more inside]
Email stress test: Experiment unplugs workers for 5 days — Slave to your email? Wonder what would happen if you had to do without it?
The Great Porn Experiment. A Tedx Talk (in response to Phil Zimbrado's The Demise of Guys), in which Gary Wilson, creator of YourBrainOnPorn.com and founder of The Good Men project, asks whether our brains evolved to handle the hyperstimulation of today's Internet enticements, or whether it is priming human males for addiction and dysfunction.
"I don't want to die doing drugs. I don't want to be that kid who was the son of the head coach of the Eagles, who was spoiled and on drugs and OD'd and just faded into oblivion."
"Garrett Reid, the oldest son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, was found dead Sunday morning in his room at training camp at Lehigh University." Garrett's legal troubles and struggle with addiction were widely publicized over the years due to his high profile father. After leaving prison he fought hard to change this legacy and was employed as a trainer with the team at the time of his death. "Garrett’s road through life was not always an easy one. He faced tremendous personal challenges with bravery and spirit. As a family, we stood by him and were inspired as he worked to overcome those challenges. Even though he lost the battle that has been ongoing for the last eight years, we will always remember him as a fighter who had a huge, loving heart." [more inside]
Alcoholics Anonymous and similar 12-step programs have recently attracted calls to review their long-standing policies: supporting young people, rethinking transphobia, welcoming agnostic viewpoints, and challenging the need for anonymity. [more inside]
Russell Brand testifies to UK Parliament's Home Affairs Committee on drug policy. (SLYT; alternatively: mp3 audio link, starts at 5:55.) [via] [more inside]
Angry Birds, Farmville and Other Hyperaddictive ‘Stupid Games.' Does what it says on the box: plus, cute space ship graphics and exploding comments. [more inside]
Chris Arnade is a forex trader with an odd pasttime: taking pictures of New York addicts in a series he calls Faces of Addiction.
IRL : "You do anything long enough to escape the habit of living until the escape becomes the habit." A short film by a recovering WoW addict.
The perils of chronic pain in recovery: As a sober addict prescribed Oxycodone, comedian Amy Dresner was careful to follow doctor's orders. Then her disease kicked in.
If I Die Young: Struggling with Addiction and Recovery. "Last year, 249 people died of prescription drug overdoses in Pinellas County, FL. Just about everybody who knew Stacy Nicholson figured she was next. Then an empathetic judge gave her a choice: recovery, or the coffin." [more inside]
"A simple mantra has guided me through the darkest bouts of autocerebral asphyxiation: You don’t have to believe everything you think."
"Because of our mutant powers of obsession, it’s my guess that a lot of nerds suffer from addiction. Nerds get caught up in minutiae, because there is a tremendous and fulfilling sense of control in understanding every single detail of a thing more than any other living creature. But we also tend to have a very active internal monologue (in some cases, dialog). These are some delightful ingredients—mixed with a bit of genetic predisposition—for overdoing things that make us feel good in the moment." Chris Hardwick offers "self-help for nerds."
Caution: Disturbing, potentially triggering and possibly NSFW content: The Meth Project, known for their gritty, confrontational and disturbing online and print ads, which graphically depict the effects of methamphetamine drug use, launched a new, interactive website last week. The revamped site gives visitors an opportunity to share their own stories. They've also premiered four new 30-second television PSA's by the director of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, Darren Aronofsky: E.R., Deep End, Losing Control and Desperate. (Via) [more inside]
"On the 28th October 1975 my mother gave birth to a heroinhead - that was/is me. My father was a young Glaswegian junkie nicknamed Puggy. I was born with heroin in my veins. 7 years after my birth, my father was brutally murdered by infamous British serial-killer Dennis Nilsen. [more inside]
SCC approves safe injection sites. The Supreme Court of Canada today ordered the federal government to stop its efforts to shut down a safe injection clinic in Vancouver, opening the door to more clinics opening across the country. [more inside]