Searching for Dopamine During the Pandemic

As I learn about dopamine’s role in addiction, I understand why I and others in recovery might engage in self-destructive behaviors. Recovery gives us a chance to channel self-destructive tendencies in healthy ways; many of us have worked hard on this. But the COVID-19 pandemic can exacerbate these proclivities, even if we are staying away…

Can Vivitrol Be Addictive?

Vivitrol is the brand name and injectable form of Naltrexone. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the effects of opioids. It also binds to the endorphin receptors in the body, blocking the sedative and euphoric feelings people get from substances like alcohol and opioids.   Because of these effects, Vivitrol is used to treat…

Addiction Hampers, Not Causes, Creativity

In author Leslie Jamison’s book The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath, she talks about visiting the bars where some of her favorite writers drank. Like many others, she’d internalized the myth that great writers, artists, and musicians’ art is fueled by their addictions. She later found out that many of her favorite authors wrote their…

How Alcohol Exacerbates Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are among the most common mental health disorders. Study after study has found that alcohol is the most commonly abused substance. These are unfortunate statistics, because alcohol often exacerbates (or even causes) depression and anxiety. Many people fall into a cycle of drinking to numb the symptoms of one or both of…