dopamine

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…

Vivitrol

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…

Creativity in Recovery

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…

NIH study

NIH Study Identifying the Impact of Adolescent Substance Use on Brain Development is in the Second Phase

In April 2020, the largest long-term study of brain development ever conducted in the US—the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—was renewed for another seven years. Among other factors that affect development, the study looks at the effect of substance use on the developing brain. The ABCD study…