I recently interviewed addiction expert and psychiatrist Dr. Arwen Podesta to discuss her new book Hooked and explain common misconceptions, how to help families, how to fix the addiction epidemic and how to handle relapse. Here's what she had to say...
Why did people need another book on addiction--what's different about yours?
There are many great books on addiction, from anecdotes and personal journeys, to textbooks, and anywhere in between. Often patients and colleagues ask me to help them navigate the treatment and reason for treatment types. I have never had a good, concise and clear, non-judgmental book to refer them to. So I wrote one. In HOOKED, I delve into the underpinnings and causes of addiction, levels of treatment and care for addiction, and even why some people respond to a treatment and others don't. This book is short and just the tip of the iceberg, as the longer, deeper investigative books are already on the market.
What misunderstandings about addiction do you most commonly encounter?
Among professionals and patients alike, there are biases and misunderstandings about addiction. Some question whether it is indeed a brain disease. Many suggest it is a disease of character and moral failings. Many believe that if you change the environment and stress, than the addiction can go away. Many people are opposed to taking medications to treat the disease of addiction, and feel that someone on a medication is not truly sober and therefore not in recovery. To some degree, all of these ideas can be correct (depending on the individual) and all can also be dispelled as misconceptions. BIOLOGY+STRESS+DRUG=risk for ADDICTION. Like any additive equation, if you decrease the addends, then you decrease the sum; in this case the sum is the risk of addiction.