Book Review--Unbroken Brain by Maia Szalavitz


This book gives a new and interesting perspective about addiction. It really gave me a lot to think about. In some ways, it was hard to wrap my brain around. Ms. Szalavitz calls addiction a "learning disorder" rather than a brain disease, which it has been known as in recent years. I liked how she wove bits and pieces of her story and personal experiences into the mix. I probably would have had a hard time reading it otherwise because this lady is highly intelligent. No offense to highly intelligent people intended. :) I just need a little action, especially in sciency stuff.

Here are a couple of excerpts that I thought summed up the book well:

"Indeed, we get addicted only in certain contexts, which makes all the difference in terms of whether any given human will eat normal amounts of sugar, binge on it, take cocaine occasionally, or become a full-on crack addict. By itself, nothing is addictive; drugs can only be addictive in the context of set, setting, dose, dosing pattern, and numerous other personal, biological, and cultural variables. Addiction isn't just taking drugs. It is a pattern of learned behavior. It only develops when vulnerable people interact with potentially addictive experiences at the wrong time, in the wrong places, and in the wrong pattern for them. It is a learning disorder because this combination of factors intersects to produce harmful and destructive behavior that is difficult to stop."

"Addiction is an attempt to manage distress that becomes a learned and nearly automatic program."

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