Lecture Topics

The Neurobiological Examination of the Teenage Brain and Drugs

Most clients started using at a young age, and understanding where they are developmentally due to early drug use allows the client a better understanding of where they are at in each stage of recovery. This lecture will focus on these parts of the brain, the development of the teenage brain and the possible long term consequences drug use would have on the development of the teenage brain.

 

The Disease Concept of Addiction

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of the brain’s reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathological pursuit of reward and/or relief by substance use or other behaviors. This lecture will provide the client with the understanding of the concept of a “brain disease” and how the limbic system is directly affected by drug abuse.

 

Psychological Effects of Drug Use

This lecture will describe popular drugs of choice and the psychological effects each one has on the user. CAT and PET scans are presented to give the addict a visual look as to the devastating effects of drugs on the brain.

 

Cravings and Triggers

Most clients in early recovery crave their drug of choice. This may discourage a client into thinking that treatment is not working when in fact cravings and triggers are a normal process in early recovery. This lecture will provide the client with the understanding of why they crave, the relapse cycle and how to cope with cravings and triggers.

 

Irrational Thinking

Just because the person has given up drugs and alcohol does not always mean that their thinking will change dramatically. Some individuals will become sober and continue to think and behave much as they always did- this is sometimes referred to as dry drunk/drug syndrome. This lecture will educate the client on what irrational thinking looks like and the different types of irrational thinking.

 

Criminal Thinking

Criminal thinking is “thinking that says it’s alright to violate others or the property of others.” Often times clients may stop using drugs but continue to behave and think in ways that are criminal. This way of thinking almost always leads back to active use. This lecture will provide information on the difference between criminal thinking and addictive thinking and how to recognize it in oneself.

 

Codependency

Much addictive behavior centers on codependency to a spouse, partner or family member. Codependency is a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under achievement. This lecture will provide the insight addicts need to be able to recognize and begin to work on co-dependent relationships that may keep them from experiencing the benefits of recovery.

 

Anger

Anger is a secondary emotion and a dangerous emotion for an addict if it is not fully understood and processed. This lecture will educate the client on what anger is, the different styles of anger, the levels of anger escalation and the 10 most common types of anger.

 

Managing Your Emotions

Most addicts that seek recovery do not know how to manage their emotions.  They are used to avoiding feelings; therefore, most addicts are incapable of identifying their emotions. If you know how to manage your emotions, you can represent yourself with dignity and self-respect minus the drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol are an external way of managing emotions. Addicts do not know how to handle their emotions on either end of the scale from depression to excitement. This lecture will discuss ways of managing emotions without the use of drugs and alcohol.

 

Stress and Addiction

Stress is the number one trigger for relapse and this lecture defines what stress is, the three basic categories of stressors, the biological responses to stress and how stress can manifest into anxiety disorders that may affect the addict’s recovery.

 

PTSD in Recovery

Trauma is the gateway to drug use and through trauma a person can develop PTSD. PTSD causes a physiological response called fight or flight which is a direct correlation to continued substance use. This lecture will explain what PTSD is, the physiological response from the body and the continued symptoms that perpetuate the substance abuse cycle.

 

Trauma Bonding

Trauma comes in all forms; many of them are not as obvious as others. This lecture will discuss the types of betrayal bonds associated with trauma and the impact of prolonged abuse on the addict. This lecture will also give insight into the types of trauma and how to live a productive life once trauma has been identified and processed.

 

Shame and Addiction

The majority of addicts are shame based. To not use drugs and alcohol puts an end to the physical act of using, but it does not stop the person from continuing to feel shame as this feeling is rooted in the addict’s identity. This lecture discusses shame based behaviors and thoughts that are deeply rooted in active addiction and are often the cause of relapse.

 

Complacency vs. Surrender

This lecture will help the addict define complacency and the difference between that and surrender and confidence. It will also provide the insight as to why complacency is dangerous and the warning signs of complacency in early recovery.

 

Relapse Prevention

Relapse is the reoccurrence of a prior condition, usually representing a negative connotation such as the return of an illness after a period of improvement. In the context of substance abuse, relapse is the re-initiation of drug seeking behaviors and the resumption of use after a period of abstinence. This lecture will discuss ways addicts in early recovery can avoid relapse, the warning signs and the coping skills needed to recover from a relapse.

Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT)

This lecture will provide the client on what MAT is, the difference types of MAT used, and why MAT is so effective in helping addicts regain control of their lives by providing the medical support they need in conjunction with counseling and support groups

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