May 16th, 2012 19:43 EST
Judyth Piazza Interviews Dr. Harry Haroutunian About How Drug and Alcohol Addiction Hijacks our Brains
Dr. Harry L. Haroutunian known by all his patients as "Dr. Harry" is an internationally known speaker on a wide range of addiction-oriented topics. He has developed the "Recovery 101" lecture series, on topics of Addiction Medicine, Recovery Issues, Communication Skills, Spirituality and Relapse Prevention.
Dr. Haroutunian has contributed to the development of programs in which he serves as Physician Director at the Betty Ford Center, including Extended Care Program, the Licensed Professional Program and the Clinical Diagnostic Evaluation Program. He practiced medicine in Vermont for more than thirty years and is a Board Certified in Family Medicine and Board Certified in Addiction Medicine.
He is a regular contributor to a series devoted to the families of individuals with addiction, called "Ask Dr. Harry." He serves on many committees devoted to Physician Health and Recovery, Pharmacy and Therapeutic and Medical Education.
Hijacking the Brain provides the first-ever scientific explanation for the success of Twelve-Step programs. Hijacking the Brain examines data provided by recent rapid growth in the fields of neuroscience, neuroimaging, psychology, sociobiology and interpersonal neurobiology that have given us new, dramatic insights into the neural and hormonal correlates of stress and addiction, cognitive decline with addiction, as well as for the relative success of Twelve-Step Programs of recovery.
Addiction is recognized by experts as an organic brain disease, and most experts promote Twelve-Step programs (AA, NA, CA, etc) which invoke a `spiritual solution` for recovery. To date, no one has described "why" these programs work. `Hijack` tells us why. In `Hijack`, the role of `working The Steps` for reducing stress and becoming emotionally centered is discussed in depth. A full chapter is devoted to the rewarding and comforting physiology of meditation and the spiritual experience.
The author uses examples from animal sociobiology, as well as sophisticated human brain-imaging studies, to demonstrate that empathic socialization and altruism are instinctive and `naturally rewarding` and, along with Step Work, act as a substitute for the `synthetic rewards` of drugs of abuse. `Hijack` does not challenge the Steps or the Traditions of Twelve-Step programs.
The sole intention of Hijacking the Brain is to `connect the dots` between an `organic brain disease` and a `spiritual solution` with sound physical, scientific evidence. Avoiding strict scientific language as much as possible, `Hijack` is written for the layperson and abundantly illustrated.