Tens of millions of Americans abuse alcohol, tobacco or drugs. When a person becomes addicted to such a substance, or to a behavior such as gambling or compulsive sex, family members may despair. It can seem as though it is difficult to reach the loved one struggling with addiction, and people are often told to back off, practice “tough love” or let the person “hit bottom” so that recovery can begin.
Scientific evidence does not support those disengaged approaches. Instead, there are ways to help a loved one. Family members can learn skills to reinforce positive changes and to engage in an emotionally supportive way.
There are also medications that can be useful in helping people overcome addictions. The experts describe the differences between the strategies and how these medicines can be used effectively.
Guests: Charles O’Brien, MD, PhD, is Professor and Vice-Chair of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is co-founder and Director of the Center for Studies in Addiction. He is a psychiatrist and neurologist specializing in addiction psychiatry.
Carrie Wilkens, PhD, is co-founder and clinical director of the Center for Motivation and Change in New York. She is co-author of Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change. Her weblinks are:
The photo is of Dr. Wilkens.
To give you the most information on how people can change, and how their families and friends can help them, we offer a “Listen and Read” combination of Dr. Wilkens’ book together with a CD of this broadcast.
The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.