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Jan Edward Williams, MS, JD, LCADC
AlcoholDrugSOS Services, Ltd.
Just a brief informational piece: A common characteristic in the stories of recovering alcoholics and addicts is the experience from a young age of fear and anxiety that seem to magically disappear with use of drugs such as marijuana and alcohol (until they no longer work). Scientists are exploring whether the presence in humans of a particular gene may influence the amygdala, the area of the brain considered to be the seat of emotions including fear, results in an improved ability to handle fear. The gene apparently allows the individual's brain to produce more of a neurotransmitter called endocannabinoids that are naturally occurring in the brain and are are closely related to the active ingredients of the cannabis plant (marijuana). See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120612101328.htm. This information leads me to think out loud about a few things: Does the reason some people gravitate to abuse of marijuana and other drugs relate to their having a genetic structure that does not allow the brain to produce enough of the naturally occurring chemicals that reduce fear and anxiety? The science of addiction is expanding rapidly with significant advances such as research about genetics and about the changes in brain chemistry caused by addictive use of drugs and alcohol, to name a few. These scientific advances corroborate the seminal conclusions by the recovering alcoholics in the nineteen thirties and forties (who did not have the science we have today) who authored the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous, that alcoholism is a disease, not a moral or criminal problem. As always, comments are invited. Jan Williams, 06/18/2012.
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