ReasonNYC - Addiction: Myths & Realities

Location: Play, 1 East 27th Street, New York City, 10010

Featuring Sally Satel and Stanton Peele in conversation with John Tierney

The medicalization of addiction, predicated on the “hijacked brain” model, distorts our understanding of why people become addicted, downplays the great potential for self-recovery, limits the kinds of treatments we can use, and siphons research funds away from pragmatic strategies that help addicts. At a more fundamental level, it diminishes people's sense of their capacity to manage themselves and their worlds, and results in wasteful and often counterproductive public policies that treat addicts as victims.

Sally Satel, author of Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience, and Stanton Peele, author of Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict, will discuss their critiques of the medicalization of addiction and explain how the roots of addiction lie in human experience and personal responsibility -- rather than in cryptic brain waves and brain scans. (For a trailer, read Stanton’s recent piece on reason.com: Government Says You Can’t Overcome Addiction, Contrary to What Government Research Shows.)

Sally Satel, M.D., a practicing psychiatrist, lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine, and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, examines mental health policy as well as political trends in medicine. Her publications include PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine (Basic Books, 2001); The Health Disparities Myth (AEI Press, 2006); When Altruism Isn't Enough: The Case for Compensating Organ Donors (AEI Press, 2009); and One Nation under Therapy (St. Martin's Press, 2005), coauthored with Christina Hoff Sommers. Her recent book is Brainwashed - The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience (Basic, 2013) with Scott Lilienfeld.

Stanton Peele, Ph.D., J.D. is a psychologist, attorney, and addiction expert who has proposed innovations in the addiction field since the publication of his first book, Love and Addiction, in 1975, including addiction to activities and experiences other than substances, harm reduction, skills and coping approaches to recovery, values and purpose as antidotes to addiction, and mindfulness/self-acceptance (loving kindness) precepts shared with Buddhist meditation.  He has published 250 articles and 12 books, including Reclaim Your Life with The PERFECT Program He was the clinical director and designer of the treatment protocol -- the Life Process Program – for a residential rehab that he is now using as an on-line program.

Stanton’s new book, Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict was released on February 4.

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