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Biological Basis of Addiction Christine Foster, LMSW Children’s Therapist.

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Presentation on theme: "Biological Basis of Addiction Christine Foster, LMSW Children’s Therapist."— Presentation transcript:

1 Biological Basis of Addiction Christine Foster, LMSW Children’s Therapist


3 Effects of Substance Abuse: Conception – Age 11

4 Photo courtesy of Sterling Clarren, MD – Brain at 6 wks

5 Faces in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

6 What we seeWhat we think What may be really going on What we can do ► Doesn’t follow rules ▪Noncompliance ▪Attention Seeking ▪Stubborn ▪Purposeful ●Difficulty translating verbal directions into action ●Cognitive deficit ♦ Check for understanding ♦ Repeat instructions ♦ Simplify tasks ► Repeatedly makes the same mistakes ▪Manipulative ▪Doing it on purpose ▪Willful ●Not able to link cause and effect ●Difficulty generalizing ♦ Provide assistance with organization ♦ Structure choices ► Poor social judgment ▪Attention Seeking ▪Poorly parented ▪Impulsive ●Not able to interpret social cues ●Desire to be liked ♦ Role play ♦ Identify safe external support/s ♦ Safety planning ► Easily agitated ▪Poor self control ▪Deviant ●Frustrated ●Disappointed ●Mental health issue ♦ Teach self advocacy ♦ Identify and practice coping techniques Texas Office for Prevention of Developmental Disabilities

7 Don’t Talk Don’t Trust Don’t Deal Don’t Feel

8 How do people get better from alcohol and drugs?




12 Effects of Substance Abuse: Ages 12-25 Apoptosis = Pruning 200 billion to 100 billion





17 HYPOFRONTALITY: when Dopamine spikes the cortex actually shuts off

18 How do drugs & alcohol effect the brain during the pruning process?

19 Limbic System  Fight or Flight  Pleasurable Experiences: Dopamine

20 100% 150% 350% 1100% Dopamine Release

21 If you arrest here but stop using here Age 12

22 Arrested Development Effects  Stuck in psychosocial stage of development  10% Decrease in Hippocampus functioning (converts information to memory)  Increased social disinhibition  Risky, impulsive behavior  Poor planning & judgment  Little ability to weigh consequences

23 Developmental Age of Parents Parents with Fetal Alcohol SyndromeTeen ParentsParents with Arrested Development

24 Practical Applications Connect Client to Appropriate Service – Parent Coaching, Individual Therapy, In or Outpatient Treatment,12-step, ACA, Alanon Connect Child to Appropriate Service – Play Therapy, High Risk Classes, Individual or Family Therapy Teach Parents Executive Functioning Skills Teach Parents To Teach Executive Functioning Skills

25 Tools for Working with Families Play: A child’s work Patterned, Repetitive, Predictable & Rhythmic Praise Executive Functioning in Parents Teach Parents What To Say During Family Dinners Behavior Modification Contracts

26 Dopamine-Releasing Chemicals Alcohol & Sedative/Hypnotics Opiates/Opioids Cocaine Amphetamines Entactogens (MDMA) Entheogens/Hallucinogens Dissociants (PCP, Ketamine) Cannabinoids Inhalants Nicotine Caffeine Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids

27 Prefrontal Cortex Thinking: Executive Functioning 1.Abstract; conceptual understanding 2.Impulse Control 3.Problem-Solving 4.Decision-Making 5.Judgment 6.Emotion Regulation/Frustration Tolerance 7.Ability to Feel Empathy



30 References Califano Jr., Joseph (2009),How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid, The Straight Dope for Parents. Giedd. J. N. (2004).Structural magnetic resonance imaging of the adolescent brain. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1021, 77-85. Spear, L. P. (2002). Alcohol’s effects on adolescents. Alcohol Health and Research World, 26 (4), 287-291. Suggested Reading Dahl, R.E. & Spear, L.P. (Eds.) (2004). Adolescent brain development: vulnerabilities and opportunities. New York: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 1021. Dubuc, B. (n.d.).The brain from top to bottom. McGill University web site: Landreth, G. (2002). Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship. Brunner Routledge. Nestler, E. J., & Malenka, R. C. (2004, March). The addicted brain. Scientific American, 290 (3), 78-85. Underwood, N. (2009). The teenage brain: Why adolescents sleep in, take risks, and won’t listen to reason. The Walrus Magazine. Wallis, C. (2004, May 10). What makes teens tick? Time, 163, 57-65. Walsh, D. (2004). Why do they act that way? A survival guide to the adolescent brain for you and your teen. New York: Free Press.

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