Archives for December 2015

Rockin’ Roll and Recovery Come Together In The Palm Beaches

Rockers In Recovery® – Media

Archstone Recovery Center Archstone Recovery Center of the Palm Beaches is proud to recognize and support Rockers-in Recovery. Their goal…. to provide education and support about addiction, as well as, drug and alcohol rehab treatment options to different communities across the United States. Rockers in Recovery (RIR) is an organization with the sole mission of providing prevention and education to anyone who suffers with drug addiction and/or alcoholism. Most importantly the message of “Rockers In Recovery” is that addiction prevention and awareness mixed with “HAVING FUN” in recovery is indeed possible!! How they do this, is through several concert and festival fundraisers per year known as “Rockers In Recovery Festival/Concerts”.

Archstone Recovery Center understands that with education comes better choices…education provides power. It is one of the things that first drew us to RIR. They provide fun events that allow people to enjoy themselves while they provide valuable recovery information.

The decision to seek help and commit to treatment is a difficult one for many people. “Can I do it”, Will it last”, “Will my family support me”, “Where should I go for treatment”…….these and many more questions run through the mind. “How do I decide now is the time”….the answer everyone seeks, can only be answered by you….and the more information you possess about credible and ethical treatment facilities you have, the better decision you will make. This is the kind of information that RIR provides.

Sign Up Today For The Newsletter  – See Upcoming Guests, Past Guests, Addiction Recovery Resources, News, Music, Facebook Live, and Upcoming Recovery Music Events. You Can Also Join By Texting RIROPTIN to 22828.

RECOVERY MEDIA PARTNERS (Addiction Recovery Resources):

Amethyst Recovery Center – Get to know Michael Demasi by calling (888)550-8306

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

Sound Pillow Sleep System

SoberMap App – Access 12 Step Meets In Your Area

Sign Up Today For The Newsletter  – See Upcoming Guests, Past Guests, Addiction Recovery Resources, News, Music, Facebook Live, and Upcoming Recovery Music Events. You Can Also Join By Texting RIROPTIN to 22828.

Sign Up Now

Rockers In Recovery® 

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Rockers In Recovery® – Media, 9301 NE 2nd Ave, Miami Shores, FL, 33138 United States. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.

We Are Not A Treatment Program or Advocacy Group – Since 2008 our sole purpose is to provide prevention and education awareness to anyone who suffers with drug addiction and alcoholism. We do this through our online media platforms using music, news, events, and festivals taking place within and not limited to the clean and sober community, and along with our CORPORATE and RECOVERY MEDIA PARTNERS.
 
Rockers In Recovery® (RIR) – Addiction Recovery Based News & Media; Offering Community Outreach Development, Digital Media Branding, Social Media Content Distribution, Live Music Events, Live Stream Productions, Music and Meet and Greet Event Production. Local, Regional, and National Branding and Advertising, and Social Media Content Developing. Sign Up Today For The Newsletter
 
DISCLAIMER – Our WebsiteNewsletterRadio ShowsPostsLivestream ProductionsSocial Media Platforms, and Press Releases are based on opinion. They are not meant to treat or diagnose any health or mental health issue of any kind. If you feel you need help for any health related issues please contact a physician or a mental health professional. If you have a medical Emergency Call 911 or go to your local hospital.
 
Sincerely,
John Hollis,
Director of Business Development
Rockers In Recovery® Radio & Productions Inc.

Please Call  –  (800) 892-2603

Rockers In Recovery® – Privately Owned Media and Production Company. Rockers In Recovery® Trademark is Privately Owned, No use of trademark or copyright in anyform is allowed without the consent of John Hollis and Lori Sullivan.

 

DISCLAIMER – Our Website is based on opinion and is not meant to treat or diagnose any health or mental health issue of any kind. If you feel you need help for any health related issues please contact a physician or a mental health professional.

 

Rockers In Recovery – 2015 Year In Review

2015 RIR-Year In Review

Rockers In Recovery – 2015 Year In Review

 Where are we without a community? A community is what helps shape who we are and gives us values and helps strengthen our beliefs. Merriam-Webster defines “Community” as: an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location.

Rockers In Recovery (RIR) is a community of dedicated people who live to carry a message of hope to addicts and alcoholics and their families who all are suffering. RIR shared common goal of spreading hope and enlightenment across the country has turned out to be something RIR never expected. We are not a treatment program. RIR is an organization with the sole mission to provide prevention and education to anyone who suffers with drug addiction and alcoholism. We do this through our Free Community Addiction Educational Meet & Greets and Free Community Music Festivals/Concerts

We also help educate many through our Multiple Media addiction/education informational based websites and Social Media platforms too. It all started in January 2008 doing interviews on RIR Addiction Talk Radio and 8 years later our addiction/education message is presented through the following; live concerts and festivals, community meet & greets, social media posting, RIR & Guest blogging, articles in the RIR magazine, (in print and online), RIR Live Concert and Event Streaming. This makes it easy for our addiction/education message to reach millions of people globally with just a click of a mouse.

Education is the key to unlock the door of freedom and Rockers In Recovery is dedicated to addiction recovery education through music, news, interviews, events, and festivals taking place within our communities across the United States.  We also get to help thousands face to face at our concerts, festivals and events and here are some places over 2015 we did just that;

Palm Beach County Free Community Addiction Educational Meet & Greet
February 7, 2015 – Royal Palm Beach – 6:00-9:00PM
Host All About Recovery Center
400 Civic Center Way Suite B
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
Entertainment by Rockers In Recovery Unplugged
Guest Speakers:
Lori Sullivan – President/Founder of RIR
John Lehman – President of FARR
Allie Severino – Fresh Start Magazine
All Around Wellness Psychiatry and Healthcare
Candice Conway – Academy for Addiction Professionals
Robert Gluck – Marchman Act Attorney
David Jones – Advanced Medical Laboratories

Broward County – Free Community Addiction Educational Meet & Greet
Pompano Beach February 11, 2015
Host Fellowship Foundation
261 SE 13th Avenue
Pompano Beach, Florida 33060
Entertainment by Rockers In Recovery Unplugged
Guest Speakers:
Rob Vincent – Samhsa
Rick & Susan Riccardi – Fellowship Foundation
Candice Conway – Academy for Addiction Professionals
Robert Gluck – Marchman Act Attorney
David Jones – Advanced Medical Laboratories

February 14, 2015 – Free 4th Annual RIR Music Festival 
Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame Member: Lou Esposito-(The Capris)
RIR ALL-STAR BAND CONTRIBUTORS
Eliot Jacobs- (The Capris)
Greg Deppe- (Bruce Springsteen and Soul Cruisers)
John Gianoulis- (Earl Slick Band and Felix Cavaliere)
Jeff Ganz-Bass- (Johnny Winter and Lou Reed Bands)
Mark Stein -(The Vanilla Fudge)
Jeff Ousley – (Heart)
David Uosikkinen -(The Hooters)
Colin McGuinness -( Axl Rose,The Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Tommy Conwell – (Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers)
Share Ross-(VIXEN)
Bam Tastic – (The Dogs D’Amour)
Speaker Schedule:
MC’s Tom Coderre-White House & Rob Vincent -Samhsa
2015 RIR Festival Speakers
Baseball Great Darryl Strawberry
Rick & Susan Riccardi (Fellowship Living Foundation)
Barbara Theodosiou (Addicts Mom)
Kristen Harper (The Recovery Schools)
John Lehman – (FARR- Florida Association of Recovery Residences)
Brittany Ringersen – (Young People in Recovery)
Michael DeLeon – (Steered Straight, Inc.)
RIR Unplugged – Casey Montana & Friends
Speaker – Tom Coderre, White House

March 14, 2015 Free Community Addiction Educational Meet & Greet
The Shores Treatment Center
Beth Hernandez – Revive Detox Center Port St. Lucie
John Giordano, CCJS, MAC, CAP
Robert Gluck – Marchman Act Attorney
John Lehman – Florida Association of Recovery Residences
Brenda Swift – Just Believe Radio
Larry Waldman – ChemPath Diagnostics

May 23&24 – Hope Fest 2015 – Rockin’ For National Prevention Week – Rockers In Recovery & Hope All Day Foundation: The event took place at the The Hope All Day Recover Foundation to raise money for them. Hope All Day is located at 600 S. Odessa Avenue, Galloway Township, NJ 08205, if your in the area stop by and meet them.

August 18, 2015 The Pig Pimpin’ Pool Party – Free Community Addiction Educational Meet & Greet. RIR Unplugged Session by Tony Brasso of Knockdown – It was a “Bring Your Instrument” party and Join in. RIR- Radio Interviewed folks at the Pool Party, we had lots of Food, Fun, and showed many Recovery Rocks!

September 19, 2015 – Free RECOVERY COMMUNITY EMPLOYMENT WORKSHOP – Early recovery generally involves employment, but without the skills or insights into the world of work, even simple things…like filling out an application or showing up for an interview can paralyze us with fear. Music was by RIR Unplugged – Performance by Dallas Albers of Fighting The Silence who killed it.

October 30, 2015 – November 1, 2015 @ Came to Believe Retreat – FREEDOM DRIVEN weekend created to bring each person in recovery the opportunity to receive a true Spiritual Awakening.

December 9, 2015 –  The Shores Treatment and Recovery – will be held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremonial and Free Community Addiction Educational Meet & Greet. Music was by RIR Unplugged and Performance by Stacey Hampton and Bruce Duncan who just blew away the attendees.

December 20, 2015 Free Community Christmas Party @ Clearbrook Treatment Centers & Rockers In Recovery For An Afternoon of Live Music From “Masons Children’. It was an amazing day filled with Live Music, Food, Fun, and Fellowship.

RIR is currently getting ready for the 5th Annual – Love of Recovery Music Festival – February 13, 2016 11AM – 10:30PM – Venue LOCATION: The Concert Green @ CB Smith Park 900 N Flamingo Road, Pembroke Pines, Florida, 33028.

This Years Theme – “Unite To Fight Addiction” with a night before (Feb. 12th) Gala Educational Meet & Greet Dinner with top speakers in the addiction recovery field.

Enjoy Music, Recovery Speakers, Arts and Crafts Exhibitors , Food Vendors, Recovery Merchandise, Addiction Education, Evidenced Based Treatment Options , and Veteran Information.We have worked over the last seven years to end the sigma of addiction. We need to let people know we can enter into recovery to live purposeful lives and be of maximum service to all. How we do this is very simple ” Addiction Awareness & Prevention Through Rock-N-Roll”.Thank you to everyone for your years of support. The RIR Team looks forward to seeing everyone at the festival.

January 2016 will be 8 Years Of Addiction Education and Prevention Through Rock-N-Roll for RIR and we also have three huge announcements at the Festival Feb.2016 for the future of RIR.

We thank all of our current and past sponsors and a great team at Rockers In Recovery Radio & Productions that makes it all happen. Thank you to all our followers and friends and we hope to see old faces and meet some new ones as we trudge the road to happy destiny in 2016.

Sign Up Today For The Newsletter  – See Upcoming Guests, Past Guests, Addiction Recovery Resources, News, Music, Facebook Live, and Upcoming Recovery Music Events. You Can Also Join By Texting RIROPTIN to 22828.

RECOVERY MEDIA PARTNERS (Addiction Recovery Resources):

Amethyst Recovery Center – Get to know Michael Demasi by calling (888)550-8306

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

Sound Pillow Sleep System

SoberMap App – Access 12 Step Meets In Your Area

Sign Up Today For The Newsletter  – See Upcoming Guests, Past Guests, Addiction Recovery Resources, News, Music, Facebook Live, and Upcoming Recovery Music Events. You Can Also Join By Texting RIROPTIN to 22828.

Sign Up Now

Rockers In Recovery® 

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Rockers In Recovery® – Media, 9301 NE 2nd Ave, Miami Shores, FL, 33138 United States. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.

We Are Not A Treatment Program or Advocacy Group – Since 2008 our sole purpose is to provide prevention and education awareness to anyone who suffers with drug addiction and alcoholism. We do this through our online media platforms using music, news, events, and festivals taking place within and not limited to the clean and sober community, and along with our CORPORATE and RECOVERY MEDIA PARTNERS.
 
Rockers In Recovery® (RIR) – Addiction Recovery Based News & Media; Offering Community Outreach Development, Digital Media Branding, Social Media Content Distribution, Live Music Events, Live Stream Productions, Music and Meet and Greet Event Production. Local, Regional, and National Branding and Advertising, and Social Media Content Developing. Sign Up Today For The Newsletter
 
DISCLAIMER – Our WebsiteNewsletterRadio ShowsPostsLivestream ProductionsSocial Media Platforms, and Press Releases are based on opinion. They are not meant to treat or diagnose any health or mental health issue of any kind. If you feel you need help for any health related issues please contact a physician or a mental health professional. If you have a medical Emergency Call 911 or go to your local hospital.
 
Sincerely,
John Hollis,
Director of Business Development
Rockers In Recovery® Radio & Productions Inc.

Please Call  –  (800) 892-2603

Rockers In Recovery® – Privately Owned Media and Production Company. Rockers In Recovery® Trademark is Privately Owned, No use of trademark or copyright in anyform is allowed without the consent of John Hollis and Lori Sullivan.

 

DISCLAIMER – Our Website is based on opinion and is not meant to treat or diagnose any health or mental health issue of any kind. If you feel you need help for any health related issues please contact a physician or a mental health professional.

 

8 Years Of Addiction Education and Prevention Through Rock-N-Roll

 Rockers In Recovery® – Media

RIR 8Tom Coderre ,Senior White House Advisor to SAMHSA -” Rockers In Recovery brings the private treatment sector, addiction education, and the addiction advocacy non-profit sector together in a unique way as no one else  is doing anywhere in the United States.What makes RIR unique, the message is all around and through the universal language of music with some great rockers of our day. They combine it with educational speakers and advocacy groups. RIR brings it all together at their community addiction education meet and greets, and addiction awareness and prevention concerts/festivals. I found as I walked around and met people today is there is a mix of families seeking help, family members of people in recovery, recovery supporters, treatment centers with their clients, the recovery community, and people from the community just coming by to see what it was all about. The one thing I have been hearing over and over is the community loved the unique message of hope. I look forward to seeing more of RIR across the United States throughout 2015 doing Addiction Awareness, Education and Prevention through Rock-N-Roll”. (Quote From 2015 Love Of Recovery music festival).

Rockers In RecoveryThank you to all of our friends and supporters for 8 years of love and support of our message of hope.  We are not a treatment center – Since January 2008 – Rockers In Recovery Radio & Productions (Rockers In Recovery – RIR) is an organization with the sole mission to provide prevention and education to anyone who suffers with drug addiction/alcoholism.  In the beginning our thought was (and still is)  “if we can just help one person” it’s worth the labor of love. Well, over the years we have been able to educate and help thousands seeking recovery from addiction.
Education is the key to unlock the door of freedom and Rockers In Recovery is dedicated to addiction recovery through music, news, interviews, events, and festivals taking place within our communities across the United States.  Multiple Media addiction/education informational based websites with lots of Social Media platforms is how we educate. It all started in January 2008 doing interviews on RIR Addiction Talk Radio and 8 years later our addiction/education message is presented through the following; live concerts and festivals, community meet & greets, social media posting, RIR & Guest blogging, articles in the RIR magazine, (in print and online), RIR Live Concert and Event Streaming. This makes it easy for our addiction/education message to reach millions of people globally with just a click of a mouse and thousands face to face at our concerts, festivals and events.

Rockers In Recovery (RIR) is a community of dedicated people who live to carry a message of hope to addicts and alcoholics and their families who all are suffering. Our shared common goal to spread hope and enlightenment across the country has turned out to be something we never expected. RIR is an organization with the sole mission to provide education and help to anyone who suffers with drug addiction and alcoholism and we do it through our various platforms.

Professionals in the substance abuse field are always looking for ways to improve the therapeutic experience for their clients. Key components of achieving and maintaining recovery are: motivation, optimism, hope, and coping skills (learning how to deal with and express emotions in a healthy way). Many times, clients have a difficult time opening up, expressing, and processing their emotions. Due to having limited time with clients (often 30 days in treatment), clinicians must look for effective ways in bringing about this process as quickly as they can so they can help the client begin the process of healing. RIR does this in a way that will engage the client, capture their attention, entertain them and have such a profound impact on their life; they can carry it with them always.

The Story: RIR Musicians walk in to their festivals capturing the undivided attention of everyone at the festival. After all, this is not just a speaker coming on stage; this is musicians, guitarists and songwriters. Clients are looking forward to hearing their story and will listen intently as our musicians share their personal struggle with substance abuse and their journey to recovery. RIR musicians and friends share their experiences in a way that will make them laugh, contemplate and often times cry. When RIR does concerts/festivals they invite all the local treatment centers and IOP programs, along with sober living houses in the area to come out and experience this first hand.

Twenty One RIR Concerts and Festivals Since 2011. RIR has teamed up on a community grass roots level to help a lot over 5 years, we have gone on to produce twenty one concert and festival productions. RIR was the first recovery origination producing addiction and awareness through Rock-N-Roll at the 2012 ATP – International Tennis Championship to a NYC sold out show at the Cutting Room for the missed placed victims that were devastated from Hurricane Sandy. In addition to a benefit concert, RIR did another community event at a local Connecticut school to benefit a street-level non-profit business. RIR put together what was a benefit for the Special Olympics of South Florida and the Sheriff’s Foundation of Broward County.

The thinking and actions around the RIR camp are simple; educate, help people in need of help for a loved one or themselves.  RIR teams up with addiction professionals that are present at all of these shows, in order to provide answers to people seeking help. People can go right to the recovery information tent manned all day to help everyone. Each show has band and solo acts along with a list of 10 minute addiction professional speaker in between bands. RIR is educating while have fun in a fun loving environment.

We do many free community awareness and prevention concerts through Rock-N-Roll all over the United States. Some are just to name a few, the D&R Theater Aberdeen Washington, to a standing room only crowd with the same results at the luxury hotel in the heart of Las Vegas, known as the Bellagio. RIR was Rockin’ the 2014 RecoveryWalks at Penns Landing, Philadelphia, Pa. in front of 23,000 people, along with the 4th Annual RIR Music Festival in Feb 2015. RIR also donated the RIR Band & production services to the Hope All Day Festival in New Jersey 2015. This was to help raise funds for the Hope All Day Foundation.

Recovery is not only about helping yourself; it is about who you can help as well. When Hurricane Sandy struck NYC, people didn’t only just help themselves, but also recovery efforts came far and wide from many people – that is the soul of recovery, to help other people and pay it forward.

Recovery is having the power to get your life back by letting go to the aspects of life to a higher power. By relinquishing control to the things we cannot change, we realize there is more fulfillment and empowerment when we ask for help and return it by helping others in ways we can.

Sign Up Today For The Newsletter  – See Upcoming Guests, Past Guests, Addiction Recovery Resources, News, Music, Facebook Live, and Upcoming Recovery Music Events. You Can Also Join By Texting RIROPTIN to 22828.

RECOVERY MEDIA PARTNERS (Addiction Recovery Resources):

Amethyst Recovery Center – Get to know Michael Demasi by calling (888)550-8306

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

Sound Pillow Sleep System

SoberMap App – Access 12 Step Meets In Your Area

Sign Up Today For The Newsletter  – See Upcoming Guests, Past Guests, Addiction Recovery Resources, News, Music, Facebook Live, and Upcoming Recovery Music Events. You Can Also Join By Texting RIROPTIN to 22828.

Sign Up Now

Rockers In Recovery® 

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Rockers In Recovery® – Media, 9301 NE 2nd Ave, Miami Shores, FL, 33138 United States. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.

We Are Not A Treatment Program or Advocacy Group – Since 2008 our sole purpose is to provide prevention and education awareness to anyone who suffers with drug addiction and alcoholism. We do this through our online media platforms using music, news, events, and festivals taking place within and not limited to the clean and sober community, and along with our CORPORATE and RECOVERY MEDIA PARTNERS.
 
Rockers In Recovery® (RIR) – Addiction Recovery Based News & Media; Offering Community Outreach Development, Digital Media Branding, Social Media Content Distribution, Live Music Events, Live Stream Productions, Music and Meet and Greet Event Production. Local, Regional, and National Branding and Advertising, and Social Media Content Developing. Sign Up Today For The Newsletter
 
DISCLAIMER – Our WebsiteNewsletterRadio ShowsPostsLivestream ProductionsSocial Media Platforms, and Press Releases are based on opinion. They are not meant to treat or diagnose any health or mental health issue of any kind. If you feel you need help for any health related issues please contact a physician or a mental health professional. If you have a medical Emergency Call 911 or go to your local hospital.
 
Sincerely,
John Hollis,
Director of Business Development
Rockers In Recovery® Radio & Productions Inc.

Please Call  –  (800) 892-2603

Rockers In Recovery® – Privately Owned Media and Production Company. Rockers In Recovery® Trademark is Privately Owned, No use of trademark or copyright in anyform is allowed without the consent of John Hollis and Lori Sullivan.

 

DISCLAIMER – Our Website is based on opinion and is not meant to treat or diagnose any health or mental health issue of any kind. If you feel you need help for any health related issues please contact a physician or a mental health professional.

 

Reward Deficiency Syndrome – RDS

Rockers In Recovery® – Media

Addictive_Society“The human brain produces a number of “feel good” chemicals–from Serotonin and Dopamine, to Norepinephrine, GABA and Endorphins–all of which work together to produce feelings of well-being.

When levels of these “feel good” chemicals are low or blocked from the brain’s receptors; pain, discomfort and agitation will result. This “Reward Deficiency” is associated with mood instability, anxiety, hypersensitivity and depression.

Individuals who have a family history of alcoholism, other addictions or attention deficit disorder may have been born with an inability to produce or utilize “feel good” chemicals in the same way as people who do not have this genetic variant. Specifically, the Dopamine genes, have been linked to these disorders. People who have these defective genes lack a sufficient number of Dopamine receptors in their brains to produce the “neurochemical brain reward cascade,” creating Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS). In non-genetic RDS people exposure to prolonged periods of pain, stress and/or other drugs can also lead to a corruption of the “brain cascade function.” It is often quite difficult to determine, however, which came first–the Chicken or the Egg – the genetic defect or the environment which turns on these genes (Epigenetics). In either case, those suffering from RDS are unable to produce a feeling of well-being and consequently often self-medicate with substances or high risk adrenalin activities that help raise the levels of “feel good” chemicals in their system–if only temporarily.

It helps them feel good and function better with less angst, agitation and emotional pain. These substances often include alcohol, nicotine, stimulants, illicit drugs, junk foods, sugars, carbs or thrill-seeking behaviors such as bungee or base jumping, gambling, sex or the Internet porn/games results in a prolonged absence of Dopamine with depressive and hopelessness conditions will appear.

Unfortunately, if a person is trying to treat this condition with self-medicating with the chemicals and/or activities listed above it will only provide short term temporary relief while unknowingly developing the possibility of long-term consequences.
 

Dopamine and Addiction

John-Giordano-jpg

John Giordano, Doctor Of Human Letters, CCJS, MAC, CAP

Imagine for a moment what it would be like feeling as though you can never get enough. Have you ever been there? A place where no matter what you do or how hard you try you’re just not satisfied. You’re left to feel like you need more.  Perhaps it’s your work or maybe its money. Or maybe you’re on a roll and can’t stop yourself from continuing knowing in your heart there is more at the end of this run. Have you ever wondered what would it be like to be hungry all the time – to eat a meal and not feel sated and wanting more while others at the table are just fine?

This is a just tiny glimpse through a window looking at some of the feelings a person with an addiction experiences. The satisfaction you feel when you’ve completed a job or the feeling you get with a pat on the back for a job well done comes from Dopamine. Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same level of satisfaction; in fact some don’t feel it at all.

Certainly we’re all familiar with the big brothers of addiction; drug and alcohol abuse. However process addictions such as gambling, food, sex, gaming, retail therapy and yes, even money are proving to have similar effects on the brain as substance abuse and can be just as self-destructing. The common thread between all of these addictions is Dopamine (DA); the primary neurotransmitter of reward and pleasure and the most important brain chemical you’ve probably never heard of.

Dopamine is one of the “Feel Good” brain chemicals. As a neurotransmitter, its responsibility is to communicate messages to other areas of the brain. DA’s message is one of calm and well being. A neurotransmission functions similar to an electronic transmission; in fact it’s not all that much different from you emailing a select group of friends. Emails use electricity to form, transmit and receive messages while the brain uses electricity and chemicals. Although Dopamine plays many roles in brain function, the brain chemical has earned its greatest notoriety from its vital role in the reward system.

In medical circles Dopamine is known as “the reward chemical,” and/or the “pleasure molecule.” It’s produced in the brain and directly influences our enjoyable experiences. It holds sway on our likes and dislikes, our dreads and desires and even love. When functioning properly, DA takes its cue and travels throughout the reward circuit announcing to the receiving cells that all is good. As a result, the rest of the brain simply goes about their business.

Every day in our hectic lives we go through our normal routines that give us cues that can activate our reward system. It could be something as simple as your partner randomly flashing a smile at you or from the excitement you feel when you see your son or daughter return home from school after acing a test you helped them prepare for. These little unexpected gifts of life that keep us in good spirits are derived from our reward system when DA is being produced and processed properly.

However not all brains work the same. Everyone is unique in the way their brains produce and utilize DA. It’s a delicate balance. Parkinson’s disease, depression and propensities to addiction are a result of too little Dopamine while too much can lead to a false sense of euphoria and schizophrenia.

My close friend and colleague Dr. Kenneth Blum – discoverer of the reward gene – make understanding Dopamine and its functions his life’s work. His major contributions to the understanding of the reward system made global headlines. Part of what Dr. Blum’s seminal discovery revealed is that some people’s brains have fewer Dopamine receptors than others by as much as minus 40%. Dr. Blum’s discovery completely changed the way the medical profession viewed addiction and its treatment. He found that even though Dopamine production was up to par, people with the addiction gene – DRD2-A1 – had a limited ability to process the chemical. To go back to my email analogy; what Dr Blum discovered would be like you sending out an ‘all is good’ email to friends only to have a significant number of those emails bounce back. Your friends, who are accustom to receiving your ‘all is good’ message, never got it. So, just how do you think your friends who are expecting your email and don’t receive it might feel; a little stressed out perhaps? The same pretty much holds true in the brain.

The condition “Reward Deficiency Syndrome” (RDS) was discovered by Dr. Blum. He describes the condition this way: ‘when levels of Dopamine and other “feel good” chemicals are low or blocked from the brain’s receptors; stress, pain, discomfort and agitation are the result. This condition is called “Reward Deficiency Syndrome.”

The human body is an amazing mechanism. It recognizes imbalances and sets out to right them. The medical field refers to this as homeostasis or the ability to maintain a constant internal environment in response to environmental changes. This stabilization of equilibrium also plays out for people who have RDS.

Individuals with Reward Deficiency Syndrome experience reward and pleasure on much lower level when compared to people with normally functioning dopaminergic neurotransmission. Their Dopamine may be depleted or not utilized properly. As a consequence, their brains set into motion a quest to locate external dopamine stimulating scenarios. It’s not a conscious decision but rather a subconscious response. People with RDS have a propensity to abuse drugs and alcohol. They’ll seek out thrilling experiences and engage in risky behavior in an effort to spike their DA Levels. These people are not abusing drugs to get high and they’re certainly not eating sugary delights because of their nutritional value. They unwittingly do these things to raise their Dopamine levels thus normalizing their brain chemistry.

sugar-addiction-2These behaviors are not solely reserved by drug abusers. What we’re finding is food addiction is rising at an increasingly alarming rate. Food addiction and obesity, especially in children, has become a major concern in the medical and scientific community. My suspicion is that sugar – including anything that is converted to sugar in the body – plays a key role in this epidemic. Sugar and its inexpensive substitutes are found in nearly all of the process foods, fast foods, sodas and fruit drinks that we consume. What most people don’t realize when they’re enjoying their favorite comfort food is that sugar can be addictive. Dr Blum says it only takes a matter of minutes from the time sugar touches the tongue to the time it begins to influence the reward system. Sugar affects the brain in the same way as heroin, causing a flood of Dopamine in the reward circuitry. The ensuing feeling of euphoria one gets is also similar to heroin although not as intense.

Dopamine is not always about fun and games and enjoyable moments. It also acts as – and is often referred to – the anti-stress molecule. Stress occurs when the brain perceives a situation as disagreeable or dangerous. It’s a response to harmful, threatening, or challenging events or stimuli. When the brain perceives a threat, it activates the “flight or fight” system; one of our primitive survival modes encoded in our DNA. In turn, the brain releases Dopamine and stress hormones to ready for the challenge. When a danger finally passes or the perceived threat is over, your brain initiates a reverse course of action that releases a different bevy of bio-chemicals throughout your body. Depending on the assessed long-term impact of the threat, it can take anywhere from half an hour to several days before you return to your normal resting state.

stressThere are three types of stress: acute, eustress and distress. Acute stress occurs rapidly and often can feel severe. Perhaps the best way to describe it is receiving an ‘end of day’ deadline in the middle of the afternoon. Although nerve-racking at the time, there is no long-term damage.

Eustress is often considered ‘good stress.’ It’s the type of stress that helps us put our feet on the floor in the morning ready to meet the day’s challenges. In combination with Dopamine, eustress aids in our ability to learn.  It’s usually short-term and actually releases some of the ‘feel good’ chemicals including dopamine. A good example of eustress would be the feeling you get when you’re working towards goals or competing in sports. Eustress is not considered dangerous and has little to no side effects.

Distress on the other hand is long-term and has the potential to be very unhealthy. This occurs when someone is unable to adapt to stressors. People in distress cope in both negative and positive ways. Regardless, distress is unhealthy, is known to cause type 2 diabetes, create and/or contribute to heart conditions, damage the brain and connectivity and increase ones susceptibility to addiction. Clinical investigation has confirmed that stress contributes to the development, maintenance, and outcome of substance use disorders.

As you can clearly see, distress can wreak havoc on your brain. Everyday stress depletes your stores of dopamine and serotonin. Considering the amped-up lifestyle we lead where no one is immune to stress, dealing with its effects in a positive way is a must if we intend to maintain good mental health. Anyone who has read any of my past articles knows that I’m an advocate of healthy diet and exercise. Over my nearly thirty-year career in holistic addiction treatment I’ve reviewed a mountain of research. What I’ve found is that the twin common threads that leads to a healthy body and mind is none other than a healthy diet and exercise. However there is a caveat.

The unfortunate reality in our fast-paced lives is that it is nearly impossible to get all of our nutritional requirements from the food available for us to eat. Sure everyone eats enough to get their daily calories but what about the all-important vitamins and minerals our body and brain needs. Scientific research has shown that certain amino acids are essential for a properly functioning brain. Deficiencies in amino acids can contribute to chronic illnesses, anxiety, depression, and blunted alertness, shortened attention span, learning deficiencies, memory loss and general bad mood.

It goes without saying that with over 10 billion neurons the human brain is a very complex and delicate instrument. Every second there are more than 100,000 chemical reactions in your brain. In fact, if you’re an average adult that reads prose text at 275 words per minute, than in the time that it took you to read this far into the paragraph, your brain processed over a million chemical reactions. It can be a bit overwhelming, but I bring you this information so that you can grasp the complexities that we generally don’t think about and to expose the risks to our mental health and wellbeing that we face every day. We live in an age where I believe the environment is changing faster that we are able to adapt. That being said, I no longer think we can take our mental health for granted and must be pro-active and take control our own well-being so that we can achieve homeostasis and enjoy our lives to the fullest.

If you suspect you may have RDS, it will be important for you to identify healthier ways to feel good naturally. Talk to your doctor or other healthcare providers, review the current literature on RDS, get to know the facts and develop a plan of action that feels right to you.

Remember that although you may have been born with a genetic pre-disposition for certain conditions, you have the power to change your genes’ expression. That is, you have the ability to respond to whatever life circumstances you may be in right now and change them to something better through healthier choices–be it healthier nutrition (nutrigenomics) or healthier thoughts and emotions (epigenetics).

Dopamine and Addiction was written by John Giordano, Doctor Of Human Letters, CCJS, MAC, CAP – John Giordano is an expert in the treatment of addiction and the founder of The National Institute For Holistic Addiction Studies (NIFHAS). He is the author of “Proven Holistic Treatment For Addiction & Chronic Relapse,” and his most recent book is the acclaimed: “How To Beat Your Addictions And live A Quality Life.”

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