healing the feeling by feeling the healing

Friday, November 21, 2014


While sex addiction has yet to be officially classified as a “real” addiction, new brain research shows that sex can indeed affect the brain in the same way as drug and alcohol - leading to addiction.

When you think of too much of a good thing, sex is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, recent research conducted at the University of Cambridge is shedding light on how sexual addictions may affect the brain in ways analogous to drugs.
“Addiction”. The word usually brings to mind images of alcohol and drugs. It is true that addictive substances have been the most commonly studied addictions, as well as being the most visible forms of addiction. In recent years, however, that has been changing. With the advent of new ways of studying the brain, and new ways of understanding addiction, other behaviours are becoming understood as addictions.
One of the most recent is sex addiction. While not yet included in the authoritative text of mental health, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychological Association, there is now scientific evidence that supports the notion that sexual behaviours can be addictions.
The research, conducted at the prestigious University of Cambridge, focused on the way the brain is affected by viewing pornographic images. In the study, two groups of men viewed the images. One group comprised of men with sexually compulsive behaviour, while the other group comprised of men with normal sexual behaviour. The study used a functional magnetic resonance imaging device (fMRI), to track changes in brain activity which occurred while the men viewed the pornographic images.
The researchers discovered that the part of the brain associated with rewards lit up in the brains of men with sexually compulsive behavior. These “reward centers” of the brain, which include the amygdala, dorsal anterior cingulate, and ventral striatum, showed activity similar to the brains of drug addicts consuming drugs.
The lead researcher on the study, Dr.  Valeria Voon, says that it is certain that persons with sexual compulsion suffer as a result of their condition. The new research provides evidence on the level of the brain similar to what psychologists have noted for some time: that those with an abnormally strong sexual compulsion experience significant problems in their behavioral, emotional, and social functioning. In addition to adaptive problems, people with sexual compulsions often experience shame, guilt, and a desire to maintain secrecy about their condition. This adds to the suffering that they experience.
Dr. Voon is happy that the study supports the classification of sexual compulsions as pathological. She hopes that it in the future it will provide grounds for further research into the understanding of the disorder.
We at Shafa Home, having helped many a client suffering from this disorder, commend this study and Dr Voon's assessment of the condition. Sex addiction is a disease, no less serious for the sufferer than suffering from a substance addiction – and the sooner it is clinically recognized the more people will be encouraged to seek treatment.
Shafa Home, is a residential treatment center providing world-class, holistic care for addiction. If you are concerned about addiction, please contact one of our staff today.

(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014


AA’s 12 Steps are widely criticised, but a new study proves that participation in the "Steps" and its systems increase chances of long-term sobriety by over 200%!

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been helping millions of people get and stay sober since the 12 Steps, and the ‘Big Book' were created in 1935. Despite the positive results, however, the organisation and the 12 Steps addiction treatment method have been widely criticised, especially in recent years. Some say that AA should not talk about God. Others believe that it has no scientific standing. And others believe that abstinence should not have to be ‘the only way.'

Back in 1935, the founders of AA classified alcoholism as a disease – albeit without any scientific evidence. In 1956 the American Medical Association (AMA) also classified alcoholism as a disease – this time with scientific evidence. And earlier this year, in 2014, researchers at DePaul University's Center for Community Research in Chicago, U.S.A., found some compelling evidence that the AA programme, used in conjunction with clinical inpatient rehab, does indeed deliver desirable results for addicts.

A group of 150 participants who had just completed inpatient rehab programmes were categorised into two sections. Those who were “categorically involved” in AA, meaning they met the four main criteria for the programme: doing service work, having a sponsor, reading the literature and calling other members for help – and those who were not “categorically involved”.

The study found that after two years, those who were “categorically involved” were 2.8 times more likely to be abstinent from drugs and alcohol than those who were not involved. At The Cabin Chiang Mai, we use the 12 Steps as part of our evidence-based clinical treatment programme along with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), to an extremely high degree of success.

CBT is a modern, evidence-based psychology, which focuses mainly on the way that negative thinking affects the way we feel and behave. Conditions such as addiction create mental and emotional disturbance, and can be treated by learning strategies and techniques to think rationally and positively. And by juxtaposing 12 Step concepts with CBT concepts, we can offer an explanation of how these two methods can work together to keep addicts healthy and free from their addiction-based impulses and behaviours.

Below, you will find a chart used in our treatment programme which gives an explanation of how the 12 Steps are used with CBT to combat the chronic disease of addiction.

As you can see, the 12 Steps offer a psychological pathway to free an addict from the addiction compulsions that keep them unhealthy, and keep them addicted. In this way, it is easy to see a more scientific explanation of why these steps do work.

At Shafa Home, we are secular in the way of religion, but it is important to understand that addiction goes beyond your own personal power. Someone with diabetes cannot be finitely cured of the disease, but through a strict diet, and medical regiment they are able to control the disease in a way that it has the least impact on their life. Such as with addiction, an addict needs to understand that addiction is a chronic disease, and that by following a certain lifestyle and regiment of meetings, outreach and constant self-work, they can keep their disease at bay.

We also incorporate the three circles method and mindfulness therapy to round out our cutting edge treatment model, which boasts a very high success rate. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, it is important to contact a professional for help.

(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)