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The Neurochemistry of Relapse & Recovery

Distributed by CNS Productions Inc., 11 Almond St., Medford, OR 97504; 800-888-0617
Produced by Paul Steinbroner
Directed by William E. Cohen and Paul Steinbroner
DVD, color, 31 min.
College - Adult
Health Sciences, Neurology, Addiction

Reviewed by Lori Widzinski, Health Sciences Library, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Date Entered: 9/30/2009

As the title indicates, this program covers the basic neurochemistry of addiction, relapse, and recovery. Combining testimony from recovered addicts with computer generated models of neurological anatomy and physiology a complete picture of the addiction and recovery process unfolds.

Part 1, “Memory and Relapse” explains the strong, driving force behind memory and how it is the main source of cravings. The imprinting on dendrites forming dendritic spines, the reward/reinforcement pathway, and role of neurotransmitters (dopamine) are all included here. Part 2, “Recovery” clarifies the role of the neurology to the addict—what it means. While memories have an intense and permanent hold on the brain, the connections between them can be changed, and this is the framework for recovery. Abstinence from the addictive substance, be it food, alcohol, gambling, or stronger narcotics, weakens the connections while relapses strengthen them. Several suggestions are given to help ignore cravings, as well as ways for addicts and those around them to keep them away from that first slip into relapse.

The Neurochemistry of Relapse & Recovery is a welcome addition to the educational video market in this subject area. It brings together the neurological processes in a straightforward manner, relating the realities of addiction to the brain chemistry involved. Recommended for nursing, psychology, social work and allied health sciences library collections at the college level.