Sunday, November 3, 2013

"Smoking Doesn't Get You High, It Gets You Down"

This past Friday, my friend and colleague Dr. Ari Kirshenbaum, Associate Professor of Psychology presented the work that he and his students have been studying - the following is the description that was posted about this:  "The mortality and economic burden associated with tobacco use is immense, and nicotine withdrawal is the primary obstacle to successful tobacco-use cessation.  There are many aspects of tobacco withdrawal, and the dysphoria provoked by initial abstinence tends to be the strongest precipitator of relapse.  The scientific literature is replete with experimental evidence showing that nicotine reliably produces depression in non-human animals.  Although withdrawal is most often conceptualized a a purely physiological condition produced by chronic nicotine exposure, Dr. Kirshenbaum will present data from his laboratory that shows that nicotine withdrawal is a product of learning and memory processes.  This new conceptualization of withdrawal helps to clarify the reasons why tobacco is a potent dependence-producing agent, and may ultimately provide new opportunities for tobacco-use cessation treatment."    In addition to most of our Psychology Department attending this event, there were several students in attendance.  This past August I traveled to Carbondale, Colorado and co-presented a workshop with Dr. Steve Rissman from Metropolitan State University outside Denver - our workshop raised the question of how issues of masculinity impacts relapse - we did the workshop at Jaywalker Lodge, an alcohol/drug treatment facility for men in Carbondale.  I had previously done a workshop in March based on my book I Wish He'd Taught Me How To Shave and was excited to return here - they have an amazingly successful treatment program at Jaywalker and issues of dependence AND relapse are intriguing to me.  I appreciated Ari's work in his lab and know that his students are challenged as they learn how to do scientific research on various topics - WELL DONE my friend........
As always, please keep all of the members of our military and their families AND all of our veterans in your thoughts and prayers.  I have gotten to know a couple of OUR current full-time students who are veterans and we have so much to learn from them and their experiences -
take good care