In all probability there are very few of us who can, with hand on heart, declare that they are free of any sort of addiction. Everyone carries a crutch of one form or another – one that we lean on for help and support when the challenges of life exceed our capacity to deal with them.
Neuropsychologist Walter Ling MD. Dr. Ling served as a consultant on narcotic affairs to the US Department of State and the World Health Organization. He is also the founding director of the Integrated Substance Abuse Program at the University of California. During his successful career of over thirty years he has worked with thousands of addicts and their families and his book, Mastering the Addicted Brain is an encapsulation of his professional experiences and healing programs.
Dr Ling is of the opinion that addiction can be classified as a brain disease. As such it’s treatment should be approached from a different angle than the one that has been adopted by the medical profession over previous decades. However, in addition to it being treatable as a medical rather than psychological disorder he also firmly believes that an addicts disposition, or otherwise, towards becoming clean is dependent upon their own personal desire to be healed
Whilst Mastering the Addicted Brain is equally applicable to all forms of substance abuse it is specifically an opportunity for those who are under the control of such narcotics as opioids, heroine, cocaine, pain prescription pills, and other chemical stimulants such as methamphetamine to understand the nature of their addiction. Whilst these are the most easily recognisable of modern-day addictions the book’s principles are equally applicable to many more acceptable psychological crutches such as alcohol, tobacco, food,, sex, or gambling.
Human Brain and Addiction
Dr. Ling’s book begins with a discussion of the brain, how it works, and in particular those neurological functions that specifically relate to addiction. Here he argues that by understanding these processes an addict will find it easier to understand the addiction process and how to overcome it.
Whilst Dr. Ling’s primary purpose is to help addicts overcome their issues through a detoxification he sees the next significant challenge to be that of maintaining a drug-free existence. He is of the opinion that in order to achieve this a sound emotional life is imperative – and to this end the addict, or ex-addict, should remain aware of what they think and feel at all times. This often requires the cultivation of the mind and that of a state of complete self-awareness.
To this end the author to recommends the practice of what might be referred to as modern spiritual practices. These include meditation, mindfulness and the a concentrated challenge of other related psychological habits such as depression, boredom, fear, and anxiety.
Finally, Dr. Ling approaches some of the most practical aspects to living a clean, drug-free life. These include areas that typically fall into decline by those whose life has come to be dominated by drugs of one type or another.
It seems that the approach best suited to master the addicted brain is truly through the application of those time-tested practices of spiritual practices that incorporate a sense of holistic healing.
Our Review of Mastering the Addicted Brain by Walter Ling MD
It is difficult to accurately assess the value of this work as a practical manual of self-healing for I feel this is something that should be done by those suffering from addiction themselves. However, as a lay person, but someone who has been intrigued by the subject of addiction in all its forms for several years, I can attest to the fact that I found this book to be a wealth of valuable and insightful material.
In his introduction the author states that his intention in writing it was to create a down-to-earth guide for addicts that was clear and concise. Well, that much has been achieved; for it is a publication which cuts through the mists of confusion regarding addiction and gets straight to the heart of self-healing. The result makes it clear that the author knows more than a little about the mindset of his intended readership.
Addiction only becomes miserable at the point that the addict wants to become free of it – although it will be damaging to those in his or her life way before then. Mastering the Addicted Brain by Walter Ling MD is an exceptionally powerful manual for both parties. For addicts who have the psychological strength to go it alone then this book may well offer powerful solutions to the problems they face and for which they valiantly seek help. For the rest of us it is a valuable exposition of those psychological, emotional and mental crutches we all come to rely upon from time to time.