Episode 30: Substance abuse 101

This week, Cari and Kelsae discuss substance abuse, addiction, and guidelines for healthy use of substances. Cari used to work in substance abuse, so she shares her knowledge, and Cari and Kelsae each discuss their experiences with substances after leaving Mormonism. There are so many misconceptions about addiction in society and especially among Mormons. You won’t become an alcoholic if you taste your first Mike’s Hard Lemonade. We promise.

Important terms from the episode:

  • Addiction: The inability to stop using a substance despite extreme negative consequences (requires rewarding and reinforcing stimuli).
  • Substance abuse: Using substances to cope with emotions or in large amounts.
  • Physical dependence: The state of requiring a substance to function “normally” without experiencing symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Tolerance: Requiring more of a substance to achieve the same or similar results.
  • Rewarding stimuli: Something that’s inherently rewarding and makes your brain feel good (ex: a substance fills your brain with dopamine).
  • Reinforcing stimuli: When the behaviors you engage with while using a substance are reinforced because the substance impacts your brain in a way that your brain believes you need to continue those behaviors. 

Opening thought by Andrea Gibson 

Closing thought by Kristen Neff, Ph.D.

Links Mentioned

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