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Rethinking Excessive Habits & Addictive Behaviors

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Addressing addiction should not be a "one size fits all" approach.
Air Date: 9/16/15
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Tony Bevacqua, Author & Educator
Tony-BevacquaTony Bevacqua is an accomplished educator, corporate coach, social advocate and lecturer. He teaches college psychology courses, leads corporate wellness seminars and has a private practice in Los Angeles coaching people who have a desire to better understand their self-determining nature. He has contributed articles to the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and Addiction Professional Magazine. Tony believes we need to rethink the language being used to describe and label the problematic learned coping behavior someone has from excessive habits and addictive behaviors. He feels the words used to describe someone such as “alcoholic,” “drug addict,” “disease,” and “powerless” etc., are deficit-based and emotionally charged, and scare the majority of people away from help-seeking. He also feels these words get internalized and become habitually reinforced as negative self-talk. Conventional thinking believes medicalizing “addiction” as a disease would remove the shame and stigma of these types of behaviors, but Tony believes they actually contribute towards maintaining them. He also encourages the use of language that supports an individual with kindness, compassion and empathy and suggests ways in which this new perspective and approach, can help individuals improve the quality of their thinking which will improve the quality of their behavior. He also advocates for the responsible and ethical use of pharmaceutical drugs and psychiatric practices. Tony’s first book (July 2015), Rethinking Excessive Habits and Addictive Behaviors (Rowman & Littlefield), outlines his belief system and encourages readers to see addictive behaviors differently.
  • Book Title: Rethinking Excessive Habits and Addictive Behaviors
  • Guest Twitter Account: @TonyBevRehab
Rethinking Excessive Habits & Addictive Behaviors
Twelve-step programs are the foundation of conventional thinking and treatment for people with addictive behaviors.

But are they truly for everyone?

Special guest Tony Bevacqua explains why these one-size-fits-all approaches are not appropriate for everyone, since each person is a unique human being.

Words like “addiction,” “addict,” alcoholic,” “denial,” “recovery,” “clean,” and others have become absorbed into our vocabulary, but they all could have the ability to conjure up the worst case descriptions of undesirable behavior. These labels are generalized to all behaviors and to all people, regardless of the details of their specific circumstances.

If someone get's a DUI, they have to go to AA, but that person may not be an addict.

Bevacqua says that by rethinking and changing the language, new learning can take place, and new approaches to treatment can emerge. While biology may play a role in addiction, the disease model strips sufferers of their ability to see their issues as within their control to address.

Understanding the role of learning and behavior allows people to redefine addiction in terms of their own personal circumstances, allowing that the brain is an organ of social adaptation and is constantly able to wire and rewire itself through enriched environments and new learning.

Bevacqua proposes a language that also supports an individual with kindness, compassion and empathy and suggests ways in which this new perspective and approach can help individuals improve the quality of their thinking which will improve the quality of their behavior.

Listen in as Bevacqua joins Naturally Savvy host, Lisa Davis, to share why addressing addiction and excessive habits is not a "one size fits all" approach, as well as why it's so important to rethink the language surrounding these behaviors.
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