BEHAVIOUR REPETITION: 'CONDITIONING'

• Journalist Charles Duhigg's book explains the cue-routine-reward circuitry, where the reward becomes more pronounced the more a behaviour is carried out.

• Dr. David Kessler's book describes the power of repeated behaviour (conditioning) in the context of compulsive overeating. A Q and A with Dr. Kessler on the 'cue-urge-reward' conditioning of automated behaviour.

• Neuroscience Reporter Maia Szalavitz writing on brain chemistry of the anticipatory aspect of addiction in the context of gambling.

• IZA (German Institute for the Study of Labor) research paper by Robin M. Hogarth and Marie Claire Villeval discussing Intermittent Reinforcement and how 'rewards' at inconsistent intervals reinforce behaviour and lead to persistence in effort to obtain.

• Bruce Goldman detailing Stanford University studies and fMRI scans showing dopamine-changes in the brain, concluding addiction as a maladaptive version of learning.

• Dr. Marc Lewis's book on the feedback loop of repeated behaviour and how we can unlearn addiction with the help of a secure social network. Lewis' writing in Aeon Essays on habituation and why addiction is not genetic. Lewis' Blog entry in the prestigious PLOS academic journal detailing learned behaviour as culprit to addiction, not disease-model.

• Dr. Bruce Mcewan on how stress leads to and perpetuates addiction.


LONELINESS & SOCIAL ISOLATION:

• A study by Dr. Bruce Alexander showing how rats abandon addictive behaviours when placed in a community of others as opposed to isolation in a cage.

• Stephen Marche writing for The Atlantic on the negative consequences of people living in "unimaginable isolation" despite being more accessible than ever.

• A paper by Dr. Bruce Alexander discussing Dislocation on Addiction in the West.

• George Monbiot writing for The Guardian about the rise of loneliness in Western Society, and the adverse health effects of social isolation.

• Article describing how as few as four days in social isolation damages the cerebral cortex - the grey matter of the brain - even in adulthood.

• Video on how social connection can help secure the brain against addictive behaviours, and deter an individual from narcotics.

• Director of the longest study on happiness discusses how interpersonal relationships affect the brain and health well into old age.

• Harvard Med Associate Professor John F. Kelly led study on main success of AA programs, showing that social context factors are key.

• Piece on Nature by Dr. Carl Hart on why addiction is not a brain disease, but rather a response to a stressful social environment.

Eric J. Nestler on epi-genetics: does a person's life experiences cause stable changes in their genes? 

Nora Volkow on dopamine: the more engaging your social environments, the less driven you are toward drugs. Big Think Video describing Volkow's theory on dopamine, salience, and addiction.

• Dr. Carl Hart, Neuroscientist at Columbia University writing in Nature on how there is no data showing that drug addiction is a brain disease or genetic. 


EARLY CHILDHOOD ADVERSITY: TRAUMA FROM NEGLECT & ABUSE

• In this episode of The Brain Series on Charlie Rose, a panel of experts explain the relationship between childhood adversity and the developing brain.

• Bruce D. Perry M.D., PhD. on Early Childhood Experiences and the Developing Brain: an in-depth outline of how the brain develops and the adaptive response to threat.

• David Sack, M.D. on addiction as an unhealthy attempt to meet healthy needs, citing a study showing how emotional trauma and long-term neglect lies at the heart of most addictions.

• Interview on Scientific American with professor and researcher Anne Bigelow on the importance of physical contact with infants, highlighting how children from deprived surroundings had vastly different stress hormone levels than their affectionate, parent-raised peers.

• Dr. Nadine Burke discusses how childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime and can lead to addiction in adulthood.

• "Connecting the dots between Trauma, Mental Health, and Violence." Dr. Elizabeth Fitelson panel of Arresting Survival in New York City: a Rewire piece by Victoria Law.

• CDC-Kaiser ACE Study and resources.

• Dr. Gabor Mate gives a presentation on how addiction forms as a coping mechanism from the early years, and discusses the role of social and cultural genocide on a brain's development.

James Oliver writing for The Guardian about the science that disproves genetics cause mental health illnesses, while highlighting that childhood abuse - even emotional abuse like neglect - significantly harms the brain's development.

• Dr. Clyde Hertzman on how early social experiences hurt development and affect a child's later on stress perception.

The Brain Works Project article describing the more primal, emotional, "feeling" part of the brain called the limbic system, as different from the thoughtful, calculating, "thinking" part of the brain called the cerebral cortex. The limbic system is where childhood trauma is stored, affecting the nervous system throughout a lifetime.

• Layla Banihashemi, PhD published study via Society for Neuroscience showing that the effects of infant abuse can be seen in adult stress responses: regions controlling heart are affected and visible changes of the brain detected.

• University of Liverpool UK Professor and Researcher, Richard P. Bentall reporting for The Guardian on the mistaken belief that mental health problems are the result of biological defects, highlighting their research showing that childhood trauma leads to depression and psychosis in adulthood.

• Physicist and Faces of Addiction Photo Series photographer Chris Arnade writing on how all the heroin users he met had experienced severely traumatic events as children

• Journalist and former heroin addict Maia Szalavitz writing for The Fix magazine on the Adverse Childhood Experiences study and the links of trauma to addiction in adulthood.

TIME Magazine piece by Szalavitz detailing that addiction problems have more to do with people’s attempts to manage or flee pain than to their desire to seek pleasure — and that simple drug exposure is not sufficient to trigger addiction.

• Journalist Hans Villarica writing for The Atlantic on how early adversity leads to adult misery: individuals who went through childhood trauma were more likely to get depressed when they encountered less serious ordeals as adults.

CBC interview with New York Times journalist Neil Strauss on sex addiction and how his childhood set his inability to connect in motion.

• Philip J. Flores book on Attachment Disorders and Addiction, details addiction as a coping mechanism of poor attachment security to others from the infant to the adult. 

• Video entitled The Science of Neglect showing the effects of adverse childhood environments on the developing brain and nervous system.

• Interview on Hidden Brain Podcast with science writer Deborah Blum about groundbreaking experiments into the power of touch and the importance of affection for young children (beginning at 10:25).

• The Healthiest Way to Deal With Memories of a Traumatic Childhood: Article on UK Spring.org