Let's Talk: Discussion of Episode One of MTV's “16 and Recovering” Part One

Let's Talk: Discussion of Episode One of MTV's “16 and Recovering” Part One

Video length: 1:59


[Dr. Wilson Compton]

What really impressed me is how you take a condition that is about relapse and it has that chronic nature and it has at times very negative outcomes and real problems along the way but you never give up hope and you constantly have a realistic view of what’s possible and also what the real situation is going on today and that combination of facing the reality of today while providing hope for the future was really remarkable to observe and it’s essential in, I think, anybody reaching recovery, whether that’s with medications, with support, with the help that as a physician I might be able to provide but that alone won’t be enough without the social environment like you provide. 

…students as sick, as having illnesses, and that’s been a theme that we’ve seen in science for now the last 20 or 25 years where we’ve focussed on addiction as a brain disease and understanding how there are changes in the brain brought about by drugs and as well as differences in the brain may predispose people to drug use. It’s remarkable to me to see how some of what we’ve spent many years now focussing on in terms of the parts of the brain that are impacted by drugs and the dopamine system being one prominent area, one prominent brain chemical, neurotransmitter, that drugs have an impact on and to hear you use those words in such a familiar, comfortable way was very reassuring to me. 

So, when we think about the dopamine system, that’s important for reward and reinforcement. While drugs impact that system, so do social interactions, so does a principal who treats you with respect and kindness, so do the people around you at school that smile at you. All those are reinforcing behaviors that we want to see take the place of drugs and be in a way a prosocial substitute for what drugs would be a shortcut to achieving.