Dr. Vincent Felitti: “The Origins of Addiction”

Felitti ACE DVD 3-min Preview screenshotAfter I heard Russell Brand say that what compels addicts is the “hole in me,” I wrote Feb. 14 that this means:  “parts of my brain are dark.”  And it’s so painful, we just medicate.  Ten % of us use hard drugs and alcohol.  Another 40% abuse tobacco, food, gambling, internet porn, sex, sports and more.

All these, abused, cause premature death.  Huge numbers of us are in pain so bad, we’d rather die than live with it.

In response, Dr. Vincent J. Felitti with great patience sent me his 2003 article, “The Origins of Addiction: Evidence from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study.”  It reported these facts 10+ years ago in hard statistics — and more.

Until we treat the underlying ACE trauma, Dr. Felitti says, nothing will change and a high percent of people will continue to die early.  These abuses create the top ten causes of death in the U.S.

This week I’m writing to send you Dr. Felitti’s article and make it your Friday read.  [ FN1]   Click here for the English pdf.

Methamphetamine 1943 AdDr. Felitti also sent this fascinating photo, a full page ad in a 1943 American medical journal for the successful new antidepressant of that day, Methamphetamine.  “Does it mean anything that in impure form and unknown dose the same chemical is sold as the street drug known as crystal meth?” he wrote.  “Like maybe, ‘My kid is buying antidepressants on the street’ ? ”

If anyone says Dr. Felitti “wants to hand out drugs,” I’d love to see them in libel court.  Nope, his message is short and sweet.

Unless we treat ACE trauma, traumatized people will find something, anything, somehow, to numb the horrific emotional pain of ACE trauma.  They’d rather be dead than live with it un-numbed.  And what they find will kill most of them prematurely.  Period.

“Our findings… imply that the basic causes of addiction lie within us and the way we treat each other, not in drug dealers or dangerous chemicals,” Dr. Felitti states.  “They suggest that billions of dollars have been spent everywhere except where the answer is to be found…

“Because cause and effect usually lie within a family, it is understandably more comforting to demonize a chemical than to look within,” he concludes.

Kathy’s news blogs expand on her book “DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME: The Silent Epidemic of Attachment Disorder—How I accidentally regressed myself back to infancy and healed it all.” Watch for the continuing series each Friday, as she explores her journey of recovery by learning the hard way about Attachment Disorder in adults, adult Attachment Theory, and the Adult Attachment Interview.

FN1  Felitti, Vincent J. , MD, “The Origins of Addiction: Evidence from the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study,”
English version of the article published in Germany as:
Felitti VJ, “Ursprünge des Suchtverhaltens – Evidenzen aus einer Studie zu belastenden
Kindheitserfahrungen,” Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie, 2003; 52:547-559. http://attachmentdisorderhealing.com/resources/key-articles/

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6 responses to “Dr. Vincent Felitti: “The Origins of Addiction”

  1. Treat ACE’s yes…but PREVENT them?! Even better. I am so grateful for Dr. Felitti’s life’s work, along with the efforts of the many thousands who made the ACE study a reality. I am a physical therapist, parent educator and mom of four on a mission to help adults learn to rear children with practices rooted in connection and respect. My efforts are focused on empowering adults with the skills necessary to make connection a habit, managing the stress and triggers that arise along the way. Changing the very way we discipline, lead and guide children in our homes and schools is necessary, if we are to protect them from the systemic shame and pain current widely accepted practices perpetuate. Thank you for this important discussion. xo Suzanne

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  5. Yes it’s big business – but to me the biggest problem is all the scientists and medical professionals who turn a deaf ear to the only argument that means a thing: “Treat ACEs trauma.”
    Dr. Felitti and his colleague Dr. Robert Anda, top epidemiologist at the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control, have been doing all they can to alert their profession but can hardly get published here in the U.S.
    Why? Mention childhood, and they say, “That’s not my job.”
    It starts to sound like the Establishment’s reaction to Galileo when his telescope finally proved in 1616 what Copernicus had said about heliocentrism in 1543. No one paid attention to Copernicus for 70 years; he only wrote a theoretical book. But Galileo stumbled on hard proof and that really bugged the Powers that Be.
    Because it questions all of their expensive university training, hard-fought careers, and self-images.

  6. Self medication with food, cigarettes, alcohol, legal and illegal drugs, these, except illegal drugs, are the very things that were most heavily advertised in various media in past years. Ads for cigarettes and most alcohol on TV may be gone, but “junk” food and prescription drugs are plentiful.

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