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Craving for Ecstasy and Natural Highs
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Craving for Ecstasy and Natural Highs
A Positive Approach to Mood Alteration

First Edition


June 2009 | 496 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"This book is extremely useful for a broad range of readers. This book reflects the extensive scientific and clinical expertise of the authors and is compelling reading for anyone interested in addictive behaviors. It is one of the rare books that from page one immediately engrosses, educates and broadens your perspective."
Alex Blaszczynski, The University of Sydney, International Journal of Mental Health Addiction

"Psychologist Harvey Milkman and chemist Stanley Sunderwirth explore why our relentless search for pleasure sometimes leads to dangerous addictions and show us healthy ways to achieve happiness."
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND

"Harvey B. Milkman and Stanley Sunderwirth have written a tour de force. Craving for Ecstasy and Natural Highs: A Positive Approach to Mood Alteration . . . is a beautifully written and organized book . . . a thrill ride through the most innovative and insightful perspectives that science and clinical experience have to offer . . . hip and artistic, reflecting a deep understanding of addiction . . . a major contribution to the field; it is must reading." 
—Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, CAS Editor, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Director, Division on Addictions, Cambridge Health Alliance

"Reading this book is in itself and ecstatic experience! . . . a fascinating journey that explores the benefits and risks of pleasure and the universal desire to feel good . . . It's quite a trip."             
—G. Alan Marlatt, PhD, University of Washington

People from all walks of life often lose themselves in pursuing counterfeit pleasures—cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, thrill seeking, sex, food, gambling, and on-line fantasies to name just a few. How does the pursuit of pleasure result in compulsion and loss of control? Craving for Ecstasy and Natural Highs addresses this fundamental question and then explores positive ways to achieve lasting happiness and fulfillment. Readers will gain important insight on how to improve their own quality of life and will learn how to offer support to clients, students, family, and friends whose lives may be compromised by addiction.

Students of addictive behaviors and anyone interested in discovering healthy means to satisfy the drive to alter consciousness will find this book compelling. 

View Harvey Milkman's appearance on local Denver TV where he talks about addiction and his book at
http://www.kdvr.com/videobeta/watch/?watch=dafef79e-c409-4159-82b4-194ecd3b9929&src=front

Be sure to follow Harvey Milkman's blog on Psychology Today at
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/better-dope/200909/better-dope-natural-highs-the-cutting-edge-mood-alteration

Reviews of previous work:

"The chemistry and psychology of addiction are described with considerable insight. . . . These authors know their stuff and make a compelling case." 
—The Los Angeles Times

"The authors provide a valuable service by placing into perspective a large array of behaviors that could be considered addictive." 
—JAMA


SAGE offers treatment and training programs for mental health providers that you can easily incorporate into your existing programs. Visit www.sagepub.com/satreatments to learn more about these treatment and training programs.

 
Prologue
 
Preface
 
PART I: THE UNIVERSAL DESIRE TO FEEL GOOD
 
Introduction
Addiction Syndrome Disorders

 
Extent of the Problem

 
Positive Psychology and Natural Highs

 
 
Ch 1. Addiction to Experience
The Broad Scope of Addiction

 
Behavioral Addictions

 
The Addictive Personality

 
Who Is Most at Risk?

 
Acquisition and Maintenance of Reward-Dependent Behavior

 
Drugs and Activities of Choice

 
Beacons of Compulsion

 
Behavioral Excess and the Brain

 
Mismanaging the Brain

 
Society and the Deviant Career

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 2. Pleasure and the Brain
Neurochemistry 101

 
The Joy of Dopamine and the Reward Cascade

 
Genes and Drug Abuse - Choose Your Parents Carefully

 
Drugs to Fight Drugs

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
PART II: FINDING RELIEF AND LETTING GO
Overview: Seeking Safety and Comfort

 
The Chemistry of Calm

 
 
Ch 3. Hey, What's in This Stuff, Anyway?
Introduction

 
Inheriting Alcoholism

 
The Addictive Quality of Alcohol

 
Neurotransmitter Regulation and Dysfunction

 
Harmful Effects on the Mind, Body, and Brain

 
Sobriety and the Brain: What if I Quit?

 
Coping With Cravings and Urges

 
Redeeming Alcohol: The Benefits of Booze

 
Hold the Press, What About Cancer?

 
To Quit or Not to Quit?

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 4. The Great Psychiatric Tavern
Who Shows Up and What Do They Do?

 
Surrogate Family Atmosphere

 
The "Regulars"

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 5. Self-Medication
Introduction

 
Nicotine: The World's Antidepressant

 
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Among Women

 
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Self-Medication

 
Patients in the Street

 
Prescription Drug Abuse

 
Inhalants: How Stupid Can You Get?

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 6. Eating for a Change
Introduction

 
Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating

 
Eating and the Brain

 
Why Chocolate?

 
Obesity Around the Globe

 
Obesity in America

 
Overeating and Psychoanalysis

 
Biology Versus Psychology

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
PART III: THE THRILL OF EXCITEMENT AND RISK
Overview: What a Rush!

 
 
Ch 7. Stress Hormone Highs
Introduction

 
Wake Me Up! Caffeine Buzz

 
Stress Intoxication

 
Addiction: The Curse of Ecstasy

 
The Up and Down Game

 
Problem and Pathological Gambling

 
Shop 'Till You Drop

 
Autoerotic Fatalities

 
Am I a Speed Demon?

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 8. Rock Around the Clock: Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and the Club Scene
Introduction

 
Methamphetamine - A Dopamine Blast

 
Methamphetamine and the Brain

 
Cocaine: Gift of the Gods

 
Cocaine and the Brain

 
Compulsion to Use

 
The Club Scene

 
Club Drugs

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
PART IV: MENTAL EXCURSIONS
Overview: Imagination - The Quintessential Human Trait

 
Electronic Media Everywhere

 
The Child's Use of Fantasy

 
Religion and Myth

 
Science and Religion

 
Personal Fantasy

 
Overview Summary

 
 
Ch 9. Virtual Reality and Electronic Bogeymen
Introduction: The Evolution of Electronic Media

 
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games

 
Online Game Addiction

 
Is the Internet Good or Bad?

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 10. Fantasy and the Drug Experience
Introduction: The "Trip" Begins

 
Hallucinogens and the Brain

 
LSD

 
Dissociative Drugs

 
Can Hallucinogens Heal?

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 11. Compelled by Fantasy
Introduction

 
Shared Delusions

 
Facilitator-Assisted Fantasy

 
Schizophrenic Fantasy

 
The Terrorist Mind-Set

 
Armageddon: The Ultimate Fantasy

 
Terror Management

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
PART V: CRAVING FOR INTIMACY
Overview: The importance of Human Connections

 
 
Ch 12. Love or Addiction
Infatuation and the Legend of St. Valentine

 
Neurochemistry of Romance

 
Love and Death

 
MDMA: Synthetic Love

 
Should I Try Ecstasy?

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 13. Marijuana--Reefer Madness Revisited
'Benefits' of Pot: Why Do So Many People Smoke?

 
Effects on the Brain

 
Withdrawal

 
Effects on Cognition

 
Serious Mental Disorder

 
Marijuana and the Endocrine System

 
Marijuana and the Immune System

 
Long-Term Effects on Health

 
Medical Marijuana

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 14. Romantic Sex Fantasy
Who Attends and Why

 
'Intimacy' at the Gentlemen's Club

 
The Allure of Prostitution

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
PART VI: JOURNEY TO OBLIVION
 
Ch 15. The Voyage of Hardship and Suffering
Introduction: The Disease Concept of Addiction

 
Addiction and the Adolescent Brain

 
The Downward Spiral of Addiction

 
Capsules for Transport: Licit and Illicit Drugs

 
Behavioral Addictions

 
The Passenger Sleeps

 
Symbols of Change

 
The Robot Pilot

 
The Mutiny

 
A Guard Must be Posted

 
Improving the Odds

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
PART VII: NATURAL HIGHS: THE CUTTING EDGE OF MOOD ALTERATION
Overview: The Era of Self-Regulation and Natural Highs

 
 
Ch 16. The Cognitive-Behavioral Revolution: How to Manage Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors
Introduction: Evolution of the Cognitive-Behavioral Model

 
Contemporary Cognitive Therapy

 
Behaviorist Contributions

 
Combining Cognitive and Behavioral Theories

 
Working With Automatic Thoughts and Core Beliefs

 
The Trans-Ideological Power of Cognitive-Behavioral Restructuring

 
Cognitive-Behavioral Restructuring in Everyday Life

 
Chaper Summary

 
 
Ch 17. Maintaining Close and Intimate Relationships
Introduction: The Three Faces of Love

 
The Universal Need for Love

 
Secure Attachment: A Prototype for Successful Relationships

 
Healthy Love

 
Intimacy and Sexuality

 
Intimacy Versus Individuality

 
Optimizing Relationships

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 18. Relaxation, Mindfulness, and Meditation
Introduction: Meditation Comes of Age

 
Mindfulness

 
Process Meditation

 
Does Meditation Work?

 
Meditation and Hedonic Dependencies

 
A Word of Caution

 
Science-Based Relaxation Techniques

 
Managing Stress in the Here and Now

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 19: Eating Yourself Fit
Introduction: Does Dieting Work?

 
The Natural Highs Alternative: Think Thin, Moderate, Workout!

 
Developing the Right State of Mind

 
Partial Fasting

 
What Is a Healthy Diet?

 
The Bottom Line

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 20. Exercise: The Magic Bullet
Introduction

 
Exercise of Choice

 
The Chemistry of Working Out

 
Exercise for Body Trimming

 
Training for Physical Health

 
Running Away From Depression

 
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

 
Runner's High: Fact or Fiction?

 
Make Life a Moving Experience

 
Chapter Summary

 
 
Ch 21. Meaningful Engagement of Talents
Introduction: Capitalizing on Abilities and Strengths

 
Integrating Models for Self-Discovery and Change

 
Self-Discovery in Everyday Life

 
The Personal Pleasure Inventory

 
Chaper Summary

 
 
References
 
Appendix I: The Personal Pleasure Inventory
 
Appendix II: Classroom Discussion Guides

"This book is extremely useful for a broad range of readers. This book reflects the extensive scientific and clinical expertise of the authors and is compelling reading for anyone interested in addictive behaviors. It is one of the rare books that from page one immediately engrosses, educates and broadens your perspective."

Alex Blaszczynski
The University of Sydney

Will place order to keep multiple copies in our university library.

Dr Timothy Ritchie
Department of Psychology, University of Limerick
July 20, 2012

book content was excellent, however, format did not align with the objectives and structure of this course

Dr John Finneran
Professional Studies Division, Keene State College
March 11, 2012

An interesting broad-spectrum book covering how we all crave pleasure and the ways we go about achieving this. Will broaden the student experience and challenge pre-conceptions.

Mrs Rachel Harrison
Interprofessional Studies, Winchester University
October 27, 2010

This book is a very good fit for the broad spectrum of addiction studies. It is both comprehensive and comprehensible.

Professor Marc Henley
Public Svc Soc Sci Dept, Delaware County Community College
December 11, 2009
Key features
  • Addiction as a syndrome
  • Interdisciplinary approach
  • Examination of four broad factors of hedonic dependencies: arousal, relaxation, fantasy and intimacy
  • Classroom discussions guides
  • Chapter Summaries
  • Artistic illustrations

For instructors

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