New book by Judson Brewer explores mindfulness in overcoming addiction

UMass Medical School Communications

March 07, 2017
  Book cover; The Craving Mind by Judson Brewer, MD, PhD
 

In The Craving Mind, Judson Brewer, MD, PhD, an expert on the practice of mindfulness and the science of addiction, discusses how humans are vulnerable to addiction, whether it be excessive social media use, smoking or drinking.

Judson Brewer, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and psychiatry and director of research at the UMass Medical School Center for Mindfulness, has published a new book on addiction.

In The Craving Mind, Dr. Brewer, an expert on the practice of mindfulness and the science of addiction, discusses how humans are vulnerable to addiction, whether it be excessive social media use, smoking or drinking.

“I was drawing on a revolutionary old scientific finding. By that I mean ancient and modern discoveries of the same thing, that we have this brain system that is set up to help us remember where food is, and how to avoid danger,” Brewer said. “In modern day where food is plentiful, this system is still in place. It gets hijacked by drugs of abuse; they take advantage of the brain circuits and chemicals, such as dopamine so we get hooked on them. We now know that this process even extends to things like social media and romantic love.”

Brewer describes the mechanisms of habit and addiction formation and explains how the practice of mindfulness can interrupt these habits.

“The book isn’t a cookbook ‘do these 10 things and you’ll kick all of your habits in 21 days,’ but instead one that unpacks the basic underpinnings of many, if not all of our habits—how they get laid down and how we feed them, often literally,” Brewer said. 

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