153 episodes

Welcome to Cracking Addiction, the show that delves deep into the world of addiction medicine. Hosted by Addiction Medicine Specialist Dr Ferghal Armstrong, this podcast covers a broad range of addiction-related topics, from the science behind addiction to the various treatment options available.


Each week, the hosts provide listeners with engaging and informative discussions on all aspects of addiction medicine. From alcohol and drug addiction to gambling addiction, they explore the various types of addiction and their impact on individuals, families, and communities.


With a focus on evidence-based information, Cracking Addiction provides listeners with a comprehensive understanding of addiction, including the latest research and treatment options. Whether you are struggling with addiction or simply interested in learning more about the topic, this podcast is an excellent resource.


The show also features regular guests and experts who share their insights and experiences on addiction-related topics.

With new episodes released every week, Cracking Addiction is your go-to source for the latest information and insights on addiction medicine. So join us as we explore this complex and fascinating topic and work to break the cycle of addiction.


Visit our website for more information and free courses https://go.meducate.com.au/courses

Cracking Addiction Meducate

    • Health & Fitness
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

Welcome to Cracking Addiction, the show that delves deep into the world of addiction medicine. Hosted by Addiction Medicine Specialist Dr Ferghal Armstrong, this podcast covers a broad range of addiction-related topics, from the science behind addiction to the various treatment options available.


Each week, the hosts provide listeners with engaging and informative discussions on all aspects of addiction medicine. From alcohol and drug addiction to gambling addiction, they explore the various types of addiction and their impact on individuals, families, and communities.


With a focus on evidence-based information, Cracking Addiction provides listeners with a comprehensive understanding of addiction, including the latest research and treatment options. Whether you are struggling with addiction or simply interested in learning more about the topic, this podcast is an excellent resource.


The show also features regular guests and experts who share their insights and experiences on addiction-related topics.

With new episodes released every week, Cracking Addiction is your go-to source for the latest information and insights on addiction medicine. So join us as we explore this complex and fascinating topic and work to break the cycle of addiction.


Visit our website for more information and free courses https://go.meducate.com.au/courses

    Punching Fear in the Face and Embracing Recovery

    Punching Fear in the Face and Embracing Recovery

    Ferghal Armstrong sits down with Thomas Conrad, a recovery expert who transformed his life from rock bottom to running a successful addiction treatment centre. This episode is filled with powerful insights and actionable strategies that can guide both individuals and their families through the labyrinthine path of addiction and recovery. If you're committed to understanding the challenges of addiction and finding effective ways to overcome them, this episode is a must-listen.
    **Episode Summary**

    This episode delves deeply into Thomas Conrad's journey from struggling with alcohol addiction to becoming a beacon of hope for others. With his relatable yet extraordinary story, Thomas sheds light on the complexities of recovery, the power of a supportive community, and the critical role that faith and spirituality can play. If you're searching for inspiration and practical advice on navigating the path to sobriety, this conversation offers a treasure trove of wisdom.

    **Learning Outcomes**

    1. **Understanding the Role of Family and Friends in Recovery**

    Thomas emphasises the significant impact that a person's social support system can have on their recovery journey. Friends and family members can either enable or hinder progress, making it essential for them to be educated and supportive. Thomas explains that setting firm boundaries and intervening forcefully when necessary can be life-saving acts. Learning how to involve your loved ones in your recovery process can make a significant difference and foster an environment conducive to healing.

    2. **Concept of a Higher Power in Recovery**

    Spirituality and faith can often be controversial topics in the realm of addiction recovery. Thomas discusses how reinterpreting the concept of a higher power, as suggested by Russell Brand, can make the twelve steps more accessible to those who struggle with traditional religious notions. This broader perspective can open doors for many individuals who might otherwise feel alienated. Embracing a flexible approach to spirituality can be a powerful tool in the recovery process.

    3. **The Importance of Consequences in Recovery**

    Thomas shares the critical role that consequences played in shifting his mindset from pre-contemplation to active recovery. Sometimes, tangible consequences like a DUI or job loss can serve as a much-needed wake-up call. Thomas explains that for those who might be functional alcoholics, these jolts of reality are often crucial for propelling them toward change. Understanding the importance of consequences can help frame recovery as a necessary step rather than an imposed punishment.

    4. **Controlled Risk Exposure for Children**

    The conversation also touches on how to communicate the risks of drugs to children. Thomas and Dr Ferghal discuss the importance of controlled risk exposure as a teaching tool. This strategy might involve setting examples, sharing real-life stories, and maintaining open communication. Cultivating an environment where children feel comfortable discussing such issues can lead to better-informed decisions and healthier long-term choices.

    **Quote **
    Thomas Conrad said it best: "To overcome addiction, you have to punch fear in the face. Stepping into treatment was the scariest yet most liberating choice I ever made."

    Russell Brand 12 Steps
    https://www.russellbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/russell-brand-recovery-the-program.pdf

    • 36 min
    Can 4 Hours of Sleep Really Kill You?

    Can 4 Hours of Sleep Really Kill You?

    Have you ever wondered how the quality of your sleep impacts your mental health? Or how the intricacies of sleep deprivation can influence everything from decision-making to long-term brain health? In this riveting episode of "Cracking Addiction," Dr Ferghal Armstrong and Dr Richard Bradlow dive deep into the complex, bidirectional relationship between sleep and mental health. Whether you're grappling with insomnia, curious about ADHD, or just keen to improve your sleep hygiene, this episode packs a wealth of information and actionable advice. Listen to gain valuable insights and transform how you view the power of sleep.
    **Sleep and Mental Health Interlink**

    In this episode, Dr Ferghal Armstrong and Dr Richard Bradlow explore various mental health disorders, such as melancholic and atypical depression, and their distinct sleep patterns. They discuss how poor sleep can aggravate existing mental illnesses and vice versa. Understand why sleep is crucial and how its deprivation can lead to cognitive and emotional impairments. Gain practical, scientific knowledge on how to enhance your sleep quality and, by extension, your mental health.

    **Best Quote:**

    "Sleep deprivation ultimately kills you, and it kills you quicker than starvation."

    **Learning Outcomes:**

    1. **Understanding the Bidirectional Relationship:** Explore the fascinating concept of the bidirectional relationship between sleep and mental health. Learn how poor sleep can precipitate mental health issues like anxiety and depression and how these conditions can further deteriorate sleep quality. Understanding this relationship can prompt more effective treatment approaches. Practising better sleep hygiene can potentially alleviate some symptoms of mental health disorders.

    2. **Melancholic vs Atypical Depression:** Differentiate between melancholic and atypical depression regarding their impact on sleep. Melancholic depression is linked with early morning awakenings, while atypical depression is associated with hypersomnia. This knowledge can help you identify what type of depression may be affecting you or your loved ones. By recognizing these patterns, you can seek appropriate treatment options.

    3. **Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Cognitive Function:** Realise how sleep deprivation affects cognitive functions, such as decision-making and ethical awareness. Discover that being awake for 16 hours renders cognitive impairment equivalent to a 0.05 blood alcohol level. This insight can incentivise you to prioritise sleep, especially if your day-to-day activities involve crucial decision-making. Adequate sleep can improve your productivity and emotional well-being.

    • 21 min
    Keys to Early Recovery: Jesse Ball on Honesty and Support

    Keys to Early Recovery: Jesse Ball on Honesty and Support

    Dr. Ferghal Armstrong and Jesse Ball explore the foundational aspects of early recovery from addiction, highlighting the roles of honesty, support systems, and effective routines. Jesse shares how a no-nonsense, empathetic counsellor with lived experience catalysed his transformation. This episode delves deep into practical strategies to navigate the vulnerable early stages of sobriety and sustain long-term recovery. Listen in for invaluable lessons that go beyond recovery—these are life skills everyone should possess.
    **Learning Outcomes and Actionable Takeaways:**

    1. **Honesty and Vulnerability in Recovery:**

    Jesse emphasises the pivotal role of being completely honest with his counsellor. The absence of judgement and the presence of lived experience created a safe space for Jesse to be vulnerable. By being open about his behaviours and feelings, Jesse was able to receive tailored, effective advice, which was instrumental in his recovery. Honesty not only builds trust but also catalyses tailored interventions essential for overcoming addiction.

    2. **The Power of Support Systems:**

    One of the most significant aspects of Jesse’s recovery was his willingness to listen to others who had walked the same path. Building relationships with those who have lived experience can provide crucial support and inspiration. During weak moments, reaching out to someone who understands your struggle can make all the difference. Jesse's experience underscores the importance of having a robust support network ready to offer reasoning when self-delusion creeps in.

    3. **Establishing a Routine:**

    Jesse’s disciplined approach to his daily routine played a critical role in his recovery. From morning walks to regular therapy sessions and meetings, a structured day helped him stay focused and avoid relapse. Incorporating simple, healthy habits like exercising, eating well, and staying occupied can support mental clarity and emotional stability. A consistent routine creates a sense of normalcy and purpose, essential in the tumultuous early stages of recovery.

    4. **Cutting Ties with Negative Influences:**

    Jesse made the tough but necessary decision to distance himself from his old friendship group, realising the importance of eliminating risky environments. This bold choice was driven by understanding that his life depended on his recovery. By only engaging in safe social interactions, Jesse minimised triggers and maximised his chances of staying sober. This teaches us the crucial lesson that prioritising health sometimes means making difficult choices about relationships.

    5. **Proactive Planning for Crises:**

    Jesse's proactive strategy to pre-empt and address moments of weakness was another key to his success. Knowing the likelihood of temptation, he ensured he had trusted individuals to call when those 'mind worms' started speaking. This preparedness to seek external voices of reason is critical in averting relapse. Planning for crises is an actionable step everyone in recovery should adopt, recognising that the path is fraught with moments requiring external reinforcement.

    **Quote:**

    *"Often, it's someone else's voice of reasoning during those really weak, vulnerable moments that can be the difference between success and failure."* – Jesse Ball.

    • 18 min
    The Turning Point: How Jesse Escaped the Grips of Addiction

    The Turning Point: How Jesse Escaped the Grips of Addiction

    In this episode, we have the privilege of hearing from Jesse Ball, a courageous individual with lived experience in the realm of addiction and recovery.
    Jesse takes us on an intimate journey through his turbulent past, sharing candidly about his use of various substances starting from his early teens, driven by the desire to fit in and cope with life’s challenges. He opens up about the harrowing depths of his addiction, the disconnection from self, and the mental and physical toll it took on him.

    Most importantly, Jesse delves into the pivotal moments that spurred him toward recovery, revealing the internal battles and the persistent voice of hope that eventually led him to seek help. Through his story, we gain invaluable insights into the complexities of addiction and the therapeutic processes that can make a difference.

    Join us as Jesse shares his profound wisdom on the importance of meeting people where they are in their journey, the role of spirituality in healing, and the transformative power of genuine human connection. Whether you’re struggling with addiction, a healthcare provider, or simply looking to understand more about this challenging issue, Jesse’s story is sure to inspire and enlighten.

    • 20 min
    Digital Breakthroughs in Alcohol Addiction Recovery

    Digital Breakthroughs in Alcohol Addiction Recovery

    Are you or someone you know struggling with alcohol use disorder? In this video, I sit down with Jonathan Hunt-Glassman, the CEO of Ore Health, to uncover groundbreaking strategies for managing alcohol use disorder. From effective **medication** options to the critical role of digital health technologies, we delve deep into how you can begin your journey to recovery today.
    Jonathan and I discuss everything from first-line treatments like **naltrexone** and **acamprosate** to alternative medications and talking therapies. You'll learn why **medication** is crucial but not the only solution, and how digital solutions can make accessing healthcare easier and more private. Our conversation is packed with actionable insights that can help you or your loved ones make significant strides in overcoming alcohol use disorder.

    • 20 min
    From Blackouts to Breakthroughs: An Insider's Story of Recovery and Hope

    From Blackouts to Breakthroughs: An Insider's Story of Recovery and Hope

    In this compelling episode of Cracking Addiction, Dr Ferghal Armstrong welcomes Jonathan Hunt-Glassman, an individual with lived experience of alcohol misuse and the CEO of Oar Health. Jonathan provides a raw and honest account of his struggles with alcohol, starting from high school right through to his twenties. His journey involved excessive binge drinking, blackouts, and multi-day benders, ultimately leading to the physical and mental health repercussions associated with alcohol addiction.
    **Key Points Covered:**
    1. **Understanding the Root Causes**:

    - Jonathan delves into the social anxiety that drove his alcohol misuse. As Dr Ferghal notes, understanding the underlying pain is crucial.

    2. **The Impact of Social Media and COVID-19**:

    - The episode discusses how the increase in digital communication and social isolation could contribute to future spikes in alcohol use disorders.

    3. **The Importance of Support Systems**:

    - Jonathan highlights how a supportive healthcare practitioner, empathic friends, and a loving partner were instrumental in his recovery.

    4. **Tools for Recovery**:

    - Jonathan shares the multifaceted toolkit that helped him, including goal-setting, medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.

    **Learning Outcomes:**

    1. **Identifying Root Causes**:

    - By listening to Jonathan's experiences, you will learn how social anxiety and feelings of insecurity can lead to problematic drinking. Understanding these root causes can help in seeking appropriate therapies to address them.

    2. **The Role of Support Systems**:

    - This episode underscores the importance of having a reliable support system. Friends and family play a critical role in recovery, providing non-judgmental, loving support that can significantly impact an individual's journey towards sobriety.

    3. **Utilising Healthcare Professionals**:

    - The value of a compassionate healthcare provider cannot be overstated. As Jonathan explains, a simple phrase like "We can work with that" can break down barriers of fear and shame, making the initial steps to recovery much more manageable.

    4. **Building a Toolkit for Recovery**:

    - Jonathan discusses the various tools that worked for him, including medication, therapy, and personal strategies like avoiding drinking on an empty stomach. Assembling a similar toolkit can provide a structured and effective approach to managing alcohol use disorder.

    **Actionable Takeaways:**

    1. **Address Social Anxiety**:

    - Seek professional help to address any underlying social anxiety or insecurity. Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be incredibly effective in mitigating these triggers.

    2. **Establish Clear Goals**:

    - Set clear, achievable goals for your alcohol consumption. For Jonathan, a key goal was never to blackout again; similar concrete objectives can provide direction and motivation.

    3. **Engage with Health Practitioners**:

    - Don’t hesitate to consult with healthcare professionals. A supportive and understanding medical practitioner can offer crucial guidance and prescribe helpful medications if necessary.

    4. **Rely on a Support Network**:

    - Lean on your friends and family. Their support can provide emotional resilience and practical help, such as non-judgemental feedback or participating in healthier, sober activities.

    **Quote:**

    "We can work with that."

    This phrase, used by Jonathan's healthcare provider, signifies the power of empathy, understanding, and collaboration in the recovery journey.

    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

Dr. Hjerpe ,

Top notch medical education

Thank you so much for this brilliant podcast! Entertaining, evidence-based, and jam-packed with practical clinical pearls!! I am listening and re-listening to episode after episode

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