Judith Harder thanks Rodrigo for addressing the club this morning

Ardath introduced our guest speaker this morning:  Rodrigo Gomez, a concurrent disorders clinician who works at Stepping Stones Clinic in West Vancouver, and has a private practice as well.  Mr. Gomez earned a degree in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s degree in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in Mexico City.  In 2008 he moved to Canada and worked for 5 years in the Downtown Eastside at a Salvation Army treatment centre for addictions.

Mr. Gomez opened his presentation by a discussion of “what IS addiction?”  He said that different substances attract different personalities/characteristics/cultures.  He pointed out that for some people, substance abuse is part of that individual’s identity and key to their social relationships.  In order to recover, these people need to create entirely new identities.  He emphasized that the substance alone is NOT addictive the use, context and physiological response to the substance ARE.

Mr. Gomez discussed the effects of chemicals on the brain – particularly peptides……emotions such as anger and excitement work the same way in the brain as drugs……so, can a person become addicted to feelings instead of substances?