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on March 26, 2007
This is a long overdue documentary. It's phenomenal in that it covers almost every aspect of addiction there is including the ER perspective and the challenges with health insurance.

As a healthcare professional, I am frequently astounded by the response I receive when I ask patients what they have lost as a result of their addiction. While the responses range from jobs to cars and money, the room often becomes a lot quieter when the responses include children, families and identity. - This documentary hits on those difficult issues and several others which are present today and continue to present challenges for patients, families and healthcare providers. There is a long way to go - this documentary is a nice step forward.
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on March 18, 2007
this is an incredibly powerful documentary that looks at addiction from many different angles. it's about time light has been shed on the subject- light that can burn anyone and then fade out before you know it.

millions of americans struggle with addiction and most of them can't get help. chances are, you're affected by addiction in one way or another (yourself, a friend, a family member..) and this documentary does a fantastic job at helping to remove the stigmas from the disease and show the struggles on the way down as well as up. i think america as a whole should be forced to watch this film- it's unparralled.
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on October 21, 2011
I teach a class on counseling the chemically dependent, and I use this set of videos to break up the monotony of me lecturing. The series speaks to the neurobiology of addiction by showing brain scans and discussing the dopamine system with some frequency. These videos encompass a variety of themes on addiction, including the perspective of addicts, the perspective of a parent of an addict, and the medical properties of addiction. Some of my students complain that the videos let addicts off too easily by not holding them responsible for their addictions. I agree, to an extent, but I think the purpose of this video is to educate people about how addiction perpetuates itself, not place blame. This set of dvds has been a great point of discussion in my class.
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on September 16, 2007
Strengths:
* - This video does a terrific explaining addiction as a brain disease, the best I've ever seen.
* - They did a great job choosing the experts to interview, they are the most respected researchers in the field today.
* - A segment on parity and the efforts of a steamfitters union to self-insure do a great job illustrating how difficult it is to get decent treatment.

Weaknesses:
* - There is no presentation of recovery. I assume this series is intended to reduce stigma. Without presenting recovery, I fear it will increase stigma.
* - It oversells pharmacological treatments. A lay person I say the centerpiece video with said, "so all you need to do is get one of those prescriptions?" They give the impression that the medications are a complete treatment rather than a potentially helpful tool.
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on May 17, 2007
I am a licensed Social Worker who has worked with addictions for 30 years. This information was not exactly new. However, there are many recovery programs & staff who would benefit from adding this information to their treatment programs. The main mesage to me was that in order to successfully treat the "cravings" we need to address the brains chemistry. Although it is not appealing to treat ones drug adiction with another drug ( take methadone for example) the research does merit attention. If there is a medication to help with the cravings then to me it is worth looking into.

So many people look down on people with addictions and think they have no willpower. True many have stayed sober thru 12 step programs but many more need something else they are not already being offerred. People say the addict "failed" the program where I see the program "failed" the addict. One key in this documentary is to get addicts into treatment ASAP vs waiting for them to "hit bottom". I think the brain chemistry information can be a useful component to adapt into treatment. Then if it works we can save thousands of lives.

I don't see this as a one size fits all but as an addition to prevention programs along with counseling and 12 step meetings.
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on May 12, 2007
I've found Addiction to be a quality addition for my library regarding drug and alcohol abuse. [...]
Not only is the main 90-minute movie a valuable asset, but also the 20-minutes mini-movies help to go into further depth and detail including interviews with experts in the field, understanding relapse as a part of recovery, understanding adolescent addicts, searching for treatment and the CRAFT and CBT approaches to addiction treatment.
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on December 9, 2007
I am a chemical dependency counseling student, I found this documentary to be up to date and even told me things that I didn't learn in lecture. There is a chapter called The Science of Relapse and I would suggest anyone watch it; it gives a detailed description of how relapse happens and what can trigger it. I think that it could even help family members struggling with understanding relapse. Very well executed and not a bunch of pshycobabble. My professor recommended it to the class, I'm really glad I listened to him.
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on September 16, 2011
This is a marvelous work! So much of what was presented was new to me. I'm an alcoholic and have been sober for 20 years, but I didn't realize how different opiate addiction was from alcohol addiction. I also never understood why it was easier for me to stop drinking than others. Knowing the physical attributes of the disease was enlightening and humbling. I am thankful to HBO for giving us such a clear look at addiction.
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on April 23, 2014
Both the DVD and the book are extremely good resources.

In a footnote in the book, I found a reference to baclofen use laid developed by Dr. Ameisen which has been a literal life-saver in my family. Unfortunately, baclofen, FDA approved for other uses, is long out of patent (and therefore does not have the potential for large income for pharmaceutical companies) and it is taking a VERY long time for double blind studies to demonstrate the safety of the path Ameisen took to break his addiction to alcohol. It is extremely difficult to get American doctors to prescribe baclofen for alcohol cessation (or other drugs), but there are resources out there if one really searches, and doctors are more likely to consider prescribing it when one has already found the drugs which are approved to have been ineffective for them. There is a French protocol which describes how to use the drug to achieve indifference to substances of abuse.
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on April 9, 2012
The documentary is very informative and a very realistic veiw on the disease. I did not agree with all the methods of treatment that was recommended but its still very close and accurate to the disease today...
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