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Fight Your Addictions To Food And Alcohol and Nicotine With New Thinking Strategies! sticky icon

New Three Step Model Can Help You Kick Your Addiction!

Out Think Those Urges To Over Eat Or Drink And Start Losing Weight!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

New imaging studies of the brain show the brain gets "excited" by even the sight of the substance of abuse!  And without the drug, whether it is nicotine or cocaine or crystal meth, the brain's own ability to think clearly, solve problems, regulate emotions--is physically not normal.

Addicted brains have a decreased number of dopamine receptors in the brain's "pleasure center."  That means that there just isn't the "wiring" needed to normally feel pleasure from the things one enjoys...unless those dopamine receptors are excited by the substance of abuse: alcohol or crystal methamphetamine or cocaine or excessive amounts of food.

A great article detailing, for example, the addictive properties of high amounts of sugar, are at this article link, click Sugar Addiction Is Real

The use of the drug of addiction causes changes in how the brain physcially works, so a person can feel pleasure normally again..but they are hooked on the drug to make that happen!

The articles reviewed below have actual pictures of these dopamine receptors "in action" creating this sinister situation in the brain.

The bottom line is this: a person may be predisposed to getting addicted.  Then they get addicted by the thoughts and actions they take, triggering changes in their brain chemistry by using these drugs and thinking about the drugs in a distorted way.

A person's thoughts and actions then trigger changes in the working parts of nerves.  Receptors, which are dedicated to catching certain chemicals and then sending messages down the nerve, change in response to what a person is thinking a doing.

The dopamine type two receptors actually decrease in number in the brain's pleasure centers.

But just the same, the brain can be changed back to normal, not craving the substance of abuse and lacking rational thinking about it.  This change can happen by a coordinated treatment plan involving treatment of underlying issues, such as depression and anxiety, and new thinking and new actions based on a healthy lifestyle and healthy thinking.

The new thinking model I outline below is based on these imaging studies, and I am seeing it really work to help people stay on track with their plan to kick their addiction.  It accounts for the fact that parts of the brain can still be craving the drug while a person is trying to redirect it to like the new healthy lifestyle the person is trying to achieve.

The area of the brain that we use to think things through, which is the front part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, actually isn't working normally, after people quit using a drug of addiction.  That front part of the brain, so critical to our ability to "steer" out lives, think things through clearly, slows down.

Our ability to control our behavior is impaired from the inside of our brain, by drugs of addiction.  How sinister!

Likewise, our ability to experience pleasure is twisted by addictive drugs, such as nicotine.  The pleasure centers of the brain are not functioning normally without the drug of addiction, unless the drug of addiction is used!  Of course these drugs can lead to death, such as from lung cancer from smoking cigarettes, so this is a sinister example of how the brain can learn to be "sick" or want things that are bad for it.  What Dr. Stephen Stahl calls "diabolical learning,"

Adding to this, the very area of the brain where we experience depression is altered.  This is the anterior cingulate cortex.  It's activity is altered by drugs of addiction, so addicts can only feel "good" when they are using a drug, whether it is nicotine, cocaine, methamphetamine.  This is also the area where we understand what we need, or what is good for us, where we feel our self awareness of our needs.

A review of these amazing brain imaging studies with color photos of the brain imaging itself, is available at this article by Volkow and associates in the Journal of Clinical Investigation: click it and be amazed!


Volkow and others reviewed how similar neurons are similarly "out of control" in obesity and drug addiction in this fascinating article, complete with brain imaging with people with obesity:

Click it and be informed!  Information is power!  An informed person is an empowered person...


A simple three step model provides a start at counteracting this wicked tendency of the brain to learn to like what is not good for it.  It is wickedly powerful!  Here is a blog site from someone who learned about this model from reading articles on this web site, and is using this new approach!  See new thinking in action!  Click this link and see for yourself!

 A similar article reviewing altered dopamine receptors in alcoholism is at this link:

Volkow's article said new approaches are needed to counteract this addictive behavior of the brain, new medicines and new counseling or cognitive approaches.

Patient's have found this simple three step model above  to provide great help to them, as they fight their addictions to food, nicotine, alcohol, pornography, and cocaine.  It doesn't of course provide a "Miracle cure" nothing does, but it does provide a model to explain their experience of the addiction, and the loss of control of how they feel and think, and it provides a way to "win at the mindgame" which is at the heart of winning over your addiction.

Whether it be to food or nicotine or alcohol or crystal meth. 

I'll write more on this in the near future...

In the healthy brain, the thinking and actions and feelings revolve around what is good for the self or the person, and a person naturally likes what is good for them, the feelings are sympathetic to what a person likes.  The thinking likes to track consequences and focus on keeping a person safe.

In the addicted brain, the thinking and feeling and actions revolve around what is good for the addiction.  The feelings don't automatically "care" about what is good for the person and their hopes and dreams and goals and emotions.  The feelings automatically are focused on what will work to use more of the substances.  Likewise the thinking is more automatically reacting (with denial, minimizing consequences, pretending it is too hard to look at consequences, etc) in ways that reinforce the substance abuse.  The actions likewise focus on what works for the addiction.  All these mental processes are a product of a network of neurons that have changed to depend on a substance of abuse.

A network of neurons has in effect "hijacked" the brain and twisted the feelings and thinking around to work for the addiction.

The metaphor for this addicted brain's mental processes would be the same as the above, but with "what is good for the addiction" put in place of the "Self", in the middle of the triangle.

This has proven a powerful tool as people try to wrestle with their cravings for the things that are not good for them: whether it is too much food, sweets, carbohydrates, alchohol, crystal methamphetamine or cocaine.

Harris Jensen tells the story about seasonal depression treatment... sticky icon

Light Therapy Brings Back That Spring In Your Step!  Lamps At The Light Center In Fort Collins Provide The Required Full Spectrum Light

Teton Sunset
by Harris Jensen, MD
Psychiatrist, Fort Collins, Colorado
Key Words: Harris Jensen, seasonal depression, light therapy, full spectrum light therapy.

We’ve fallen in love with lots of sun in Colorado.  More than 300 sunny days a year see us flocking to the mountains to ski or hike or what have you...and we get a little grumpy when we lose some of that light in the fall and winter as the sun sails lower in the sky.
At least one in ten of us feel that way, anyway.
Experts call it seasonal affective disorder or syndrome, but really we just miss our bath of summer sun, all 10,000 lux (or units) of full spectrum light warming our skin and our emotional brain.  
The winter blues start with low energy.  You miss that spring in your step.  You find yourself sleeping more, maybe nine hours instead of eight, and still you feel tired on your to class or work...and getting through your day.  It’s harder to focus, more of an effort to stay what you know you enjoy.
Your “get up and go just got up and left”, thanks to not enough sun.  There’s too much of the sleep hormone melatonin in your head, according to one theory.  
About 10,000 units, or lux, of light, is needed to reduce the release of the melatonin from the pineal gland deep in your brain.  The sun’s light hits the back of your eye and creates an electric signal in the 12 layers of cells in the retina, that rockets at 100 feet per second down specialized highways of nerves called the retinohypothalamic tract and suprachiasmatic nucleus, before it reaches the pineal gland.  Full spectrum lamps, available at The Light Center in Fort Collins, CO, provide just this kind of light, reversing this "seasonal depression."
But come fall, it “ain’t happening” with full spectrum light from the sun.  The earth is tilted away from the sun and much less that 10,000 units of light hit the earth, perhaps 8,000 lux or 6,000 lux make it through a much deeper path through the earth’s atmosphere at northern latitudes, filtering out some wavelengths of light.

Good News For Learning Meditation! sticky icon

Journal Releases Free Meditation Audio File!!!

Yours for the downloading at the bottom of this article...

just click on the blue "attachments" link below!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

The audio files below review an introduction to meditation or mindfulness training.  With a little humor involved in the process!

Our lives can be so stressful, but nothing beats quieting our busy brains down, so they simply accept each moment as it comes to it.

We often "resist" each moment as it comes to us.

We may do that by thinking too much, feeling too much, worrying about the past, worrying about the future, planning, dwelling on how things are not how you like them.

Hey, we are good at fighting the present moment!

But that is where we live.

We have no other time to live in, but now.

New Brain Science Book Published By Fort Collins, Colorado Psychiatrist!

"Trillions" is published, as promised!

New book outlines ways to boost brain power

Depression, anxiety, attention issues get better with and without medication, doctor says

The secret is knowing the techniques that work and how to do them effectively

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

Stable relationships and routines help stabilize mood, doctors say

Love Is As Good As A New Drug!  It’s Now Part Of The Guidelines For
Treatment of Bipolar Disorder...
Therapy That Boosts Relationships And Social “Rhythms”

Prevents Mood Swings In Bipolar Disorder...

Key Words: Bipolar Affective Disorder, Bipolar Treatment, Social Rhythms, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Social Rhythm Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Quality Of Life, Preventing Mood Swings

by Harris Jensen, MD
Editor, Good Day Journal

“Love is all we need...” or so goes a popular song from the 1970’s, but when it comes to dealing with the pain and suffering of bipolar affective disorder, songs like that seem like just so much superficial “hype.”

On the other hand, based on the hard science of new, well controlled studies, counseling that strengthens relationships and daily routines not only works, doctors are now asked to use it in their treatment of bipolar affective disorder. 
This is now clearly spelled out in the practice guidelines for how psychiatrists are to treat bipolar disorder. 

See the link: Bipolar Treatment Guidelines or the link: APA Practice Guidelines For Bipolar Affective Disorder,
You can also Google “bipolar treatment guidelines.”

Stable routines and stable relationships clearly help control the unstable mood swings of bipolar affective disorder.  A review of interpersonal social rhythm therapy is at this link: rhythm.
Here’s why psychiatrists are now changing the way they do business in treating bipolar disorder.
In a groundbreaking research discovery, a team of researcher from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburge, PA, has found that love matters.  And so does healthy daily social routines.  Things we take for granted. 
But when a person’s brain is suffering, it needs proper care, and that involves feeling close to those who care for you, thinking reasonably, and staying active in the usual daily getting up at a usual time in the morning, socializing, eating three meals per day at usual times, and getting to sleep at a usual time.
The brain, it seems, is a creature of habit.
So, getting back into those habits is helpful.

Good News For People With Bipolar!

New Rating Scale Zeroes In On Details Of Mood Swings

Incorporates New Scientific Findings, Empowers Medical Care For Bipolar Disorder

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

Rating scales are a basic part of a patient communicating with a doctor about his or her mood.

But rating scales currently used are about 10 or more years old.  The Young Mania Rating Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory and the Mood Disorder Questionaire have been used in hundreds of scientific studies, and probably have helped save hundreds or thousands of lives.

Looking Into The Treasure Of Our Mind

New Scientific Discoveries Show How Our Brain Makes Our Mind

New Article Comes In Audio!

PDF Version Features Sexy Graphics!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

Key Words: Science Of Mind, Mindfulness, Mental Health, Stress Managment

Our mind is the greatest miracle of all the miracles in nature.  Born from a single cell, which then took in energy to build a body, it created part of the body to KNOW.  To learn from experience.

We only have 10 billion neurons in our brain, firing 1,000 times per second using 200 chemicals and countless electric wave forms rippling down their surfaces...amazing!

On an electical chart of the brain, electrodes will show the neurons firing together, in synchrony, like birds in a flock turning quickly, this way and that, in unison!

The miracles seem to go on and on, the more scientists learn about our brain.

For a review of these wonders, please click the blue "attachments" link below, and select the pdf article or the audio article with me reading it.  The pdf file may not be able to be downloaded to your desktop and you may need to open it directly with adobe reader. 

Yes, the Good Day Journal has articles that read themselves to you! 

Hey that's creative!

If your don't have time to read an article, then download it and listen to it later on your ipod or computer...or what have you!

"Audio 1 For Treasure 2008.m4a" is the audio article.  Then if you just need to relax, download "Audio 2 For Treasure 2008 Article.m4a." It is not the article, but some sweet  relaxing sounds from a stream in the Rocky Mountains, complete with sounds of a crackling campfire and singing birds. You will need Quicktime Player perhaps to play the audio files and adobe reader to read the pdf files. Enjoy!  Relax in the peace of nature!


Harris Jensen, MD

A Review Of Common Defense Mechanisms

Glossary of Specific Defense Mechanisms and Coping Styles

Diagramming Thoughts Worksheet

Diagramming Thoughts Worksheet


Jensen Monthly Overeating Symptom Chart

Dear Reader, please click on the blue "attachments" link below and then click the pdf file or word file below for the Jensen Monthly Overeating Symptom chart (JMOSC).  The word document can be modified for a "custom fit" for what you want to track!

A Testimonial For The Overeating Symptom Chart

This chart is valuable to look at your eating habits, as it were, "under a microscope," of your clear and careful thinking.  Here you can gain more insight by simply looking more closely at how you eat.  You can then see more clearly the co