Addiction Support Group

On July 10, a Sunday afternoon from 2:30 to 4:15, WizChinese’s Palo Alto Chinese Parents’ Club (PACPC) held the third support group meeting of their “Pressure and Emotional Management” series. With twelve attendees, Dr. Rona Hu led a discussion following up on the previous Zoom meeting two weeks ago about addiction.

Dr. Hu kicked off the meeting by recommending a book called Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke. The book discusses the many types of addiction and helps the reader understand the significance of addiction. Dr. Hu also restated that dopamine, the reward hormone, is a major factor behind addiction. She said that although drugs like nicotine and cannabis don’t directly invoke dopamine, the reactions eventually lead to the chemical. Dr. Hu continued on to say that there are two parts of addiction: the stimulation of dopamine and an escape from hardships. She also stated that the risk behind and activity plays a part in addiction, with low risk activities being easier to become addicted to. Another motivation for addiction that Dr. Hu mentioned was social anxiety, which has become more common recently. She also said that anyone is prone to addiction, even successful people. She went on to explain the major signs of addiction which are the prioritization of the activity, loss of sleep due to the activity, and attempts to hide the addiction from others. Dr. Hu also explained that understanding and communication were better than prevention or cutoff from the addiction. She said that teens fear social harm more than physical harm and thus can be peer pressured into addiction. After that, Dr. Hu talked about drug addiction, including addiction to nicotine and marijuana. She mentioned that even though children smoking is frowned upon children can find vapes relatively easily. Dr. Hu said that a good way to show the consequences of addiction is to use visual evidence. For example, instead of saying “smoking will give you cancer,” showing an image of the effects of smoking for a long time will have a much greater impact.