On June 26, a Sunday afternoon from 2:30 to 3:30, WizChinese’s Palo Alto Chinese Parents’ Club (PACPC) hosted the third Zoom meeting of their “Pressure and Emotional Management” series. Dr. Rona Hu and Dr. Huiqiong (Joan) Deng held a presentation about addiction with 22 attendees.
The meeting started with discussion about personal experiences with addiction, namely with phones, and how to deal with it. Dr. Hu emphasized the importance of understanding the reasons behind addiction. She explained that an area in the brain, the nucleus accumbens, controls the release of dopamine. The two baselines of addiction, as stated by Dr. Hu, are a spike in dopamine and the reliability of said spike. She also mentioned that doctors assess addiction levels in different ways. For children, performance and social interactions at school are used, while an adult’s social life at work and with family is evaluated. Dr. Hu suggested gradually replacing an addicting activity with another activity that isn’t addicting but still rewarding, rather than a non-rewarding activity such as studying. Dr. Deng described two types of addiction: chemical and behavioral. Chemical addiction includes addiction to alcohol, smoking, and other substances that ultimately affect dopamine. Behavioral addiction encompasses addictions such as video games, social media, and shopping. Dr. Deng and Dr. Hu both stressed that family involvement is critical in addiction treatment, and that medications are available for chemical addiction. In addition, although there is no medicine to directly treat behavioral addiction, side effects of the addiction such as depression and anxiety can be treated with meds. In the next support group, strategies regarding combating addiction will be discussed.