Addiction Isn’t What You Think: An Interview with Author Maia Szalavitz

Unbroken Brain author Maia Szalavitz talks with the Savvy Psychologist about addiction, stigma, recovery, and more.

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD
1-minute read
Episode #107

addiction unbroken brainMaia Szalavitz is an award-winning neuroscience journalist who knows addictions research and policy inside out. But she has also struggled with addiction to cocaine and heroin, a journey that took her from dealing drugs in glamorous nightclubs in the 1980s to jail to rehab to getting kicked out of college. The result of her remarkable story is a one-of-a-kind perspective and a groundbreaking new book: Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction.

Even as millions of people find themselves gripped by addiction, whether to opioids, prescription drugs, alcohol, gambling, porn, or sex, our understanding and treatment of addiction remains stuck in stigmatizing and misleading territory. Even scientists and policy-makers remain confused about what addiction is and is not and, more importantly, what to do about a growing national crisis.

In conversation with Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen, Maia Szalavitz offers a new way of understanding addiction. Building on 25 years of research, Maia and Ellen discuss:

  • Why addiction shouldn’t be thought of as a disease or a moral failing, but rather a learning disorder

  • The surprising number of people who simply “grow out of” addiction

  • Why teens and young adults are particularly vulnerable to addiction

  • Maia’s remarkable personal experience of addiction and recovery

Listen to the full interview with Maia and Ellen in the top right hand player, or on iTunes and Stitcher or Spotify.

To purchase Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction by Maia Szalavitz, visit AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBoundBooksamillion, or Apple.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD

Dr. Ellen Hendriksen was the host of the Savvy Psychologist podcast from 2014 to 2019. She is a clinical psychologist at Boston University's Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CARD). She earned her Ph.D. at UCLA and completed her training at Harvard Medical School. Her scientifically-based, zero-judgment approach is regularly featured in Psychology Today, Scientific American, The Huffington Post, and many other media outlets. Her debut book, HOW TO BE YOURSELF: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety, was published in March 2018.