SOURCE: Author Dr. Louis Teresi

Author Dr. Louis Teresi

July 25, 2012 16:40 ET

'Hijacking the Brain' and How to Rescue It

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - Jul 25, 2012) - In his new book, "Hijacking the Brain: How Drug and Alcohol Addiction Hijacks our Brains - The Science Behind Twelve-Step Recovery" (, Dr. Louis Teresi examines the physiological reasons for the success of spiritual treatment programs for addicts.

"Nowadays, we know that stress is the fuel that feeds addiction, and that stress and drug and alcohol use cause neurological and physiological changes," Teresi says. "These changes are primarily in the deep brain reward centers, the limbic brain, responsible for decisions, memory and emotion. These centers are 'hijacked' by substances of abuse, so that the addicted wants the booze or drug above anything else."

As a scientist and physician applying the 12-step program to his own life, Teresi studied the changes triggered by this seemingly non-scientific treatment.

"One response is that elements of 12-step programs reduce stress and increase feelings of comfort and reward through chemical changes in the brain and body. These changes allow for neuronogenesis -- the birth of neurons in the brain," Teresi says.

One of the most interesting steps in the program is the 11th, which emphasizes spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation.

"Addiction is a cycle of bad habits," he says. "After years of drinking to celebrate good times, or soothe bad feelings, a person needs a way to step outside of himself to maintain sobriety. Regular prayer or meditation achieves that and becomes that other habitual option for responding to emotions."

Book reviewers, including physicians and substance abuse counselors, praise "Hijacking the Brain" for both its scholarly approach and its ease of reading.

"This book by Dr Teresi also brings great hope in the treatment of addictions and the new freedom found in recovery and 12 step groups," writes Robert L. Newton, NFL veteran, former lead counselor and current consultant to Betty Ford Center. "Highly recommended for all professionals who work in the field of addictions and those seeking help from addiction."

About Dr. Louis Teresi

Louis Teresi earned his medical degree from Harvard, where he completed honors concentration courses in neuroscience. In more than 24 years of practice, Teresi has authored numerous peer-reviewed papers, winning 14 national and international awards for his research, and is a senior member of the American Society of Neuroradiology. He is a grateful recovering alcoholic. 

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