What inspires a neuroscientist to focus on human connection? Researched-backed facts. She is an innovator in bringing her knowledge of neuroscience discoveries about addiction into action in a safe and connected community setting through the Seek Healing project.
Healing from addiction through human connection
Rachel Wurzman, PhD., is the Director of Science for SeekHealing, a non-profit that focuses on healing from addiction through human connection. The SeekHealing project is about empowering people to heal from trauma in community rather than requiring “addicts” to achieve certain outcomes.
SeekHealing works to prevent drug overdoses by treating both the individual and the community for addiction. We provide free support services to anyone at any stage in the addiction healing process, and we educate the community about healthy social connection.
Brain states in addiction are physiological and behavioral maladaptations to unhealthy social environments and emotional pain. Modern scientific discourse and medical models agree that the spectrum of addictive behaviors and emotional health issues are driven by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. The brain effects of trauma which lead to addiction (and result from it) are such that unless all three factors are addressed, full healing seems almost impossible. Yet in most treatment systems, social disease processes are misunderstood and neglected, often resulting in treatment failure.
At SeekHealing, we believe that behind the opioid overdose epidemic is a much greater loneliness epidemic: an increasing lack of meaningful connection in society, and the trauma that goes hand-in-hand with isolation. In a new approach to the epidemic, SeekHealing teaches people how to build healthy relationships through free trainings, 1-on-1 practice with volunteers, and invitations to a different kind of recovery meeting. We also give anyone who is at risk for a drug overdose free services to help them heal from trauma (counseling, acupuncture, bodywork, etc).
Please check out seekhealing.org for more information or to support this new movement for the importance of social connection in addiction treatment and mental healthcare. This link will take you to a detailed research summary of how social isolation drives addiction behaviors.
More about the speaker:Rachel Wurzman, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist and neuroethicist by training. In addition to her work with the SeekHealing project, Dr. Wurzman has given her advice and insights into neurocognition while serving as a neuroscience and neuroethics advisor to the Pentagon, an intern in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under the Obama administration, and through her involvement with the International Neuroethics Society. Wurzman completed her doctoral and postdoctoral training at Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania, respectively.
TEDx Talk Rachel Wurzman
NPR/TED Radio, a 12 minute listen