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John Femino

John Femino

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), USA

Title: Coupling 12 Steps Program and Fellowship with Molecular Neurobiology: Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water

Biography

John Femino, MD, FASAM, graduated from Brown University School of Medicine and completed residency in internal medicine and post-doctoral fellowships in clinical psychopharmacology and drug and alcohol abuse.He was the recipient of the Career Teacher in Alcohol and Drug Abuse grant at Brown University and was one of the first faculty members at the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, teaching in clinical faculty positions for the last 20 years. He has been on the board of directors of the Rhode Island Council on Alcoholism and has been the substance abuse consultant to major insurance companies in RI.In 1996, he founded Meadows Edge Recovery Center, a state licensed substance abuse treatment program and multidisciplinary medical and mental health group practice in North Kingstown, RI. He is a fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, is board certified in internal medicine and addiction medicine and is certified as an MRO.He served as founding president of RISAM and is currently on the national ASAM Board of Directors as the New England Regional Director.He is currently a member of the Scientific Advisory of Dominion Diagnostics, LLC. RI. And is co-author of Springer Neuroscience Briefs “Molecular Neurobiology of Addiction Recovery: The 12 steps Program & Fellowship” (©2013).

Abstract

The exploration of why 12 steps work for many has eluded the best scientific minds since its beginnings in 1933 as espoused by the “Big Book”. There have been many attempts by biological physicians to provide medical assistance to treat all addictive behaviors. Recently the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has embraced a new definition of addiction to be based on pathological impairment of the brain reward circuitry. A subset of ASAM members known as “Like Minded Docs” are continuing their mission to couple psycho-social-spiritual modalities with evidence based psychopharmacology and genetics to assist in appropriate therapeutics and in-depth neurotransmitter genetic polymorphisms removing guess-work opening up a mirror to the brain of victims of Reward Deficiency Syndrome(RDS). Specifically this keynote address will describe the control mechanisms of addiction by utilizing AA slogans and sayings to illustrate alterations of reward circuitry and frontal lobe dysfunction on distortions of thinking, self- evaluation and choice. Through visual aids and simple to understand metaphors, Dr. Femino will link neuroimaging studies (fmRI, PET, Spec etc.) to illustrate both the genetics and pathophysiology of addiction and recovery. Coupling the neurobiological approach with understanding of the language of 12 step recovery step by step will not only laydown the foundation to be successful in patient recovery but will re-spark all those involved(e.g. clinicians, family , friends etc.). Acceptance of this proposed scientifically sound “coupling” should lead to a better quality of life for the patient during recovery-“redeeming joy” and happiness.

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