It can occur through the body’s reactions
to prolonged and very negative stress.
And it can also appear at certain
developmental stages, for instance,
adolescence, and subside in others.”
Using the brain faultlines model, the
AFWI is reframing how Albertans think
about addiction. The shift is crucial to
changing public policy and making real
headway in preventing and treating
“We need to talk about the biological
and genetic causes of addiction and not
make it out to be someone’s destiny or
fate,” Erard says. “This would lead to
not writing off families and even whole
communities because of past histories of
addiction. We especially need to lift the
moral onus from addiction, and recognize
that the roots of addiction can take hold
as a result of early childhood trauma.”
He adds this could also change how
resources are spent for preventing and
For most people living with addictions,
overcoming the problem is incredibly
hard. Not only do they often face a social
stigma, but many addiction treatments
do not address any biological factors or
address the root cause(s) of addiction.
But this is changing, says Cathy Pryce,
the vice president of Addiction and
and addiction reveals:
number of sources, including
when brain architecture is
to become a problem or
become a problem or
Need help with an addiction? Here are a few places to start.
The Addiction Helpline
Alberta Health Services’ toll-free, 24/7 confidential helpline for
Albertans seeking help with and information about alcohol, tobacco,
other drugs and gambling.
A web-based listing of all addiction services and treatment facilities
in the province.
An online listing of the services in the Calgary area for people with
addiction and associated mental health issues.
treatment services in the Edmonton area.
Mental Health at Alberta Health Services.
“The treatment field is evolving to reflect
In order to successfully treat addiction,
the many factors at play must be recog-
nized and become part of long-term
treatment plans. New research about
early brain development and its role
in addiction offers new optimism
in understanding, preventing and
eventually overcoming addictions.
faultlines in the brain also have risks