Hello everyone! My name is Dr. Evan Miller. I am the CEO & Founder of Akua Mind & Body (https://www.akuatreatmentprograms.com), an integrative addiction treatment program in Newport Beach, CA. I’m fairly new to the concept of Reddit, but I’ve noticed that there is a community of support here for addiction and recovery, and I’d love to reach out, help, be part of and contribute to the conversation!

My Short Bio: I’ve lectured nationally and internationally on addiction (http://www.addictionpro.com/ncad-conference/2014-speakers). I’ve also made appearances on TV as an expert in the field. I’ve also been interviewed in various print and digital media outlets (http://www.consciousrecoverybyclare.com/sportsandlossevanmiller). I am a registered Addiction Specialist and have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. I have an extensive background in addiction program development, evidence-based treatment initiatives, and athletic performance enhancement. My research areas include addiction, sport psychology, personality structure, and archetypal psychology. I write a blog on Akua Mind & Body’s website and you can find my latest post here (http://www.akuatreatmentprograms.com/aboutus/articles/).

Proof: http://imgur.com/rLey6Tu

I’m only going to be online for an hour, so I will try to answer as many questions as I can. If you want, follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/akuamindbody) or Twitter(https://www.twitter.com/akuamindbody). Ask me anything!

Website: https://www.akuatreatmentprograms.com

Edit: That's it guys! I gotta go. If you have questions, please visit the Akua website or our social and send us a message. Had a great time.

Edit 2: So many more great questions! I'm going to try and answer the rest when I have the time.

Comments: 166 • Responses: 22  • Date: 

CptCoolguy37 karma

I think i am addicted to the internet, how do i over come this i start using the computer in the morning and it's in the blink of an eye it's 1 am in the night/morning? Also I feel like everything i do is auto pilot I just can't control it. I really want to quit but just can't and i don't know how pls help?

akuamindbody37 karma

What you just said and done is incredibly courageous. It is also the first step to healing.
Second, reach out to a licensed therapist who specializes in Internet addiction. They exist! Internet addiction is as real and just as habit forming as any other addiction. It can cause destructive patterns in your life. Asking for help and following through on a plan with your therapist will create an immediate sense of relief and provide solution for what you're struggling with.

truthaboutcs27 karma

What do you think about the movie Predator?

akuamindbody17 karma

I haven't seen it actually.

345879025 karma

What do you think is the biggest misconception about addiction?

akuamindbody77 karma

That drug addicts live in alleyways, under bridges, or only in impoverished areas.
Addiction is right next door impacting every facet of society. Some of the most well-rounded, educated families suffer deeply from addiction. It crosses all socioeconomic divides.

winnie_bago24 karma

My mom was an alcoholic and I avoid alcohol in fear that alcoholism could be genetic and I might have "an addictive personality" that has not been awakened. I don't think I will ever feel the urge to take up drinking but what are your thoughts on this?

akuamindbody53 karma

There is a strong genetic component to alcoholism. However there is a strong genetic component to other various disorders such diabetes, cancer, obesity, etc. The thing to remember is that genetics loads the gun but environment pulls the trigger.
So what I mean by this is who you surround yourself with, what you do for work, where you hang out, how you were raised, and all the other environmental factors are what "awaken" the behavior. Do you feel like the way you're living your life could awaken a drinking problem?

dickielegs19 karma

Hello DR,

I've drank around six standard drinks every night for the past two-three years and binge heavily most weekends.

I want to stop, as I can now see that this isn't normal, despite what Australian culture might have led me to believe.

Do you think I am in danger of experiencing alcohol withdrawal if I go cold turkey? What would you recommend?

Edit: Both my father and grandfather are/were alcoholics. I also have an anxiety condition, so I would definitely say I self-medicate with alcohol. And I'm 23-years-old.

akuamindbody17 karma

Given your history of drinking, my first suggestion is to see a physician. It is quite probable that you will experience withdrawal symptoms. A physician will help assess the severity, and, if needed, prescribe a detoxification regimen.
Alcohol withdrawal can be a dangerous process. So please consult a physician. Not sure what Australian healthcare is like, but in the US, most insurances provide some substance abuse coverage.

dickielegs8 karma

Thank you for your time.

Is weaning myself off something that you would suggest?

akuamindbody18 karma

Agan, let's see a physician.

JasonGD19823 karma

Cam you describe more of the detoxification regiment? What does that include?

akuamindbody7 karma

Take a look at the Akua alcohol detox program here: http://www.akuatreatmentprograms.com/detox-programs/alcohol/. It's different everywhere, but this article describes some withdrawal symptoms.

BlueNoseByChoice19 karma

What is the best way to support someone recovering from addiction?

akuamindbody27 karma

It depends on your relationship. If it is your partner or a spouse, then make sure there are open lines of communications and that you support healing and not the disease. And what I mean by that is that you should be firm with your boundaries and not encourage their addiction. Don't lie for them, or cover up for them. Allow them the dignity to get well on their own while offering encouragement and compassion. It's a fine line.
For family and friends, you should create boundaries or even written contracts that everyone follows which states consequences for relapse. As a parent, try to create a safe place for your child to express themselves honestly and openly. Share some of your past struggles so that they feel the liberation to share their own. The worst thing you can do is make them feel closed off to their demons.

cos9418 karma

Can animals suffer from addiction?

akuamindbody22 karma

That's a really good question. I know they can struggle from dependence because dependence is measured by the existence of withdrawal symptoms.
However, addiction takes on a psychological portrait. Some would say that it's difficult to access the inner world of an animal without the medium of language.

Icantovercomethedark18 karma

I used to drink 2 litres of diet coke/Pepsi Max everyday for many years. Would this be considered an addiction or merely poor self control on my part?

I know it is trivial compared to drug and alcohol addiction but it's something I've always wondered.

akuamindbody10 karma

Do you feel like this is negatively impacting your life?

Icantovercomethedark14 karma

Physically? Yes. Mentally? Maybe.

I was only about 7/8 when I started drinking it and was 15 when I stopped. I was dependant on it 100%. If I got home from school and found none at home I'd go straight to the shop to buy it. I would be hostile towards my parents for not buying and having it ready for me. (Although that might have just been me being a little shit)

I used to suffer from depression and I currently have very bad anxiety if that changes anything.

akuamindbody12 karma

Yeah it sounds like an issue that should be examined by a specialist. Given your history of depression and anxiety, the sugar from those drinks could play a significant role in your behavior.
The fact that you are obviously concerned about this is already suggesting that this is something you should get looked at.

lootbox13 karma

What are your thoughts on food addiction? Should it be treated as seriously as drug addiction?

akuamindbody20 karma

Yes. 100%. Anything that impairs your life to the point where you suffer a pattern of negative consequences should be examined closely.
The question I would ask is what is the food covering up?

lootbox17 karma

This is not a personal problem (I am underweight and probably have the opposite issue). I ask because of the prevailing sentiment, especially on Reddit, that people who are overweight are selfish or lazy -- not usually something you'd hear describing serious drug addicts. I believe that seeing obesity as a symptom of food addiction can really help people understand why the solution is not so black-and-white as "eat less."

akuamindbody16 karma

I like your approach. It's obvious that you feel passionate. I encourage you to speak up, speak louder, and carry the message.

kumadana12 karma

Hey welcome to Reddit! Thanks for doing the AMA. There are so many people dying of heroin overdose. What made you want to get into addiction treatment?

akuamindbody29 karma

First I fell in love with the clients. It was less about their drug use and curing heroin addiction, but more about understanding their minds. There is a very endearing quality to most addicts. And that is that there is a charisma that draws you in and makes you want to be a part of their journey. Whether it's heroin, meth or alcohol, those are secondary to the human who use them.

framed4life11 karma

Is getting addicted to phones a THING? If yes, then how do you suggest a person can overcome it?

Also , is it possible for you to get addicted to a person?

akuamindbody16 karma

Smartphone addiction is real. I think a lot of us struggling with it to some degree given how comprehensive mobile devices are. You can literally do anything on it. I would suggest setting time limits in terms of phone use. But that's easier said than done. This is a tough one for me, too!
As for being addicted to people, absolutely! This is called codependency. There's tons of research around codependency and many great books written on the topic. I would suggest Overcoming Codependency by Pia Mellody. Here's her website: http://www.piamellody.com/

f6fhelldweller9 karma

I have a very weird addiction to pulling out my facial hair. Is that something to worry about?

akuamindbody8 karma

It's not uncommon and it's actually called trichotillomania. You can consult a doctor or psychiatrist to help further diagnose you.

Ender23099 karma

Which form of addiction is most damaging and hardest to overcome, psychological or physical? In my own struggles with addiction I've always found that while both fade over time, there's always a small corner of my mind that wants its blankie.

also, have you taken a look at the role that peer pressure plays in addiction? I'm curious mainly about peer pressure and relapse/failure to quit.

Finally, Sports: How important is confidence to athletic performance? Is confidence something to be "trained?"

Thanks Dr. Miller

akuamindbody10 karma

The physical addiction usually fades quicker than the psychological. The psychological is that blankie that we call upon when life throws us a curveball. At Akua, we have an alumni program in which we try to create an ongoing community for people so that when the psychological triggers kick in, they have support.
Regarding peer pressure, there is significant research that speaks to peer pressure driving at-risk behaviors, including drug and alcohol use. Who you surround yourself with can be a slippery slope downward, or an easy hike upward.
As for sports, confidence is crucial for every athlete. The question becomes how to be confident without trying in the moment. Confidence needs to come naturally and can't be something consciously sought after while playing the game.

allisong1246 karma

What is your opinion on methadone? Also suboxone.

akuamindbody13 karma

Methadone is very, very dangerous. There are far better drugs to help quit the use of heroin. In fact, at Akua, methadone detox is the most difficult detox we do.
Suboxone is a safer alternative and a drug we use to help clients detoxify from heroin. However, I believe it should only be used in short-term settings with a definite ending to the taper.

lurking_digger6 karma

Glad you're here,

Do you ever see addiction as a coping mechanism for manipulative/controlling significant others, bosses, or people the user believes to be in charge of them?


edit: Gotta run. I'll read the answer later. Getting to bed early so I won't be late for work.

akuamindbody2 karma

Yes, quite a bit. Is this for you or someone you know? I'd love to know more about the situation.

TesticleMeElmo4 karma

Is it possible to provide psychiatric help and addiction therapy to a patient at the same time or is it either one or the other? I only ask because I've been self medicating with different drugs to deal with my depression and anxiety and it seems every doctor I talk to only want's to deal the addiction before dealing with the other stuff. Can therapy only work if you're completely clean?

akuamindbody6 karma

Yes, definitely. It's the preferable method. At Akua, the first thing we do is a clinical assessment. And if you are suffering from other psychological issues in addition to addiction, then we will help treat both simultaneously. You can't treat one without the other. Remember, you can always see a different doctor if the one you are currently seeing isn't giving you the support and help you need.
And for that last question about therapy working only if you're completely clean, that isn't necessarily the case. Therapeutic work can be done in any setting. It's just a matter of how effective it will be.

justscottaustin3 karma

Do you require a "higher power," in your efforts? Many addiction recovery plans require "recognizing that you are not in charge."

akuamindbody12 karma

There is a spiritual component to addiction. Carl Jung highlighted this. To heal from drugs and alcohol, I believe that you should develop a spiritual program in which you tend to beliefs beyond yourself. Whatever this may look like. Regardless of religion.

MysteriousBob2 karma

I'm looking to get involved with addiction. Can you recommend any good ones? Preferably one that's fun, cheap, and with little health risk.

akuamindbody29 karma

Picking up trash on the beach is a good one. Go for it. I grew up on the beaches and we need all the help we can get.