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Exciting Announcement: New CAMH.CA website is launching late April 2018

CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Taking a New Look at Addiction Treatment

Hit Bottom. Go to rehab. Treat. Repeat (if necessary).

That is how many television dramas, films and fiction stories portray addictions treatment. The reality, however, is much more complex and diverse according to Wayne Skinner and Dr. Marilyn Herie, the editors of CAMH's Fundamentals of Addiction, now available.

Wayne Skinner, Deputy Clinical Director in CAMH's Ambulatory Care & Structured Treatment Program and Head of the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario, says there have been many changes in addiction treatment since the first edition of the book was published in 1993 (as Alcohol and Drug Problems). The new title for this fourth edition is intended to reflect advances in the field beyond psychoactive drug use to include behavioural or “process” addictions. 

Julia Greenbaum and Wayne Skinner
Julia Greenbaum, CAMH Education oversaw development of the Fundamentals of Addiction, edited by  Wayne Skinner.
"We now have to consider addiction as involving a range of behaviours that because of their 'appetitive' nature carry the risk to do serious harm to people who engage in them,” Wayne says. A full chapter is devoted to these behaviours, which can include gambling, gaming, Internet use, sex and shopping. 

“In this edition there is a more pervasive presence of harm reduction as an overarching philosophy for addiction treatment," Wayne adds. 

Diana Ballon, who was the book's substantive editor, says other changes to this edition include chapters specifically addressing the following topics:

  • looking at addiction from the client’s perspective
  • treating addictions in correctional settings 
  • changing addiction recovery with technological advances
  • developing diversity and equity competence 
  • screening and assessment

Addictions specialist and author Dr. Gabor Maté has written a provocative foreword, in which he challenges counsellors to consider early childhood experiences and trauma as significant risk factors for addictions rather than just focusing on genetic predisposition. 

"The focus of the book  goes towards not just understanding the diverse neurobiological, psychological and social-societal factors that contribute to addiction, but also how to do something about it in the areas of prevention, treatment and recovery," Wayne explains.

Each chapter concludes with practice tips and print and web resources. Julia Greenbaum, the Education and Knowledge Exchange Co-ordinator who oversaw the book's development, says these additions will make this edition even more useful as a course text and for counsellors. 

More than 100 international authors and reviewers contributed to the book which Michel Perron, CEO of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, calls "a must-read for every clinician, student or treatment provider working on the front lines."
Fundamentals of Addictions can be purchased through CAMH's online store: or by calling 1-800-661-1111 or 416-595-6059 or e-mail:​

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