Exercise 1

A. Look at statements 1-8. Do you think they are true or false?

 You get “a flood of dopamine” when you take or do something you are addicted to.

 The more dopamine there is in your brain, the less effect it has and the more you need of what you are addicted to.

 When people give up an addiction their first reaction is pleasure at their achievement.

 People’s addictions not only make them feel good, they stop them from feeling bad.

 The best way of quitting all addictions is to go cold turkey.

 It is helpful to use aids such as nicotine patches when trying to stop some addictive behavior.

 All addicts need to be treated with a combination of medication and counseling.

 Family support is important to stop addicts from having a relapse.

B. Now listen to the doctor and make the statements T (true) or F (false). Say why the F statements are false.


1   T

2   T

3   F (Their first reaction is anger, depression, unhappiness.)

4   T

5   F (It depends on the addiction.)

6   T

7   F (For some people going cold turkey is the best solution.)

8   T


I = Interviewer, D = Doctor Stork

 Can you begin by explaining exactly what an addiction is?

D   I think we often think of addiction as being something like an illegal drug, but the truth is you can be addicted to a lot of things – caffeinated drinks, fatty, sugary foods, it could be drugs but it could be a whole host of other things. What’s happening in your brain’s pleasure centers, is that whenever you do this thing, it rewards you, you get a flood of dopamine in your brain’s pleasure centers. And over time you start having more and more dopamine. Well, the brain responds to that in an interesting way. All this dopamine in your brain, just like with the radio when it’s turned up too loud, your brain turns down the volume. So if you’ve been drinking too much caffeine, eating too much sugar, your brain actually turns down the volume, so you have to drink even more or eat even more just to get back to your normal state.

I   So what does that mean for someone who’s addicted to something and wants to give it up?

D   Well, have you ever noticed how people, when they quit a substance, or a behavior, they’re angry, they’re depressed, they’re unhappy. The reason is because their brains rely on the “drug” to make them not only feel good, but to stop them from feeling bad. So this is all a matter of reward centers in the brain, and when you become addicted to a behavior you are just trying to get that pleasurable feeling, to not feel so bad any more. And that’s why it’s so difficult to give up because once you’re addicted it’s so hard to stop.

I   If someone wants to give up an addiction, would you recommend that they went cold turkey?

D   Well, it depends on what they’re addicted to, and it also depends on the person. If you’re truly addicted to video games, to the point where you’re not eating or sleeping properly, or you have migraine headaches from intense concentration, or maybe you have a video game addiction coupled with depression; we will give people medicine to change their brain chemistry—to help them decrease their cravings to play video games. They couldn’t go cold turkey without it being a serious risk. But food addiction, you know, if you’re addicted to fatty and sugary foods, you can’t stop eating food, but you can quit that kind of food cold turkey. There’s not going to be any problem in your body from doing that. And for some people stopping smoking cold turkey is the best way to do it, but other people may be dependent on nicotine patches or gum for a while, or some other substitute.

 I see. What other kind of treatment do addicts need?

D   The best treatment options are multi-pronged, so you may need counseling, and sometimes you may need medication, and it’s also vital if you can get support from your family, because these addictive personalities, they tend to push the limits, and they need all the help they can get not to have a relapse, fall back into their bad habits.

I   Doctor Stork, thank you very much.

Exercise 2

A. Listen to five people talking about obsessions. What are they obsessed with or addicted to?

1   _____________

2   _____________

3   _____________

4   _____________

5   _____________

B. Listen again and answer with the number of the speaker.

Who …?

___ A   says that they would be even more obsessed if it weren’t for their family

___ doesn’t really think that they are obsessive

___ wasn’t aware of the damage an obsession could cause

___ D   doesn’t think that the obsession serves any purpose

___ says that the obsession started because of a family member



1   organizing things alphabetically

2   the internet / chatting online

3   cleaning

4   shopping

5   counting things


 A 3   B 1   C 4   D 5   E 2


Speaker 1   What’s the question? Do I have any obsessions? Well, I don’t consider them obsessions, but I do have a habit of organizing myself in ways that other people might consider obsessive. I’ve walked into a friend’s apartment where I was staying for a week or two, and immediately alphabetized their collection of CDs or DVDs of maybe a hundred or so because if I was going to be there, and I needed to find a piece of music, it just means…it was a lot easier to find it when it’s alphabetized.

Speaker 2   Yeah, this started sometime last year. I was surfing the web to discover something about my youngest child’s skin problem, when I found this amazing parenting website. Soon I found I couldn’t go a day without logging on. Um, I started spending all evening “chatting” with my new online friends instead of spending time with my kids and my husband. It never crossed my mind that it could be addictive, but now I feel edgy and tense if I can’t access my computer.

Speaker 3   Well, I do. I have a complete obsession about cleaning, and it’s awful, it’s the bane of my life, it’s absolutely awful. I cannot relax until everything is absolutely, you know, um, clean and neat. I’ve had to let it go a little because my wife’s very laid-back and I just haven’t been allowed to be as obsessed as I have been in the past, and of course having children stops the obsession a little bit because there are toys and stuff everywhere …

Speaker 4   My addiction has gotten me into a lot of trouble, actually. I’ve always loved spending money, and I guess I never realized that it could get out of hand. Coming home with armfuls of clothes gave me an enormous high and I needed to keep on buying more clothes, shoes, and accessories to keep getting it. I would go during my lunch hour, after work, and on weekends, but I couldn’t see that I had a problem until my boyfriend, Miguel, split up with me. On top of that, I’m about $30,000 in debt now.

Speaker 5   There’s a name for this condition, but I can’t remember what it is and I’m not sure what it’s called but I count things. If I come into a room, I’ll count the number of lights on the ceiling. The only thing is, I don’t know how many there really are, because I count things so that they turn out to be in multiples of threes or nines, and I also count panes in windows. I will count panels in doors. But I like them always to get up to a 3 or a 30 or a 90, um, so it’s a pretty useless thing, but it’s just something I just do.

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