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Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
January 8th, 2013
10:30 AM ET

Christopher Kennedy Lawford and cousin Patrick Kennedy on battling and overcoming addiction

Like many Americans, Christopher Kennedy Lawford suffered from addiction for many years. He began abusing alcohol when he was only 12 years old, later turning to hard drugs like cocaine and heroin.

While the bestselling author has been sober for 26 years, Lawford has come to understand how addiction develops and ways to overcome it. The author joins "Starting Point" on Tuesday alongside cousin Patrick Kennedy to discuss his new book, "Recover to Live: Kick Any Habit, Manage Any Addiction."

“We really understand these illnesses are in the brain. People need to know that. I'm about reducing stigma and shame and giving people the opportunity and the empowerment to do something about this illness if they want to,” Lawford explains. He says he interviewed over 150 “neuroscientists, behaviorists, psychologists, (and) treaters” to gain a better perspective on how addiction develops in the brain and how to combat it.

Kennedy, a former Rhode Island congressman, has also grappled with addiction and will be two years sober next month.

“Just like being pre-disposed to cancer or diabetes you also are for depression, anxiety and addiction and many of the genetics overlap so you might have a higher propensity for addiction but also anxiety, depression,” Kennedy explains.

Filed under: Addiction • Author
June 27th, 2012
01:34 PM ET

Amy Winehouse's dad Mitch on his new book about the singer's life, says she was a strong young lady that had a weakness

It's been almost a year since Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27 in her London apartment after weeks of staying sober and trying to get back on the right track. The talented performer died from accidental alcohol poisoning last July.

Amy's father, Mitch Winehouse, decided to write a memoir about his daughter's short and turbulent life. The book, called "Amy, My Daughter" documents his relationship with Amy, her battle with drugs and alcohol, and the roller coaster of her final years

Mitch talks with Soledad on "Starting Point" and shares why he chose to share very blunt, painful memories of his daughter with the world.

In the clip below, Mitch also talks about supporting charities for young people with the Amy Winehouse foundation.

To learn more, visit

Filed under: Addiction • Amy Winehouse
May 25th, 2012
11:05 AM ET

'The Demise of Guys:' Are video games and pornography ruining America's young men?

Where have all the good men gone? Nikita Duncan, psychologist, artist, and recent author, joins Starting Point today to offer her answer to that question: blame male struggles on video games and porn.

Together with Stanford professor emeritus and fellow psychologist Philip Zimbardo, Duncan authored the e-book "The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It," released on Wednesday.

As stated in the book, by age 21, the average guy has immersed himself in approximately 10,000 hours of video games - the equivalent of the amount of time it takes to earn two Bachelors degrees.

Duncan says that the digital era is literally rewiring how the male brain functions and creating a generation with an unprecedented addiction - to arousal.

Unlike drug or alcohol addicts, an arousal addict doesn't merely crave arousal each time, Duncan argues. Instead, he craves novelty: something new, something better, something different.

Duncan stresses that this mindset can be highly damaging to an individual's interactions and relationships.

"If you watch excessive amounts of porn, you're going to find it hard to have real life relationships, because you're developing your sexuality independently of real people," Duncan explains. "You're not going to be stimulated."

May 16th, 2012
11:21 AM ET

Psychology 'bible' to redefine addiction terms – 'Celebrity Rehab' counselor Bob Forrest on what this means for the treatment of millions

From wild "lost weekends" of your college years to even minuscule daily habits such as shopping, sex, video games, or internet use - now, even momentary lifestyle decisions can now get you labeled an alcoholic or an addict.

Recently, psychiatrists and specialists declared revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) that would exponentially widen the definition of a mental addiction and could potentially cost insurers and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

The expanded definition was originally proposed with the intent of diagnosing more untreated illnesses, and psychiatrists claim it will have intense social benefits in the long run. However, under the new wording, some 20 million substance abusers could be newly (and perhaps unnecessarily) diagnosed as addicts.

Bob Forrest, drug counselor on "Celebrity Rehab" and "Sober House," joins us on the show to share his opinion on the change. Forrest is a former Chemical Dependency Program Director at Las Encinas Hospital and a co-founder of Hollywood Recovery Services, launched in 2010.

"One argument is it's going to label a lot of people alcoholic," he says. "On the other hand, an argument is, more people will become more educated at an earlier age about their drinking and what it can lead to."

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Filed under: Addiction • Alcoholic • DSM