Addiction Awareness Day 2018
Monday, 30th April 2018
Postponed due to the snow days, the rescheduled day brought to our boys a series of 20 minutes talks.
Padraig Walsh, a behavioural psychologist from Actualise, provided an introduction into the overall area of addiction by focusing on how habits are formed, their benefits to the self and how to end or replace bad habits.
His colleague Michael Keane, a Neuroscientist and Director of the Actualise Clinic, spoke about the psychology behind the addiction to social media. He covered the three general areas of the brain (the reptilian, the emotional and the logical) and how pervasive the irrational aspect of our brains are on the decisions we make on a daily basis. He followed that with how smart phones trigger the parts of our brains that are primal, which explains why people are dependent on them so much. The 2nd and 3rd years enjoyed the talk very much and remained engaged throughout.
Brian Pennie, lecturer at UCD, shared with the 5th and 4th years the concept of being a compulsive thinker, a condition closely linked to depression and anxiety which led to him becoming a heroin addict, he has now recovered. Then he moved on to the importance of words, images and sounds as symbols for things people fear. Using the example of how the mere mention of the word ‘snake’ can incite significant negative emotions within people. Pennie linked all of that with how those conditions and many others cause people to try and find a safety in falsifying their lives on social media. He ended with why that doesn’t work and explained why and how meditation solves both those issues.
The final speaker, Oisin McConville, a retired GAA player and recovering gambling addict, talked about the particular dangers of gambling. Unlike other addictions, gambling isn’t easily detected by outsiders; it’s extremely accessibility and private. He focused on his personal story of how he started gambling, recounted its development and the intense shame he felt while gambling. McConville described the addiction as a ‘progressive illness’ that didn’t end until he had sustained significant financial losses and had no one to turn to. In closing he outlined the signs of someone who is a gambling addict and stated various ways one can help.
I thank our Student Wellbeing Committee, led by Ben Brown and Shore Oluborode, the Parents’ Committee, Ms McGuire and Ms Drew for an excellent morning.
If you have any concerns about yourself or a fellow student, please inform your Dean or Year Counsellor. Confidentiality is assured.