Wasted: In search of the medical reasons for addiction

The Canadian psychologist Mike Pond has it all: a picture-perfect family, a buzzing office where he also treats addicts. Here’s what no one noticed at first: Pond himself is a drinker. Until alcohol destroyed everything. The results: a broken family and an office closed for good.

Countless hospital stays, endless detoxes – uncounted attempts to finally get sober. Again and again he’s told: Go to Alcoholics Anonymous. He does – but it doesn’t help him.

After suffering a life-threatening seizure during withdrawal, a breakthrough: He manages to stay sober. He meets filmmaker Maureen Palmer and she puts him in front of the camera. Together, the two set out to discover the scientific reasons behind the addiction. Absolutely worth watching, Pond sees through special footage of how his addiction memory still flares up at the mere sight of alcohol. He learns: he (and probably his whole family) has too few dopamine receptors. So, his brain is constantly on the lookout for something rewarding.

Pond’s journey through the medical world of Canada, England and the USA makes one thing clear: addiction has nothing to do with the “psyche”. It has to do with hardcore medicine and biochemistry. This is excellently shown in this film. Then comes the shock: while the film is still being shot, Pond relapses. His partner also documents this with the camera.

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