An alumnus of the Tufts University School of Medicine, Dr. Alan Fisch currently serves as the Director of Psychiatry at Addiction Medicine Associates in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is a current board member of the Brookline Mental Health Community Council.

For half a century, the Brookline Community Mental Health Center has provided a range of mental health care services to patients in the Boston suburbs. The center, which is especially renowned for its treatment of adolescents who are at high risk, also offers individual, family, and group counseling as well as medication. The center helps to build community, treat emotional disorders, and reduce violence.

The Brookline Community Mental Health Center is committed to supporting immigrant families. It organizes almost two dozen prevention and support groups to the children of newcomers to the United States. The independent 501(c)(3) facility, which employs six psychiatrists and 15 psychologists, is the site of 38,000 annual visits.

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By Dr. Alan Fisch

Psychological Science magazine recently published a report on enhancing one's self-control. The authors, researchers at the University of Georgia, analyzed the results of tests that measured self-control in 51 students.

The first portion of the test involved crossing out all occurrences of the letter E in one page of a statistics textbook in order to lessen their self-control. Subsequently, they were divided into two groups: one that rinsed their mouths with sugar-sweetened lemonade and one that rinsed with Splenda-sweetened lemonade. Finally, they underwent the Stroop test, which requires participants to identify the color of printed words that spell out the names of different colors. 

At the conclusion of the study, the scientists determined that those who used the sugar-sweetened lemonade performed better on the Stroop test than those who received the Splenda-sweetened drink. The researchers interpreted this to mean that gargling sugar water can improve one's self-control due to the introduction of glucose into the system. 

About the Author:

The Director of Psychiatry at Addiction Medicine Associates in Brookline, Massachusetts, Dr. Alan Fisch has treated patients for nearly 50 years. As part of his profession, Dr. Fisch remains abreast of new advancements in the field of mental health.
Technology addiction is a fairly common condition in modern society. Our attachment to smartphones, laptops, and BlackBerries is growing by the day, and resulting in horrific consequences. For example, a 17-year-old in Ohio shot his father and injured his mother after they confiscated his video games. Similarly, a 20-year-old suffered lung blockage and died after playing video games for over 12 hours daily last year.

For accountability, people are increasingly turning to technology executives, who are responsible for making these devices and games. Recently, the co-founder of an online game company that has made millions profiting from its users’ addiction to games, claimed that he helped addict millions to dopamine, a neurochemical that pleasures and addicts. Moreover, he said that people already craved dopamine, a fact that was evident with consumer tastes for pleasurable activities such as good food or ice cream. 

Even as the argument over who is responsible for this form of addiction continues, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) has already taken a step forward towards its treatment by recommending Internet-use disorder as a condition "for further study" for its May 2013 edition. In simple words, the organization has moved Internet addiction a step closer to classification. 

About the author: Alan Fisch is Director of Psychiatry at Addiction Medicine Associates in Brookline, Massachusetts.