Dr. John Rosa and We’re All a Little “Crazy” Podcast

An image for the We're All a Little "Crazy" podcast; a rainbow thumbs up against a green background with "#samehere" on top.

I’m proud to be Chair of the Board of Same Here Global; an incredible nonprofit dedicated to normalizing the conversation around mental health and addiction. This is our podcast which I highly recommend and this week I added my 2 cents. Enjoy and share!

This Episode’s Description, from We’re All a Little “Crazy”:

“Calvin Ridley, drafted by the Falcons in the first round in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Alabama had an incredibly promising start to his career. However in October of 2021 he chose to take a leave of absence from the game he loves, for mental health reasons. Later in 2022, the NFL announced Ridley would be suspended for betting on his team – in a parlay – on a popular phone betting app. The incident came well after his leave of absence for mental health, when he describes the dark space he was in, but that didn’t stop the media and fans from chastising him, claiming he “used mental health” as an excuse to try to wash over his “gambling habits.” This week, over a year later, Ridley published a piece in The Players’ Tribune, to talk about his traumatic past, the therapy he’s been through, and to try to explain why he’d even press the button to bet on his own game & team. The background gave Theo & Eric a chance to talk with addiction expert, Surrogate to the White House, Dr. John Rosa about the brain’s reward system, and why we often cope with emotional pain in maladaptive ways – even when it’s momentary. Theo dove into his own problem gambling to compare his situation to Ridley’s. Darren was in SXSW for this episode but his role as a reporter in the space of sports gambling was referenced often.”

Check out the original documentary I helped produce; “It’s Happening Right Here”

By Dr. John Rosa

An advertisement for RaeLynn's song, "It's Happening Right Here" featuring a photograph of RaeLynn kneeling in a white gown.

Working with DNA Films, Abundance Studios, and Operation Underground Railroad, “It’s Happening Right Here” takes a nice long look into the world of modern day sex trafficking. The reality and horror of this world and the role social media plays in putting our children at risk for abuse deserves awareness. This problem isn’t far away. It’s happening in any room with a device that can access the internet.

Watch the trailer right here:

My work in addiction and mental health brought this project to my attention. As you can imagine, it is common for traffickers to expose their victims to addictive drugs which keeps them in need of the supply. It is also critical to grasp the mental health effects of being trafficked can be permanent and deadly. Please, be aware and let’s bring addiction, mental health, and human trafficking into open discussion. We have to be able to mention it before we can even hope to manage it.

With original music by RaeLynn and from Nick Nanton, the Emmy Award Winning director of “Operation Toussaint”, this documentary digs deeply into the surface of today’s sex trafficking issue.

Emotional Pain Causes The Brain To Play A Major Role In Chronic Pain  

By Dr. John Rosa

Recent research reveals that, “emotional pain activates many of the same limbic brain centers as physical pain. This is especially true… for the most common chronic pain syndromes – back pain, headaches, and fibromyalgia.” https://neurosciencenews.com/opioid-chronic-emotion-pain-17507/

With this in mind, it’s no wonder why it’s easy to remember the “accident” that appears to be the cause of your chronic back pain. What might not be so easy to correlate is your emotional state when you had the “accident.” Were you angry? Did you just have a fight with your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife? Did you just go through a break-up? Did you lose your job?

We simply don’t associate emotional traumas with chronic pain. However, we do believe that “bad things happen in three’s.” So when your girlfriend breaks up with you, then you get into an accident, you don’t think much of it. In fact, you’re on high alert waiting for the next “bad thing” to happen. But, when the back pain begins and persists, you associate it only with the accident, not with the heartbreak.

What if chronic pain is how the brain diverts our attention away from what’s really bothering us? The late Dr. John Sarno (http://johnesarnomd.com/)  wrote several books and treated thousands of patients based on this premise.  And because, as the research reveals, our brain has been activated by the emotional trauma, it remembers the pain and continues to remind us that there was a bigger trauma at play than the accident.

Unfortunately, doctors are more inclined to write a prescription for opioids. What is coming to light now is that many of the patients who use opioid medications long term for the treatment of chronic pain have both physical and social (emotional) pain. But the opioids don’t work long-term. The pain remains and the pills continue to flow. And no one is paying attention to the role the limbic brain is playing. Until now.

It is my great hope that continued recognition of the social/emotional aspects of chronic pain and opioid action can improve our treatment of chronic pain and our use of opioid medications.