Learning How to Learn

So let’s pull all this together now, and explain why one of the early steps of the Narconon program for alcohol recovery is a study course.

We all know that there is a crisis of education in this country. We have long been told that a large portion of our population of young people suffer from “learning disorders.” So we are told. And we have doctors who claim to know what to do about that. These “solutions” usually involve putting that young person on powerful mind-altering drugs, drugs like Ritalin ( methylphenidate.) Let us take a look at what the US Drug Enforcement Agency has had to say about Ritalin:

“Since 1990, prescriptions for methylphenidate have increased by 500 percent, while prescriptions for amphetamine for the same purpose have increased 400 percent. Now we see a situation in which from seven to ten percent of the nation’s boys are on these drugs at some point as well as a rising percentage of girls. When so many children are involved in the daily use of such a powerful psychoactive drugs, it is important for all of us to understand what is going on and why. The DEA has a responsibility to the nation to control such abusable legal drugs and to insure that their use is confined to legitimate medical need. Certain things have become clear from our deliberations of the last several days, and the public, parents and decision-makers need to hear them.”

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This item was published in 1996! It is now fifteen years later. How much worse is the problem today than it was then? One need only watch television, listen to the radio, surf the web or read a newspaper to know that, as a society, we have become increasingly dependent on prescribed drugs as a solution to our educational crisis.

How is this related to alcoholism? Simply stated, these kids are turned into young addicts by licensed physicians. Yes Ritalin and other so-called “attention deficient hyperactivity disorder” drugs are addicting. They are stimulants related to amphetamines. Once the prescriptions stop or once they develop a tolerance and need more of the drug, what do they do? They seek alternative ways of handling their addictive need. One of the easiest is alcohol. And there we have a new crop of alcoholics or other drug addicts.

OK. So what does this have to do with an ability to study? The “disorders” for which these drugs are prescribed (ADD, ADHD and a host of others) ARE NOT DISORDERS AT ALL!!! If you want a look at how ridiculous this is, just look at the descriptions of ADD and ADHD in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – the “Bible” of psychiatric disorders.) You will recognize these “symptoms” in virtually every child you know and, looking back at your own childhood, in yourself!

These are not actually disorders of any kind. They are either normal behavior or they are the result of other, simpler causes. One is nutrition, things like food allergies that manifest themselves as “ADD” and “ADHD”, too much sugar in the diet (we are STILL inundated with advertising for great breakfast foods like frosted mini-wheats, pop tarts and toaster strudel.) But the problem does not end there. The other (and the actual topic of this part), is problems that our kids have as students, problems which result from the inability to study and to understand what is being studied.

Is there actually a solution for this? Yes, There absolutely IS. The Learning How to Learn course address the skill of “how to study.” How to? It has never been taught before.

When we rehabilitate the alcoholic’s ability to study we have handled a significant cause of his alcoholism. Over the course of years from childhood though adolescence to adulthood, he has had other problems stick to him, and we have to be able to peel off, and solve, these problems before we have the product of a person whose alcohol recovery is complete. So we start, after we have gotten him through withdrawal and detoxification, with the most basic problem of all – an inability to study and learn. This is often the first time many recovering addicts feel comfortable with the subject of learning, books, study. But what else is rehabilitation but a learning process?

Once that is done, we are able to begin handling the next two parts of the Narconon program – the student’s ability to perceive the world around him as it really is, and his ability and willingness to communicate with the other inhabitants of this small planet.

Before we go on with a look at communication and perception, there is one other thing to look at. So we’ll now take a short intermission, and then on to:

Next: Alcohol Recovery Part V – Communication and Perception

Previous: Alcohol Recovery Part IVA – Learning How to Learn