Tony Bevacqua is an accomplished educator, corporate coach, social advocate and lecturer. He teaches college psychology courses, leads corporate wellness seminars and has a private practice in Los Angeles coaching people who have a desire to better understand their self-determining nature. He has contributed articles to the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and Addiction Professional Magazine. Tony believes we need to rethink the language being used to describe and label the problematic learned coping behavior someone has from excessive habits and addictive behaviors. He feels the words used to describe someone like “alcoholic” “drug addict” “disease” “powerless” etc., are deficit-based and emotionally charged, and scare people away from help-seeking. He also feels these words get internalized and become habitually reinforced as negative self-talk. Conventional thinking believed medicalizing “addiction” as a disease would remove the shame and stigma of these types of behaviors, but Tony believes they actually contribute towards maintaining them. He also advocates for the responsible and ethical use of pharmaceutical drugs and psychiatric practices.

A person is a human being first, and the behaviors they choose to cope with their life experiences and challenges comes second. These behaviors do not define them. It is not their identity.

People’s lives are self-determining. You can’t control, change or cure anybody. You can only address your own subjective experience in order to change and evolve yourself.

Children are being over-diagnosed and overly prescribed drugs in spite of very little research on their long-term effects and with the knowledge that their brains and personalities are being shaped and formed. Drugs like Ritalin and Adderall are chemically similar to cocaine and methamphetamine. But this over zealous need to label so many children with mental disorders creates new and younger customers for the pharmaceutical companies. These types of drugs should be considered the “gateway drugs.”