The Pella Youth Coalition hosted Doctor Annette Bosworth to discuss the effects of addiction and trauma on the brain during an interactive program on June 21 and June 22 at Central College.
Tricia Van Zee with the Pella Youth Coalition said the goal of the workshop was to bring awareness to the community about addiction and to educate professionals, families and friends to better understand and empathize with those suffering from addiction.
“We have no affiliations or sponsorships with police, schools, churches, businesses or EMS, but we know there’s a problem,” said Van Zee. “We have hope and a vision to provide our community—students, parents, adults, grandparents—the tools and support that they need to positively impact substance-free attitudes, behaviors and norms. That’s our dream.”
Dr. Bosworth discussed how the brain works and what can affect its day-to-day functions during the first half of the program. Attendees were split into four-person teams, given a question and asked to identify the false statement out of multiple choice answers. Teams were awarded points based on how many guesses it took them to identify the false statement.
Questions primarily focused on how the amount of sleep one gets each night can affect their brain and how well it functions. Dr. Bosworth discussed the importance of slow-wave sleep, Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (proteins found in the brain), and the effects of exercise and weight on brain function. Dr. Bosworth told personal stories and experiences as a medical professional to elaborate on each statement and provide in-depth information.
“When you drink alcohol, you can’t sink into that stage of slow wave sleep,” said Dr. Bosworth. “Slow-wave sleep is the kind of sleep that you repair from … it shuts your body down to a level where your body can heal.”
For the second half of the program, each team functioned as a city council to determine what should be done about an individual who had been in jail for 100 days for alcohol addiction. Dr. Bosworth gave attendees the tools and skills needed to sort through and place arguments about how they should think about the patient.
Dr. Bosworth is a Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based internal medicine physician with 20 years of experience. She is also the author of “Anyway You Can,” which chronicles her mother’s journey to overcome a severe cancer diagnosis without the side effects of chemotherapy.
Dr. Bosworth will be returning for a second program on Aug. 9 and Aug. 10 based on the increased interest and popularity of the first program. More than 100 community members registered and attended the program on June 21.