Alcohol Abuse (Drug and Alcohol Addiction)
Substance abuse is a dependency-whether psychological, physical, or both-on drugs (including on prescription medications and alcohol). No one knows why some people develop such a dependency while others don't, but evidence indicates that genetics, environment, and individual psychology all have roles to play in the illness.
Drugs and alcohol can cause severe damage to almost every system in the body. Both of them have a toxic effect on the liver, an organ whose functioning is crucial to many bodily systems. Obviously, brain damage is always a concern. Aside from the very real possibility of a fatal overdose-the likelihood of which increases if drugs and alcohol are mixed-abusing drugs can create several life-threatening conditions.
The free radicals in these substances are carcinogenic, and addicts experience a high rate of breast, mouth, esophageal, and liver cancers. Cocaine and heroin can severely damage the heart. Shared needles can lead to AIDS and hepatitis transmission. Drugs can also cause mental disorders, such as anxiety, panic, and depression; kidney failure from excessive urine production (this is especially a problem for alcoholics); stroke and impotence, as a result of a depressed central nervous system; and a host of other disorders that result from a suppressed immune system. Substance abuse is the leading cause of traffic fatalities and plays a significant role in homicides, suicides, spousal and child abuse, and other violent acts.
Effective treatment begins when an addict makes the decision to give up drugs or alcohol. The process, however, rarely ends there. Many people suffer from withdrawal symptoms, which include heart problems, sweats, tremors, dehydration, seizures, and hallucinations. It is often a good idea to have medical supervision during this period. In addition, most serious users will need to address the psychological components of their addiction and may benefit from therapy or from a support group such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. Spiritual support is also strongly advised.
Biochemical imbalances can predispose one to drug dependency. For example, people who are prone to biochemical depression may use alcohol or drugs as a crutch. People with alcoholism often have a blood-sugar imbalance and candidiasis, which increase their alcohol cravings. Other nutrient deficiencies may worsen their susceptibility to becoming addicted.
Complementary therapies for drug dependency and withdrawal focus on balancing the body's systems and addresses underlying emotional, mental, and spiritual disorders. Detoxification using natural therapies improves the person's vitality.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
Prescription for Natural Cures by James F. Balch and Mark Stengler
Super Prescription #1 High-potency multivitamin - LifeSource Product
Take as directed on the container. It supplies a combination of vitamins and minerals that assists detoxification and improves your mood and health.
Super Prescription # 2 Silymarin - Milk Thistle - LifeSource Product
Take 300 mg three times daily of a product standardized to 80 to 85 percent silymarin extract. Milk thistle supports liver detoxification and has been shown to reduce elevated liver enzymes
Super Prescription #3 B-complex - LifeSource Product
Take 50 mg twice daily. Many of the B vitamins are required for detoxification, as well as for mood and energy support.
Super Prescription #4 Chromium Picolinate - LifeSource Product
Take 200 mcg two to three times daily. It reduces sugar (and possible alcohol) cravings.
Super Prescription # 5 L-Glutamine Powder (Pure) - LifeSource Product
Take 1 gram daily on an empty stomach. It improves mood and energy levels. Just mix in flavored water or juice.
Super Prescription #6 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) - LifeSource Product
Take 100 mg three times daily on an empty stomach. It reduces the depression and the anxiety that come on during withdrawal symptoms. Taken before bedtime, it also promotes restful sleep. Note: Do not take this if you are on a pharmaceutical antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication.
If you're trying to determine whether you or someone you know has a problem with drugs, its important to realize that addiction can take many forms and that there is no one pattern of abuse. Usually, an addiction develops over time, as occasional social drinking or drug use progresses into heavy use and then to total dependency, but some people find themselves addicted from their first drink, puff, or hit. Some alcoholics drink only wine, beer, or certain kinds of hard liquor; others will drink anything that contains a trace of alcohol, including mouthwash and perfume. The frequency of use also varies. Some addicts will use small amounts of substances throughout the day (alcoholics may spike coffee, juice, tea, or other beverages with liquor), while others may stay sober for long periods in-between binges. The personalities of people who abuse substances also comprise a wide range, from the stereotypical violent, angry, sloppy addict to one who maintains a composed and polished front. Substance abuse can occur at any age and in either sex. (One general rule does seem to apply: If you require drugs or alcohol not just to release tension but to feel "normal", then you are in a late stage of addiction and need to seek help as soon as possible.)
It's unclear why some people are more prone to addiction than others are. Following are some of the leading possibilities.
- A genetic tendency toward addiction
- Psychological problems, including depression
- Environmental factors, such as the general availability of drugs and social pressure
- Nutritional deficiencies
- A blood-sugar imbalance (alcoholism)
You need to rebuild your damaged body systems. Start by eating well-rounded meals of natural foods. A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and lean animal protein will help you feel balanced and energetic again.
If you haven't been eating much as a result of your addiction, you may find it difficult to sit down to three large meals a day. Instead, plan several smaller snacks. This strategy will also keep your blood-sugar levels even and help you avoid cravings.
Drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours. You'll be surprised at how much better you feel when you're properly hydrated, and you'll be less tempted to fill up on junk food. Water also helps flush the accumulated toxins out of your system.
You may experience some trouble sleeping without the aid of drugs or alcohol. If that's the case, try eating a snack of turkey or chicken on whole-grain crackers before you go to bed. These foods are all good sources of tryptophan, a chemical that activates the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter serotonin.
Foods to Avoid
As you're trying to kick the habit, you may instinctively reach for sugary treats or caffeinated beverages. Avoid this temptation, as caffeine and refined sugar will only increase your cravings for drugs.
Obviously, alcohol use is out of the question, even if you haven't formerly had a problem with alcohol.
Complete abstention from solid food is not recommended if you are going through withdrawal, as balanced nutrition will help curb your cravings. Once you've been sober for a while, however, you should go on supervised detoxification protocols to eliminate all the poisons you've consumed via drugs or alcohol. You can (and should) drink plenty of juices, herbal teas, and broths while detoxifying. It will take at least four months of good eating and monthly fasts to fully detoxify your body.
If you haven't been eating lots of fiber-and few substance abusers do-you may be severely constipated. Following the previously described eating plan will help, but its also important to get the toxic matter out of your bowels.
- DL-phenylalanine helps fight depression and low energy. Take 500 mg three times daily on an empty stomach.
- If you suffer from mild or moderate depression, take Saint-John's-wort (Hypericum perforatum). It will lift your mood and help you face your daily challenges. It will also bolster your weakened immune system. Use 300 mg three times daily of a 0.3 percent hypericin extract. Do not take Saint-John's-wort if you are already on medication for depression or anxiety.
- Super green food supplements, such as spirulina, chlorella, or a blend of greens, promote healthful detoxification. Take as directed on the container.
- If you need some help getting to sleep, drink a cup of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) tea before going to bed.
- Many people who are trying to kick a drug or alcohol habit feel nervous and anxious. Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a gentle yet effective herb to use. Take 3 ml of the tincture form or 500 mg of the capsule version three times daily. Hops (Humulus lupulus), kava (Piper methysticum), oatstraw (Avena sativa), and valerian (Valeriana officinalis) are other good herbal options.
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) extract improves liver and immune system function. It also helps with concentration and focus. Take 800 mg twice daily.
- Calcium and magnesium relax the nervous system; they are especially good if you experience twitches and cramps. Take 500 mg of calcium and 250 mg of magnesium twice daily.
- People with alcoholism may benefit from supplementing niacin. Take 500 mg twice daily of the flush-free version.
- N-acetylcysteine increases levels of glutathione, an important antioxidant. Take 300 mg three times daily.
- Vitamin C is important for detoxification, and it increases glutathione levels. Take 1,000 mg three times daily.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is particularly important for people with alcoholism, to prevent cognitive dysfunction, memory impairment, and visual changes. Take up to 200 mg daily. For severe deficiencies, intravenous or injection forms given by a doctor are required.
- Eleutherococcus/Siberian ginseng works to help the body adapt to mental and physical stress by improving adrenal gland function. Take 600 to 900 mg of a standardized product daily.
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*Disclaimer: None of the above statements have been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. As always, consult your physician before taking any and all supplements. LifeSource Vitamins. Individual results may vary.
Disclaimer: All the information contained throughout this website is based upon the opinion of the founder of LifeSource Vitamins, Bruce Brightman, and the entire team at LifeSource Vitamins whose relentless research and studies have been ongoing on since 1992. Other articles and information are based on the opinions of the authors, who retains the copyright as marked on the article. The information on this site is not intended to replace your health care professional, but to enhance your relationship with them. Doing your own studying and research and taking your health care into your own hands is always best, especially in partnership with your health care professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have any medical conditions, always consult your health care professional before taking supplements based on the information on this site.