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
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
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; the level
of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when
taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements have shown to help
Prescription for Natural Cures by James F. Balch, M.D. and
Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
Super Prescription #1
- 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
Super Prescription #3
- 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
- LifeSource Product
Take 200 mcg two to three times daily. It reduces sugar
(and possibly 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
- 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
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
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
Foods to Avoid
As you're trying to kick the habit, you may instinctively reach for sugary
treats or caffeinated beverages. Avoid this temptation, like 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
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
Super green food supplements, such as spirulina, chlorella, or a blend
of greens, promote healthful detoxification. Take as directed on the
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), oat straw (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
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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