Addictions are physical or psychological dependencies that negatively affect a person’s life. All forms of addictions are biochemical. The addictive substances become a necessary ingredient of the body’s chemistry. Withdrawal occurs when the substance is withheld. When someone with addictive behaviour is deprived of the addictive substance, the ensuing withdrawal symptoms often require outside intervention. Withdrawal symptoms are often painful and sometimes unbearable. This pain frequently lures the addict back to the addictive substance or behaviour, beginning the destructive cycle anew.
Outward signs of alcohol and other substance addictions may include: depression, frequent accidents, work absences, tremors, anxiety or lethargy (depending on the substance used), hallucinations, mood swings, nausea, and bingeing.
Addictions occur in many forms, with the most common being addictions to alcohol, cigarettes (nicotine), drugs, and foods (such as binge-eating). Certain behaviours can also be addictive, such as gambling, reckless (daredevil) behaviour, and sex.
Addictions can be caused by allergies, biochemical imbalances, genetics, unresolved trauma and/or mal absorption of nutrients.
Allergies: A strong correlation between addiction and allergies can exist in certain patients. Craving for any substance may suggest a present, allergic condition. An addict’s withdrawal symptoms are almost identical to certain allergic conditions. When an allergenic substance is removed from the diet or environment, symptoms can range from: tremors, cramps, sweating, prostration, vomiting, and hallucinations. Alcohol is the classic substance that fits this description.
Many of the foods from which alcohol is made – particularly grains, corn derivatives, sugars, and yeast – are common allergens. Alcoholics are often addicted to these foods and thus perpetuate their allergies with excessive drinking.
Biochemical Imbalances: Addictions may be a way of restoring natural body chemicals through artificial and destructive means. The body produces its own natural mood enhancers and painkillers, called neurotransmitters. Addicts, or those with the greatest addictive potential, may lack these natural stimulants (catecholamines) and relaxants (endorphins). The addictive brain may send incorrect messages to the body through malfunctioning neurotransmitters.
The brains of those predisposed to alcoholism may not produce enough of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which influences mood and produces feelings of pleasure. Alcohol increases the levels of dopamine in the brain and stimulates other pleasurable neurotransmitters such as serotonin and glutamate. Chronic heavy drinking may hard-wire this chemical reward system into the brain’s structure, building new neural pathways that insistently demand alcohol, to induce the pleasurable feelings.
Serotonin is a calming, painkilling substance that is secreted in response to carbohydrate and sugar consumption. Sugar addiction may be an attempt to replenish serotonin in the system. People who feel depressed, anxious, and tense—the right conditions for substance abuse—may feel satiated and calm after consumption of a snack due to the release of serotonin.
Genetic Causes: Long perceived as a problem of weak willpower, substance abuse is now considered a “disease,” similar in development to diabetes. A genetic predisposition is usually present. Family, environment, society, diet, and other factors can trigger the disposition. Even when stabilized, an addict must closely monitor the addictive substance throughout his or her lifetime.
Unresolved trauma: In most cases what is often thought of as a ‘behavioral’ problem, such as alcohol, food, drug or sex addiction, more often that not involves deep-rooted wounds. The addictive behaviour is the visible sign that shows something is unsettled in an individual’s life. The addiction is the tip of an iceberg, it is what is going on below the surface which needs uncovering and releasing. Identifying the deeper wounds enables an individual to move toward recovery and healing.
Mal absorption of Nutrients: The normal population of micro-organism housed in the gut is severely disturbed in alcoholics and may lead to mal absorption of fats, protein, carbohydrates, folic acid, and vitamin B12. This disruption, together with a more permeable or leaky gut, allows foreign and toxic substances to cross the intestinal wall. As a result, allergies may develop that provoke alcohol and substance cravings, leading to addiction. The process of addiction thru mal absorption of nutrients has three-stages:
- First is the initial trauma to the body caused by these mal absorbed undigested food particles entering the blood stream. The liver becomes overwhelmed and the immune system undergoes stress and confusion. In attempt to protect itself from these undigested toxic invaders, the body drops its blood sugar levels, which then spirals us into food cravings.
- The second stage to this process is adaptation; a phase in which the body starts to crave foods it cannot digest. Such foods — typically dairy, wheat, eggs, chocolate, sugar, or alcohol — must then be consumed in increasing amounts to avoid the pains of withdrawal. A similar adaptation process occurs with other addictive substances, including nicotine and drugs.
- The final stage, degeneration, refers to the serious illnesses that can result from addiction, including: alcoholism, Cohn’s disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Research has shown that good nutrition can help with addictive cravings. Deficiency of nutrients like folic acid and other B-complex vitamins can have a serious and negative impact on recovery. In a study of patients receiving treatment for drug and alcohol addiction success was recorded six months after discharge. In the group who received just the regular treatment, only 33 percent of the patients remained sober, whereas in the group who had nutritional support alongside the regular treatment programme, 81 percent of the patients stayed sober.
Diet matters and is an important cornerstone to a successful recovery. Good nutrition helps an individual to feel better by rebuilding the body after it’s been ravaged by addiction and also helps to lessen the intensity of post-acute withdrawal symptoms.
Here are some things you can do to ensure your nutritional needs are being met:
Plan three balanced meals a day that include a source of protein (fish, poultry and meats), some complex carbohydrates (wholegrains such as oats, brown rice and barley), lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and good quality fats. Where possible use organic produce and meats, as these are free of harmful antibiotics and pesticides.
Wholesome snacking during the day is important to keep blood sugar levels stable – nuts, seeds, fruit and raw vegetables are all good choices.
Add a banana to your daily diet – they contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. They are also rich in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Drink plenty of pure water to hydrate the body and flush out toxins.
Include freshly extracted vegetable and fruit juices to flood the body with nutrients.
To avoid adding further toxins and creating more problems in your body and mind, adhere to the following principles:
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef.
www.grasslandbeef.com The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
- Sugar and caffeine can contribute to mood swings, so both should be reduced during the early stages of recovery.
Megavitamin therapy is commonly cited as one of the most vital tools for replenishing vitamin deficiency, which affects more than 50% of alcoholics. They are almost always deficient in one or more of the B vitamins, particularly thiamin (B1) and B6. Narcotics addicts often suffer from a deficiency of essential minerals, especially magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
Alcohol enhances free-radical formation (molecules that damage the body). Therefore, antioxidants such as selenium, zinc, and vitamins C and E are needed to oppose their effects. Zinc may help the body metabolize and detoxify from alcohol, as does vitamin C. Chromium aids in stabilizing the erratic blood sugar seen in alcoholic hypoglycemia, while choline and folic acid are also commonly cited as important supplements to assist in the body’s recovery from addiction.
Children of alcoholics may have a deficiency of the amino acids GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) and glutamine. Glutamine assists in improving mental alertness and memory and also increases levels of GABA. Both GABA and glutamine help stop alcohol and sugar cravings and aid in the absorption of minerals into the tissues.
Amino acid therapy, consisting of the amino acids DL-phenylalanine (750 mg 3x/day), 5-hydroxtryptophan, or 5 HTP (500 mg, 3x/day), L-glutamine (750 mg/day) and L-tyrosine (500 mg, 3x/day) has also been shown to be extremely valuable in helping to rebalance brain chemistry, thus reducing the biochemical cravings for alcohol, drugs, and/or nicotine.
Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here.
Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for periods of up to four weeks at a time. Vitamin D plays boosts the mood through the stimulation of serotonin (the feel-good brain chemical).
Take an Omega 3 supplement (full of beneficial health boosting properties, omega 3s help to maintain mental balance):
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
Repressed core emotions such as denied anger often lead to depression, anxiety, lethargy, mood swings, and disassociation. Embracing your feelings is the most important aspect of beginning to deal with addictive behaviour. Here are some things you can do to help you release old pain:
Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
. Find out more by clicking here.
Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
Try Neurofeedback therapy – it is a treatment approach for addiction that uses biofeedback and visualization techniques in hopes of reducing negative behaviours. The treatment is used for a wide range of applications, including alcoholism and drug abuse. Neurofeedback therapy involves three separate treatment procedures:
- First, alcoholics and addicts learn how to use biofeedback in association with breathing exercises and relaxation phrases. These techniques help the brain’s alpha waves rise, while also facilitating a theta state of consciousness (a very deep level of relaxed brain wave activity).
- The next phase of the program is visualization. Patients visualize scenarios in which they confront addictive scenarios, but reject the negative behaviours associated with the disease.
- Brain wave training is the third part of the treatment. Using sophisticated biofeedback equipment, the patient is further induced into an alpha state and then into a theta state. When this state is induced, a trained professional helps to explore past memories and embed new images depicting healthy behaviour.
Reiki healing is very powerful and has achieved some astonishing results in getting to the root of addictive behaviour and really healing from within. It gives the sufferer the feeling that they have overcome the problem themselves and has therefore been found to be very empowering. Find a local practitioner here.
Learn to love yourself and stop berating yourself. What you say to yourself is what you are or what you become. Watch mindfulness films such as What the Bleep Do We Know www.whatthebleep.com and You Can Heal Your Life www.youcanhealyourlifemovie.com and start using powerful positive affirmations such as “I take loving care of my body” and “I am ready to change” Say the phrase over and over again until you start to believe them. Never underestimate the power of your mind.
Meditate and allow yourself to be still. This may be really difficult for you at first but stick with it building up your time slowly. Often people create an addiction in order to fill a void, to stop them from thinking and feeling, and to give them something to focus on. Try guided meditations to help you to relax and let go of negative programming.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – meditation, stress
Rich Anderson [email protected] – deep cleansing, subconscious negative programming
Gerri Crossley [email protected] – counselling, anxiety, stress, depression, trauma, abuse.
Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt [email protected] – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – meditation, stress
judith hoad [email protected] – herbalist.
Kath May [email protected] – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika [email protected] – aromatherapy.
Rakesh [email protected] – Ayurvedic Practitioner.
Bach Emotional Eating Support Kit available at www.amazon.com
Rebound Air – mini trampoline www.healthbounce.com
Essential oils – www.amoils.com