Addictions

Addictions are becoming a major issue and whilst one of the key elements to recovery is, ones genuine want to stop and for their lives to change, there are some still some potholes that can interfere with ones recovery and rehab centres for many have not worked. The reason for this may lie in the fact that not enough is done to educate around changing lifestyle habits which lead to addiction. Below I have outlined what I believe are key practical essentials:

I DONT HAVE A PROBLEM?

The person must genuinely believe they have a problem with a particular substance or habit, and must genuinely want to stop. It is impossible to help a person who has an addiction if they do not believe it to be a problem, as they do not see there is a reason to change anything. Loved ones may implement or restrict certain things but it is unlikely that this will have any long term sustainability.

FINDING A SUPPORT PERSON

As there are many lifestyle habits that need to be implemented finding a good support person is a must. This could be a family member or friend, someone who is concerned and can direct things. Many with addictions are normally eating poorly, not sleeping and therefore find it difficult to make appointments and direct change. If there is no family member or friend then finding practitioners to use as support person will be required.  Joining a group such as smart recovery which is free, the one at 175 The Parade Norwood runs every Wednesday 5.30pm till 6.45pm (contact 0412550730). “smart recovery” groups will set the ground for great information and support.

INSOMNIA

Resolving sleep issues should be on the top of the “must do” list, this will alleviate fatigue, help you think and feel better and curb cravings. Doctors can prescribe melatonin a hormone which assists with sleep. Having good sleep hygiene will go a long way, here is a complete list of sleep tips.

DIET

Keeping to a good clean diet of foods which include meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs etc is ideal. Initially the diet just needs to include – eating every 3 to 4 hours, avoiding stimulant drinks like energy drinks and coffee and avoided sugary products. This will support balancing blood glucose regulation in the body which will help mood and energy become more grounded and balanced. Many who are at this stage of addictions rely on processed take out foods all the time, this is where a support person can help, otherwise having cafe meals, pub meals with protein and veg or salad or trying some of the salads that the supermarkets offer. Department store food courts usually offer a roast with salad or salad bars. Support people can fill up the freezer with easy to heat meals.

AMINO ACIDS AND SUPPLEMENTS

Using amino acids for addictions is a brilliant way to support the body’s receptors from the strong cravings of withdrawals. Some great nutrients include – taurine, glutamine, tyrosine, n acetyl cysteine, vitamin B6, multivitamin/mineral formula, lipoic acid, N acetyl carnitine, st marys thistle, SAMe are just a few things that will begin to support energy, control cravings and regulate blood glucose. Supplementation is critical to restore the effects of addiction and are often left out or forgotten in recovery programs, they must be given in the right doses and some nutrients are contraindicated in certain situations. The most important time is the first 3 months of withdrawal.

“Reward deficiency syndrome” has been used to describe people whose brains are under equipped with dopaminergic activity, 30{ad0958e2cc4f7ce1b8a4a11258b282f3c28808b1a53d76a4b670a19fad40adab} of Americans are reported to have this issue, 70{ad0958e2cc4f7ce1b8a4a11258b282f3c28808b1a53d76a4b670a19fad40adab} of alcoholics and 84{ad0958e2cc4f7ce1b8a4a11258b282f3c28808b1a53d76a4b670a19fad40adab} of smokers – this is a biochemical issue!! Low dopamine equals a reduced ability to experience pleasure and addictive substances increases dopamine levels massively.

CONCLUSION

It is commonly understood that addictions are a psychological disorder yet there are many whose addictions begin, and are due to a biochemical issues! Even for those whose addictions start out due to emotional factors, all end up becoming a biochemical problem!! Therapy can be useless if someone is not sleeping or eating properly as there mood and fatigue will interfere with their ability to concentrate and take in what is being said.

SUMMARY OF ACTION

  • find a support person you can trust who is stable and has a real interest in you (find a practitioner if there is no one)
  • join a weekly free group such as “smart recovery”
  • employ a doctor and a naturopath who have some understanding of addictions and who will communicate together to support you, to – eat well, sleep well, move well and check pathology results for deficiencies, supply correct supplementation of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and melatonin.
  • Once the above are under way and energy starts to stabilise and physical cravings are improving employ the services of a psychologist/counsellor who is communicating with your doctor and naturopath,  to assist with the psychological component of addiction.

 

REFERENCES

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