I felt the need to talk on this topic… well because it’s a big topic and it affects not only the people who struggle with addiction; but those connected too the person who struggles with addiction.
When it comes to interacting in this world, NOTHING is ever just about one person, there is and always will be a ripple effect, everyone our lives touch especially those we love, are draw into any addiction phase on some level if not on many levels.
There are many area’s that people can find themselves held hostage:
- Emotional addictions,
- alcohol dependency,
- prescription drugs,
- sugar, foods;
anything that draws us to a point where we don’t feel we can function without IT, whatever IT is for that person.
What might emotional addiction look like? Well… emotions control a lot of what someone either feels passionately about or is crippled by . Yet emotional addiction can also fall in a place where someone gets addicted to being treated in a particular way, they have to have it in their life or they seek to create the atmosphere. I believe sexual addiction blends into the emotional slot, because I believe most are drawn into sexual addiction due to emotional addictions.
- OCD issues, which means control; most of these actually function from some element based in “fear”, fear of being alone, fear of crowds, fear of being away from a particular daily routine, fear of starting anything new, fear of failure that hinders them from ever sticking their toe in the water to embark on anything new, fear of rejection, fear of feeling loved, fear of not being loved. It ends up feeling like a perpetual cycle of one sorts or another.
Addictions really are all around us, and they are terribly difficult for folks to want to acknowledge let alone talk openly about them.
” An addiction really is a dependency that creates any compulsive or habitual need to repeat a particular experience. Some addictions fall into mild up to sever, socially acceptable to unacceptable.” (Steven Horne AGH)
HOW DOES SOCIETY ACTUALLY MAKE ADDICTION A SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE FORM OF LIVING?
There are addictions that fall into the socially acceptable zone, like tobacco & alcohol, and sexual addictions, they seem so common place today most folks don’t waste a second blink when the topic comes up.
Yet it’s socially acceptable for folks to go out to drink to spend time together, and folks laugh about who drank so much they couldn’t remember the evening, or was so sick they called off work the next day. No big thing in society, it’s called socializing!
Those who smoke cigarettes already know that it’s causing some form of damage to their lungs, heart, cardiovascular system. Not so long ago smoking was allowed on prime time programs, and commercials. Certain brands through advertising tried to glamorize the hunky, handsome cowboy smoking their brand. It is wonderful that things are changing where smoking is concerned, and more and more states are making it illegal to smoke in public places to protect everyone, and more and more people are finding the strength to eliminate the habit .
Ok alcohol and tobacco are obvious addictions, what’s another socially acceptable one….
Caffeine Oh man, it’s a biggie, coffee shops popping up all over, and if you think getting a fancy mixed drink can end up being pricey, well, have you gotten any fancy expresso, frappuccino or latte coffee lately $5 dollars and up per cup. Peeps just cannot get their day started without the java, and it’s socially acceptable when someone admits “I can’t even think about conversation UNTIL I’VE HAD AT LEAST MY 2ND CUP OF COFFEE”… means, their brains don’t feel like they can socially connect without it, now toss in the mix caffeinated pop’s, energy drinks and popular energy caffeine shots sold at every single gas station in America. Think we have a caffeine issue in our country?
Move onto the socially acceptable addiction with foods/sugars more than 80% of the people in our country fall into the overweight
DO COMPULSIVE BEHAVIORS CLASSIFY AS ADDICTION?
What about behaviors…. are those really addictions? Well, you decide, we have television programs that showcase folks who need help with hoarding , they suffer from being compulsive about having certain things. Then there is:
- sex, these behaviors again fall into the emotional addiction because much of our behavior is guided by open or buried emotions.
- When we have any behavior that we cannot bring ourselves to stop, even when we know its damaging to ourselves and those in our lives, its an addiction!
Why does it seem like having a issue with an addiction is so easy to fall into and so difficult to pull out of?
It’s the human desire to “feel” good! When people become addicted to certain substances or behaviors certain neurotransmitters are released in their brain & nervous system, like endorphins, dopamine or epinephrine. Most addictive substances either mimic or trigger the release of these chemicals, they elevate moods and do what they are supposed to do, “make us feel good !” Then our body comes to depend on this outside trigger to release these chemicals and the circle of dependency begins.
Our human nature, and its driven need for ritual, love of pleasure, cravings, these are deeply carved, making moderation for many, easier said than done.
Then you have many well-meaning folks who think , ” if it’s not good for you, just have the will-power to say no”! It is critical to understand that to overcome addictions by willpower definitely won’t be everyone’s way to achieve success, the proof is in the relapse numbers. There has been a chemical imbalance that some of these substances are meeting a need for physically. There is a nutritional deficiency in place that needs addressing, and many need assistance addressing repressed emotional triggers.
Support and accountability are key in overcoming any sort of addiction issue. As is nutritional balancing they both need to go together!
Sad truth …when trying to over-come one addiction another is usually substituted to take it’s place, so spending time dealing with all root issues is paramount to success…. many reach for junk foods, sugars, etc. or some replace one behavior addiction with a different one.
NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT KEY PLAYER
Beginning to nutritionally give your body what it’s been lacking, and bringing back a balance of nutrients, then the body has the ability to produce the chemicals that make one feel good by design.
Nutritional changes have to be incorporated for success, you can’t stop alcohol or drug dependency living on processed junk foods and expect positive results for any long term length of time.
Then there are those who are drawn into this emotional addiction circle through someone else’s addiction. We see this frequently when someone has been in a relationship with someone or a family member or friend who is struggling with dependency on alcohol, drugs even behavior addictions.
They can get emotionally addicted to trying to fix others that they have coping mechanisms that can end up being counter productive for themselves and all involved. They are experiencing their own heightened levels of stress and also need good nutritional balance and an emotional support outlet.
I believe that each and every person is touched by this category in one area or another, it’s epidemic in my opinion. Which is why I chose to write about it. Truth is, it’s touched my life since my childhood on multiple planes, I understand the emotional rollercoaster of emotions that can be experienced watching people you love dearly struggle.
There is a depth of healing that takes place both from those who have the addiction to those that fall in the ripples zone.
Lets move onto the alcohol. For all basic purposes alcohol is a refined carbohydrate, which contributes to hypoglycemia.
Over-consumption now well, that over a period of time we know damages:
- nervous system,
- personal relationships,
- It’s a big contributor in traffic accidents even fatalities while driving, which brings with it legal fees that further adds to the stress cycle of not being able to cope.
NATURAL OPTIONS THAT MAY BE HELPFUL
So one can physically ease the craving for alcohol by improving the quality of nutrition that goes into their body.
When poor nutrition is happening; what might that look like? Well replacing the alcohol with lots of sugar which is typically what happens because sugar can also raise dopamine levels in the brain, increased use of caffeine, junk fast food . What happens as a result over time the craving for alcohol creeps back into being, refined sugars raise the blood alcohol levels especially when yeast overgrowth in the body is involved.
So balancing the blood sugar swings will be helpful:
- Chromium GTF (click on the product name if you want to read more about it) can help stabilize blood sugar levels in the blood and reduce alcoholic cravings.
- A good B Complex Vitamin
- evening primrose oil helps reduce the cravings for alcohol. It also is a source of Gamma-linoleic Acid, an important essential fatty acid that helps the immune system and supports the circulatory system.
- Vitamin C ascorbate daily along with large amounts of magnesium that the alcohol robs from the body.
Some find their nerves feel frayed and some get headaches:
An excellent formula to aid the recovering alcoholic
- Kudzu is a vine common to the southern states with the properties of reducing high blood pressure, relieving pain and cramps. Studies have demonstrated it also posses the ability to help control ravings for alcohol.
- St. Johns wort adds the benefits of bringing the nervous system back into balance and helps to dispel negative emotions associated with alcoholism.
One of the more addictive aspects where beer is concerned isn’t just about the alcohol; its the hops used in making the beer. Hops is an herb that contains a sedative substance with a mild addictive effect.
- Hops can be taken to reduce cravings for beer, providing a similar relaxing affect without the negative issues that go with the alcohol.
We have to include and talk about the liver here because this organ ends up working overtime to neutralize alcohol when levels are too high in the blood, its the liver that breaks down after long abuse. We call it Cirrhosis. The liver is one of those organs that can repair itself; all it needs is a break.
- Milk Thistle can be helpful for protecting the liver from the effects of alcohol, and helping the liver to heal. When this organ has suffered sever damage due to alcoholism, Milk Thistle and
- SAM-e along with topical application of
- helichrysum essential oil over the liver area will promote healing.
Let’s move onto the caffeine, I bet this one would fall into the most widely used drug, partially because its not regarded as a one, yet it’s used in lots of over the counter headache meds.
I remember taking a medication as a teen-ager for migraine headaches called Cafergot,caffeine listed as top I gredient which caused me to go into convulsions and required a transport.
Caffeine isn’t regarded by most as dangerous. Our nation is literally on use over load.
Adults use it freely, and kids are drinking it in their pop like Mountain Dew which has a high caffeine ratio. In spite of the numerous jokes folks make about gotta have their caffeine or cannot function, excessive use of it can cause serious damage to the brain and central nervous system.
What happens is with continual habitual use of caffeine reliance, regardless if your fix comes from :
- , Red Bull, or other commercial energy drinks loaded with caffeine and sugar, when you use it for energy and to sustain it, a regular pattern begins to establish.
But let me walk you thru what happens in the body, caffeine stimulates epinephrine production, which speed up the function of your central nervous system. When you rely and habitually use caffeine as your source for revving up your inner engine, it causes :
- adrenal fatigue,
- insomnia and other nervous symptoms.
Since it depletes the adrenals, which causes fatigue, one needs to begin to rely on more caffeine intake to keep from dropping due to exhaustion, or the mid day crash and burn while at work.
We are seeing more and more young people having heart attacks, and being hospitalized due to cardia related symptoms who are drinking lots of energy drinks that are heavy in the caffeine load.
Prolonged caffeine use is linked to:
- EKG changes,
- muscle pains,
- neurological issues,
- vascular headaches. (hint, caffeine dehydrates body tissue and dehydration contributes to lots of these symptoms too).
NATURAL NUTRITIONAL OPTIONS
There are some herbal options that strengthen the adrenals like:
- licorice root,
- Adrenal Support and
- Nervous fatigue formula these can be helpful with helping one thru caffeine withdrawal.
These same herbal products can also prove helpful with sugar addiction which is often like hand in glove to caffeine addiction.
There are healthier pick-me ups that won’t damage the adrenals, cause the headache from hell like caffeine,
- Solstic Energy (just pour one packet in your bottle of water shake and go)
- Target Endurance, these are healthy safe ways to increase energy levels.
- I love, love , love, Liquid Chlorophyll ES added to my water for a natural energy boost. I frequently put in the water bottle I take to the gym.
Lets move to the drugs that cause addiction, there is a list of these that I am not going to go into depth by name or category with in this post because there are so many.
What I want to point out is drug addictions are a compulsive psychological and many times a painful physiological craving.
Withdrawal from drug addiction requires BOTH detoxification and nervous and glandular system support!
Professional assistance should be sought after for help with drug withdrawal, but GOOD nutritional and supplements can be helpful, they are only one piece of the puzzle towards recovery. Emotional, physical, and nutritional aspects have to be dealt with!
Whatever the drug, one thing is certain. It will become a burden on the liver. So, herbs which help to detox the blood and strengthen the liver are probably central to any nutritional program for drug withdrawal.
- Milk Thistle Combination
- , All Cell Detox or
- Enviro-Detox. Although the amounts will vary from person to person based on the advice of your Practitioner. It is important to drink lots of water to help flush the drugs from your system.
Anyone withdrawing from drugs is going to experience mental and emotional stress. so a nervine formula such as :
- Stress Relief, or
- Nervous Fatigue Formula would be helpful during the withdrawal phase.
As with alcohol & tobacco addiction, adrenal support can prove helpful because blood sugar imbalances are often part of addictive behavior.
I also want to briefly tough on the addiction with sugar/foods…
The compulsive urge to eat sugar usually comes from a glandular imbalance. Yep when there are adrenal and pancreatic imbalances what happens is there ends up being a deficiency of protein or a lack of proper protein digestion and metabolism.
Many also lack good fats and trace minerals in the diet. Yeast infections usually play a huge role too. Food addictions in general signify glandular and biochemical imbalances.
Folks are also emotional eaters, people are taught as children that food is a reward system. Get good grades let me bake you some cookies, or something to celebrate lets go get cake or pie, (how do we celebrate birthdays? with what?) why and how did that cycle ever come into being that cake is what needed to be symbolized for celebrating a birthday? No I really didn’t want to research that part.
People compensate using different foods, i.e. snacks, for various emotional highs and lows in their lives. Excessive cravings for sweets or food in general can also come from a fealing of lack of sweetness (joy) in ones life which causes one to seek pleasure thru their foods.
So dealing with addiction in this area definitely requires taking the time to bring the body back into balance, digestive enzymes can be helpful, as would probiotics. Considering a yeast detox thru diet and/or food elimination. Adding Essential fatty acids, higher fiber, lots of water and some good whole food multi-vitamins.
Each person is unique and the beauty of working in the field of Naturopathy, I treat each person as an individual and allow the body to be the messenger, vs. a one-size fits all approach.
I really didn’t want this post to be this windy and stretch out this long, yet when I started writing, there were things that just felt important to place in it. I will write more individually on each of these areas so I can dig in deeper.
If you’d like help with your Nutritional Battle Plan in tackling any of these addictions. You can go to http://www.jodibarnett758.com and click on my services tab.
Any of the products I spoke of in this post can also be found thru the products link there as well.
Thank you all…
Hebrews 11:1 NLT ” Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
With addictions there IS HOPE, have the FAITH to reach for it…
Dr. Jodi Barnett N.D.
Harvested Health LLC.