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Addictions


Introduction

Alcohol, prescription and recreational drug abuse can lead to severe nutrition depletion. Vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and enzymes are necessary for the body to work effectively and are deficient in alcohol and drug users. Nutrient absorption as well as nutrient utilization may be impaired by drugs and alcohol. Nutrient losses also increase with drug ingestion because drugs can form a complex with the vitamin. Specifically, B vitamins, deficient in most alcohol and drug users, are necessary for metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, or in other words for energy production and usage.

No program is successful against drug abuse without consistent therapy and awareness. People with addictive biochemistries turn towards carbohydrates and sugar in their sobriety, only to form new addictive patterns. Nutritional intervention (online or in person) can make treatment plans more effective and lasting.

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Caffeine Addiction

Caffeine is one of the most widely used stimulant drugs in the world. It is found in coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate and herbs such as cola nuts and yerba mate tea. It is a constituent of prescription medicines like Excedrin, Anacin, Vanquish and Bromo-seltzer. It is an ingredient of almost every appetite suppressant and many soft drinks. More than 50% of Americans drink coffee every day, and almost everybody else gets caffeine in one form or another. Excessive use of caffeine can lead to anxiety, sleeplessness, increased blood sugar levels, rapid heartbeat, exhausted adrenals and increased tolerance to its effects - all signs of addiction.

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Prescription Drug Dependence

One of the most serious addictions today is the widespread dependence on prescription drugs - especially mood altering drugs like tranquilizers, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics. Others, like amphetamines, create an addictive high through a metabolic process similar to the effect of the body's endorphins.

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Signs that Addiction is Occurring

  • The body builds up a tolerance to the drug, so that the user increases the dosage regularly.
  • There is a decreased desire to work, with inattentiveness, mood swings, restlessness, temper tantrums, crying spells, or all of the above.
  • There is unusual susceptibility to illness because the immune system has been weakened by the drug.
  • Withdrawal symptoms of headaches, insomnia, light sensitivity, hot flashes, diarrhea and disorientation occur when the individual stops the drug.

Some tranquilizers and anti-depressants can be replaced with herbal remedies to avoid dependence, but specific prescription information is necessary to make the withdrawal process straightforward and safe. A good holistic doctor or dietitian familiar with herbal supplementation should be consulted (online or in person).

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About Marijuana Use

Marijuana usage affects both mental and physical health, especially in terms of blood sugar balance, muscle coordination, reaction time and emotional deterioration. Work habits suffer from lack of ambition and direction, family life and relationships suffer because of apathy and non-communication.

However, many casual marijuana users are not aware of new research about this drug. Many people are experiencing exaggerated effects, such as acute anxiety, paranoia, incoherent speech, and disorientation and hallucinations lasting up to 12 hours. Marijuana also impairs the reproductive system, especially in terms of reduced male sperm count, both short term and long term memory, and depressed immune response. Marijuana smoke today contains the same health-damaging carcinogens as tobacco smoke, only now in much higher concentrations. Because its smoke is inhaled more deeply and held in the lungs longer than tobacco, it leads to severe lung damage. All the attendant diseases of nicotine smokers are now besetting marijuana smokers - especially chronic bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer.

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Does Your Body Need to Clean Out Drug or Alcohol Toxins?

Americans take almost $20 billion worth of prescription drugs each year. Ten million Americans are officially classified as addicted to alcohol. At a cost to taxpayers of nearly $300 billion dollars a year, some believe that it is the nation's number one health problem. The use of "hard" or "pleasure" drugs in today's society is also prevalent. Still, experts believe that the most serious addictions are those to prescription drugs. More than one million people a year (3 to 5 percent of admissions) end up in hospitals as a result of negative reactions to prescription drugs.

Clearly, modern drugs play lifesaving roles in emergency situations and they can help numerous health problems, especially short term, but most people begin taking drugs to alleviate boredom and fatigue, or to relieve physical or psychological pain. A detoxification program helps enormously to release drugs and alcohol from your system, but withdrawing after long time use can produce harsh effects. Sometimes, the best way is to wean yourself gradually from the addictive substance while you do your addiction cleanse.

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Natural Treatment

Due to the fact that addictions are often the result of biochemical imbalances, the objective in natural treatment of addictions is to rebalance the individual's biochemistry. The use of specific vitamin, mineral and amino acid supplementation is essential when weaning oneself off drugs, caffeine and/or alcohol. In many cases, natural supplementation and dietary adjustment (online or in person) can even take the place of prescription drugs. A varied, nutrient dense diet along with vitamin supplementation can also help repair nutritional deficiencies. Blood sugar optimization, hormonal balance and behavioral modifications are also necessary to prevent a relapse.

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References

Neal R. Caffeine Nation. CBS Breaking News. 2003. Available at: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/11/14/sunday/main529388.shtml. Accessed on October 15, 2009.

Ross J. The Diet Cure. New York: Penguin; 2000.

Page L. Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone Eleventh Edition. Traditional Wisdom, Inc; 2000.

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