Addiction is a life-threatening condition that affects millions of people around the world. The most addictive substances include heroin, alcohol, cocaine, barbiturates, and nicotine. While some drugs are illegal — heroin and cocaine, for instance — others such as prescriptions, alcohol and nicotine are legal, and some are even socially acceptable.
Drugs and alcohol cause addiction by activating the brain’s system that produces dopamine, which creates a sense of pleasure in the user. Once the use is over, the substance causes harm to the body and mind, often leading to withdrawal symptoms. This leads to continued use, which in turn typically leads to addiction.
Treatment for addiction is not easy because there is no consensus on what exactly constitutes a “cure” or what the best forms of treatment are; it depends on the person and their addiction. If you or someone you love struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, the most important thing to do is consult a doctor. Substance abuse has a severe negative impact on the body and the damage needs to be assessed. A doctor can also suggest different options for addiction treatment programs including:
- Long-term residential treatment
- Short-term residential treatment
- Outpatient treatment programs
- Individualized treatment counselling
- Group counselling
While these treatments may make up the base of your therapy, they are not the only options available. Various alternative treatments can be used as supplemental therapies to improve chances of a complete recovery. While some of these alternatives work by correcting imbalances in the brain, most of them are used as a means for stress relief, since stress is a key trigger for addiction and cravings. In addition, finding alternative coping mechanisms like hiking, reading or volunteering may help recovery survivors manage their stress instead of turning to substance abuse.
Of course, alternative treatments aren’t for everyone. Some are controversial and may go against certain beliefs. In other cases, your doctor may not approve of treatments based on your health. It’s important you talk to your physician about your recovery plan and any therapies you are considering before you begin. Here are some common supplements to addiction treatment:
- Neurofeedback Therapy for Addiction: Neurofeedback therapy involves being connected to an Electroencephalography (EEG) machine in order to monitor and influence your brainwaves for about 30-45 minutes twice a week. The brain is surprisingly flexible — it is able to change and adapt new patterns no matter your age. Using EEG technology, this therapy rewards the brain when it produces specific brainwave activity. Eventually, the brain learns to regulate itself in pursuit of that reward and balances itself.
- Yoga and Meditation for Addiction: Yoga and meditation teach people to be more mindful and in tune with their own bodies. This is important because addiction often allows people to disassociate from their bodies. By working to re-associate, they are less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol as a means of escape. Meditation, which can be done at home in a quiet space, also helps improve the immune system and assists in regulating neurochemicals such as dopamine and cortisol.
- Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) Therapy for Addiction: NAD therapy uses the metabolic enzyme to repair cells in the body and balance levels of proteins, vitamins, and minerals in the body. The patient then feels more energetic, positive, and hopeful. NAD enzymes are depleted through drug and alcohol use and their reintroduction serves to “reboot” the brain. NAD therapy is often used as a way to help an addict get through a detox phase with minimal symptoms, though it can also be used to help prevent cravings and relapse.
Addiction is a serious condition, but as common as addiction is, there is no one way to treat it. While medical help is necessary, there are different types of treatments and therapies available. Much of it takes trial and error before finding the right one for you. And while alternative therapies are not meant to be a substitute for rehabilitation, they can help by teaching coping mechanisms and balancing the brain, giving a recovery survivor a fighting chance of staying sober.
Medical Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this e-mail or any other content from AlcoholFreeSocialLife.com does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. This is for informational and educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your drinking, you must consult with your physician or a qualified medical practitioner.
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