Understanding the Benefits
of Bio-chemical Repair

You will find on this page information that will help you better understand why nutritional therapy may be necessary to prevent and/or overcome addiction. You will learn that different substances cause different effects on each individual and why stimulants help an ADD or ADHD person feel more normal.

During the eight months that my son was a missing person, I searched extensively for a residential drug treatment program for him in the event he was unable to stop using on his own. At that time I knew nothing about holistic drug rehab or that one rehab was different from another, other than reputation and cost, obviously.

Distressed and full of guilt after learning that my son had committed suicide on the day he left home, I continued to research in order to better understand brain chemistry and its connection to addiction. I eventually found my way to Joan Larson’s web site for Health Recovery Center, read her story and bought both of her books. Now, members of the same Club- the Club no one wants to belong to - (losing a child), we exchanged emails. This was my first introduction to Nutritional Rehab.

For obvious reasons, one of the statistics that jumped out at me was the fact that one out of four of the deaths that took place within the first year of sobriety was from suicide. "Autopsies have shown that a very low brain level of serotonin is one biological marker to suicide." (1) I couldn't believe that Chad had become one of those statistics.

As I learned more, suddenly it all made sense to me. While the addict may not be drinking or using, they are, nonetheless, experiencing depression and feelings of hopelessness caused by a brain that became even more imbalanced from substance abuse.

This is a slippery slope, in deed. The user doesn't want to let their loved ones down, they have cycled repeatedly through shame, guilt and feelings of hopelessness. There is a big hole in their life where drinking used to be. No wonder suicide can suddenly become an option when depression sets in and they feel like they will never be happy again. (See Time Doesn't Heal- statistics regarding abstinent but instable).

You can’t reason with addiction any more than you can reason with diabetes, but every one of us tries. ("You're ruining your life! Why can't you just stop!?") Both diseases are problems of blood and brain chemistry. Upon becoming sober, the recovering addict may feel confident only to feel it slipping away caused by one or all of the challenges that daily chip away at their will power:

  • Depression and other brain chemistry imbalances, exponentially exacerbated by the use of drugs, affecting feelings of well being and sanity ;
  • Feeling like there is a big hole in their lives where drinking or drugs used to be, requiring a complete change in habits;
  • Giving up their (drinking) friends, finding new friends that don’t drink or only upon occasion. This is no easy task.
  • A recovered addict has probably not benefited from behavior modification assistance and probably has no idea how to cope without new skills;
  • If all of the above emotional upset is not difficult enough, there are the physical cravings caused from drugs or alcohol which is stored in body fat and released each time there is an emotional reaction (tag) to a thought, a song, the sight of a familiar bar, the voice of an old user buddy, etc. These cravings may last for years and are oftentimes a daily struggle, always threatening to undermine their will power.

Different people used substances for different reasons. For example, some use it to deaden feelings of loneliness or despair, others may feel more socially outgoing and secure, some relax and de-stress.

I had no idea until recently that each person’s body and brain simulates a substance differently. Alcohol may relax one person while giving another person a surge of energy; likewise with Marijuana. Cocaine, speed, Meth and crack provide a huge adrenaline rush, blowing wide open the dopamine receptors in the pleasure center of the brain. Most people become wired while others can actually feel more calm, more normal.

My son could drink an espresso and fall asleep. This reaction to a stimulant causes the over active mind of an ADD or ADHD person to feel more normal. The ADD brain craves adrenaline or anything that can simulate dopamine. Through hollistic rehab this deficiency can be balanced. My son on crack was ironically functional in many ways while the drug quickly spiraled his life out of control. His reaction to the drug was very deceiving and lulled us into thinking we had time to figure it out. We didn't.

I read the Edge Effect by Dr. Eric Braverman which gave me the following insight into drug addictions: "The most dramatic example of self-medication is the abuse of drugs. Cocaine, for one, provides a short-term burst of energy, mimicking the effect of dopamine." (Note: Dopamine is a deficient neurotransmitter for someone with ADD thus the attraction to Ritalin or any type of amephetamine). "But as the brain becomes accustomed to cocaine's high, it compensates by REDUCING its own dopamine production. This in turn, increases the body's demand for dopamine, which then can only be supplied by increased amounts of cocaine. The result is a vicious cycle in which the addict continually needs higher doses of cocaine, and which ends when the brain totally burns itself out of dopamine." (2)

Pot and quaaludes have a similar relationship to the neurotransmitter, GABA, and Ecstasy simulates Serotonin. "All of these addictive cycles end up as major physical and psychiatric disorders unless the drug abuser can find a way to stop." (2)

Thus, you can see that there is a price to be paid when you use illegal or prescription drugs. This is a band aid approach that not only does not address the underlying cause, but it actually damages the delicate balance of the brain's system for producing it's own neurotransmitters. Once that damage has taken place, is it possible that you will need to continue taking these drugs for a lifetime? I've certainly heard that this is true, for example, with antidepressants as well as Ritalin and Adderal. (Link coming for presciption drug pros and cons for the treatment of ADD and ADHD also for Dr. Amen). You may wish to review archive articles regarding prescription drugs as researched by Dr. Mercola at his web site.

Keep in mind that there are several examples of everyday substances which undermine your brain health and balance with the four neurotransmitters: coffee and sugar provide dopamine highs; nicotine boosts your acetylcholine; carbohydrates medicate GABA lows; and alcohol may enhance serotonin. (2)

(1) www.hrc@healthrecovery.com check for an article called "Taking the Cure" located on this site under related articles

(2) Book: The Edge Effect by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.

Click here for a List of Holistic Rehab Centers