The pull of drugs and alcohol is strong for an addict, and continued heavy use creates a powerful mental and physical addiction. If you are interested in holistic strategies that may complement your recovery, here are a few that may be worth considering.
Drug and alcohol use ravages the body, and users are typically deficient in many key substances necessary for the body to function optimally. Improving your diet is paramount, but you may also need to supplement, since the high doses necessary for therapeutic purposes are not possible to achieve through diet. Getting these nutrients into your system will increase energy levels, make you feel better overall, and aid in the detoxification process. Examples include zinc, vitamin C, B-vitamins, beta carotene, vitamin E and selenium.
Herbal supplements may offer benefits on several fronts when it comes to treating drug and alcohol addiction. Some are known to directly impact cravings, while others may quell uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal, such as agitation, anxiety and trouble sleeping.
Herbs known to act on the nervous system are good choices due to their ability to produce a sense of calm and sedation; examples include skullcap, peppermint, catnip and chamomile. St. John’s wort is widely used to ease symptoms of mild to moderate depression, which often goes hand in hand with substance abuse.
Herbs used for cleansing the blood and liver may also be helpful in this instance, and include Echinacea, burdock root, red clover, yellow dock, Oregon grape root and poke root. Milk thistle, a popular herb for protecting the liver, may also help heal some of the damage to this vital organ.
Used often by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, kudzu has been known to block cravings for alcohol.
When using herbal remedies, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, they can take a while to effect any changes, so do not give up after not seeing results in a week. You may need to take something for up to two months to see if it is working for you. Secondly, just because something is natural, does not automatically mean it is safe. Herbs can produce changes in the body similar to pharmaceutical medications, meaning just like drugs, using them may be inappropriate if you are taking certain types of medications, or you have certain health conditions. Educate yourself before taking anything.
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of ills, both physical and mental. It is steadily gaining popularity and legitimacy in the West as well-designed studies continue to demonstrate its effectiveness. Research into its effects specifically on addiction has produced some promising results, with many studies showing it to be an effective treatment for at least half of participants. By stimulating specific points on the body, it seems to lessen, or eliminate certain withdrawal symptoms; the type of acupuncture that seems best suited for treating addiction is auriculotherapy, which involves stimulating points on the ears.
Many natural therapies are very promising, and should be part of any treatment strategy. Addiction is a highly complex issue that typically involves a multi-pronged approach consisting of inpatient or outpatient rehab, therapy, and lifestyle modifications. If you are seriously struggling with addiction, you should seek professional help; the internet is a great resource. You can find many articles, for example, that offer top 10 drug rehab centers in a particular area, or for a particular mode of treatment. Don’t try to do it alone. But, know that you can do it.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about all things health and wellness, particularly holistic methods to heal ourselves.