Many people think addiction is a choice that drug users enjoy getting high and can stop at any time. In fact, the choice to use drugs is a choice only early on. Most people don't realize that addiction is a medical problem and stopping the drug is as difficult a task as curing our own asthma or deciding not to have a heart attack. Addiction is a non-discriminating, equal opportunity problem. Addictions span all backgrounds, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic classes. Addiction is not a choice.
The current conventional medical view is that addiction is a brain disorder caused by an imbalance or dysfunction in neurotransmitters. What makes a drug addictive is chemical similarity to our body's own neurotransmitters. The body has more than 130 natural chemicals (neurotransmitters) that enable the body to do what human bodies do: feel and express emotions, digest food, create new cells, think thoughts, enjoy a sunset, reflect on our past, and live our lives. When we take drugs (including alcohol) too often, the body mistakes the drugs for real neurotransmitters. Because it seems already to have enough, the body reduces its production of these chemicals – and when the drug wears off, we crave more to fill the gap. It is a vicious cycle. Soon the drugs become a necessity so we won't go into withdrawal and get sick, because if the body does not have a good supply of neurotransmitters, various body functions break down, and we become ill. Replacing natural body chemicals with artificial ones might be all well and good except that these look-alike neurotransmitters have other actions of their own. Remember what it feels and looks like to be intoxicated? Addictive chemicals may also cloud our judgment, make our thinking fuzzy and our behavior irresponsible, and instigate extreme irritability and violent behavior. They can also create the beginnings of a host of other physical problems such as diabetes, hypertension, pancreatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, dementia, heart disease, increased chance of cancer, nutritional deficiencies, sexual dysfunction, depression, and predisposition to an early death. Some people are more susceptible to addiction than others. As with any illness, a family history of addiction can be a predisposing factor. Addiction can also be fueled by an early age of first exposure and by heavy and frequent use.
The dramatic rise in addiction, anxiety, and depression around the globe is not a parallel occurrence. I have wondered the possibility of correlation between untreated anxiety and depression as the underlying cause of addiction.
Detox and recovery:
When someone seeks treatment from chemical dependence, that person goes through a medically supervised program called detoxification. If you try to stop drug addiction "cold turkey" the body often goes into a kind of shock called withdrawal- which can be life threatening. When the look-alike neurotransmitters stop entering the system, it takes some time for the body to resume its normal functioning. Medical treatment is necessary to safeguard the person from going into severe withdrawal and dying. Even during medically supervised withdrawal, the patient has many difficult and unpleasant physical symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or leg spasms (the source of the phrase "kicking the habit"). It is difficult even to put into words how harsh this physical readjustment can be.
After detox, a life of recovery begins, presenting its own steep challenges not only physically but also mentally, emotionally and socially. The stay at a detox facility is typically short-just three to five days in many places.
During detox, the nightmare of symptoms associated with detox can be minimized and/or avoided with amino acids and other nutrients, along with homeopathy and other natural medicine therapies. Rebalancing the biochemistry makes it possible for the individual to have the mental and physical wherewithal to proceed to addressing the behavioral, emotional, and spiritual aspects of their addiction as well.
How Homeopathy can help:
The natural medicine approach regards addiction as the consequence of physical, energetic, psychological, and/or spiritual imbalances that can be corrected.
As you can see clearly, there are multiple areas in which homeopathy could be a useful tool.
Helping on a deeper level
Since 2006, homeopathic treatment was used to assist clients in their recovery at a residential treatment program in Roxbury, MA to find efficacy of homeopathy. It was clear that homeopathy helped the residents in the first two ways -acute ailments and post acute withdrawal symptoms. For their deeper, predisposing issues, the homeopathic clinic program introduced a chronic case-taking approach. At first once a month, and later twice a month, a client's complete case would be received, and then individualized homeopathic remedies given. The outcomes were amazing. Here is one example to give you insight into homeopathic process.
Story of triumph as Jesse gets help at deeper level through Homeopathy and stops shoplifting
In our homeopathic interviews, we at our clinic gathered the information we needed to choose individualized homeopathic remedy for Jesse. We learned from Jesse that her shoplifting felt similar to taking drugs: her words, facial expressions, and body language in describing it reminded us of someone experiencing drug cravings. She was also intensely irritable and materialistic, and she was competitive about her shoplifting. All of this led us to choose Nux vomica for her-not because we considered Nux vomica a specific remedy for her drug cravings, but because her whole expression of her problems both with drugs and with shoplifting carried the Nux quality of compulsive addiction and competition. One day a couple of weeks after she took her remedy, Jasse burst into the office and hugged us: "I did it! For the first time since I was nine years old I went into a shop and bought something! I did not steal it." She told us how it felt, so different from going into a store with an intense craving to steal and an almost sexual satisfaction when she was successful. Since her target stores had been Neiman Marcus, Barney's of New York, and other stores where the "payoff" was enormous, she had mastered a powerful urge. She said now she felt "like a normal human being-if I need something I pay for it." Jesse had been in three other programs previously, each time using the same detoxification protocol and receiving counseling, and nothing had changed her stealing behavior until now. While this is not a scientific study, the clinical evidence is strong that the homeopathic remedy made the difference.
Bibliography: Natural Help for Addictions: Homeopathy Today, October 2008, NCH publication
The Natural Medicine Guide to Addiction by Stephanie Marohn
The homeopathic clinic at the treatment center is an ongoing project since March 2006. The clinic is now exploring opening a neighborhood clinic to be called “The Sidewalk School and Center for Holistic Healing” to meet the demand for treatment of its clients', friends and family. As of now, all time and materials have been donated, but there is a need for support to continue these programs. Tax-deductible donations can be made payable to The Sidewalk, 47 Orlando Street, Mattapan, MA 02126. For more information, contact Loretta Butehorn at Ibutehorn@earthlink.net or 617-529-2806 or http://www.lorettabutehornphd.com/.
Sujata Owens, CCH, RS Hom(NA), Homeopathic Master Clinician at Vital Force Consulting, Inc. Northfield, MN, NCH member, modified the original article that appeared in “Homeopathy Today”, NCH publication in October 2008. Every effort was made to keep the integrity and essence of the original article. She can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 507 645 4329 or www.vitalforceconsulting.com. She attended the workshop “Strength Based Treatment for Women” in 2007 conducted by Hazelden Women Healing Conferences and presented by Loretta Butehorn. Sujata has been helping clients with dependencies and giving them opportunity to find their own rhythm to recovery by using holistic approach of Homeopathy.
Sujata Owens, RSHom(NA), CCH, HMC
Vital Force Consulting, Inc.
101 5th Street East
Northfield MN 55057
We create a world of vibrant health by using our gifts through the science and art of Homeopathy.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment with Sujata, call 507.645.4329
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