Alcoholism Recovery: A Holistic ApproachApr 10, 2011 11:15PM ● By Dr. Kevin Kilday
Alcoholism is a very complex problem that is rampant in our society and has numerous issues that need to be addressed. Statistics show that 60% of individuals admitted to traditional treatment programs had been in treatment before and more than half of those repeating were being admitted for the third time. Relapse is expected, common and usually the norm. To increase chances of a successful treatment consider implementing a holistic approach that includes mind, body, and spirit.
Replacing nutritional deficiencies
Dietary supplements, while important for everyone, are especially vital for alcoholics. Alcoholics need to supplement all the known vitamins and minerals. Evidence has shown that some of the diseases associated with alcoholism may be avoided by improving the nutritional health of the body.
Research reveals that many of the substances the brain uses to generate emotions – amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids, and neurotransmitters, are diminished or destroyed by heavy alcohol use therefore there is a high incidence of depression and anxiety in alcoholics as demonstrated by a ten study conducted by John Hopkins University. Research shows that the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin are seriously depleted in alcoholics further demonstrating the evidence of depression and anxiety in alcoholics.
The program outlined below is designed to help recovering alcoholics with nutritional deficiencies in the body and the mind.
Supplements for the body.
1. High potency multivitamin with minerals (a senior 50+ type has more B vitamins than standard. B vitamins are deficient in alcoholics and helps reduce the craving for alcohol. (1-3 X daily with meals)
2. Vitamin C (1,000 mgs), best combined with vitamin E (200 iu’s), will help cleanse alcohol from the body's tissues and relieve withdrawal symptoms. (Each 1-3 X daily with meals)
3. Calcium/Magnesium is depleted from the body with alcohol abuse. Will help with withdrawal symptoms, has a mild sedative effect and will help sleep. Dose: 300/150 mgs. (1-3 X daily with meals)
Supplements for the mind.
1. L-Phenyalanine (amino acid) synthesizes two key neurotransmitters: Dopamine and Norepinephrine. shown to be deficient in alcoholics. Helps with anxiety, depression, and withdrawal symptoms. Dose: 500 mgs. (1-3 capsules daily in equal doses on an empty stomach)
2. 5-HTP (amino acid) a form of tryptophan. The brain converts tryptophan into serotonin which is deficient in alcoholics. Helps with anxiety, depression and insomnia. Dose: 100 mgs. (1-3 X daily)
Besides replacing nutritional deficiencies a recovery treatment plan should include all of the following. Improving the alcoholic’s diet: eat high-quality protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, and avoid sugar and refined flour products, get regular exercise: at least 30 minutes daily (removes toxins and decreases depression and anxiety), get a support system of family, friends and an addictions counselor, and take the above recommended supplements.
Spirituality: A Key Element
One last key element of this holistic (mind, body, spirit) approach to treating alcoholism is the spirituality part. God is mentioned throughout the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 steps of recovery. However, I believe the most important is the 11th step: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. The serenity prayer is of great importance and should be used daily: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Attending their local church with the family strengthens the alcoholic’s spirit, this combined with their body and mind and their chances of long term recovery are the greatest.
Dr. Kevin Kilday, PhD is a certified nutritional counselor. He is a member of the American Holistic Health Association and he is the founder of Life Recovery Center specializing in spiritual and nutritional counseling for addictions, depression and anxiety. Call 321-704-0602 for more information.