How Health Supplements Help in Alcohol and Drug Cessation
Substance abuse is a major problem worldwide. It involves the use of alcohol, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, illegal drugs and other substances to the point where one’s physical and mental health are jeopardized, and job, family and social life are affected. Hundreds of thousands of individuals die annually from the consequences of substance abuse, including cases of overdose, suicide and accidents.
People who abuse alcohol and/or drugs have problems controlling their habits, and are usually preoccupied with taking alcohol or drugs. They continue using these substances, even when they cause problems. They also feel the need to have more, just to get the same effects, a sign of physical dependence. On the other hand, they experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop or rapidly decrease their use. Some people, however, have a problem with drinking too much alcohol or using drugs, even if they are not totally dependent on these. Still the same, they may suffer from its physical, mental and social effects. In addition to these, many individuals who are hooked on drugs and alcohol also smoke, practice unhealthy sexual behaviors and engage in dangerous activities, which could also pose a threat to their health and their safety.
Stopping Drug and Alcohol Abuse
It is often difficult for people who abuse alcohol and drugs to change their habits without medical help and social support. It is therefore important for one to recognize the signs and symptoms of substance abuse in someone who may be a family member, a friend or co-worker in order to be able to initiate help. Many people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs will not admit they have a problem, nor seek help immediately. Another problem drug and alcohol users encounter after they have initiated therapy and detoxification is how to stop their cravings, which often creates problems in the management of their addiction.
The problem of substance abuse is a complex matter, and not one form of treatment can guarantee success. Treatments usually include a combination of:
- Withdrawal therapy or detoxification, which involves medical care in a treatment facility, where withdrawal symptoms can be managed safely.
- Various types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, couples or family counseling, and group therapy.
- Self-help groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Drugs to stop cravings, such as naltrexone, buprenorphine, methadone, and other medications prescribed by a doctor.
- Some experts also recommend alternative forms of treatment such as exercise, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and aromatherapy.
Health Supplements Help Curb Cravings
Many people who have an alcohol or drug problem neglect their nutrition and their over-all health. Some have either lost or gained weight from poor eating habits, while others have developed medical problems, such as liver disease. It is therefore important for them to try eating healthy, balanced meals with nutrient-dense foods. Aside from this, they may also benefit from taking health supplements to support their health and nutrition and to reduce their cravings for unhealthy substances such as alcohol. Some health supplements that may help curb cravings and promote health are:
- B vitamins, which can help replace vitamins lost from the negative effects of alcohol on metabolism in the liver
- Multivitamins and minerals, to support a balanced nutrition
- L-glutamine, an amino acid which has been found to reduce anxiety and cravings from alcohol withdrawal.
- Kudzu extracts from plant roots, which is widely used for reducing alcohol cravings by traditional Chinese practitioners, and has been shown to decrease one’s desire for alcohol.
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a natural herbal supplement that has antioxidant properties and can reduce cravings for cocaine and possibly, alcohol.
- Herbal supplements such as chamomile and valerian root, used for their calming effects, can reduce cravings
- Supplements to reduce inflammation, such as vitamin C and ginseng
- Supplements to support liver function, such as glutathione, milk thistle, evening primrose oil, borage seed oil
To ensure successful alcohol/drug cessation and regain your health, consult a doctor or a therapist who can help you find the best treatment and rehabilitation program.
This information should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your health care providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health.
Alcohol and Drug Problems – Topic Overview.
WebMD. Substance Abuse.
Mayo Clinic. Drug Addiction.
WebMD. Using Drugs to Curb Cravings
Dr Weil. Turning Off Cravings for Alcohol?
MNT. Herbal Supplement, N-Acetylcysteine (NAC), Helps Reduce Cocaine Cravings. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/34933.php