Addictions

Natural treatments for psychological and physical addictions like drugs, alcohol, sex and gambling.

    Addictions

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    1. What is Addiction?
    2. What Causes Addiction?
    3. Help for Addictions
    4. More Information on Addictions

    What is Addiction?

    Addiction is defined as a state in which the body relies on a substance or activity for normal functioning and develops a physical dependence on that substance or a psychological dependence on that activity. It is generally accepted that addiction is a state of disease, however not all doctors agree on the exact nature of the addiction or dependency. Certain mood disorders and anxiety orders can also overlap into addiction.

    When the substance or activity that the individual is dependent upon is removed or stopped it causes a withdrawal, resulting in both physical and/or psychological symptoms. The individual uses an addictive substance or activity as a way to induce pleasure initially, but with continued use the goal becomes relieving the anxiety caused by the absence of a given addictive substance. This sets up the cycle of compulsive behavior.

    Types of addictions

    Common addictions include:

    Substance addictions:

    Activity addictions:

    • Gambling
    • Computer addiction
    • Shopping addiction
    • Sex addiction
    • Exercise
    • Self-harm
    • Work addiction
    • Stealing

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    What Causes Addiction?

    Addiction may be caused by many factors – such as the speed at which a person becomes addicted, and this can be due to an individual’s genetic and psychological make up. Psychological dependency is a dependency of the mind, and leads to psychological withdrawal symptoms (such as food cravings, irritability and mood swings, insomnia, depression, anorexia, shaking). While in the grip of an addiction, a person may show signs of low self-esteem, anxiety, verbal hostility, anger, poor personal constructs, fear of crowds or social phobia, undesirable or inappropriate behavior. The reward of pleasure or comfort when an ‘addict’ gets his or her ‘fix’ sets up a pattern in the brain where ultimately the brain cannot send ‘stop’ signals effectively.

    The nervous system in a healthy individual strives to remain balanced – yet during substance abuse or the constant seeking of the ‘thrill’ of an addiction, the nervous system elevates the levels of dopamine (a feel good chemical in the brain) that then lessens the number of dopamine receptors in the brain.

    This means the brain is less able to respond to chemical signaling and the brain’s reward pathways are dulled. This inability to feel pleasure is often observed with addicts – which causes the individual to push the limits – more alcohol, more drugs – a higher bungee jump – to get the same levels of dopamine, and the same ‘high’.

    As the withdrawal symptoms of a substance addiction can be very dangerous, even fatal, it is always advised to seek proper counseling and support from a medical professional. It is not advised that cessation of a serious substance addiction be attempted on one’s own.

    Help for Addictions

    Drug detox is a very difficult process – one that very few people are able to do successfully. An addiction is usually a life-long battle – but a battle that can be fought effectively with the right tools.

    Natural Remedies

    For centuries, traditional healers have held the key to supporting the brain and the nervous system in times of crisis. Herbal ingredients have been investigated in clinical trials and have been shown to help support the process of breaking an addiction and supporting the body during the withdrawal process.

    Avena sativa has been shown in studies to support the soothing of the nervous system, possibly by balancing levels of brain chemicals. Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) is a natural remedy shown in clinical trials to be effective in supporting the health of the brain and maintaining serotonin levels within healthy limits to support balanced mood and feelings of well-being. Best of all, natural herbal and homeopathic remedies from a reliable source, have no side effects – meaning they are non addictive.

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    More Information on Addictions

    Tips related to addiction

    Support is key: Quitting an addiction is hard enough – so try to have as many positive people in your life to support your decision. Tell ALL the people you know that you are dedicated to quitting, and ask for their support – you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to be there for you.

    Give yourself an incentive: If your addiction is pleasure-related, try to get the same positive feeling from a healthier source – try pampering yourself, laughing with a friend, looking through an old photo album, or simply watching a beautiful sunset and marveling at the gift of life itself. Try not to reward yourself with material things, as this could set up another addiction.

    Utilize professional care and a support network: If you are addicted to alcohol, to smoking, or if you have a drug addiction, it is especially important to have a doctor who is trained in your addiction to monitor your health and progress during your withdrawal. A support group specialized to your addiction is highly recommended – as well as a councilor trained in your specific addiction.

    Reduce stress: Although you may not realize it – your addiction has ‘trained’ you to rely on stress -relieving chemicals to be released in your brain. You will need to try and replace this feeling with a healthy stress–relieving activity. Get a weekly massage, take a hot shower, or even scream into a pillow to vent frustration – but choose something that cannot do harm.
    Exercise!: Depending on the addiction you are trying to overcome, check with your doctor as to what types of exercise he thinks is adequate and appropriate for you. Exercise will perform two functions: help to get you healthy and provide a great way to reduce stress.

    Stay away from ‘triggers’: Relapse is a constant concern for any recovering addict – relapse can often be triggered by memories or surroundings that remind the user of the addiction or the feelings it aroused. Be sure to break the habits as well as the addiction – if you are more likely to drink in a bar – stop going to bars and drinking lounges, if you used to smoke while chatting on the phone – try chewing gum instead. Sometimes triggers can even be people – so cut ties with those who you associate with the addiction – if they are real friends they will understand, and be there for you when you recover.

    Quit for YOU: Don’t quit your addiction for your boyfriend/girlfriend, family or friends. QUIT FOR YOU. It takes enormous courage strength and willpower to kick an addiction. If you do it for others the chance of relapse is high. Once you are through the worst, you will find it will always be a daily choice to remain ‘clean’ or sober. But you will be in control to make a choice, instead of the drug or addiction controlling you – which is no way to live. It takes guts, but you can do it.

    Drug Addiction Helpline – Call 1-877-748-3971
    National Drug Rehab Referral Alliance – Call Toll Free: 877-235-0400
    24 hour Addiction helpline – 1-800-559-9503
    Overeaters Anonymous – 505-891-2664 (USA)
    Alcoholics Anonymous http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/en_find_meeting.cfm?PageID=29

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