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  Natural Remedies for Addiction
By Marc Courtiol
August 30, 2012

Any serious addiction to drugs and alcohol is likely to have a range of causes within the addicted individual. It rarely boils down to one thing. There are usually psychological factors combined with genetic predisposition, and eventually physical dependence also becomes important. This is what makes treating addiction so difficult; it is impossible to locate a single root cause, so the condition must instead be treated on multiple fronts at the same time. That is why there is so much trial and error, along with a high frequency of relapse, in addiction recovery.

The medical industry has put forth many treatments for people with addictions to drugs and alcohol, and these treatments tend to have varying degrees of success. There is no denying that the mainstream addiction practices have helped a great number of people, but they are at least as likely to fail as to succeed. That is why, for anyone who values natural health or who favors alternative medicines, it is important to be aware that there are other options.

Nutrition and exercise therapy
People who are addicted to alcohol or drugs are typically unhealthy in other ways. Even if they were not unhealthy to begin with, the addiction tends to wear away at one’s motivation to take care of oneself, and this leads to a downward spiral. The addiction causes the addict to neglect his or her health, and the poor health in turn causes the addict to resort to more drugs and alcohol to feel good.

One way to combat this downward spiral is to fight back with a determined effort to get in shape. Even if you are not ready to completely cut out the drugs and alcohol, getting healthy in other ways will shore up your motivation and make you more prepared to quit when the time comes—which should be soon enough.

Start by eating a diet that promotes nutrition while detoxing the body. It should include plenty of antioxidants such as zinc, beta-carotene, and selenium, which help cleanse the cells of bad compounds. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and take a good natural multivitamin. And just as important, get at least an hour of physical exercise every day. To combat this addiction, you need to be even healthier than the average non-addicted healthy person. After a few weeks of this, the downward spiral will begin to reverse, and as you feel better, you will find that you desire drugs or alcohol less and less.

Herbal medications
Another option is to rely on herbal medications to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms while helping to detoxify the body. For the reduction of cravings and withdrawal, use herbs that help promote a relaxed state while also giving an alternative to the usual drugs or alcohol. For alcoholics, for instance, calming chamomile tea may not give the same immediate gratification as an alcoholic drink, but it is calming, and does help take the mind off the cravings.

Herbs that promote detoxification include Echinacea, burdock root, and milk thistle. Meanwhile, there are many herbs that are thought to reduce cravings for alcohol. Perhaps most notably, kudzu root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to greatly cut alcohol consumption.

In Chinese medicine, it is believed that acupuncture addresses imbalances in the body, including those that can cause one to engage in substance abuse. The exact mechanism of acupuncture’s effectiveness is still somewhat mysterious to Western science, but what cannot be denied is that acupuncture does have numerous benefits. One study conducted in the U.S. found that alcoholics who were treated with acupuncture were far less likely to relapse than those who were not.

Marc Courtiol is an accomplished health researcher in the field of natural wellness. A graduate from Cornell, Marc is a contributing author for several online journal sites and believes in the many uses of gripe water.


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