In recent years, there has been much attention focused on the opioid epidemic affecting Americans. However, in truth, this is not the first addiction crisis in America. Addiction has been a personal and societal problem for hundreds of years since humans started living in groups. Every person who becomes addicted has a different story. Therefore it is essential to understand the underlying factors which led a person into addiction. Above all, our goal is to partner with individuals to provide a holistic, whole-person approach to addiction treatment and recovery.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain. It involves the compulsive use of drugs or alcohol or engaging in behaviors which produce feelings of reward, despite the known negative consequences. In addition, addiction extends far beyond drugs or alcohol to activities such as gambling, cigarettes, sex, video games, social media use, sugar & food, and more.
Addiction is a chronic disease
Addiction is a chronic disease, much like high blood pressure or diabetes. Since addiction is a chronic disease, there are various changes in the brain and body, which take time to address and correct. In other words, treating addiction is not as simple as just stopping drug or alcohol use. Like other chronic diseases, a multi-pronged approach is needed to treat the condition most effectively.
Characteristics of Addiction
ABC’s of addiction:
- Inability to consistently Abstain;
- Impairment in Behavioral control;
- Craving; or increased “hunger” for drugs or rewarding experiences;
- Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships;
- A dysfunctional Emotional response.
The ABC’s of addiction should not be used to diagnose a person with addiction. It can however help you recognize signs of addiction.
Conventional Addiction Treatment
The conventional addiction treatment includes detox (medically managed withdrawal), medications, and counseling. For instance, in many cases a person will attend an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility where he or she will often first undergo detox. It is during detox when drugs or alcohol begin to leave the body. In addition, there are often many withdrawal side effects, some of which are dangerous and require medical supervision. After that, a person typically begins a combination of group and individual therapy. In some cases, a person will also receive medications to help with their cravings. Afterward, there are several support resources, including continued therapy, Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous, and other support groups. For addictions to sex, gambling, food, social media, video games, etc. the typical treatment involves therapy and abstaining from, or regulating engagement in the behavior.
Unfortunately, in most conventional treatment models, physical health including nutrition, brain health, digestive health, and sleep are not addressed. However, failure to address these aspects is a significant disservice, as your mental and emotional well-being is heavily interconnected to your physical health. In other words, a whole person approach is most useful in achieving true healing, where the focus is on all aspects of health.
Our Naturopathic Addiction Treatment Approach
The use of conventional treatments for addiction is an valuable part of our treatment of addiction. However, the difference between our Naturopathic approach to addiction and the traditional medicine approach is how we view and treat this disorder. We approach addiction from all angles, including family dynamics, other mental and physical health disorders, nutrition & lifestyle choices, etc. For instance, two vital aspects not typically addressed with conventional treatment of addiction are nutrition and family concerns.
In our view, nutritional concerns are an essential component of any successful addiction treatment plan. Nutrition is important because certain foods target the same reward pathways that addictive drugs and alcohol target. For example, it is common for people to lose weight while using drugs or alcohol, and gain excessive weight while in recovery because these individuals are substituting food “highs” for drugs and alcohol. Therefore, proper nutrition can prevent excessive weight gain. Furthermore, proper nutrition can help balance brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that often become disrupted during the addiction process.
Family is another vital aspect of addiction treatment because families are typically a primary support system for addicted individuals. In many cases, families are strained due to the addiction because they fail to understand what is occurring with their loved one. Other times, families can contribute to the addiction by enabling behaviors. Bottom line, family dynamics are an essential component in the treatment of addiction. We provide individual as well as family support to help the family heal as a whole.
We understand that one size does not fit all. Every person’s situation is different, and every person’s treatment is individualized to the factors that heavily contribute to their addiction.
Our all-inclusive, comprehensive program utilizes a combination of in-person and online (telemedicine) therapies; this allows people from all geographical locations to attend group therapy, individual therapy, and other forms of treatment. Each program is completely customized to you and begins with an initial consult, which can be in person or through video chat (telemedicine).
90 minute Initial Consults are $265
Through our comprehensive addiction program we address and simultaneously treat:
Mental Health: Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar, Chronic stress, Irritability, Anger
Digestive Issues: Irritable bowel syndrome, Food sensitivities, Heartburn, Overeating/Lack of appetite
Hormonal Imbalances: Thyroid, Adrenal, Male and Female Hormones
Metabolic: Nutrition, Weight gain/loss, Diabetes/Pre-diabetes
Naturopathic Doctors have many tools at their disposal that other doctors do not and use a synergy of conventional medicine AND alternative approaches. Our comprehensive program includes some or all of the following:
- Medically managed withdrawal
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Addiction psychotherapy
- Urinary drug screening programs
- Dietary counseling
- Botanical medicine
- Nutritional supplementation
- Laboratory evaluation
- Mind-body medicine
- Pain management & injection therapies