An alternative treatment for alcoholism simply means a treatment other than the mainstream 12 step program from Alcoholics Anonymous. This type of treatment is effective for some people, but not the majority.
There are alternative alcoholism treatment options that are customized for each person’s unique addiction. One of the important things these alternatives have in common is the treatment of the health of the body along with the attitude.
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Psychology and Physiology
The psychological symptoms such as depression, mood swings, anxiety, and irritability are considered to be caused by malfunctioning neurotransmitters.
Psychological counseling is also an essential treatment for alcoholism, but it can have the optimum effect if it is coupled with biochemical treatments.
Why Treat the Body?
One of the main benefits of alternative alcoholism treatment is recognizing the problem as also a biochemical issue and not only a psychological issue. Alcoholism is a disease with many sides, and the biochemistry aspect disrupts the neurotransmitters in the brain.
These neurotransmitters become out of balance and malfunction because of poor diet, which results in nutritional deficiencies as well as allergies, hypothyroidism, and hypoglycemia.
People who suffer from alcohol addiction are usually malnourished. If the body has been malnourished for some time, there can be serious and even permanent damage including liver damage.
Therapy that includes a focus on nutrition allows the body to regain strength and health, and these will help the person make better choices.
Alcohol can severely affect the judgments a person makes about what foods they eat, which usually results in poor nutrition and a buildup of toxins. When the nutritional shortcomings are corrected, the body can eliminate toxins as a natural process.
Vitamin C and zinc are the most often deficient nutrients in an alcoholic.
Too much alcohol can also increase free radicals in the body, which can damage tissues. It is recommended that alcoholics eat foods high in antioxidants such as:
- – Vitamins C and E
- – Zinc
- – Beta-carotene
- – Selenium
The B vitamins are another nutrient that alcoholics lack, especially thiamine or vitamin B1. It is this deficiency that causes some of the unwanted behavior demonstrated by severe alcoholics.
The B vitamins often need to be injected in the early stages of rehabilitation, because the healthy levels are so low.
Supplements Helpful for Combating Alcohol Addiction
Most people with alcohol addiction have hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. It is not clear if the hypoglycemia caused a craving for alcohol, or if alcohol addiction resulting in malnutrition caused the hypoglycemia.
In any case, the solution is to:
- – Eat more complex carbohydrates such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- – Avoid refined sugars
- – Eat more protein
- – Take B complex, vitamin C and chromium supplements
Benefits of Herbal Alternative Alcoholism Treatments
Herbs can have a powerful effect on the body and greatly help with the withdrawal symptoms suffered by people trying to stop drinking. They can help the person sleep and reduce anxiety as well as detoxify the system. They may also help reduce the craving for alcohol.
Herbs that affect the nervous system help the person relax. Chamomile, catnip, skullcap, and peppermint are a few. They can be blended and made into tea. St. John’s wort is given to induce a state of calmness rather than possible depression.
Some herbs detoxify the body and help the liver. Echinacea, burdock root and coneflower clean the blood, and milk thistle may actually prevent damage to the liver.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has used Kudzu root to inhibit the craving for alcohol for centuries.