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6 Common Myths of Addiction and How to Break Free

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Are concerned about your current dependence on Pain meds? antidepressants or other mood-altering medications? pot, coke, meth, oxycontin or .... just fill in the blanks!

Or do you crave something sweet after dinner or between meals? Do you have to have your morning coffee, at all costs, or keep craving and drinking it throughout the day? Do you find that you can’t wait to get home for that end-of-the-day drink, and can’t relax without it?

 

Have you already been around the block, and unsuccessful at rehab?

I have spent many years as a holistic psychiatrist, treating such dependencies as food, tobacco, drugs, medications, and alcohol -- successfully. That in itself is a major statement, since most addiction treatment is a revolving door.

Fortunate enough to have a biochemistry that is not addiction prone , I come to this field professionally rather than from my own personal experience with addiction and recovery. However, I deplore the revolving door of addiction treatment and am determined to educate the recovery (and medical) communities about more natural methods. My approach is different from the mainstream, as you will see, and far more successful.

Let’s start with the legal substances.  Often these “habits” appear to be just tension relievers, pick-me-ups, or one of the normal pleasures of life. But are they? Usually not. You may protest, “I just like my morning coffee (or my after-work drink). I could give it up any time.”

You may, however, actually be addicted to these substances! Feeling guilty? Wanting to drown your self-loathing in a nice big bowl of chocolate ice cream?

What you need to know is…
You are not a weak or “bad” person: it’s your brain chemistry being out of balance. The good news is you can take control to "re-tune" your body and brain to feel better than ever. Learn how the correct combination of healthy diet and specific nutritional supplements can and correct these problems and reclaim your happiness and well-being.

This, of course, does not negate the tremendous importance of the social and emotional support groups, psychotherapy, and life enhancement programs, but adds the missing piece to treatment and relapse prevention.

Addiction is poorly understood and I’d like to break some of the misconceptions surrounding it:

Myth #1: Compulsive use of an addictive substance is a sign of weakness or poor moral character.

Fact: As I said earlier, from sugar to opiates, your cravings do not make you a weak or “bad” person. Rather, you have a brain chemistry imbalance, and moral character may have little to do with it. To prove the point, researchers took a group of rats, made them “alcoholic” then treated them with amino acids. When tested further, they had lost their cravings and addiction. Of course, human beings are more complex, have social cues, and emotional baggage—all best dealt with by a well-nourished brain.
Myth #2: Chronic addiction is a disease that can be treated with prescription drugs.

Fact: While you may have a chemical imbalance, it’s not likely a Prozac or Xanax deficiency. As a psychiatrist who can prescribe drugs but mostly chooses not to (I never say “never”), I deplore the standard treatment of medicating those in withdrawal, often heavily and with multiple drug “cocktails.” This approach not only taxes an already overloaded system, but does not get to the root cause. It also interferes with mental and emotional rehabilitation: you can’t do much in therapy or a life enhancement program when you’re in a medication-induced fog.

Myth #3: Drugs and alcohol are the cause of substance abuse.

Fact: While using substances will increase the problem, you will find that the underlying cause is a brain chemistry imbalance and lack of coping skills. Beneath that may be traumatic memories, resentments, shame, and guilt that need to be processed.

Myth #4: Avoiding relapse is a constant struggle for recovering substance abusers.

Fact: Once you’re in balance, any craving to use is simply a sign that you need to correct your nutrition and get into positive action.

Myth #5:  Relapse is part of recovery:

Fact:  Relapse is just a sign of not fully embracing the solution

Myth #6: “Substance abuse runs in my family so I can’t help it.”

Fact: If you have a family history of substance abuse, you simply have to be more careful than most to take the appropriate nutrients. You are not a slave to your genes!  Gene expression, controlled by your environment and lifestyle, including nutrition, trumps genetics ie your software overrules your hardware.

The Nutrient Solution
You will recovery much faster from any addiction if you use specific supplements to restore your brain chemistry balance. Why? There are millions of chemical reactions that occur every second in every cell of your body, these very important reactions require specific nutrients in order to function properly. Particularly sensitive are our neurons or nerve cells, requiring just the right raw materials to manufacture our neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that control our mind, mood, and behavior. When we don’t have the materials we need, we become depressed, drowsy, irritable, or agitated, or we can’t think or concentrate properly.

So, along come our fixes, (whatever our substance of choice happens to be): caffeine, sugar, methamphetamine, nicotine or perhaps cocaine to sharpen our mind and raise our energy level.  Alcohol, Valium, Xanax, marijuana or any number of prescribed medications to calm us down, or heroin and other drugs to take us away from it all. Or, you could be addicted to sex, shopping or gambling—same issue. The problem is we’re not giving the cells what they really need, and we’re just fooling them for a brief moment with our substance or activity of choice. Not only does this temporary fix wear off, but we’re then left feeling much worse than before. We may continue chasing that initial high, hoping in some delusional way that it will return with the next dose, and we become caught in the cycle of addiction.  Old story.

The good news is that there’s a healthy fix that actually works in restoring your maximum brain function with no withdrawal or other negative effects. Since neurotransmitters are literally made from nutrients—amino acids, vitamins, and minerals—we can formulate the perfect “brain food” to restore them, and break the cycle of addiction. Nutritional supplements can restore balance, and create a state of high energy, increased focus, and good mood, with no withdrawal or side effects, since you’re giving your brain cells exactly what they need to operate at their best. This approach works quite quickly and effectively. When neurotransmitter building blocks are given to alcoholic individuals, they experience significant improvement in the form of:

• Fewer cravings for alcohol
• Reduced incidence of stress
• Increased likelihood of recovery
• Reduction in relapse rates

One really simple solution to alcohol or sugar craving (they’re related, by the way) is to break open a 1000 mg capsule of the rather sweet-tasting amino acid, glutamine, under your tongue. Voila, the craving is gone!

If you crave stimulants (or dangerous behaviors), you’re likely low in the neurotransmitter dopamine, and need to take stimulating amino acids such as tyrosine or phenylalanine.
If you are craving downers, and feel sad, anxious, and have trouble sleeping, your deficiency may be in the neurotransmitter, serotonin. The solution is 5- hydroxytryptophane (5-HTP).
If you’re simply wired all the time, and want some calming foods, like mashed potatoes, a shot of tequila or a Xanax, you’re likely low in GABA, and could use some theanine, GABA, glycine, and/or valerian.

Conclusion

The bottom line here is that you don’t have to live in the limbo of addiction, and the solution can be fairly simple. So I hope this article has had the desired effect, letting you know that there is hope for you to end addiction, and to live the full, happy, productive life that you so richly deserve.

The All-in-One Solution


If you are interested in a one-stop solution to this imbalance, please click the following link to my website www.cassmd.com, which outlines my program, products, latest book on addiction, The Addicted Brain and How to Break Free, and free e-book, Reclaim Your Brain.
Enter the code ‘addictionland ‘ for a 10% discount on all my products.
Come hear me speak at several events in the Los Angeles area in Feb and Mar, including a unique "how to" training program.
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Dr. Hyla Cass is a nationally acclaimed innovator and expert in the fields of integrative medicine, psychiatry, and addiction recovery, board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Cass helps individuals withdraw safely and comfortably from addictive substances (including medication) with the aid of natural supplements. She appears often as a guest on national radio and television, including The Dr. Oz Show, E! Entertainment, and The View, and in national print media.


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