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Treating Addiction through Holistic and Natural Means

Dr. Matthew Marturano By Dr. Matthew Marturano, Naturopathic Physician
Friday, November 30, 2012
1.Natra-Bio Smoking Withdrawal
2.Natra-Bio Stop-it Smoking
3.Boericke and Tafel Smoke Free Naturally
4.L.A. Naturals Lobelia

Anyone dealing with an addiction -- whether it's nicotine, alcohol, sugar, or any other substance -- knows how difficult a journey it can be. Time and again, we promise ourselves to let the addictive substance go. Then, something stressful happens at work or home and we find ourselves lighting up or ingesting other harmful substances.

For anyone looking to escape addiction, there are several natural and holistic methods available to help.

What is addiction?
Addiction is defined as a compulsive, continued use of a substance or participation in an activity that is pleasurable but ends up affecting their daily responsibilities and relationships. People can become addicted to almost anything -- even otherwise healthy behaviors such as exercise!  Someone with an addiction may not be aware of their true condition or its impact on their wellbeing and that of those around them. There are many factors to consider, from physical and emotional, to psychological and even spiritual. But when one chooses to treat their addiction, it's helpful to embrace a multifaceted approach that addresses all of these factors.

Herbs for Treating Addiction
As addiction often has components of unbalanced neurochemistry and stress that have led to the compulsion. It can be helpful to incorporate the use of herbs which address these issues:

  • Chamomile -- Acts as a mild relaxant and stress reliever. Chamomile supplements and teas are widely available, as well as essential oils for aromatherapy.
  • St. John’s Wort -- A flowering plant native to Europe, this herb may boost dopamine levels to offset addiction cravings. Capsules and liquid extracts are popular forms.
  • Lobelia -- This supplement actually affects the receptors in the mind that are affected by nicotine, which has made it a popular choice to help smokers quit.

These herbs can be taken on their own and can be found in combination with each other and additional ingredients to calm and reduce stress and anxiety that can impact addiction. It's always best to seek the advice of a physician before trying new supplements and those with a diagnosed medical condition should certainly speak with a physician before adding these herbs to a supplement regimen.

Other Therapies to Consider
Acupuncture is an eastern, holistic method of inserting small needles on certain parts of the body. It's been very useful in relieving stress and can be quite helpful in order to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal. Oftentimes, when treating addiction, the practitioner will use tiny beads taped into the outer ear instead of, or in addition to the needles. It's not well understood how acupuncture treatments reduce addictive cravings, however, it may work through neurological feedback to the brain. Not everybody gets a benefit from acupuncture, but results are typically seen within six sessions.

Hypnotherapy is another holistic method that can be helpful in quitting smoking is hypnosis. This method of relaxed meditation, deep breathing and creating a pliable trance state has shown to be extremely effective in addressing the underlying psychological motivations for addictive behaviors. Hypnotherapy can be one of the more expensive methods for addiction since multiple sessions with the proper hypnotherapist may be required for the process to work.

The most important thing to remember is that breaking an addiction is often difficult. This is not to say it can't be easy! Every single step helps, and a truly holistic approach considers all available methods.


Products you may like:

Now Foods St. John's Wort  Now Foods St. John's Wort 
Why you may like this product? Now's formula provides 300 mg of St. John's Wort Extract in each serving. Taken regularly, this supplement can help correct mood imbalances, reduce stress and even improve sleep quality.
Now Foods Chamomile Oil  Now Foods Chamomile Oil 
Why you may like this product? If you're interested in trying aromatherapy as a way to combat stress, this essential oil from Now help you unwind. You can add this oil to a diffuser or even to bathwater. As a side benefit, chamomile also soothes the skin, reducing inflammation and irritation.
New Chapter Smoke Take Care  New Chapter Smoke Take Care 
Why you may like this product? If you're a smoker, are trying to quit or have quit, this herbal blend from New Chapter can help protect the lungs and remove harmful toxins. This blend includes turmeric, ginger and peppermint and can be taken twice daily for antioxidant benefits.
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