Health and Healing Imbalances in Addiction Recovery

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Calendar icon Last Updated: 09/16/2021
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Drugs can be a remedy for just about anything because they work, until they don’t, and begin to make matters worse.  Millions of people abuse drugs with the initially pleasing effects turning negative in one way or another.

According to the Institute of Medicine, “An individual cannot know beforehand exactly how a drug will affect him or her because there is great variability in this response, depending on the drug and the specific dose exposure, the individual’s biological and psychological state, and the social circumstances.”

The idea that someone may be unable to cope with underlying conditions after using drugs regularly or attempting to stop is more than just a probability and the best treatment providers know how to assess and address these conditions.

Addiction is Chronic

Addiction is classified as a chronic and relapsing brain disease and like other chronic diseases, it begins subtlety and usually in a hidden stage of unawares in the victim.  Chronic diseases carve away the person’s ability to be decisive and make plans for the future, weakens the foundation, beliefs, and values of the essential self, and diminishes the ability to function in the norm of societal roles.

People tend to fixate on the resulting physical, psychological, or emotional imbalances of addiction as a form of weakness or flaw and many addicts avoid seeking help as they go down the painful paths of it.

According to a research study by the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, The Scripps Research Institute “ Drug addiction, similar to other chronic physiological and psychological disorders such as high blood pressure, worsens over time, is subject to significant environmental influences (e.g., external stressors), and leaves a residual neural trace that allows rapid “re-addiction” even months and years after detoxification and abstinence.”

Chemical Imbalances

Our brain is the control center for central nervous system communications through which signals can either be expressed, suppressed, or modified through chemical messengers.   The neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are majorly impacted when a person uses drugs.

The dopamine gets them high and reinforces the addictive behaviors while the serotonin and norepinephrine work with dopamine to affect sleep, mood, memory, movement, and many other bodily functions.

Many of us walk around in an imbalanced state feeling tired, hungry, moody, stressed, anxious, or depressed, but, the disrupted regulations of natural chemical balances through drug abuse changes the person’s ability to cope with these and other stressful conditions.  In 2013, according to the CDC, 41,149 people committed suicide and 494, 169 were treated in the E.R. for self-inflicted injuries.  “These numbers underestimate this problem.  Many people who have suicidal thoughts or make suicide attempts never seek services.”

Repairing Imbalances in Detox

Clearing the substances from the body is the first step, but, detox alone, is insufficient in any significant long-term recovery.  Most people have no idea of the cellular damages and internal destruction going on in their brains and bodies until pain or outward signs begin to appear.

Some drugs are easily metabolized and eliminated without creating additional poisons while others linger, poisoning the body and being reabsorbed to create more poisons.  Like alcohol, which crosses the blood-brain barrier quickly, the internal destruction can become vicious.

When people are withdrawing from certain chemicals, it may be extra taxing on the organs and systems as they suffer from dehydration, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fevers, etc.  Nutritional imbalances, too, can create a lot of havoc for a person trying to recover from drugs or alcohol.

Nutritional therapies can help the person cleanse their systems, flood the body with nutrients and vitamins to help relieve discomforts – including; anxiety, depression, insomnia, and cravings, and get the person energized and motivated in rehabilitation stability.

Treatment Effectiveness

Science and research has enabled us to delineate the connections between the cascading effects and areas of the brain targeted by drugs, but, despite similarities of certain drug types, the generated complexities and variable results are unique to the individual.

With the brain’s capacity to continue developing and “rewiring” itself based on neuroadaptations, the other side of the coin involves retraining the brain to respond appropriately when cravings and other stressors seem unbearable.

Medications are occasionally necessary but, the mainstay of addiction treatment is the cognitive-behavioral therapies that help to restructure thoughts, emotions, and behaviors through alternative, healthy, and positive influences during recovery.

In the first six months following addition treatment three outcomes help to measure treatment effectiveness.  According to the Institute of Medicine, these domains are:

  • reduction in substance use
  • improvement in personal health and social function
  • reduction in public health and safety problems