Natural Cures for Alcoholism

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With the ever increasing number of different modern drug therapies that are being developed and that are currently available for alcohol dependency, numerous individuals have been justified in asking the following question: are there any natural cures for alcoholism?

The Heart of the Problem: Can Alcoholism Be Cured?

Although alcoholism can be treated, a cure is not yet available. Stated differently, even if an alcoholic has been abstinent for many years and has regained health, he or she is still very capable of a relapse and must continue to avoid all alcoholic beverages.

Moderate drinking or "cutting down" on one's drinking doesn't work for the alcoholic.

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Indeed, the only path to successful recovery for the alcoholic is to totally refrain from drinking alcohol.

Even people who are highly motivated to remain sober, however, might experience one of more relapses before reaching long-term sobriety.

Relapses are quite common and do not necessarily mean that the person is a failure or cannot recover from alcohol dependence.

If a relapse takes place, it is very important for the person to stop drinking and get whatever additional support he or she needs in order to abstain from drinking.

If your health care practitioner determines that you are not an alcoholic but are involved in a pattern of alcohol abuse, he or she can help you to do the following:

  • Evaluate the benefits of making positive changes to an unhealthy drinking pattern.

  • Establish a drinking goal. For instance, while some people who abuse alcohol choose to abstain from alcohol altogether, others feel that they can limit the amount that they drink.

  • Identify the situations that "trigger" your alcohol abuse and help you develop non-alcohol, more healthy responses.

As a real-life example, many people who have stopped drinking after suffering alcohol-related problems choose to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for information and support, even though they have not been diagnosed as alcohol dependent.

Vitamins and Supplement Therapy

Various vitamin and supplement therapies have been proposed as "natural" ways to treat alcohol abuse. For instance, a nutritional product entitled "Neu-Recover" claims to effectively treat alcohol abuse by replenishing the neurotransmitters that were exhausted via repeated alcohol abuse over time.

According to the proponents of Neu-Recover, the following neurotransmitters are interrelated with alcohol abuse and alcoholism: serotonin, dopamine, enkephalin, and GABA.

When alcoholics use Neu-Recover and eat healthy food, they will experience increased calm as their craving for alcohol subsides.

Some practitioners who advocate a "natural" approach to alcohol abuse point to nutritional supplements and herbs that can be used to counteract alcohol withdrawal after a person stops drinking.

Many natural approach practitioners, however emphasize that natural withdrawal methods should not be employed as substitutes for detox centers or for Alcoholics Anonymous and similar alcohol treatment programs. Such a complementary focus has much in common with the holistic and natural TCM approach discussed above.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

All forms of Oriental medicine have their roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is the oldest professional, continually practiced, literate medicine in the world.

TCM is a body of health care that includes acupressure, moxa, nutrition/food therapy, cupping, herbal medicine, acupuncture, tui-na massage, and medical exercises such as qi-gong and tai-chi.

Complementary medicine means that TCM is frequently used in addition to conventional Western medicine.

Modern Western conventional medicine and TCM are the two major medical systems in the world today. TCM is one of the earliest forms of holistic medicine, which addresses the mind, spirit, and the body.

In TCM, unlike most conventional medicines, treatment and diagnosis in TCM are centered on the patient as a whole person, and less on the symptoms. Unlike most conventional medicines, TCM also used natural methods in treatment and diagnosis.

People who have a preference a more holistic and natural method of treatment are candidates for TCM. A good illustration of this natural and holistic approach concerns the treatment of people with drug, alcohol, and eating addictions.

These dependencies have physical and psychological aspects or manifestations. TCM is relevant under such circumstances due to the fact that it simultaneously addresses the mind, body, and spirit in the diagnosis and treatment of the patients' dysfunctions.

Other problems such as chronic pain, sexual dysfunction, depression, incontinence, insomnia, tension headaches, obesity, and anxiety, are examples of medical dysfunctions that TCM can diagnosis and treat due to their underlying physical and psychological aspects.

In addition to the importance of the spirit, TCM views healing the mind as a vital aspect of healing the body. Similar to biofeedback techniques, TCM practitioners can teach patients how to control ordinarily involuntary body functions, such body temperature, muscle tension, and heart rate.

Unlike traditional biofeedback, however, TCM features a type of mind-body treatment biofeedback that does not require hooking up a person to a machine.

Complementary Therapy for Addiction: Drumming out Drugs

Recent publications citing the experiences of clients and therapists suggest that substance abuse rehab programs employing "drumming" and related community and shamanic activities can play a key role in treating drug and alcohol dependence.

Known as "Drumming out Drugs," these programs are used in various prisons, community centers, addiction workshops and training programs, and in well-known rehabilitation programs.

Even though reliability and validity studies of the "Drumming out Drug" programs are lacking, evidence suggests that drumming augments substance abuse recovery.

These observations are corroborated by studies on the therapeutic psychophysiological effects of drumming, mediation, shamanism, and other shamanic practices.

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Conclusion: Natural Cures for Alcoholism

Due to the fact that alcoholism cannot be cured and, as a result, there are a number of different treatment options available, many people have started to look outside the existing "drug-oriented" medical profession as they seek answers to the following question: are there any natural cures for alcoholism?

Although not as well studied or as conventional as the various drug therapies currently available, natural remedies such as traditional Chinese medicine, vitamins and supplement therapies, and "drumming out drugs" provide hope to those who would rather use natural methods to treat their health conditions and illnesses, including alcoholism.

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