Alternative Treatments for Addiction – Article featuring David Wiss MS RDN
“There are certain biochemical imbalances that make a person more prone to addiction and which this treatment—a form of chemical nutrient therapy—strives to improve. These include imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain, nutrient deficiencies, amino acid imbalances, hypoglycemia, inflammatory and oxidative stress, and adrenal fatigue.
Once biochemical imbalances are assessed, an individualized biochemical restoration plan can be established. This can include a personal nutrition plan, a micronutrient supplement including amino acids (sometimes with a futuristic approach of micronutrient injections), and prescribed physical activity and relaxation. Once balance is restored, other addiction treatment modalities such as counseling and relapse prevention can be tackled more effectively.
David Wiss, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who operates a consulting company, Nutrition in Recovery, in Los Angeles, believes the single most ignored aspect to treating addiction is treating nutritional deficiencies. Many other nutritionists second this. Recovering addicts tend toward highly palatable foods that can provide a temporary reprieve from negative feelings. These are almost invariably processed foods with added sugar, salt, and vegetable oil fats; refined carbohydrates, and caffeine—rather than high-nutrient foods. Unfortunately, these foods destabilize blood sugar, spur inflammation, and deplete the brain of essential neurotransmitters that play a large role in stabilizing moods.
Wiss believes that “nutritional interventions [should be] based on real food rather than supplementation.” He recommends a “never hungry, never full” approach of eating six small meals a day, or every two to four hours. Addicts should strive for more protein, fiber, and healthy fats like those found in fatty fish, nuts, and flax seeds. Certainly, learning about nutrition, how to cook healthful meals, and making good food choices are accessible options for the majority of people in recovery.
From a nutritional perspective, an individual in early recovery can improve mood and fight off depression, anxiety, and stress by incorporating foods that contain an ample amount of omega-3 essential fatty acids, complete proteins, and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals. These foods will also help the recovering addict’s mind—provide essential building blocks for depleted neurotransmitters, for example—as well as the body, promoting healing of all systems and tissues damaged by malnutrition.”
Read full article by Jeanene Swanson from The Fix HERE