(NaturalNews) Addictions affect millions of people in the United Sates, and alternative medicine believes conventional medicine fails at treatment, as they do not recognize the genetic and biochemical imbalances that research has shown to be at the heart of addiction.
Often perceived as a lack of will power, addiction is now considered a disease brought on by a genetic predisposing condition that is triggered by familial, environmental, societal, dietary, and other factors.
So rather than blame addictions on lack of willpower, it's time to consider these 3 causes of addiction.
The body produces its own mood enhancers and painkillers, called neurotransmitters, which work very well in already healthy people. Dr. Leon Chaitow, N.D., suggests that people with addictions or have the potential to be an addict, may lack these natural stimulants (catecholamines) and relaxants (endorphins). Due to this malfunction, addictive personalities may seek other alternatives as mood enhancers through the artificial stimulus of addictive substances, such as sugar, drugs, and alcohol.
Research also indicates that the brains of those predisposed to alcoholism may not create enough dopamine, which has a direct influence over mood and feelings of pleasure. Alcohol increases the levels of dopamine in the brain, and can stimulate other feel good neurotransmitters such as serotonin. This can hard wire this chemical reward system in the brain, building new neural pathways that demand alcohol to create these pleasurable feelings.
Janice K. Phelps, M.D., believes that an addictive body may be evident in childhood through conditions such as colic, hyperactivity, loss of sleep, irritability, crying, and learning disabilities. She also believes that long before a child gets involved in drugs and alcohol, they are often very addicted to sugar.
Since serotonin is a calming, painkilling substance that is secreted in response to carbohydrate and sugar consumption, it may explain why people turn to sugar when depressed, as it may be an attempt to replenish serotonin in the system.
Dr. James Braly, M.D., believe we become addicted to foods as a way of adapting to allergic reactions to them, and we tend to crave foods we are allergic to as it keeps the withdrawal symptoms at bay. When we need a certain food to feel good, or not feel bad, we become addicted to it and create an allergy/addiction syndrome.
Research suggests that excessive cravings for any substances indicates an allergic condition in relation to it, and by constantly exposing oneself to it, it prevents addicts from experiencing violent displays of allergic symptoms. The substance, in effect, covers up the allergy.
Dr. Braly also points out that many of the foods from which alcohol is made, such as grain, corn, sugar, and yeast, are common allergens. He states that many alcoholics are addicted to these foods and make their allergies worse with excessive drinking.
According to nutritionist Inez d'Arcy-Francis, Ph.D., addiction to food, drugs, or alcohol beings due to the malabsorption of nutrients.
The first factor is trauma to the body that is caused by undigested food particles. The undigested food particles become toxins once they pass through the intestinal wall to get into the bloodstream and as a result can cause many problems in the body. The liver then becomes overwhelmed, the immune system becomes overactive, and chronic allergies are set in motion. Furthermore, this causes blood sugar levels to drop and produces food cravings.
The second stage is called adaptation, which occurs when the body craves food it can't digest. These foods then must be consumed in bigger amounts so the body can avoid the pain of withdrawal. This also occurs with nicotine or drugs.
The final stage, degeneration, refers to serious illnesses that result from addiction, including alcoholism, Crohn's, diabetes, and obesity.
Trivieri, Larry. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Ed. John W. Anderson. 2nd ed. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 2002.
About the author: Derek Henry, B.Kin, is a highly revered holistic health coach and world renowned natural health blogger and educator who created Healing the Body to help people understand the fundamental principles to exceptional health so they can overcome their own health challenges.