Cigarettes, Drugs, Alcohol and Other Dependencies: Addressing them Effectively with Natural Medicine
by Rene Ng, AP, L.Ac.
Opiates (heroin, opium and morphine), opioids (oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and vicodin), cocaine, nicotine or tobacco, and alcohol are the top five addictions suffered by many people here in the United States. These are formed over the years, and are usually difficult—if not, seemingly impossible—to break free of. In addition, all these addictions pose significant health hazards, and can lead to cancer, liver failure, heart disease or even death.
Once the body develops a dependency on them, it is a monumental task to stop the addictive pattern. Medical drugs, counselling and rehabilitation treatments are the common courses of action, but these can be lengthy, painstaking and expensive. Not to mention, they can also take a toll on the body, and their effectiveness is often questionable or unsustainable. So what other options would an individual have to address these addictions?
Addiction and Habit
First, it’s crucial to understand how addictions are formed. It all begins when a need arises in the human body—whether due to a health or mental issue, stress, nutrition, emotional trauma or additional factor. This need directs an individual to start consuming a particular substance in order to self-medicate the symptoms caused by this need.
Once this need is ameliorated, the body starts developing an “attraction” towards the substance. For example, the individual will tend towards an opioid to help reduce pain, or alcohol numb emotional turmoil, or tobacco to help ease stress, to name a few examples. After having taken this substance, the individual develops a habit and starts relying on it for the relief they crave. They often are not willing to stop due to their fear of a remission. Oftentimes, they are unable to stop even if they wanted to.
Ultimately, this cycle of behavior forms an addiction which is why addictions are almost impossible to eliminate. Habits are patterns of repetition that, over time, create an automatic behavioral routine in the brain, and these eventually become addictions. So the primary difference between a habit and addiction is that a person is in control of their habit, whereas an addiction is in control of the person.
Physiological and Psycho-emotional Dependencies
In order to be effective in treating addictive disorders or undesirable habits, one needs to address both the physiological and psycho-emotional dependencies on a substance the body has developed over time.
Drugs, alcohol, tobacco and other substances taken internally form part of the nutritional needs the body has acclimated to and depended on over the years. Stopping the substance abruptly can cause issues—sometime dramatic—due to this dependency. An example is the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal when stopping coffee entirely all of a sudden. Therefore, a formulated plan to wean the individual off a substance is needed.
This plan also needs to address the deficiencies that the body might encounter once this supply is cut off. The organs affected or other body imbalances can be detected in the symptoms that result once the intake of the substance is reduced or stopped. Herbs and acupuncture can identify and address these deficiencies, then help the body to regroup and regain balance. In addition, by reducing symptoms such as pain, and helping the body manage stress, anger, sadness and other emotions, the chance of successfully treating the addictive disorder increases.
At the same time, the psycho-emotional aspects behind the undesirable habit also need to be addressed. Hidden or suppressed emotions are often the main underlying causes of addictive disorders, and these can overrule the will of an individual trying to stop the disorders. Counseling is often the remedy here, but among the most effective solutions is counseling combined with hypnosis.
In hypnosis, the individual’s subconsciousness is also addressed and reinforced to help with overcoming the barriers blocking a desire to stop the disorder. Reinforcing suggestions are made to the brain during hypnosis that will help the individual face their hidden psycho-emotional issues head-on, gain confidence, and find the additional motivation and will-power needed to overcome the disorder.
In order for addictions or undesirable habits to be managed and controlled in an individual, both the physiological dependencies and psycho-emotional issues the individual possesses must be taken into account. If both are not addressed, the chances of successfully managing an addictive disorder is reduced—sometimes greatly—and the individual could succumb to a relapse as hidden biological and emotional dependencies resurface, and the individual reverts to old habits.
If you are suffering from addictive disorders and want to free yourself of them, it will be worthwhile to contact both a board-certified, licensed Acupuncture Physician, along with a Hypnotist or Hypnotherapist, and develop an integrative, concurrent treatment plan with them. This could change your life forever, and you will be grateful that you made the effort.
Rene Ng will be teaming up with well-known Hypnotist Shana Rosenthal to present a talk on understanding addictions or habits and how to treat them naturally on May 21, 7–8:30 p.m., at the Four Pillars Wellness Center, 8209 Natures Way, Suite 221, Lakewood Ranch, Florida 34202.
For more information and to register, call 941-373-3955.
Rene Ng, AP, L.Ac., is a board-certified, licensed Acupuncture Physician and Chinese Herbalist in Sarasota. He is a four-time winner of Sarasota’s “Favorite Acupuncture Physician” and “Favorite Anti-Aging Practitioner” awards. Cancer care, Multiple Sclerosis, addictions, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, asthma, injuries and pain management are among his specialties, and he has been able to help many patients suffering from these and other health issues with Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Cupping, Gua Sha, and Moxibustion. For more information, call 941-773-5156, email RNG@ChineseMedicalSolutions.com or visit ChineseMedicalSolutions.com.