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Detoxing from substance abuse is hard. Not only is your body rebelling against the lack of drugs or alcohol in your system, but your emotions run rampant. During this time, many people turn towards addiction supplements to ease the discomfort of detox. But the question remains, are they helpful or snake oil?

To answer this question, look at supplement regulation and the different addiction supplements available today. It is also important to look at the motives behind supplement use.

Helpful or Harmful in Recovery?

The Department of Health and Human Services funded a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that about 23,000 Americans are admitted to emergency rooms each year for adverse events related to supplement use. Often these events are cardiovascular manifestations from weight loss and energy products.

Why is this relevant to addiction supplements and recovering addicts? Addiction is a symptom of compulsive behaviors, or an uncontrollable behavior. Many recovering addicts gain excess weight. To reduce weight or increase energy, many people reach for a weight loss supplement or mood boosting supplement, such as the ingredients found in those marketed for addiction supplements.

But like any other compulsion, the addiction supplement is often abused leading to medical problems. It may be better to consider addiction supplements to be on the side of snake oil.

Addiction Supplements and Withdrawal

Supplements labeled for withdrawal support are generally considered safe and effective to diminish side-effects of substance abuse and support natural sleep patterns when used as directed. But, did you know some addiction supplements also contain addictive substances?

Opidone is popular among addiction supplements as it boosts mood and helps users sleep at night when used properly. But Opidone has Phenibut, a psychotropic drug with reported withdrawal symptoms when abused. While the supplement dosage is recommended at one capsule, one to three times per day, users report taking much higher doses to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

This abuse of a supplement speaks to the overall danger of faulty thinking many with addictive behaviors already struggle with daily.

Stinking Thinking Led to Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Now Used with Addiction Supplements

The AA term, stinking thinking, describes the thought patterns that led to substance abuse. Stinking thinking can sound like, “Well if one made me feel good, three should make me feel great!” With this logic, many prescription and recreational users became addicted and are now suffering through detox.

The thought of not suffering leads those with addictive behaviors right back into substance abuse, this time with supplements. Is there a better way to support your body and emotions during detox?

Put Down the Snake Oil and Practice Holistic Living

Anything in life worth having means hard work. That includes a healthy lifestyle. No supplement will change your emotions or body long term. Instead of spending money on supplements, use those funds for whole foods and a gym membership, or equipment for home use.

Your recovery coach can help you plan for a holistic lifestyle. When in treatment, your counselor will help with this plan and create a continuing care plan before you leave treatment. Your continuing care plan should include diet, exercise, meditation, alternative therapies, cognitive behavioral therapies, and group meetings.

Daily Living for a Holistic Lifestyle in Recovery

While tempting to rely on a pill to fix your emotions and physical symptoms, it’s better to practice holistic living daily. Four areas of holistic recovery should be focused on daily.

  1. Sleep: Sleep is the best support mechanism for a full recovery. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep daily to improve focus and cognition. Less sleep than this affects the mind much the same way alcohol does and increases hunger, adding to extra weight.
  2. Mindfulness: Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. If you are feeling out of sorts, H.A.L.T. Ask yourself if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? When the answer is yes to any question, take care of the problem first. If you need more rest, allow yourself to take a nap, etc.
  3. Diet: Diet does not mean starving yourself. For recovery, diet means getting enough amino acids, healthy fats, and proteins to repair your body and support a recovered lifestyle. Healthy fats like Omega-3 oils (avocado, olive oil, flax seed, salmon) help produce more neurotransmitters to help you feel normal again. A nutritionist can recommend the right diet to repair the damage done from drug and alcohol abuse.
  4. Exercise: Energy and weight issues are best improved with exercise. Start out light with walking, biking, or swimming. As your health improves, you can add weight training and cardio. Whatever exercise you want to try, talk with your doctor and recovery coach first. They can help you decide the best regiment to support every stage of recovery.

Still Considering Addiction Supplements or General Health Supplements?

If you are considering nutritional supplements for any reason, please consult your doctor or nutritionist. He or she can check your body and adjust the supplements as necessary. This is important as the supplement industry is not monitored closely by the FDA. The fine print on many supplement bottles states claims of benefits are not approved by the FDA, meaning the results have not been studied.

Not only are the claims not substantiated, but often the ingredients are not tested for accuracy until a problem is reported, usually after a person has been hospitalized. One study showed that many supplements in box stores did not contain the product advertised and contained unidentified allergens. Last, without a doctor or nutritionist monitoring your supplemental use, you are at risk of adverse side effects from mixing supplements, medications, and foods that will interact negatively.

Don’t take your health for granted. Consult your doctor before using any supplement.

In Need of a Holistic Recovery Plan?

If you are looking for a holistic recovery plan that may or may not use addiction supplements, contact Northlake Recovery at (561)-770-6616. Addiction specialists will help you get into treatment where a doctor, nutritionist, and recovery councilor can help you plan your holistic recovery.

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