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Herbs For Pain and Addiction Treatment

Use of Jamaican Dogwood, Valerian, Wood Betony, Yellow Jasmine in Pain and Addiction Treatment

Addiction is still one of the major problems that we are still living with today. Though known for its devastating effects, addiction has still remained when of the many menaces that our youths as well as the older generation alike are still glued to. However there is a bitter reality that you need to be aware of, a reality that none of your already addicted friends will let you know of; the journey to addiction treatment and recovery is that which is not easily won. There are serious hurdles that you shall have to meet along the way as you fight on to reach the greener side of life where the chains of addiction are broken. Just like any other disease there are myriads of ways through which the treatment of addiction can be effected. one is through pharmaceutical ways of treatment and the other through natural ways of treatment that may at times be used alongside the orthodox ways of treatment or as an assortment of various herbs and a special choice of diets that helps restore the damage of drugs on the addict and hence making it possible for the addict to be treated of the illness. On the other hand when pharmaceuticals are used for treating drug addiction the doctors will mostly use a substitute of your drug to satisfy your craving for the drug of abuse you are addicted to. Though this may present a short term solution it still doesn’t let you be free from the drug as you will still continue using a substance that is thought to be less addictive and not so dangerous. However the reality is that this kind of treatment does not address the brain imbalances that an addict suffers after a long term use of a certain drug.

Addiction Treatment

As we have seen in previous articles the part of the body that is adversely affected by addiction to drug abuse is the nervous system. The neurotransmitters like the dopamine and the other crucial ones are literally damaged after a prolonged use of drugs. this therefore calls for a treatment option that will not only focus on ending the craving that addicts have for their substance of abuse but to help restore the whole person back to what he or she was before he got into drug use that has since chained him or her. Most pharmaceutical drugs do not consider this but mostly gear towards treating the symptoms of addiction like depression and anxiety that is normally done with sedatives while the underlying problem; the damage to the nervous system, is left unchanged. Through the years there have been different alternatives to addiction that have since come up and have been found to be effective. An example of these alternative therapies that have shown hope to addicts is the use of stem cell therapy that aims at restoring the damage caused by drugs. Despite the effectiveness of some of these alternatives the use of herbs in addiction treatment is yet to be scrapped off, this is solely because of the effectiveness of some herbs in treating addiction. Here are some of the herbs that can be used to help in the addiction treatment and recovery.

Jamaican Dogwood

Jamaican dogwood is mostly used for pain. It has sedative effect, reduces muscle spasm and cools nerve pain. It also reduces inflammations. It has often been the top choice for relieving nerve pain and it has been proved to be powerful in pain management.  It is derived from the bark of the dogwood tree, and can be taken in capsule or tincture forms as well as a tea from the bark’s powder.  Though known for pain management it can contribute in help with addiction as when used it helps to calm down the nerves and relive an addict off the withdrawal effects like depression and anxiety that most of the times can lead to relapse. However beneficial it is it can be potentially dangerous when used for self-medication. It is therefore safe to use it with instructions from an integrative addiction doctor as it is irritant and can cause numbness, tremors, salivation, and sweating.

Wood Betony

Wood Betony

This herb is commonly found in Europe. This plant is rich in medicinal properties. To begin with the fresh, undried leaf of wood betony is a natural pain reliever. This analgesic is good for addiction as it helps in calming the nerves as well as fighting some common symptoms of addiction like depression anxiety and insomnia.

Valeria

Valeria has great sedation properties. As have been revealed by past literature, Valeria has great influence on the cerebro-spinal system. In a recovering addict this herb can be used to promote nerve relaxation and sleep. Insomnia is a common symptom that most addicts battle with, with valerian a recovering addict can be helped evade the grave effects of insomnia and anxiety. It does this by exerting an influence quieting and soothing in its nature upon the brain and nervous system. Other herbs that have been found to be helpful in the journey of addiction treatment and recovery are; Yellow Jasmine, St. Johns worts and chamomile among others

Finally, Here at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center we are committed to availing help to addicts by availing some of the most integrative approaches to healing an addict. We advocate for natural healing to all kinds of addiction. Call on Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for help.

Use of Jamaican Dogwood, Valerian, Wood Betony, Yellow Jasmine in Pain and Addiction Treatment

 

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NAC, the Cystine-Glutamate Antiporter and Addiction

NAC, the Cystine-Glutamate Antiporter and Addiction

Addiction is one complex problem faced by many. There is no limit to how many things people can get addicted to. If you cannot go a day without watching a movie, and then it gets to a point when you must slot in a couple of hours in your daily schedule to watch movies then that is your addiction.

If you keep getting those cravings for soda or sugary meals, you try to stay without them but the urge is so much that you only calm down after satisfying that thirst then that is an addiction.

Addiction can be good or bad. You can be addicted to work, you love your work that you can’t spend time away from your job. That is addiction. Such positive addictions too may be unhealthy. If you are addicted to work for instance, you will hardly spare time for other essential activities, such as being with your family.

Other forms of addiction often associated with the term, such as drug and substance abuse are detrimental to your health. A person who is addicted to alcohol for instance cannot live without it. Their lives often revolve around the liquor. The same applies to coke, cigarettes, marijuana and all other recreational drugs. The substance of addiction gets to dictate how you live your life.

the Cystine-Glutamate Antiporter

Facts about addiction

The habit is a problem. You have to first admit it in order to be able to get over it. An addict who finds it difficult to get over the problem may often be tempted to blame it on someone, or something else. But that is not a solution, acceptance is key.

Giving in to one’s yearnings is a matter of choice. At the beginning of any addiction you often see yourself in control of the situation. You are not forced to do anything, you just do it because you enjoy the act. With time though, this control diminishes and you become increasingly more vulnerable to the substance of your addiction.

You are in a position to drop your addictions by saying ‘no’ to the substance. This is the premise under which psychosocial support for addiction recovery is usually built. Through guidance one is offered a way out of their drug or substance habit. At such point, it is upon you to decide whether or not you are going to adopt a clean lifestyle.

 

NAC and Addiction

N-Acetyl L-Cysteine is a chemically changed version of the non-essential amino acids in the body. NAC works by purifying your body by removing harmful toxins. It is highly essential in recovery from drug addiction. alcohol and other drugs commonly abused cause a lot of damage to the liver, lungs, kidneys and other organs and this is likely to result in chronic ailments that are life threatening.  This amino acid is essential as it protects cells from getting damaged in addition to its role in preserving functions of the liver.

It is a known precursor to Glutathione which is the most effective in destroying free radicals. The amino acid works to protect the brain and the liver from damages caused by toxins like alcohol, acidic mater, particles found in the air and cigarettes smoke. It also has other significant functions that are key to the wellbeing of an individual.

Among them, it helps the body to promote its burning of fat and aids the muscle building process. Studies also indicate that it can rid the body of copper by a chelating effect, and is used in the treatment of particular diseases including bronchitis, emphysema and certain respiratory problems among adults.

NAC plays a key role in the production of white blood cells necessary for body immunity. The white cells fight diseases that attack the body and help boost the natural immune response of the body. As such, the amino acid is essential for the defense of the body against disease attack.  It further helps in insulin metabolism and functions, which is key to the body’s blood sugar regulation.

the Cystine-Glutamate Antiporter

Sources of NAC

N-Acetyl L-Cysteine can always be naturally manufactured by the body on its own. The high-protein foods such as eggs and meat are however potent dietary sources of this amino acid. Other good sources include foods such as broccoli, garlic, wheat, onions and red peppers.

Other sources that can be recommended for this important amino acid for those who are recovering from the damage caused by drug addiction include nutritional supplements found in a number of nutrition outlets in different continents. It is however important to seek recommendations form a physician since this product is largely unregulated and health consumers are likely to purchase a product that contains incorrect amount of ingredients recommended for the particular patient.

NAC, the Cystine-Glutamate Antiporter and Addiction

 

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Alcohol Abuse Linked To Head and Neck Cancer

Alcohol Abuse Increases The Risk of Head and Neck Cancer

Head and Neck cancerThere are several types of cancers that are not known to many but are just as serious as the other common cancers like the breast cancer, prostate cancer and even the cervical cancer. Head and neck cancers may be new to you but they have been in existence for just as long as the other common types of cancer it’s only that most people refer to this group by the identity of the individual cancers in the group. Today, head and neck cancers account for approximately 3 percent of all cancers in the United States alone. These cancers are nearly twice as common among men as they are among women. Head and neck cancers are also diagnosed more often among people over age 50 than they are among younger people but indulgence in behaviors that might increase your risk of getting head and neck cancers begin earlier.

Causes of the head and neck cancers

There are many causes of head and neck cancer but alcohol and smoking are the biggest culprits. This doesn’t come as a surprise as alcohol and smoking have been known to be carcinogenic. Researchers of the past have long been able to make it known that about 75 percent of head and neck cancers are caused by a combination of alcohol and tobacco use. Not long ago, two large studies have reviewed patterns of alcohol and tobacco use in people with cancer of the mouth, throat, and larynx, the head and neck cancers most likely to be caused by smoking and drinking.

Of these studies, one study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, and another was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Both studies assembled data from previous case-controlled studies and included myriads of cases of laryngeal, pharyngeal, and oral cancers matched against normal controls. The reported findings from these studies shed some light on just how alcohol and tobacco alone or in combination can influence the development of the head and neck cancers. Cancer and smoking to most seem synonymous but lately researchers have been able to establish links between cancers and alcohol drinking too. Here are some of the findings from these two studies findings.

  • Smoking lightly for many years increases the risk of head and neck cancer more than smoking heavily for only a few years.
  • Drinking heavily for a few years increases the risk of head and neck cancer more than drinking moderately for many years.
  • Smoking is most strongly associated with laryngeal cancer.
  • Just smoking increases the risk of head and neck cancer substantially and the risk goes up with the frequency and duration of smoking.
  • Just drinking only increases the risk of head and neck cancer if you have three or more drinks a day.

“These studies are interesting but the most important thing for people to know is that smoking and drinking each increase your risk of head and neck cancer and smoking and drinking together multiply your risk. That means that the cumulative effect is worse than just adding the two risk factors together,” warns Tamer Ghanem, MD, PhD, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

How alcohol Drinking and tobacco smoking causes cancer

As stated earlier, both alcohol and tobacco are known to be carcinogenic. The most known cause of cancer is DNA alteration which leads to gene mutation. Alcohol is full of these carcinogens that once inside the body triggers changes in the DNA make up. Equally tobacco is made up of a cocktail of many toxins that when consumed causes a series of DNA alterations.

Alcohol alone has been shown to cause changes in the cells of the oral mucosa and may damage head and neck cell DNA. This finding now points out to the reality that alcohol abuse alone even without the combination with cigarette smoking is enough to cause the head and neck cancers.

These reports also showed that in a tobacco smoke there are more than 60 are carcinogenic chemicals that does more harm than good when inhaled.

Alcohol may act as a solvent, making it easier for carcinogens in tobacco to enter head and neck cells. This may explain that in combination the effects of smoking and drinking of alcohol can be adverse and escalate the risk of head and neck cancers catching up with the smoker.

Head and Neck CancerFrom these study findings we can say that people who use both tobacco and alcohol are at greater risk of developing these cancers than people who use either tobacco or alcohol alone. However it is safe to quit using alcohol even if you are not a smoker as these two studies plus other earlier ones have been able to establish and cement the fact that alcohol drinking alone is enough to cause DNA alterations which eventually leads to cancers of the Head and neck.

Some common symptoms of Head and neck cancers

Some of these symptoms may include swollen Pharynx, breathing problems, a lump or a sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty in swallowing, and a change or hoarseness in the voice. When you find yourself suffering from these symptoms that may also be same as those people suffer when sick of colds and fever it is good to check with a doctor before it’s too late.

Finally, Drug abuse, addiction and independence are problems that people grapple with every day. These problems need to be treated effectively through integrative medicine. Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an expert at this. Call her on (843) 213-1480 for help.

Alcohol Abuse and Head and Neck Cancer

 

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Using Naltrexone To Treat Addiction Relapse

Using Naltrexone To Decrease Alcohol Relapse

Annually, around 1.5 million people in the USA seek treatment for alcohol and its related problems. In 1994, naltrexone became approved for the treatment of alcoholism by the U.S. FDA. Naltrexone works by blocking opioid receptors found in the brain as well as stemming the endorphin-mediated reinforcing effects of drinking alcohol. There is great  evidence to suggest and prove  that naltrexone has power to significantly reduce alcohol relapses to heavy drinking, the frequency of drinking, quantity of alcohol consumed  by  those who do drink, and also alcohol craving. Naltrexone is vitally beneficial in helping those patients who cannot abstain so as to reduce their drinking patterns, breaking the vicious self-destructive cycle of alcoholics which causes one to drink one drink which leads to the other together with allowing more quality time for psychosocial therapy to be productive. Naltrexone has demonstrated efficiency in a various alcohol-treatment settings using adjunctive psychosocial therapies that provide patients with motivation to stay in treatment, overcome relapses, and also take medications. Individualized and flexible naltrexone dosing can be of great benefit. Longer-term naltrexone therapy exceeding more than three months may be most effective, and naltrexone might be used on an as-needed, “targeted,” basis indefinitely. Alcohol is a very complex substance that affects several chemical systems in the brain.  It is presumed that, when an alcoholic drinks, the brain’s opioid system releases endorphins that trigger the reinforcement that is responsible for enticing one to drink more. Unlike other drugs that were earlier used to treat alcoholism, naltrexone is not addictive in nature and composition and does not in any way react aversively with alcohol.

Natraxene

·        Monthly naltrexone injection to control alcoholism

A monthly dose of Naltrexone, under different trade names, is already in use to treat alcoholism. The monthly dose is   a more convenient approach than current daily oral doses. Using naltrexone combined with counseling could help reduce heavy drinking in people suffering from alcoholism. Because of problems with adhering to daily oral doses of naltrexone, the effectiveness found in treating alcohol dependence with a once-a-month injection of naltrexone improves long-term treatment results. According to a previous study in 2005, naltrexone showed efficiency for treatment of alcohol dependence. However, adherence to daily oral doses can be hectic, and therefore, utilization of oral naltrexone have been limited.

·         Naltrexone should be used with caution in patients with liver disease

For a person suffering from hepatitis or liver failure, naltrexone should not be prescribed.it is recommended that liver function tests such as ALT, AST, gamma glutamyltransferase and bilirubin must be conducted before naltrexone treatment begins and at intervals after the treatment begins. In healthy patients without liver disease, intervals of 1, 3, and 6 month scan be ideal for the tests, then yearly thereafter. Liver function tests should be performed more frequently especially if baseline liver function test results are high, a history of hepatic disease is confirmed, or if a potential hepatotoxic medication is prescribed and if the patient is taking doses higher than 50 mg/day. Naltrexone should be used cautiously in patients whose serum aminotransferase results are greater than five times the upper limit of normal. 

  • Cannot be used for people using opioid for pain management

A careful drug use history and urine toxicological screening should also be done so as to confirm abstinence from opioids, including prescribed pain medications, as well as a lack of opioid dependence before initiating treatment. Comprehensive urine tests should be carried out to measure methadone and other opioids. However, urine testing can be subject to error because typical urine screening tests may not cover all opioids and samples can be tampered with to affect the results.

It is important to note that Administration of naltrexone should not be initiated until the patient has been opioid-free for between 7 to 10 days and that the naloxone challenge test for opioid withdrawal is negative. If no abstinence signs are observed following a preliminary dose of naltrexone 25mg, the rest of the daily dose is administered. Maintenance treatment regimen with naltrexone can be flexible where patients may receive naltrexone 50mg on weekdays and 100mg on Saturday or 100mg every other day, or 150mg every third day. Naltrexone is not suitable for use in patients with acute hepatitis or liver failure and should not be used in patients receiving opioid analgesics. The major active effect of naltrexone is on opioid drugs, which is one class of drugs used primarily to treat pain but is also found in some prescription cough preparations. This is because Naltrexone will block the effect of normal doses of this type of drug. There are many non-narcotic pain relievers that can be used effectively while you are undergoing treatment with naltrexone. Anyway, naltrexone is likely to have little impact on other medications patients commonly used in patients such as non-opioid analgesics (e.g., aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen) and antibiotics, and allergy medications.one should inform a physician of whatever medication he or she is currently taking so that possible interactions can be examined. Since naltrexone is metabolized by the liver, treatments that affect liver function may influence the dose of naltrexone.

naltrexone

A point to note is that naltrexone neither reduces the effects of alcohol that impair coordination nor judgment. Also Naltrexone’s effects on blocking opioids occurs shortly after the first dose is administered. Furthermore, findings confirm that the effects of naltrexone in helping patients remain abstinent and avoid relapse to alcohol use also occur early. However, Naltrexone should not be used with expectant women, people with liver or kidney damage or with patients who cannot practice abstinence for at least 5 days prior to commencing treatment. Also, people who are dependent on opioids such as heroin or morphine must cease their drug use at least 7 days prior to starting naltrexone.

Other than side effects, which are usually for a short period as well as mild, patients normally report that they are unaware of feelings of being on this medication. Naltrexone usually has no psychological effects and patients do not feel funny. It is also not addictive. While it reduces alcohol craving, it does not interfere with the experience of other types of pleasure.

Using Naltrexone To Decrease Alcohol Relapse

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PAIN AND ADDICTION: COMMON THREADS

Pain is a complex disease whose treatment needs to be keenly addressed. There are variety of medication options which treat pain and from which the patient can choose from. When the pain being experienced by the patient results to be chronic, this becomes a concern which is common with chronic pain patients

Is there any relation between pain and addiction?

pain and addictionWe can actually argue that there is a relationship between pain and addiction. Where does this relationship originate? The relationship of addiction and pain result from the choice that the chronic pain patient chooses when trying to treat this pain. While some methods are proven to cure pain without leaving behind addiction to the patient, some of the medications for pain (Especially prescription drugs like opioids) are known to cause addiction especially when abused. The addiction of such drugs results from their ability to cure pain. These drugs are administered to the patient and initially they tend to treat pain. Over time the body tends to be resistant to these drugs and hence they must be taken with higher frequency and sometimes in higher quantity. If such a drug continues to be taken, it eventually reaches a point when the patient cannot do without it, since the pain temporarily stops when the drug is taken and returns after a short while. This forces the person to be a regular taker of the drug, not necessarily willing but forced by pain experienced. This is the point at which we consider the person to be an addict of the pain killing drug.

Addiction and pain related terminologies

There are terminologies which are related to pain and addiction which results from pain medication. These terms are described below:-

  • Dependence – this refers the situation which results when the patient is exposed to a given medication for an extended period of time. If the medication for example was indented to treat pain, at this stage the person will be living by the medication, which means the pain will only stop when the person takes the medication. This patient is considered to be dependent on the medication and without which the patient will suffer pains. This condition may look like addiction but actually it isn’t.
  • Tolerance – this is yet another term related to pain and addiction. This condition develops over time, and necessitates having to use more of the medication to receive the same effect. This condition is reached when the patient’s body has gotten used to the pain killing medication and the small medication which used to kill the pain no longer has that ability over the body to treat the pain and thus the dose has to be increased to achieve the desired effect (treatment). This condition also should not be seen as addiction because actually it isn’t.
  • Withdrawal – this refers to the symptoms that occur if the medication is suddenly stopped. This is because the cell receptors throughout the body that are used to medication are without it. This is normally the case when the patient is taking significant amounts of opioids and suddenly stops taking them. These symptoms may be severe and even make the patient feel sicker than before. This sometimes may make the patient want to keep on taking them since it is better when taking them than when withdrawn. Some of these symptoms may come in the form of:- tremor, diarrhea, sweating, nausea, vomiting, gastric upset, stress, depression etc. This condition if not given a close look may seem to look like addiction to a given substance, but in the actual sense it isn’t. Withdrawal is though closely related to addiction and sometimes it may be very difficult to differentiate between them. This makes the withdrawal effects to be termed as addiction in most cases.
  • Addiction – this is a situation of psychological need to have a drug or behavior. Some of the common addiction types are the addiction from drugs, internet, eating, shopping, gambling etc. this is the biggest of all the others we have mentioned above (Tolerance, withdrawal and dependence). When a person is addicted by a pain killing drug like opioids, the patient may develop dependence and tolerance to the drug and incase he/she tries to stop taking the drug suddenly, there may be withdrawal which you must go through. This is a both psychological and emotional effect of not having the pain killing drug, which in this case is very difficult for the addict to stop.

pain and addiction

it is very advisable that, if you feel you are being addicted to the pain killing drug that you have been using in the past, be honest to your doctor and speak with your doctor about it. This will ensure that the doctor evaluates your condition in time and consequently help you out by changing the medication while it is not too late.

What causes opioid addiction?

Opioids are prescription medication which is used to treat pain. Sometimes the patient may not use the medication as directed by the physician. This is one of the leading causes of addiction since opioids aree highly addictive. When it becomes an habit for the patient to use opioids, this definitely results into addiction.

Is there any relation between pain and addiction?

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