Orthomolecular Alcoholism Treatment

Utilizing Vitamins For Alcoholics
Restoring Nutritional Balance



Orthomolecular Alcoholism Treatment
Repairing the physical damage caused by nutritional and vitamin deficiencies



Orthomolecular alcoholism treatment differs from other alcohol dependency treatments in so far as it focuses on the physical damage to the brain that is caused by alcohol dependence. Only by restoring the molecular balance, can alcoholics comfortably remain abstinent.

It is in stark contrast to the traditional 12-step method, which attempts to correct the behavioral, spiritual and emotional causes of alcoholism, paying no attention to the physical damage alcohol may have caused.

However, the two approaches are not mutually exclusive. In fact Bill W., one of the founding fathers of Alcoholics Anonymous was of the belief that correcting damage at the molecular level, with nutritional and vitamin supplements, was an important factor in treating alcohol dependency. However is advised by orthomolecular practitioners that once they have been 'fixed' at the molecular level, recovering alcoholics should attend 12-step meetings regularly.



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The Importance Of Niacin(Vitamin B3)

Niacin, or Vitamin B3, is at the forefront of orthomolecular treatment. Dr. Abram Hoffer (the so-called father of orthomolecular medicine) in his book, "The Vitamin Cure For Alcoholism" writes of how he determined that many alcoholics have low blood sugar and/or problems metabolizing sugar; Alcohol is, in his words, 'a liquid sugar' so drinking is a way of self-medicating for the alcoholic.

Niacin can help in the metabolizing of sugar and so it is essential that an alcoholic take vitamin supplements containing high doses of B3.

This, however, is not enough to stop the alcoholic drinking and there are other supplements that are essential for the molecular structure of the average alcoholic to return to normal functioning.

Dr. Hoffer speaks of alcoholics who continued to drink while taking Niacin and who managed slowly but surely to bring their drinking under control.


What Other Supplements Are Used In Orthomolecular Alcoholism Treatment

Below you will find a list of some of the most common vitamin and nutritional supplements that are often recommended with orthomolecular alcoholism treatment (along with a healthy diet, of course):

  • Vitamin C that is used to assist the liver in the body in the process of breaking down toxins that the consumption of alcohol has caused. This is one of the main vitamins for alcoholics using the orthomolecular way. Large doses of vitamin C can also help the body's system in neutralizing the products of toxic breakdown.
  • Multivitamins that specifically contain the antioxidants d-alpha tocopherol and carotene, as well as magnesium and other minerals.
  • Glutamine, a natural anti-inflammatory that also supports good bone health.
  • Chromium, which helps in controlling levels of blood sugar and a higher level of carbohydrate metabolism by the body.
  • L-Glutamine, which can help in causing a reduction of cravings for sugar and alcohol.
  • B-complex vitamins, which help a great deal in decreasing depression and stress levels. B-complex supports healthy thyroid function, boosts metabolism and increases energy.
There are three major benefits to orthomolecular alcoholism treatment:

  • It is safe (no danger of overdose and it is extremely rare to have any sort of reaction to the supplements and vitamins above).
  • It is relatively inexpensive.
  • It is easy to access. It is highly recommended that you consult a physician trained in orthomolecular medicine before commencing the treatment. This will give you a structured approach and make it more likely that the treatment will have a successful outcome.





Other Alcoholism Alternative Treatments:



Depression And Orthomolecular Alcoholism Treatment

Depression often co-occurs with alcoholism. Whether alcoholism causes depression or vice versa is open to debate, but what is certain is that orthomolecular medicine can alleviate depression also.

Depression, in the eyes of the orthomolecular physician, is also as a result of molecular imbalances which can be righted with supplements and vitamins.

So if your depression was a causal factor of your alcoholism or a result of it, orthomolecular alcoholism treatment will alleviate it and, by doing so will reduce the risk of you turning to drink in order to self-medicate.

Health Recovery Center

To paraphrase Dr. Abram Hoffer the Health Recovery Center is the first (and arguably only) orthomolecular alcoholism treatment center. Set up by Joan Mathews Larson in response to the suicide of her son, the HRC, as it is known, has many years of operation under its belt and many testimonials to it treatment regimen.

For more on this treatment center and how it works, read Health Recovery Center.

After Restoring Molecular Balance, What Next?

In the past, it would have been recommended by an orthomolecular physician that you attend 12-step meetings after undergoing alcoholism treatment with vitamins and supplements.

This advice is because orthomolecular alcoholism treatment may correct the physical damage to the brain, but it cannot correct the so-called spiritual and behavioral issues that co-occur with alcohol dependency. Alcoholics Anonymous is the tool for this.

But that was then and this is now; there are now alternative support groups that have sprung up over the past 30 years or so. Take a look at the resources below to access support groups that do the same job as AA, or take a look at the AA program and see if it suits you.


Support groups that can help you stay away from alcohol:



Return from Orthomolecular Alcoholism Treatment to Alcohol Treatment Programs 

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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice, Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)



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