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General Drug Abuse / Drug Addiction Information
Drug abuse is a condition that exists when a person overuses drugs or other substances. Research shows that 40% of all Americans will try an illegal drug at least once in their lives; however, not all drugs that are abused are illegal. Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs can be abused as much, if not more often than illegal drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and other lesser known “street drugs”. People who use drugs on a regular basis can develop a physical or psychological need for drugs. This is called drug dependence or drug addiction. Not all drug abusers become addicted, but those who become drug addicts get so accustomed to the presence of a drug in their systems that they find it difficult to impossible to function without it. Drug addicts also experience adverse reactions when the drug is withdrawn, often resulting in unwanted and sometime serious side effects. Most people who abuse drugs deny the fact that they have a problem or do not think a problem exists. This can greatly affect how, and if, they reach out for help.

In addition to the debilitating effects of drug addiction on a normal lifestyle, relationships, and gainful employment, drug abuse poses many serious health risks to the human body, including the potentials of overdose and sudden death. The use of many drugs, including cocaine and heroin, may cause angina, heart attack, coronary artery spasms and damage to the heart muscle. Drug use can weaken the immune system by as much as 40% by damaging white blood cells and causing stress on the body’s digestive and blood cleansing systems. This leaves the body susceptible to disease and illness. Malnutrition is a common affect of drug use because drugs rob the body of important nutrients.

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Possible Causes of Drug Abuse / Drug Addiction
Most researchers believe that addictions are centered around the effect addictive drugs have on dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain that carries signals between neurons which controls feelings if satisfaction, arousal, reward and mood. Addictive drugs elevate the levels of dopamine in our brain and are responsible for a number of other dangerous side effects. Once the body experiences the pleasure of increased dopamine levels, it begins to crave these feelings more often, which may account for the repetition inherent in addictive behavior. The more often drugs like alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines are used to enhance mood, the more the body craves them, leading to addiction. Another cause for addictive behavior centers around the fact that people tend to repeat behaviors they enjoy. If the enjoyable behavior is repeated drug use, addiction can result.

Because the human body has a natural tendency toward normalization or reduced reaction to foreign substances, the quantity of a drug required to produce the same physical and mental pleasure increases over time. Thus, addicts must increase the quantity of drug they are using to get the same feelings of euphoria and mood enhancement experienced in their “early days” of drug use. In many cases the need for such a large quantity of the addictive drug will cause a drug overdose, which can result in death.

The amount of pleasure created by the substance used by an addict is so strong, in many cases even after years of abstinence, there are mental and physical triggers that may cause a person to relapse into use. Research has shown that long term drug abuse and addictions result in changes in brain chemistry that may persist for years after the individual stops using the drug.

Researchers believe that heredity may be increase the susceptibility to addiction. Research has found that children of alcoholics or those with a family history of alcoholism are 400 times more likely to use drugs and have a drug addiction. Other groups at an increased risk of drug use and abuse include teenagers, women, adults over age 65, low-income groups and babies (due to drug use in the mother during pregnancy).

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Possible Symptoms of Drug Abuse / Drug Addiction
Symptoms of drug abuse include a noticeable change in behavior; decreased desire for work or socializing; drowsiness; inattentiveness; mood swings; restlessness; personality changes; loss or increase in appetite; loss or increase in weight; the desire to be alone; and loss of emotional control.

Drug withdrawal symptoms vary widely depending on the addiction. Symptoms may include headaches; insomnia; sensitivity to light and noise; diarrhea; hot and cold flashes; sweating; deep depression; irritability; irrational thinking; and disorientation. In order to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal, most addicts will center their lives on obtaining and using the drug of which they are dependent. This condition may lead to a complete breakdown of normal life, including loss of relationships, loss of employment and use of criminal activity to fund the addiction.

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Possible Lifestyle Changes for Drug Abuse / Drug Addiction
There seems to be no single treatment that will help all people kick a dependent drug habit, so treatment must often be tailored to the individual. To minimize withdrawal symptoms it is often recommended that drugs be eliminated gradually over a period of four weeks or longer. For serious drug addictions hospitalization and or professional help is required. Many rehabilitation programs focus on body detoxification and elimination because drug residue remaining in the body increases the desire for use. Heat therapy, detoxifying regimens, nutritional supplementation and other drugs that enhance dopamine levels without the serious side effects can enhance the recovery process.

Anyone trying to decrease problem drug use should drink at least two quarts of water a day to flush drug toxins from the body. Avoid large quantities of processed foods and sugars that may produce quick energy but have a depressive effect that may increase drug cravings. Exercise can also reduce drug toxins in the body. Avoid all toxins and unnecessary medications that may trigger drug cravings. If residue from marijuana continues to exist in the user's body, cravings for marijuana will arise and withdrawal symptoms will persist. The goal of marijuana detox is to ultimately eliminate the drug and its metabolites from the body to increase the chance of a successful recovery. The body will eventually expel the remaining marijuana residue through urination and sweating.

Various drug rehabilitation centers use scientifically proven methods to expedite the drug detox process, which in turn, makes for a faster and easier recovery. Anyone who needs assistance kicking a drug habit should see a doctor.

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In accordance with FDA regulation, we do not make any therapeutic claims for any Dietary Supplements in accordance with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.

Beneficial Dietary Supplements
Essential Fatty Acids help reverse the effects of malnutrition related to drug addiction.

Vitamin B Complex helps rebuild the liver and reduce stress.

Vitamin B5 helps reduce stress and supports the adrenal glands.

Calcium and Magnesium help nourish the central nervous system and calm the body.

Free Form Amino Acid Complex supplies needed proteins.

L-Glutamine helps increase the levels of GABA in the brain, which has a calming effect.

L-Tyrosine and Valerian support cocaine withdrawal. Do not take L-Tyrosine if using a MAO inhibitor drug.

Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) may help relaxation and reduce cravings.

L-Phenylalanine may assist with withdrawal symptoms.

S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) aids in stress reduction and depression.

5-Hydroxytryptophan aids with stress and withdrawal symptoms.

Vitamin C helps detoxify and reduces drug cravings.

Zinc supports the immune system and protects the liver.

Burdock Root, Red Clover and Milk Thistle aid in cleansing toxins from the blood stream and the liver.

St. Johns Wort supports mood and reduces depression.

Siberian Ginseng helps with cocaine withdrawal.

Multivitamin and Mineral Complex ensure complete nutritional intake.

REFERENCES: Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 3rd Edition, Phyllis Balch, CNC; James F. Balch, M.D.

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