Alcohol abuse can manifest itself in many variations and degree of severity. It can be the case of the person who only drinks socially, but to excess each time. It can be the person who starts drinking as soon as they wake up in order to “settle their nerves.” Or it can be the person who has a just a couple of beers after work, but absolutely relies on them each night.
The main factor is that the alcohol consumption has gotten beyond that person’s control; they are unable or unwilling to change their behavior.
Traditional Medicine and Alcohol Abuse
The options in traditional medication for alcohol abuse are focused on withdrawal symptom management and aversion therapy. These medications are strong, they can cause other health issues and they do not often treat the underlying craving adequately.
Tranquilizers and/or antipsychotic medications may reduce the symptoms of withdrawal such as anxiety and tremors. Naltrexone is used to lessen the craving for alcohol and Disulfiram discourages alcohol consumption with extreme nausea and vomiting. While some success can be appreciated by these medications, they are costly and they can have side effects that range from vomiting to liver damage. If the alcohol abuse is severe and interfering with life/work obligations then the correct action is to seek care with a medical provider.
The Natural Cure in Treating Alcohol Abuse
There are several facets to decreasing alcohol usage; they include craving for alcohol, nutritional imbalances and the use of alcohol for stress reduction.
The herbs milk thistle and kudzu have been found to be beneficial in reducing the harmful effects of alcohol consumption and in reducing alcoholic craving. Milk thistle is recommended at a dose 120mg twice a day in order to counteract the harmful effects of alcohol on the liver. Kudzu extract (1500mg three times a day) can significantly reduce alcohol cravings.
Vitamins that are used to treat alcohol abuse include:
- magnesium (250mg twice a day) to decrease withdrawal symptoms
- selenium (200mcg daily) to protect the liver
- glutamine (100mg three times a day)
- chromium (500mg twice a day) to reduce cravings for alcohol.
The consumption of alcohol causes rapid shifts in blood sugar and decreased metabolism of toxins through the liver. In very heavy drinkers the availability of essential nutrients is impaired due to these facts as well as the decreased hunger and resulting decline in healthy food intake.
First and foremost, the diet should be revamped to eliminate simple sugars, caffeine and saturated fats. These substances are processed through the liver making its job that much more difficult. There also needs to be an increase in complex carbohydrates, protein and essential fatty acids. These are simpler food and therefore more easily processed.
Alcohol consumption also causes depletion in the B vitamins, recommended supplements include.
- B1 (thiamine) (100 mg daily)
- folic acid (1mg daily)
- essential fatty acids in the form of fish oil (1000mg daily)
In this holistic treatment of alcohol abuse attention must be paid to the reduction and management of stress. In particular the person seeking a reduction in alcohol consumption should keep a diary that tracks their moods and their reactions to those moods. Stress reduction techniques can then be effectively targeted to the triggers that prompt excessive alcohol consumption.