"The future direction of addiction treatment is here clearly outlined. I strongly recommend End Your Addiction Now to all who are involved in the huge addiction problem facing the United States."
End Your Addiction Now: The Proven Nutritional Supplement Program That Can Set You Freeby Charles Gant, Greg Lewis
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Whether it involves drugs, alcohol, smoking, or food, addiction is an overwhelming and destructive force. While many rehabilitation programs are available, the truth is that too many people return to their old habits. Why? End Your Addiction Now not only explores the biochemical factors that are the real cause of this problem, but offers proven advice on how to break addictions once and for all.
Based upon the research and experience of Dr. Charles Gantand other pioneers, this practical handbook provides simple step-by-step directions for kicking the habit. Perhaps most
unique, End Your Addiction Now is designed both to guide its readers to effective physicians and treatment facilities, and to provide a path for those who wish to seek wellness
on their own.
At the heart of Dr. Gant’s approach is a distinctive program of nutritional supplements designed to jump-start recovery by reducing substance cravings. Dr. Gant then walks readers
through a natural process of detoxification and biochemical testing that pinpoints the specific deficiencies that must be addressed to achieve complete recovery.
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Read an Excerpt
A Revolution in the Treatment of Substance Use Problems
Do you fit the following profile?
Esther W. was embarrassed the first time she came into my office. "I just can't seem to quit smoking," she said. "I know there are so many people out there with worse problems than I have, I'm almost ashamed to tell you about mine." Esther had started smoking when she was a junior in high school, to be "one of the crowd," as she put it. That was fifteen years ago. She knew about the dangers: "I can read the warnings on the packs. I just can't make myself take them seriously," she said.
It had gotten to the point where she worried that she was harming the health of the other members of her family, particularly her two small children. She also confessed that she felt as if her husband, who had quit smoking the year before, no longer found her as attractive as he once had and that he'd hinted that her smoking was the primary reason. Esther had tried hypnosis, acupuncture, and a stop-smoking program sponsored by the American Lung Association. I could feel her frustration as she said, "I guess the straw that broke the camel's back for me was when our family doctor prescribed a nicotine patch for me. Isn't nicotine what I'm addicted to? How am I supposed to quit using an addictive substance when all my doctor does is give me a prescription for the same stuff?"
Or perhaps this sounds familiar to you:
Michael M. was eleven years old when his parents first brought him to see me. Within a few minutes of meeting him, I realized Michael was above average in intelligence. He got As and Bs in all of his subjects, but when I asked him about his classes he replied, "Bo-oring."
Michael had been identified as a boy with potential behavioral problems by his third-and fourth-grade teachers. He had gone to a child psychologist once a week for three months in the spring semester of fourth grade, but his unacceptable behavior didn't change. Early in his second semester in fifth grade, Michael's parents were called to a meeting with his teacher and the school psychologist. The teacher reported that Michael's classroom behavior had become "too disruptive." In Michael's teacher's words, "He's constantly fidgeting, and he rarely pays attention in class. He just doesn't seem to have a normal attention span." Both the teacher and the school psychologist recommended that Michael's parents consider "putting him on Ritalin."
His parents took Michael to see their pediatrician, and after a ten-minute consultation, the pediatrician told them that Michael was suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and gave them a prescription for Ritalin for Michael. Michael's classroom behavior got "better" -- meaning he didn't fidget as much -- and his behavior was deemed less disruptive by his teacher. His grades improved marginally, but Michael still thought school was not very interesting. Every day, by the time his afternoon dose of Ritalin had worn off early in the evening, Michael became irritable and unable to concentrate or sit still. His parents decided to live with this behavior, considering they were no longer hearing complaints from school.
When school let out for the summer, and his parents tried to taper his Ritalin usage, Michael began to show hostility toward those around him in addition to being irritable and unable to concentrate. The family doctor advised his parents to keep him on the drug. They even saw a column in the local newspaper that recommended keeping kids on Ritalin during summer vacation. It was Michael who finally opened their eyes. "I don't want to take this stuff," he said. "I can't help it if I'm active. It's just me. I don't want to be a Ritalin geek, but I don't like it when I don't take it. I feel horrible."
Or maybe you're closer to this profile:
Jane L. is a twenty-eight-year-old woman who started her own public relations business and was working very hard to build it up. "It's just me and a secretary right now, but it's really beginning to grow," she told me proudly. The pride turned to sadness when she began to discuss her drinking problem. She and her husband had separated, then divorced, a little over two years ago. To cope with the stress of her divorce and the uncertainty of starting her own business, she began to have a glass or two of wine every night to help herself relax. Within a few months, she was drinking a bottle of wine every evening. She was exhausted every day because she was trying to recover from a hangover while she conducted her business. She started looking forward to weekends, when she could "really unwind." Translation: Drink even more heavily.
Jane began going to a therapist to get help coping with the depression she hadn't really been able to break out of since her divorce. After several months of consultations proved largely ineffective, her therapist recommended Prozac, which Jane's physician willingly prescribed. When I first met her, Jane had been taking the drug for five months, during which time she also continued to drink. When the subject of her drinking came up, the therapist at first told her, "You're not psychologically ready to quit using drugs or alcohol." As her drinking worsened, the therapist began to tell her, "You don't want to quit badly enough," and "Once you've worked through your psychological problems, you'll have a much better chance of stopping your drinking."
These are three of the thousands of patients I've helped to recover successfully from nicotine, alcohol, stimulant, opiate, and prescription drug problems. In this book, I'll tell you more about the specifics of their treatments and show you the step-by-step program that enabled them to end their substance use. Let me start by pointing out several things about these people that virtually all of my patients have in common.
First, they are all good people who began to use addictive substances for what seemed like justifiable reasons and who found that their substance use was causing problems. The message here is that you don't have to be an "addict" to have a problem with addictive substances.
Second, they had all received counseling or treatment from traditional sources, such as psychotherapists, school psychologists, and family physicians. Third, their treatment strategies had them using potentially addictive mood-altering substances, including nicotine, Prozac, and Ritalin. In each case, the substances were supposed to help them overcome their primary problems. Finally, they were unable to find solutions to their problems through traditional methods.
These brief case histories highlight two important tendencies. The first is the consistent failure of traditional approaches in treating substance use problems. The second is the growing tendency among physicians to put their patients at risk by prescribing potentially addictive mood-altering substances, substances that at best temporarily mask behavioral and substance use problems. At worst, the patients whom these prescription drugs are supposed to help actually become addicted to the substances themselves. These trends have led many people to question whether traditional approaches really work. The answer is not just a simple yes or no.
There's no doubt that traditional drug and alcohol treatment strategies used by most physicians and in most drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities have enjoyed some success. On average, around 25 percent of the people who use these traditional methods do recover. But there's a catch: Approximately 20 percent of all substance abusers recover with no treatment at all. In any case, if you have a substance problem, your chance of recovery through traditional methods is about one in four, and I think those are lousy odds. Whether it's your therapist, your M.D., or your AA sponsor, he or she is in effect saying to you, "Do it my way. I'll help you recover." What they're not saying is that you may recover if you're the lucky one in four patients. I think you deserve better.
I've spent the past twenty-five years treating compulsive substance users, from smokers to alcoholic and drug-dependent people. I became frustrated very early by the obvious inadequacies of traditional methods used by most of the addictions treatment community, and this frustration led me to begin closely following the exciting new scientific research in the field of biochemistry. It is this research -- virtually ignored by most addictions treatment professionals -- that has become the basis for my revolutionary new substance abuse treatment strategy, the Power Recovery Program. This program takes full advantage of what the research has taught us, and it has consistently achieved outstanding recovery rates.
The proof of this is in the results. While I was Medical Director of the Tully Hill Hospital, a fifty-six-bed, JCAH-approved (Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Hospitals) drug and alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation facility near Syracuse, New York, I developed a treatment program that incorporated totally natural nutritional supplements (including nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals) into the overall treatment plans for thousands of patients. This nutritional supplementation protocol was based on the revolutionary new discoveries in biochemistry to which I've referred. According to a clinical outcome study conducted by New Standards, Inc., an independent research group that assesses drug and alcohol recovery results, more than 80 percent of the patients who followed through with the nutritional protocols I implemented remained alcohol-and drug-free two years after completing their treatment. That's over three times better than the national average when conventional methods are used. These results suggest that with the Power Recovery Program, the odds are as high as five to one that you will be able to successfully overcome your substance use problem.
LET'S EXAMINE SOME OF THE MYTHS ABOUT SUBSTANCE USE
The primary reason my patients have been able to achieve such dramatic results using the Power Recovery Program is that I've developed a plan that avoids what I call "the four myths about compulsive substance use." Let me dispel these myths right now.
Myth 1: Compulsive substance use is a sign of lack of will power, or of an underlying moral or spiritual problem.
Myth 2: Drugs and alcohol are the causes of substance abuse.
Myth 3: Chronic substance users are "victims" of a disease that can be treated as we treat other diseases: with prescription drugs.
Myth 4: Once you've successfully stopped using drugs or alcohol, you have to engage in a constant struggle not to relapse.
None of these myths is true, but most physicians and counselors specializing in alcohol and drug rehabilitation will tell you that they are. They've become the cornerstone beliefs of almost all traditional approaches. In fact they're rationalizations that are often used as excuses for the ineffectiveness of the addictions treatment strategies of the past fifty years or so. Let me put it another way: If you were a doctor and able to cure only about 25 percent of the patients you treated, of course you'd think that the condition you were treating was a very difficult one. And if you started with the idea that the condition you were treating resulted from a moral weakness in your patients, your approach to the condition would reflect that idea. It's called a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you subscribed wholeheartedly, as most doctors do, to the idea that all diseases were caused by outside agents such as germs, and that by taking medications to control these agents you could control disease, it would be a small jump to call substance problems "diseases" caused by nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs, and to attempt to treat them with prescription drugs, as you treated other diseases.
Clearly, traditional approaches are producing unacceptable recovery rates in large part because they're based on incorrect assumptions about the nature of substance problems. I've been able to avoid these pitfalls with the Power Recovery Program because I've translated recent biochemical research into a revolutionary approach that treats substance problems where they really happen: at the cellular and molecular levels.
Let me give you some background. Every one of the tens of trillions of cells in our bodies functions according to an ancient and complex set of biochemical laws that have been evolving for billions of years. Most of these cells have become highly specialized, performing one or a small number of very specific tasks. Within each individual cell in our bodies, millions of chemical reactions occur every second. Each of these reactions requires a specific combination of nutrients, in precisely the right amount, in order to take place. If we're not getting the nutrients we need, we may not be supplying our cells with the raw materials they need to carry out their complex chemistry. This can result in a condition of biochemical imbalance, and it can cause our physical and mental health to deteriorate if left uncorrected.
Imbalances are particularly important in the biochemistry of brain cells, or neurons. Neurons produce chemical substances called neurotransmitters. These substances are the brain's messengers, and by exchanging neurotransmitters among themselves, neurons control virtually every aspect of our lives. Several key neurotransmitters, which I'll discuss in more detail in this and following chapters, affect our moods and behavior dramatically. When the brain is unable to produce them in adequate supply, or when toxins (including nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs) compromise their normal activity, or when illness or stress depletes them, we may feel restless, depressed, angry, or agitated, or be unable to focus or concentrate. So common are these feelings among people who abuse drugs and alcohol that, if you have a substance problem, you probably recognize them in yourself. Perhaps you use drugs or alcohol to help overcome them.
DRUGS AND ALCOHOL: SHORT-CIRCUITING BRAIN CHEMISTRY
Potentially addictive substances, including nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, Prozac, and Valium, to name only a few, function by short-circuiting brain chemistry. Their chemical structures are such that they literally substitute for the neurotransmitters the brain may be unable to produce in adequate amounts. That is, they make us temporarily feel better and change our behavior by "fooling" the brain into thinking it is producing enough of certain neurotransmitters.
Let me give you an example of how this process works. The neurotransmitter dopamine has a powerful effect on the way we feel and behave. When brain cells are producing this neurotransmitter in adequate amounts, we feel focused and alert. Dopamine also enables us to get the fullest enjoyment from pleasurable experiences. Under normal circumstances, our brain cells use nutrients to produce billions of molecules of dopamine every second. This assembly takes place according to a formula that does not vary. If there is a shortage of even one of the necessary nutrients, dopamine cannot be produced in adequate amounts, causing us to have difficulty concentrating, putting us in a bad mood, and inhibiting our ability to enjoy pleasurable activities. A number of drugs, cocaine and Ritalin in particular, act as substitutes for dopamine, temporarily making us feel the way we would feel if our brains were producing dopamine in adequate amounts.
In short, based on my medical practice and the scientific research of the past twenty-five years, I have come to understand that substance problems are the result of biochemical imbalances that disrupt the normal workings of brain cells.
Most addictions treatment professionals believe incorrectly that substance use problems are caused by emotional and psychological factors, even by the substances themselves. In fact, scientific research has shown that substance cravings, mood swings, sleep problems, and dysfunctional behavior are driven by biochemical imbalances that disrupt the production of neurotransmitters. The imbalances result when our brains are unable to get the nutrients they need to produce adequate amounts of neurotransmitters. Through the Power Recovery Program, these imbalances can be corrected and normal neurotransmitter production restored by making sure our brains are supplied with the natural nutrients they need. The key component of the program is taking specific nutritional supplements that provide the brain with the raw materials it needs to rebalance its biochemistry. In other words, the most critical component in recovering from compulsive substance use is rebalancing brain chemistry. Many studies, which are documented in the Bibliography of this book, provide conclusive evidence that this is true, and my experience in successfully treating thousands of patients for the past two decades confirms it.
As you can imagine, in the light of this new knowledge about the biochemistry of addictions, we've had to significantly change what we mean by the word "recovery." Recovery is no longer simply the removal of drug or alcohol residues from the body of a substance user. And it does not consist simply of a psychological or spiritual transformation, as most traditional treatment programs would define it. Recovery is the re-establishment of normal brain chemistry. That chemistry may have become disrupted through the prolonged use of one or more toxic substances, including alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes; by toxins in the environment; by physical or emotional stress; by nutritional deficiencies; or because of a genetic predisposition. The key to recovery is getting your brain chemistry back to normal. The Power Recovery Program shows you how to eliminate the need for drugs and alcohol in your life by using only natural nutrients to rebalance your biochemistry.
HOW CAN THE POWER RECOVERY PROGRAM HELP ME?
The Power Recovery Program has one purpose: to help you, as a recovering substance user, improve your outcome, regardless of what else you do. By "improve your outcome," I mean dramatically increase the odds that you'll be able to successfully recover from your substance problem. You'll notice that I haven't said that you need to abandon any treatment strategy you're using now. If you're following a traditional recovery strategy, you've got about a one-in-four chance of success. If you combine that strategy with the Power Recovery Program, the evidence suggests that you'll increase your chances of recovery to five out of six. Even if you're not currently following a recovery plan, the Power Recovery Program will give you the best chances for complete recovery. The program is unique because you can use it as a standalone strategy, or you can combine it with any other program you're currently following.
Copyright ©(2002) by Charles Gant and Greg Lewis.
Meet the Author
Dr. Charles Gant received his medical degree from the University of Virginia, with residencies in Family Practice and Psychiatry. For over a decade, he has pioneered the practice of orthomolecular medicine in the treatment of
substance abuse. He has served as medical director of Tully Hill Hospital, a rehabilitation facility in Syracuse, New York, where he achieved an 83-percent success rate in ending patients’ addictions.
Dr. Greg Lewis received his PhD in English from Kent State University and has been a member of the faculties of Kent State and St. Bonaventure University. For the past twenty years, he has worked as a professional freelance writer.
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