Before exploring the best natural supplements for addiction, let’s briefly examine dependence. As well as some causes and natural preventions of addictions.
What types of addictions are there?
People can become addicted to many things, such as food, drugs, sex, alcohol, exercise, and caffeine, you name it. However, the more commonly thought of addictions is drug and alcohol addictions. Addictions can control your life and rob you and your loved ones of their joy and happiness.
How do you get rid of addictions for good?
A great way to overcome addictions is to join a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A) or Narcotics Anonymous (N.A). This will give you a support system for people who have been through the same or similar feelings and situations as you. You can also do it remotely now, and you can do it on your schedule if you do not feel like going in person.
Secondly, go to therapy to determine what caused you to be addicted and what treatment plans are best for you.
We are finding other ways to cope with stress and using mindfulness to be aware of the negative aspects of substance use and work on how to be happy again without it.
What causes addictions?
It can depend on the situation; however, when it comes to alcohol addiction, it starts in the mid-teens to early adulthood. People often believe that alcohol use disorder is a stubborn condition; however, severe cases only represent a tiny portion of individuals that struggle with this disorder. (APA, 2017)
Environmental factors that contribute to addictions include the availability of the substance, cultural attitudes, stress levels, and a person’s familiarity with those substances.
Genetic and physiological factors include alcohol use can be influenced by genetic factors. The likelihood of someone struggling with alcohol use disorder is three to four times higher if they have a close relative who works with it.
Negative reinforcements by wanting to get rid of stress, individuals may temporarily use drugs or alcohol to reduce those feelings temporarily; however, they can get worse long-term.
In addition, their bodies make a space within them to accept continuous drug use, and when their levels drop, their bodies create uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. This increases the addictiveness of drugs or alcohol.
Gaba production is another reason alcohol can be addictive; however, there are natural ways to increase GABA. Gaba is a neurotransmitter that naturally calms the body and eases tension.
Can you prevent addiction?
To put it simply, yes and no. The feelings of getting drunk or high can become addicting, especially if those are your primary ways of getting serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine especially plays a role in addiction because it motivates you to want to get more of it. However, which drugs and alcohol can do that, exercise does the same thing, and it works as a natural antidepressant!
Another way to increase dopamine is to accomplish goals. An easy way to feel you are accomplishing things is by writing down a list for the day and checking them off. Simple things like “doing a 5-minute meditation” or “drinking a glass of water first thing this morning.” When you make some of your self-care goals, you are accomplishing a to-do list and implementing taking care of yourself.
Unfortunately, many adolescents and young adults are exposed to drugs and alcohol at a young age, and they don’t understand the risks. They are also more impressionable and more likely to become addicted and stay addicted due to their substance of choice. In addition, since alcohol and drugs are often presented as ways to enjoy life, children and young adults are taught that they can reward themselves; this positive reinforcement plays a significant role in their use.
Brain stress responses are activated and contribute to drug addiction because when the drug is absent, your body still wants that relaxed feeling from the drug. This is part of how dependency occurs and switches from drug and alcohol use disorder to abuse disorders. (Walters & Rotgers, 2012)
Natural Ways to Cope with Addiction
Psychotherapy is a great way to cope with addiction and even avoid it if you currently use substances and you find that you may become quickly addicted. In addition, motivational interviewing helps those who suffer from substance abuse disorders initiate changes in their lives.
Commitment language increases the individual’s long-term pattern of change. A therapist does this by increasing language opportunities that make the individual want to change. Positive affirmations focus on how much control they have over their choices. (Walters & Rotgers, 2012)
Exercising is a great way to increase the neurotransmitters that make you feel good and cause you to feel less like you need substances to help you create them. When you produce these feel-good hormones in your lifestyle, your ability to deal with stress will be more significant, and the need for substances to help with that will be less.
Supplements for Addiction
Using supplements for addiction helps increase the feelings you get when using substances and is a great way to make the change or avoid them together.
GABA supplements increase GABA levels in the body, whereas alcohol depletes it. So although alcohol can make you feel relaxed and have GABA short-term, it can decrease your ability to produce GABA. Since GABA is a neurotransmitter and an amino acid, you can supplement with it directly compared to other neurotransmitters.
5-HTP and Tryptophan increase serotonin levels naturally, and serotonin plays a role in addiction. This is why desserts and sweet foods can be addicting because they raise serotonin levels. Tryptophan is a weaker amino acid, so it needs to be taken alone and waited at least 30 minutes before eating protein to avoid competing with other amino. So taking it before bed and after dinner would be wise. 5-HTP is taken with or without protein, but it may have a lesser chance of crossing the blood-brain barrier. This is not necessarily the case, I have taken 5-HTP, and it does wonder to increase serotonin and feelings of happiness.
B-Vitamins are commonly depleted with drug and alcohol usage. Therefore it is critical to replenish them either individually or in a b-complex. In addition, b vitamins help with energy levels, thyroid function, stress response, etc.
Vitamin C is high in peppers and strawberries, but supplementing it will help keep your levels higher. Alcohol suppresses your immune response, and vitamin c, of course, plays a vital role in immune function. Not to mention, vitamin c helps with wound healing and collagen production, and detoxing when you are having withdrawal symptoms.
Magnesium helps with stress, sleep, blood sugar balance (energy balance), fatigue, tension, and soreness.
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that increases dopamine levels, which helps you feel good when using meth and opiates. However, there are few side effects and many other benefits of L-tyrosine. Therefore, you get the feeling you want without adversative side effects from substance addiction.
Some of the best ways to avoid falling victim to addiction are self-care, giving yourself “feel-good neurotransmitters,” and going to therapy when you face challenging times to support yourself. Eat a healthy diet and supplement with nutrients that you are deficient in. Join a support group such as N.A or A. A to help you with accountability if you are addicted and need help staying sober. We have new opportunities every day, and as I like to tell my daughter, “we can do hard things.”
Thank you for checking out these natural supplements for addiction. Did you experience relief with a vitamin or supplement not listed? Please let me know in the comments below!
American Psychiatric Association. (2017). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: Dsm-5.
Walters, S. T., & Rotgers, F. (2012). Treating substance abuse: Theory and technique. Guilford Press.
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Megan is the owner and founder of Holistic Momma. Her background is in the natural health industry, and her education is in psychology and a current degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She writes about natural ways to cope with your mental health and how moms can communicate with and take care of their children in a loving and effective manner.