Can Vitamin Therapy Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms?
Substance abuse takes a toll on the body. Experts agree that most – if not all – recovering alcoholics and drug addicts suffer from a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. Poor diet and addiction-related damage to organs that process and absorb nutrients are normally to blame.
Thanks to 50 years of published literature, medical experts understand that vitamin, mineral, and amino acid therapy plays a pivotal role in the drug detoxification process. Replenishing the body’s deficiencies during early detox has shown to reduce withdrawal symptoms, increase treatment retention, improve psychological status, contribute to higher abstinence rates, and improve the overall quality of life.
Common Nutritional Deficiencies
Studies have shown that people who abuse alcohol and/or drugs are generally deficient in a group of key minerals. Those are: calcium, magnesium, zinc, and chromium, vitamin C, and B-complex vitamins. Additional research has shown that most addicts suffer from at least one of the following disorders:
- Depleted or malfunctioning neurotransmitters
- Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar
- Digestive problems from the inability to absorb nutrients
- Food allergies
Vitamin Supplements Aid the Detox Process
When entering a medically supervised detox program, addicts will go through a complete examination that includes blood work. Once existing vitamin and mineral levels are obtained, daily supplements are prescribed as a way to decrease withdrawal symptoms and speed recovery. For example, vitamins B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), and B5 (pantothenic acid) help convert sugars into energy. Vitamins B6 and B12, on the other hand, help patients maintain healthy red blood cells and ensure peak performance of the nervous system.
In addition to vitamin supplementations, addicts also receive a combination of amino acids during the detox process. Specifically, the amino acids carnitine, glutamine, and glutathione are known to reduce cravings, control blood sugar fluctuations, and decrease stress related to addiction.
Alcohol Detox Specifics
In addition to the supplements mentioned above, alcoholics who consumed excessive amounts of alcohol will likely need extra vitamin therapy. For example, medical professionals almost always prescribe heavy drinkers a thiamine (vitamin B1) supplement. Heavy use of alcohol causes the body to lose its stores of thiamine, which can lead to a serious brain disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
Under the medical supervision of an in-patient detox program, multiple methods of vitamin therapy are used. Administration routes include:
- By mouth (pill form)
- Sublingual (dissolves under the tongue)
- Intravenous (IV) supplementation
- Targeted diet plan
Learn more about your options for drug and alcohol withdrawal treatment
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