Once through the initial window of medically monitored cessation protocols, our main focus will turn to strategies for long-term successful recovery relating specifically to alcohol. We know that there are a number of well-documented causes of an addictive biochemistry that will crave alcohol. We will discuss five of these below, giving a short summary of each that can be referred to while considering or discussing your or your loved one’s treatment plans.
Common Reasons for Alcohol Cravings
The first, most common (70%) cause of an addictive biochemistry that will crave alcohol is hypoglycemia. Persons with hypoglycemia experience symptoms when their blood sugar drops to 70mg/dl or lower. These symptoms can include headache, confusion, dizziness, hunger, shakiness, irritability, racing heart, and anxiety. Alcohol, basically a sugar, rapidly raises blood sugar levels and will satisfy this craving nearly immediately. On a physiological level, low blood sugar represents potential death, and so the cravings associated with it can be very powerful. A person whose body is hypoglycemic often consumes sugar and simple carbohydrates when they are not actively drinking. Until correcting the hypoglycemic state, their recovery will be challenged, and their sobriety cannot easily be sustained over this condition.
The second reason for alcohol cravings comes from the condition referred to as “allergic-addicted”, where a person lacks the enzyme to detoxify or metabolize alcohol. Very small amounts of alcohol can result in dramatic changes in mood and behavior. We could describe the condition as one of genetic disposition. The allergic reaction causes endorphins to be released. The endorphin release drives this type of alcohol addiction and behavior. The addiction is to the endorphin release. But this condition can be significantly alleviated by building natural endorphin levels through natural means.
THIQ Genetic Polymorphism
Another genetic type of addiction to alcohol is one where the body converts alcohol to acetaldehyde, and then into THIQ, a powerful opiate compound. This production of THIQ is what the person gets addicted to. This is the person who can drink everyone else under the table and seems to get high rather than drunk. This type may also be helped by raising endorphins.
The fourth motivator for overconsumption of alcohol is anxiety. It is quite easy to confuse the anxiety alcoholic with the hypoglycemic, as the blood sugar drop often creates anxiety. Here is how to tell the difference. In the hypoglycemic, the anxiety is associated with the blood sugar drop. Whereas, in the true anxiety alcoholic, the anxiety seems to always be present, like a constant roar in the background of daily life. This type has usually been poisoned by excitotoxins, such as pesticides or heavy metals that continue to over-stimulate the nervous system on a chronic, daily basis, at least until removal of these excitotoxins has been accomplished.
Trauma-based Blackout Drinking
Let us not overlook another common reason for drinking, as in the blackout drinker. This person has endured tragic trauma and is attempting to escape their naturally uncomfortable feelings. A humane and effective approach to treatment would be to give the person ways to identify and release these areas of past distress and emotional pain.
Until these underlying components are addressed, which they can be, the person is likely white-knuckling until their next relapse
Holistic Approaches to Alcohol Withdrawal & Recovery
Whatever an individual’s personal goals may be, the ATMC aims to provide the tools to get you there. While we are not a 12-step based program, we can facilitate our client’s to participate in local meetings during their free time, if that is desired. Medical oversight and the highest, safest standards of withdrawal management are provided.
You will find our holistic center housed in a beautiful residence, nestled among the majestic Sedona Red Rock Mountains of Arizona, under year-round clear blue skies and temperate warm weather. The center provides a serene, very comfortable location to find rest and respite. Clients participate in a program rich with therapies designed specifically for each person’s health and recovery goals.
Swimming in either of the beautiful pools, local hiking, and breathtaking photography opportunities add to the many activities within close proximity to the center. Many describe the setting as retreat-like, especially when coupled with the high-level compassionate care which our staff of over 40 expert physicians and caregivers will provide during the client’s stay with us.
Alcohol is often used to cover up and find relief from emotional trauma and distress. Counseling that we offer in many genres has been extremely effective in helping to identify and release the factors which are acting as contributors to the anxiety, depression, fears, regrets, and other negatives that a person has been using alcohol to self-medicate. In the words of the program’s founder, Lyle Murphy, “When we do not have the access to meet the inner desires for our life, we often turn to the toxic mimic: drugs or alcohol, to fill that void”.
Treatment for alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal at ATMC can include various methodologies, depending on individual circumstances. However, some of the common threads include assessment of the person’s addictive biochemistry, determining the level of treatment that is needed, and customizing an entire treatment plan for each person’s ultimate recovery. Our program also offers counseling, peer support, nutritional therapies, exercise, yoga, massage, acupuncture, customized diet, lab testing, continuous treatment and evaluation to make sure that the person is not going to relapse after leaving treatment. If a resident is in pain, it is our immediate goal to stabilize and relax this person. 24/7 supervision and support is provided to meet the needs of each unique individual.