Our Sedona/Flagstaff alcohol treatment center is unlike all others. Do you ever wonder why some people are alcoholics and others are not? There are biophysical motivators for alcohol use that we address to make the difference between long-lasting sobriety and the next relapse.
After medically monitored alcohol cessation our main focus will turn to strategies for long-term alcohol recovery. A number of well-documented causes of addictive biochemistry 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.
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Listed below are 5 common reasons for alcohol cravings that cannot be overlooked when seeking full recovery from craving alcohol and treating the factors involved in chronic alcohol overuse. A brief description follows each item, with important clinical references that we recommend being studied for a fuller understanding of each.
Five common reasons for alcohol cravings:
The first, most common (70%) cause of 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. Correcting the diet has many benefits in recovery, not the least of which is managing blood sugar in healthy and sustainable ways.13
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 a number of chemical responses to occur, including 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. A comprehensive treatment program must address these factors of human health as they can provide the missing tools for long-term success in substance use disorder recovery.
THIQ Genetic Polymorphism 3,9
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. Neurotransmitter rehabilitation is a specialty at Alternative to Meds Center.
Neurotoxic Anxiety 4,8
The fourth motivator for the 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 hypoglycemia, anxiety is associated with a 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 overstimulate the nervous system on a chronic, daily basis, at least until the removal of these excitotoxins has been accomplished. Neurotoxin removal is one of the key pillars of our recovery program at Alternative to Meds Center.
Trauma-based Blackout Drinking 5,10-12
Let us not overlook another common reason for drinking, regarding 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. CBT is one form of psychotherapy, along with trauma counseling and other interventions that have proven clinically effective in overcoming the lingering and debilitating effects of trauma.
Until these underlying components are addressed, which they can be, the person is likely white-knuckling until their next relapse.
Holistic Approaches at Sedona and Flagstaff Alcohol Rehab
ATMC addresses the addictive biochemistry of alcoholism in addition to treating the emotional components. Searching for, discovering, and addressing the underlying medical, genetic, emotional, and other factors contributing to addictive biochemistry provide the most successful and important elements of the Alternative to Meds alcohol treatment program. For instance, toxins from the environment including heavy metal toxicity can destroy the body’s capacity to create the natural chemicals and hormones that regulate depression and anxiety. Cleansing the body of these damaging factors can be instrumental in releasing the person from these toxic grips of alcohol addiction.
Whatever an individual’s personal goals may be, ATMC aims to provide the tools to get you there. While we are not a 12-step-based program, we can facilitate our clients 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 Red Rocks of Sedona, 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 that our staff of over 40 expert physicians and caregivers will provide during the client’s stay with us. Diet is also a key factor in true recovery. Our gourmet chef is well-versed in orthomolecular principles that support health and healing.
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 our Sedona and Flagstaff alcohol treatment center can implement 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 offers many genres of counseling, peer support, nutritional therapies, exercise, Qi Gong, acupuncture, nebulized glutathione treatments, IV + NAD, colon hydrotherapy, yoga, equine-assisted therapy, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, customized diet, lab testing, co-occurring disorders treatment, continuous treatment, and evaluation, and a wealth of adjunctive therapies 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 so that maximum relief is obtained. 24/7 supervision and support are provided to meet the needs of each unique individual.
Find Out More
You are invited to call our informed and friendly admissions staff at the number on this page for more detailed information on the various treatment protocols available to our program participants. You can view our treatment options in detail on our services overview pages. We are fully licensed and accept private insurance. Call today and find out more about our approach to holistic treatment for alcohol withdrawal and recovery at Alternative to Meds Center.
10. Lee H, Roh S, Kim DJ. Alcohol-induced blackout. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Nov;6(11):2783-92. doi: 10.3390/ijerph6112783. Epub 2009 Nov 6. PMID: 20049223; PMCID: PMC2800062. [cited 2022 Aug 25]
Diane is an avid supporter and researcher of natural mental health strategies. Diane received her medical writing and science communication certification through Stanford University and has published over 3 million words on the topics of holistic health, addiction, recovery, and alternative medicine. She has proudly worked with the Alternative to Meds Center since its inception and is grateful for the opportunity to help the founding members develop this world-class center that has helped so many thousands regain natural mental health.
Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.
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