Addiction Treatment Centers to Promote Increased Sobriety Rates with Nutritional Therapy

BY Rachel Cagle
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"Scientists are finding that addressing nutritional deficiencies and gut bacteria health may be missing pieces of the sobriety puzzle. Overcoming alcohol addiction isn’t easy, even with expert help. Estimated success rates in the few years following treatment vary between 20 and 50 percent, depending on the criteria used and severity of addiction, reports Health Line."

Addiction Treatment Patients make up approximately 2% of U.S. adults, according to AudienceSCAN. About 33.3% of this group is made up of 25 to 34-​year-​olds., but they're also 113% more likely than other adults to be 17 to 24 years old. The annual household income of 38.4% of these consumers is over $100,000 and 72.6% are male.

"To improve treatment success, a small but growing number of holistic addiction treatment centers are digging deeper. Their aim is to identify and treat underlying biochemical imbalances and address genetic factors that can contribute to alcohol cravings, anxiety, and depression, which are often barriers to addiction treatment."

"The process of bringing the brain and the rest of the body back into balance is sometimes called “biochemical repair.” Nutritional therapy, using both dietary changes and supplements, is a key part of this approach."

"'If you give the brain the nutrients it needs to get past biochemical and genetic deficiencies, inefficiencies, and blockages, people treated for addiction have a better chance of staying sober,' said William Billica, MD, at InnerBalance Health Center for alcohol and drug addiction treatment in Loveland, Colorado."

According to AudienceSCAN, a personal goal of 28.3% of Addiction Treatment Patients is to eat healthier. Also in the next year, 32.9% of these consumers want to purchase items and services that help them feel healthy.

"People entering alcohol treatment commonly have deficiencies of some nutrients, such as zinc, several B vitamins, and protein."

"For example, Craig McClain, MD, director of the University of Louisville’s Alcohol Research Center, has found that people who have an alcohol addiction are often deficient in zinc. That’s partly because they haven’t been consuming enough of the mineral through food, like meat, whole grains, nuts, and dairy products. But it’s also because alcohol decreases absorption of zinc in the gut and increases zinc loss through urine."

"William Billica, MD, at InnerBalance Health Center for alcohol and drug addiction treatment in Loveland, Colorado, told Healthline that everyone entering InnerBalance Health Center’s addiction treatment program is generally started on a basic level of nutritional support, including a multivitamin. Nutritional supplementation is then fine-​tuned based on lab test results. A similar approach is followed at other holistic treatment centers."

"'Heavy alcohol use can really deplete B vitamins, so we replenish those based on what lab tests show,' said Melissa Blackburn-​Borg, CNP, a holistic nutritionist at the Canadian Health Recovery Centre on the outskirts of Peterborough, Ontario."

"To guide supplementation of B vitamins, Billica also checks for genetic mutations (such as MTHFR) that can affect the body’s ability to make the active form of certain B vitamins, like folate and vitamin B‑6."

"Shortfalls of the active forms of folate and vitamin B‑6 are among the factors that can slow the body’s production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Those are feel-​good chemicals (neurotransmitters) that play a role in managing cravings, including for alcohol and sweets."

"Holistic addiction treatment centers have found that balancing blood sugar is a critical part of staying sober."

"'I’ve looked at glucose tolerance test results of about 500 patients who came to our treatment center over a couple of years, and hypoglycemia is a huge issue,' Billica said. 'About 98% of alcoholic patients (and 75 to 80 percent of patients with drug addiction) had blood sugar drop below 60 mg/​dL [milligrams per deciliter] during the test. Sometimes it dropped much lower than that.'"

"A normal fasting blood sugar level is 70 to 99 mg/​dL."

"Healthy eating habits are essential in the effort to keep blood sugar steady and control cravings for alcohol (and sugar)."

"The well-​planned, balanced meals offered at holistic treatment centers are viewed as an essential part of addiction recovery and long-​term abstinence. People who already have access to whole foods and meals that have a low GI may opt for an outpatient holistic treatment program that doesn’t supply meals, such as the Health Recovery Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota."

"Besides low blood sugar levels, another reason why people with an alcohol addiction reach for sugar is because it lights up the pleasure center of the brain, Lettenberger-​Klein said. It does that by triggering the release of dopamine. That brings about feelings of happiness and stress relief."

"Getting a dopamine fix is often a big reason people start self-​medicating with alcohol."

"High-​protein eating habits can help increase the number of dopamine receptors in the brain. Protein also supplies the building blocks that our bodies use to make dopamine."

Addiction Treatment Patients can be advertised to in a number of ways. According to AudienceSCAN, last year, 78.6% of this group took action after seeing a TV commercial. A majority of them (75.5%) also took action within the same time period after receiving ads and/​or coupons in the mail, and 74.2% were driven by radio (both on-​air and online) and mobile smartphone app and text message ads, respectively.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.