Addiction Is Really A Biochemical Issue That Must Be Addressed

-By A. Scott RobertsM.S. Rehabilitation Counseling

Onlookers may only see the addicted individual's behavior, while researchers examine what is going on inside the brain. Researchers know that the addicted brain has malfunctioning and depleted neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the basis of how we think, act and behave. Once corrected, addicts will think, act and behave differently.

Dr Charles Grant, physician and psychiatric consultant stated, “unless the biochemical imbalances which are the true causes of substance problems are corrected, the benefits of psychological counseling will be marginal for most people.”1

The first step in addiction treatment is to restore the brain and body through proper nutrients to help correct the biochemcial imbalances in the brain and body. This will result in less withdrawal symptoms and deceased cravings and urges.

According to one researcher, addicted individuals that used nutrients during their recovery showed a 92 percent success rate.2 But the problem is that many addiction recovery programs do not use these evidence-based nutritional guidelines.

When addicted individuals are coming off of their drug of choice, they often crave other less understood drugs: caffeine and sugar. Caffeine is a drug, it speeds up its users and some can't go a morning without it. Additionally, sugar boosts dopamine in the brain (as well as causes dramatic blood-glucose levels to fluctuate).

Researchers, Dr. Milam and Ketchan stated, “while the diagnosis of hypoglycemia may be mistakenly used by people to explain unrelated psychological and emotional problems, there is no question that the great majority of alcoholics suffer from chronic low blood sugar. When given the 5-hour glucose tolerance test, over 95 percent of both early- and late-state alcoholics experience a spike in blood sugar after intake of sugar and then a rapid plunge."4

Most addicted individuals eat very poorly because their brain has been switched to desire highly processed and refined sugars and may actually put them at greater risk for relapse.5 But addicted individuals that replaced highly processed and refined sugars with key nutrients, recovered more quickly, had fewer withdrawal symptoms and were able to manage their addiction long-term.”6 If you missed it, I explained why nutrients is vitally important in the video (click to watch).

(Video will open up in a larger window for better viewing)

Cigarettes, coffee or snack foods and sweets are often overlooked as addictive substances. All addictions are chemically-based in the brain, it doesn't really matter what the addiction is. Restoring the brain through proper nutrition is vitally important in addiction recovery.


1. Gant, Charles, M.D., Ph.D. and Greg Lewis, Ph.D. End Your Addiction Now. (NY, NY: Warner Books, Inc.), 2002
2. Potatoes Not Prozac (1998) by Kathleen DesMaisons, PhD, (NY, NY: Warner Books, Inc.), 2002.
3. Grant L.P., et al. “Nutrition Education is Positively Associated with Substance Abuse Treatment Program Outcomes.”Journal of the American Dietetic Association; 104(4):604-10. April 2004.
4. Milam, James R. Ph.D. and Katherine Ketcham. Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism, 2nd edition. (Bantam Books), 1983.
5. Grant L.P., et al. “Nutrition Education is Positively Associated with Substance Abuse Treatment Program Outcomes.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association; 104(4):604-10. April 2004.
6. Feinman, L. “Absorption and Utilization of Nutrients in Alcoholism.” Alcohol Health & Research World; 13(3):207-210. 1989 as cited in Public Health Service, Institute of Health