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Integrative Medicine And Substance Abuse Treatment

Posted By, Friday, May 3, 2019
Substance abuse and addiction can affect the physical, mental, and spiritual health of an individual, which is why many believe that substance abuse recovery should address these unique factors to aid in the recovery process.

Over 18 million Americans (18 and older) suffered a substance use disorder in 2017. Of these cases, about 75 percent struggled with alcohol abuse, 36 percent with illicit drugs, and 11 percent with both illicit drugs and alcohol misuse.

Integrative medicine is growing in popularity in the U.S. Across the country, the use of yoga, meditation, and chiropractors has increased in U.S. adults from 2012 to 2017. Because integrative medicine provides a wide array of treatment options, many are still being researched for their effectiveness in treating substance abuse.

However, preliminary research has indicated that integrative medicine has had many positive results in treating substance use disorders, especially when there is a co-occurring mental health issue, as this form of treatment can identify and assess the needs of both issues.

Substance abuse treatment that employes integrative medicine is a personalized strategy that considers the individuals' unique conditions, needs, and circumstances, and uses the most appropriate means of intervention.

What Is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine addresses a full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental influences to personalize healthcare treatment to the individual. Compared with other treatment types that only focus on curing the symptoms, integrative medicine works to restore and maintain health and wellness across a person’s lifespan.

The term integrative means multiple different methods used together, instead of only focusing on traditional medicine. However, integrative medicine is not the same as alternative medicine and has several key components, including:

● The individual and healthcare providers are partners in the healing process.
● All factors influencing health are considered including mind, body, spirit, and community of the individual.
● Providers use healing sciences to aid the body's natural healing processes.
● Natural and less invasive interventions are used whenever possible.

While complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments, such as herbal remedies and acupuncture have grown in popularity over the last decade in the United States, these are only a piece of integrated medicine.

How Can Integrative Medicine Help During Substance Abuse Recovery?

Individuals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction know how this disease can influence every part of their lives and the lives of others. Integrative medicine is helpful, not only during recovery treatment but also after treatment is completed.

Integrative medicine is inquiry-driven and remains flexible so that it can address new issues as they arise, which makes it very useful for adapting to individual circumstances. The very core of integrative medicine is to improve the individuals quality of life. The same is true for people recovering from drug or alcohol abuse.

Addiction is a long-term condition, known for periods of relapse and recovery. Integrative medicine helps address the complex needs of someone recovering from addiction, giving them a useful tool to use during their recovery.

Choosing A Recovery Program With An Integrative Approach to Treatment

Ideally, any form of substance abuse treatment an individual chooses to participate in should work together with the care of a primary care physician or mental health professional who is familiar with the pits and downfalls of addiction.

Integrative medicine is based on keeping the whole person healthy. In addition to treating the symptoms of substance abuse, it also looks at the cause of the disease to help individuals better maintain their recovery.

Different recovery programs will have different approaches to how they use integrative medicine, but it is now considered to be one of the most effective ways of addressing substance abuse recovery.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — The National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2017
National Institute on Drug Abuse — Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health — Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In a Name?

Tags:  Abuse  addiction  alternative  healing  integrative  medicine  methods  programs  recovery  substance  treatment 

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Zinc found to be Effective in Treating Colds

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014


An evaluation of 15 studies concludes that zinc lozenges, tablets or syrup can help cut the duration of cold symptoms by a day and reduce their severity. But the debate on the subject is far from over.

People who begin using zinc lozenges, tablets or syrup at the first signs of a cold are more likely to get well faster, researchers reported Tuesday. But the new findings probably won't be the last word on the issue, which has been the subject of debate since the idea was first proposed in 1984.

Since that time, 18 studies have examined zinc in preventing or treating colds. Some found zinc supplements were modestly helpful, others failed to turn up any benefits.

One analysis of 14 studies, published in 2007, concluded that many of the studies were too flawed to draw any conclusions.

In the latest report, published by the Cochrane Library, an international network of experts who conduct systematic reviews of research, scientists in India evaluated 15 studies, including four published since 2000.

Two of the studies evaluated focused on zinc's effectiveness in preventing colds and the rest on its ability to shorten the duration of colds. The 15 studies involved 1,360 participants ranging in age from 1 to 65 with good overall health.

Pooling the data, researchers found that people who took zinc within 24 hours of the start of symptoms were over their colds about one day sooner than people who took placebos. The analysis also found that the severity of cold symptoms was somewhat milder among people who took zinc.

Whether these results will be considered meaningful depends on whom you ask, said Dr. Kay Dickersin, a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the U.S. Cochrane Center, one of the 12 centers around the world that facilitate the work of the Cochrane reviews. Dickersin was not involved in the research.

"I might say, 'A day less of symptoms is good; I'll do it.' But you might say, 'A day is nothing; it's not worth driving to the drugstore,' " she said.

Moreover, since the study designs varied widely, it's impossible to make recommendations on what doses are optimal, what formulations are best and how long to use the products, said the authors of the analysis, Meenu Singh and Rashmi R. Das of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India.

"I think there is a need for more research so we can get a sense of how well zinc works or if it even does work," Dickersin said.

Zinc lozenges and syrup, commonly available in drugstores, are typically taken every two to three hours during waking hours for at least five days. Most products recommend a standard daily dose for cold treatment is about 30 milligrams of syrup per day or about 60 milligrams in lozenges.

When a zinc acetate formulation is taken in a high enough dose and started early in the onset of a cold, it's likely to be effective, said Dr. Ananda Prasad, an expert on zinc at Wayne State University in Detroit who conducted two studies, both of which showed a positive effect.

"In our studies, we only included patients who had [begun treatment] within 24 hours" of the start of symptoms, he said. "If you don't take zinc within 24 hours, it does not have much effect."

But an examination of only the most scientifically rigorous of the zinc studies shows it probably doesn't shorten colds, said Dr. Terence M. Davidson, the director of the UC San Diego Nasal Dysfunction Clinic.

"The more rigorously scientific studies, where you took a group of people and gave half of them zinc and half a placebo and inoculated their nose with a cold virus, found there were no differences," Davidson said. "I think enough research has been done to show if there is some benefit, it's not going to be very significant."

There may also be risks from some of these products, said Davidson, who was the first to identify harmful side effects from zinc nasal spray.

In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to stop using three zinc-containing Zicam nasal products after receiving 130 reports about loss of smell associated with the products. The Cochrane Library analysis did not investigate zinc nasal sprays.

Researchers don't know why zinc may affect the common cold. It could be that zinc prevents rhinoviruses from attacking nasal cells, slows the replication of the virus or prevents histamine release (which causes sneezing, runny nose and rash).

In the United States, colds contribute to 75 to 100 million visits to doctors each year at a cost of about $7.7 billion. Colds are among the most common reasons for absenteeism from work and school.

"Any medication that is only partially effective in the treatment and prevention of the common cold could markedly reduce morbidity and economic losses due to this illness," Singh and Das wrote.

Source: Roan, Shari. February 16, 2011. The Los Angeles Times. Zinc found to be effective in treating colds.,0,1557679.story

Tags:  treatment  zinc 

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