Addiction: The most critical dimension and preventive medicine

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Section: BODY, MIND & SPIRIT CONNECTION
Learning to break addictive patterns is the most critical dimension of nutrition and preventive medicine. Addictive patterns of behavior always lead to poor nutrition and diseases that could have been prevented. How is this so? It is because of our new understanding of what addiction is. Addiction is not just limited to dangerous drugs such as heroin, LSD, crack, cocaine and amphetamines, but addiction is also found to occur in less serious substances such as alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine, and even less serious substances than these, such as carbohydrates, sugar, fat, junk food and even with people in codependent and addictive relationships. Addiction by our definition is any behavior that a person does repetitively that they know is dangerous for them or destructive or unhealthy but for a variety of reasons are unable, by will power, to stop that behavior.

When we understand addiction as repetitive, compulsive, destructive behavior that a person cannot willfully stop, addiction then becomes the root of most of our chronic diseases. We all know now that the search for higher consciousness in the 60's led to lower consciousness and brain injury. The strong drugs, from LSD to heroin, all cause brain damage, as does alcohol, and even cigarette smoking puts an individual at the highest risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, due to microvascular blockage and cerebral vascular dementias. We also know that caffeine causes pancreatic cancer and alcohol may be linked to breast cancer and many other chronic diseases. It is eating addiction that indirectly produces obesity, diabetes, hypertension and therefore virtually all the major killers in our society are linked to repetitive, destructive, addictive behavior and obesity and a high fat diet, leads to cancer and more heart diseases. There is nothing more critical in our society for nutrition and preventive medicine than to be able to each and do the techniques that will break the addictive cycle.

In the field of preventive medicine, all of us are trying to get our patients to increase their fiber intake, stop smoking, give up caffeine and alcohol, remove refined sugars and carbobydrates, exercise regularly, to have positive and productive relationships with their loved ones, to get appropriate amounts of rest, to avoid fried foods and salty foods, excessive spicy foods, smoked foods and to transform their healthy emotional lifestyle into a diet of lean protein, high fiber, low fat, regular, balanced and other appropriate health goals.

It appears that most patients fall off the band wagon of diet relatively quickly and the pattern of lifestyle often returns to its previous functioning. Attempts to restructure a person's health away from addiction is difficult. Therapy has been tried, antidepressants have been tried. Medications to motivate the individual from Pondamin to Tenuate, from Prozac to Wellbutrin can be used to certain degrees, but most patients still tend to return to bad habits, particularly their addictive bad habits with food, drugs, relationships; anything, from ice cream to LSD.

What is the source of this repetitive destructive behavior? Sigmund Freud called it the death instinct, the compulsion to repeat. others call it the quest and desire for ritual. What is it in the body that causes this cycling?

Historically we have learned from plagues. Scurvy taught us the value of vitamin C, Beri-Beri taught us the value of B1 and Pellagra taught us the miracle of niacin. The plague of drug abuse has taught us something about repetitive, destructive behavior that affects every individual. Although fewer people are becoming addicted to the dangerous drugs, a great majority, if not all Americans have repetitive, destructive behaviors that they can not break. The technique of Cranial Electrical Stimulation (CES) has been so helpful in helping drug abusers withdraw from drugs and break their addictive patterns and has even greater consequences for the average neurotic and health-oriented patient. Because the average severe drug abuser frequently needs medication along with CES because of the advanced brain disease that has occurred either as a result of pre-existing brain disease or as a result of drug abuse. The wider applications of CES are on a day-to-day preventive nature of preventing drug abuse in adolescents and deterioration into bad habits of white flour, junk food, sugar, coffee and cigarette addiction for a large group of Americans.

Any health practitioner that has ever dealt with a patient that cannot execute his/her good advice for the patient must now recognize that patients have addictive behavioral patterns which can be dealt with on a psychotherapeutic, spiritual, emotional level. We have come to recognize that the medical and electophysiological component has been identified with BEAM testing and is treatable with CES or CES with medication depending on severity.

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BY RABBI ERIC BRAVERMAN, M.D.

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