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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: alcoholism is primarily a brain chemistry imbalance fueled by a deficiency in certain nutrients. The point is that beating alcoholism requires shoring up the body as well as the mind.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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 A critical part of treating it, then, is to replenish those missing nutrients. Eating a diet high in protein, brain-healthy fats, and h...
Cover of "Seven Weeks to Sobriety: The Pr...

 A critical part of treating it, then, is to replenish those missing nutrients. Eating a diet high in protein, brain-healthy fats, and high-fiber carbohydrates, and taking supplements that include vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, they say, can actually rewire the brain to reduce cravings.
"We've accepted that alcoholism is a disease," Gant says. "Now we have to start treating it like one." The notion that alcoholism biochemical basis isn't brand new, of course. The first glimmerings came in the 1960s, and it was in 1990 that genetics researcher Kenneth Blum identified a gene that causes some people's brains to react differently to alcohol, setting the stage for addiction. Since then a vast body of research, much of it involving rats and mice, has documented alcohol's biochemical effects on the brain. We now know much more than we used to about why it's so terribly difficult for some alcoholics to get sober and stay that way.
"For the alcoholic, metabolism is far stronger than free will," says Amityville, New York, physician Joseph Beasley, an early proponent of research into the brain chemistry underlying addiction and the author of How to Defeat Alcoholism: Nutritional Guidelines for Getting Sober. "Diet and nutrition therapy should be part of any alcohol treatment program."
Yet most psychiatrists, counselors, and doctors in the field are woefully ignorant of the concept. "Alcoholism is a physical disease," says Joan Mathews Larson, a nutritionist who's the author of Seven Weeks to Sobriety and director of the influential Health Recovery Center, an outpatient treatment program headquartered in Minneapolis. "So treatment should offer more than just talk. It's like saying a person's diabetes can be turned around by 'taking a searching and fearless moral inventory'. Meanwhile, every organ in their body is collapsing." Larson, whose crusade to treat alcoholism with nutrition therapy was launched when her son committed suicide after completing a residential program, published a study showing that 74 percent of alcoholics who finished her program were still sober more than three years later.
It's not that those who advocate a nutritional approach think AA-based programs are entirely off-base. In fact, all the treatment programs that feature nutritional therapy also include either 12-step sessions or some other type of counseling. The point is that beating alcoholism requires shoring up the body as well as the mind.

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