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by Soroya Bacchus, M.D
A recent study that showed even moderate alcohol consumption can take years off your life not only attracted a lot of media attention, it also caused other studies about drinking to seem even more worrisome, especially with their findings about women.
We aren’t talking about harmless social sipping with friends here, and as the nation observes Women’s Health Care Month in May it’s worth exploring the growing negative role that alcohol plays in the lives of American women.
“Sometimes the people who say this are right; they really don’t drink that much. More often, though, people say this to make themselves feel better about how much they do drink.”
Just last year, a study published by JAMA Psychiatry reported that more Americans are drinking high amounts of alcohol, and some of the greatest increases are among women.
In addition, about 5.3 million women in the United States drink alcohol in a way that threatens their health and safety, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
For those women, just trying to get sober won’t fix the fundamental problem that caused them to drink too much to begin with, Bacchus says.
“I don’t care about sober,” she says. “I care about healthy. No one drinks or uses drugs in a vacuum. Usually there is an underlying mental disorder that causes and worsens the alcohol or drug use.”
It’s important that women with serious drinking problems seek medical assistance so they can detox in a safe manner, Bacchus says. Detoxification from alcohol has more complications from withdrawal than any other drug, and the death rate for alcohol withdrawal is between 5 and 8 percent, she says.
Even after detoxing, Bacchus says, a therapist can help women develop healthy psychological coping skills to avoid a relapse.
Among the ways they can do that include:
- Biofeedback therapy. This teaches you to develop voluntary, conscious control of physiological processes that are typically involuntary and unconscious. “If you have alcohol cravings, biofeedback teaches you how to identify the physical sensations associated with them and allows you to deploy strategies to counter them,” Bacchus says.
- Hypnosis or hypnotherapy. Through hypnosis a therapist can explore the potential root causes of alcohol abuse, such as previously unknown disorder, a hidden memory or a past trauma. Bacchus offers a caveat: Only undergo hypnotherapy with a trained professional you trust completely.
- Exercise. Every time you exercise you build yourself up both psychologically and physically, Bacchus says. “Before you know it, you have a positive habit that sustains you through tough times,” she says. “Instead of taking a drink, you go for a walk. Instead of falling into a rabbit hole of negative emotion, you hit the gym.”
- Yoga. Yoga is both a great exercise for muscles and joints, but also an excellent way to deal with stress. “This makes it a perfect practice for recovery,” Bacchus says, “because you need to rebuild your body from the ravages of alcohol abuse and rebuild your mind from the negative thought patterns you developed over years of addiction.”
“The goal is to replace the negative coping mechanisms of addiction with the healthy coping mechanisms of recovery,” Bacchus says. “You need your mind and body working in harmony so your soul can be at peace.”
About the author:
Soroya Bacchus, M.D., (www.soroyabacchusmd.com) author of How to Detox Yourself from Alcohol, is a triple board-certified psychiatrist specializing in addition and psychosomatic medicine. She has treated patients with addiction issues for 22 years. She has been interviewed on such television shows asGood Morning America and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Huffington Post and other print and online publications.
Nutrition plays an important part of successful alcohol addiction treatment, according to the Sanctuary at Sedona in Arizona. This non-12-step treatment center uses a combination of ancient healing modules and cutting edge scientific methods to heal the body, mind, soul and spirit. Its website features a Learning Center that offers a comprehensive resource for topics such as nutrition, codependency and addiction recovery. Benefits of Superfoods and the Sanctuary Food Paradigm is one of the Learning Center’s newest articles, and it discusses the importance of superfoods and how they can help heal the body.
Superfoods are so nutrient dense, they are placed in a category of foods all their own. Health and longevity scientists coined the term “superfoods” in order to emphasize the abnormally high levels of nutrients in certain foods. Some examples of superfoods include goji berries, cacao, bee pollen, hempseeds, coconut, spirulina, chia seeds, and aloe vera.
According to David Wolfe, a health expert and author of best-selling books such as Eating for Beauty and The Sunfood Diet Success System, superfoods is the first step to repairing poor health and preventing future illnesses, whether it be lethargy, obesity or arthritis.
“I am 100% sure it is possible at any age to change our destiny into one of pain-free and vibrant health by intelligently utilizing the power and benefits of superfoods supplements, and remake ourselves right now … ” said Wolfe. “The benefits of superfoods include improvement in the severity of nearly every major disease condition known …”
According to Wolfe, superfoods can mitigate the affects of allergies, arthritis, ADD, chronic fatigue, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, hypoglycemia, nervous system disorders, poor immunity and even skin disorders.
The Sanctuary at Sedona promotes the benefits of superfoods and takes it into consideration when planning the daily menus for clients. Dean Taraborelli, the founder of the Sanctuary, underscores the critical role foods play in the healing process.
“The majority of neurotransmitters are manufactured in the gut so superfoods are critical for brain health,” said Taraborelli.
Christopher Holden, the head chef of the Sanctuary, even holds a lesson explaining the benefits of superfoods to clients, and teaches them how to easily incorporate it into their diets. A video of Holden promoting the benefits of superfoods can be seen below.
Holden states that by simply adding in some of these highly ennobled and extremely nutrient dense foods, the system will naturally begin to balance itself and reconnect with the body’s own innate healing intelligence.
“Once we begin introducing food of such high quality into our lives, the tendency towards health and life promoting practices is literally inevitable,” said Holden.
For anyone who is interested in looking more closely into how to detox from alcohol, the Sanctuary is only one of several drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers attracting attention in North America. One alternative, located a few miles north of the border in Canada, is the Chopra Addiction and Wellness Centre in Squamish, British Columbia. When comparing the costs and pricing of different treatment programs, bear in mind that Americans paying in Canadian dollars may save a significant amount depending on the exchange rate. At the time this article was being researched (March, 2015) one U.S. dollar would buy $1.21 Canadian. So, for example, $1000 Canadian dollars would cost only $828.50 U.S.
In the short video below, Chef Chris talks about using superfoods, including ancient Chinese herbs, as part of the holistic alcohol rehabilitation program at the Sanctuary at Sedona.