When early treatment programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous were developed, the era of brain research had not yet begun. In the past, doctors, and scientists thought people could stop using drugs and alcohol after they “hit rock bottom” because they would finally be motivated to make lifestyle changes. If they really wanted to change, they could. We now think differently. We know that drug and alcohol addiction is not just psychology. It is not a moral failing or a lifestyle choice.
The latest addiction research has shown that treatment reaches a significantly higher success rate when integrating both pharmacology (body) and psychology (mind).
But how do we care for the body and the nervous system of a person recovering from addiction? The body and the mind profoundly influence each other, communicating and directing thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behavior.
DHEA as a therapeutic supplement in addiction treatment
DHEA is an endogenous (occurring naturally in the body) steroid produced in relatively high abundance. Its natural production peaks at age 25 and then begins to decline. DHEA has been shown to increase energy, improve mood and well being, and decrease depression and anxiety (1,2).
More than a well-being and anti-aging supplement, DHEA is also shown to help in recovery and relapse prevention for addiction treatment. A double-blind placebo-controlled study found that the group treated with DHEA had dramatically reduced relapse rates. Of the group treated with DHEA, 12% relapsed compared to 38% in the control group (4).
Unlike other physical therapies for addiction such as methadone, DHEA is not a drug, it is a naturally occurring steroid found in the body. DHEA makes actual changes in the brain and only requires short-term treatment, usually for three months when given in the right dose, after which you no longer need it.
Retorno’s DHEA program
Encouraged by the success rates of DHEA in addiction treatment, Retorno added individually tailored doses of DHEA as a dietary supplement to residential clients and found a 27% improvement in recovery rates.
DHEA has shown promising effects as a therapeutic supplement in addiction treatment. Patients receiving DHEA as part of a treatment program reported feeling more confident in themselves and were less likely to give in to cravings. DHEA helps reduce the effects of withdrawal and has a positive impact on mood, helping patients return to a normal life in a shorter amount of time (5).
The positive effects on stress and mood, two major players when it comes to the drive to use substances again after recovery, is likely a central mechanism in DHEA’s effectiveness. Many people use substances as a way of controlling mood and coping with stress. DHEA makes it easier to stay on track, to feel good during and after recovery.
The road to recovery can be a difficult, life-transforming process. Now that we have a better understanding of the body’s and brain’s role in addiction and recovery, access to therapeutic supplements is important.
Get help today
Retorno, partnered with DHEA Horizon, provides a physician-guided DHEA supplement program during treatment. Success rates have been very encouraging.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you boost recovery success.
- Yadid, G., Sudai, E., Maayan, R., Gispan, I., & Weizman, A. (2010). The role of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in drug-seeking behavior. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 35(2), 303-314.
- Vinson, G. P., & Brennan, C. H. (2013). Addiction and the adrenal cortex. Endocrine connections, EC-13.
- Yadid, G., Ahdoot-Levi, H., Bareli, T., Maayan, R., & Weizman, A. (2018). Dehydroepiandrosterone and Addiction. In Vitamins and hormones (Vol. 108, pp. 385-412). Academic Press.
- Ohana, D., Maayan, R., Delayahu, Y., Roska, P., Ponizovsky, A. M., Weizman, A., … & Yechiam, E. (2016). Effect of dehydroepiandrosterone add‐on therapy on mood, decision making and subsequent relapse of polydrug users. Addiction biology, 21(4), 885-894.
- Yarowsky, M. (2015, July 26). Revolutionary: Israeli researcher says he can ‘erase’ memory of addiction. Retrieved from http://nocamels.com/2015/07/israeli-researcher-erase-memory-of-addiction/
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