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Rehabilitation from substance abuse usually consists of being put on drugs and mood stabilizers. A smart, proactive approach to this would be a drug-free detox.  Is there such a thing? Chiropractic allows this by balancing the bodies chemicals from within.  When your body has unbalanced levels of serotonin, melatonin and dopamine you may feel anxious, depressed, sleepy, insomniac or have a sense of unease in your body. To find out more check out the amazing research: 

Beating Addiction - Chiropractic

Emotions are not just felt in your head, but in your spine as well.

In a randomized clinical trial with 98 addicts designed by Robert Duncan, Ph.D., biostatistician at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Dr. Holder found that daily chiropractic adjustments five times a week over a 30-day period increased the retention rate to 100%. “This is unheard of; it’s never happened before in addiction treatment,” Dr. Holder says. At a national average of only $40 per chiropractic adjustment, this rate of success costs only about $800 per month. Add to this $50 for a one-month’s supply of amino acids and $240-$400 a month for four addiction counseling sessions, and you have a total program cost of $1,100 to $1,250. John’s previously unsuccessful treatment, by comparison, cost his family $16,000 a month.

John’s parents saw the results but couldn’t understand how chiropractic could have achieved them. Dr. Holder explains, “Simply put, addiction is compulsive use of a chemical or activity in spite of negative consequences.” You keep using a substance even though you know it’s bad for you. There are five types of addiction, including work, food, sex, drugs, chemicals, and gambling, and each one has many factors. “But these five categories are all variations of one disease–addiction.”

According to research reviewed by Dr. Holder, two key factors play a role in causing addictions. First, according to Kenneth Blum, Ph. D., of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, there is genetic cause. Dr. Blum discovered the same genetic flaw (called “the A-1 allele of the D-2 dopamine receptor”) in 69% of severe alcoholics compared to only 20% of nonalcoholic people. Blum’s treatment, based on 30 years research, involves the use of amino acids to balance the brain reward cascade chemicals (called neurotransmitters) which are chronically deficient in the addicted person.

What’s the connection between a misaligned spine and addictions? It has to do with the interruption of a precise sequence of chemical changes in your brain called the “brain reward cascade.” If this cascade is not interrupted, you feel a sense of well-being and pleasure. If the sequence is interrupted, resulting in what is known as “reward deficiency syndrome,” you may seek mood-altering substances or activities. The brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters must be released in the right sequence, like falling dominoes, for you to feel good.

The biochemical end of the line is the release of dopamine; dopamine reward may be the biochemical secret to understanding addictions.

How does a misalignment in your back interfere with the flow of chemicals in the brain? Holder’s theory is that emotions and feelings are felt not just in your head, but in your spine as well.

If your spine is misaligned anywhere along its length, that condition can interfere with the proper operation of the limbic system and the flow of reward chemicals in your brain Chiropractic gets the dopamine flowing again, balancing the brain reward cascade. Chiropractic offers the public something that conventional medicine cannot: a drug-free addiction treatment program.

Acupuncturists achieve excellent results in treating addictions but with only 7,000 for a population of 256 million, there are too few to go around. Most conventional doctors cannot successfully treat addictions because they are inadequately trained and tend to prescribe mood-altering drugs which only replace one substance with another and leave addicts at risk to relapse.

“Chiropractors, who number 50,000 in America today, are the logical primary intervention resource to deal with addiction,” says Dr. Holder. How this daring claim plays out in the profession’s next one hundred years remains to be seen. But nobody expects recovered addicts to argue the point.


Increasing retention rates among the chemically dependent in residential treatment: Auriculotherapy and subluxation-based chiropractic care. Jay M. Holder, Robert C. Duncan, Matthew Gissen., Michael Miller, and Kenneth Blum, American College Of Addictionology & Compulsive Disorders, Miami Beach, Fl., University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Fl., Village/Exodus Addiction Treatment Center, Miami, Fl. and University of North Texas, Denton, Tx.

In the residential treatment of the chemically dependent a major clinical problem is retaining the dependent person in treatment long enough to initiate the recovery process. Following the abrupt discontinuation of high-dose chemical use, the subject may experience lethargy, pain, dysphoria, and sleep disturbances, culminating in anxiety and depression. Because of the known calming effect of auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture) a randomized study of auriculotherapy  versus a capsule placebo group was carried out in a residential setting among 66 residential patients. In addition to  the traditional Shen Men, Sympathetic, and Kidney points, the Limbic system, Brain, and Zero points were incorporated in the treatment of the acupuncture group. Completion rates were analyzed by multivariate logistic regression. Patients who completed at least 10 days of auriculotherapy and did not receive intercurrent  medications were more likely to complete the 30 day residential program than were patients in the comparison group (odds ratio =9.68, p=0.026). This study suggested that non-medication based treatment could have a positive effect on retention in a residential program. Based on these results, a randomized, placebo controlled, single blind study utilizing subluxation-based chiropractic care (Torque Release Technique) was implemented in the same residential setting. Three groups were randomized: active treatment comprising daily adjustments to correct vertebral subluxations using the Integrator adjusting instrument but set to deliver zero force with no direction while maintaining the audible click; and, a usual care group who followed the general policies of the residential program. A total of 98 subjects (14 female and 84 male) were enrolled after giving informed consent. The chiropractic and usual care groups each had 33 subjects (5 females each) while the placebo group had 32 subjects (4 females). At baseline the Spielberger State Anxiety scores were 50.0 + 1.9 for the Active group, 45.3 + 2.5 for the Placebo group, and 42.8 + 2.0 for the Usual Care group. The Active and Usual Care groups were significantly different at baseline (p<0.05). The corresponding scores on the Beck's Depression Inventory were 18.6 + 1.6, 21.0 + 1.8, and 16.7 + 2.0 respectively. All of the Active group completed the 28-day program, while only 24 (75%) of the Placebo group and 19 (56%) of the Usual Care group completed 28 days. These completion rates are significantly different than that for the Active group (p<0.05). A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that the probability of retention in the Placebo and Usual Care groups was less than that for the Active treatment group (Log Rank Test, p<0.001). At four weeks the Spielberger State Anxiety scores were 32.0 + 1.6 for the Active group, 42.5 + 3.0 for Placebo group, and 33.1 + 3.7 for the Usual Care group. The Active and Placebo groups were significantly different at four weeks (p<0.05), with the Active group showing a significant decrease in anxiety (19.0 + 2.2, p<0.001) while the Placebo group showed no decrease in anxiety (2.3 + 2.9, ns). The corresponding scores on the Beck's Depression Inventory at four weeks were 2.6 + 0.7, 6.5 + 2.0, and 3.3 + 1.2 respectively. In contact to anxiety, the three groups showed similar decreases in depression scores. The frequency of visits to the Nurse's station was monitored during the courses of the study. Among the Active treatment group only 9% made one or more visits to the Nurse, while 56% of the Placebo groups (p<0.001 compared to Active) and 48% (p<0.002 compared to Active) made such visits. In summary, these modalities show significant promise for increasing retention of patients in the residential setting.

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