Addiction impacts millions of lives every year, and while many people wish to end their struggles with drugs or alcohol, they often find it challenging or impossible to follow through with their desires.
This is because addiction isn't a matter of willpower or choice. Chronic substance use results in fundamental brain changes. And while the brain can heal, it often takes time, awareness, and professional intervention.
Many researchers, now aware of the mind-body connection, are taking neurochemistry more seriously. Likewise, researchers are creating treatment plans that place restructuring the brain at the forefront of clinical care.
Addiction and The Brain
Our brain determines every single decision we make throughout the day. Our brain is responsible for our energy, our mood, and our personality. Disruptions or dysregulations in brain activity are associated with a variety of issues including mental illness, physical sickness, and substance use.
Research suggests that abusing drugs or alcohol can impact the limbic system. The limbic system is crucial because it is involved in the majority of our behavioral and emotional responses. It's largely responsible for the behaviors associated with basic survival like eating, drinking, having sex, and taking care of our children.
The limbic system contains the hippocampus, where we store memories and make connections for navigating the world. It also contains the amygdala, which is responsible for many feelings like pleasure, anger, anxiety, and fear.
Frequent use of drugs or alcohol can flood the limbic system and reinforce the release of dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are incredibly powerful; they can trick the brain into believing that it must continue seeking out substances for survival.
Spinal Adjustments For Addiction Treatment
Bridge Back To Life, an outpatient addiction treatment facility, has partnered with New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) to provide a cutting-edge spinal adjustment service for substance use disorders.
The process starts with a variety of diagnostic tests performed at the base of the brainstem. These tests determine if any misalignment exists and where. If misalignment is visible, the chiropractor will provide gentle and painless adjustments to the patient's treatment plan.
The idea is that this treatment reduces the level of stress associated with the brain's limbic system. It can also mitigate chronic pain, which is a driving force that often leads many to substance abuse in the first place.
Research on this topic continues to be scant, and that's because there are not many providers offering this service. However, a 2001 study, published in the journal Nature: Molecular Psychiatry, found that individuals who received spinal adjustments as part of their substance treatment indicated fewer drug cravings and mental health symptoms.
Furthermore, 100 percent of the study's participants completed the program, which is a stark contrast to the high dropout rates commonly associated with addiction treatment.
As researchers and healthcare professionals continue to fight the fierce addiction battle, it's likely we will continue to see a rise in holistic services. In conjunction with more traditional treatments, like psychiatric medication and psychotherapy, spinal adjustments may have a promising place in this field of study.