What are these conditions?
The terms are not necesarrily interchangeable.
The Family Disease specifically refers to persons who are affected by someone who is an alcoholic or addict-- whether or not that person is in recovery.
The other two terms also include relationships with persons who are not an alcoholic or addict. The person may be completely normal when it comes to drinking alcohol, but they are abusive, have anger issues, are controlling, and are causing a great deal of harm.
Common symptoms of these conditions:
I pulled the above list from https://www.mhanational.org/issues/co-dependency. They go into codependency in great detail. http://coda.org/ and https://www.codependencynomore.com are also very helpful.
If you, or someone you know, is affected by an alcoholic, or a peson who drinks, and it is having a detrimental effect https://al-anon.org/ is an excellent resource.
Each of these organizations uses a different approach. The path to recovery is not a one-size-fits all deal. In general, I suggest that a person give a program at least a 3-6 month consistent trial. One session, or meeting, is usually not enough to make an informed decision.
I also suggest, just as I do to those wanting to recover from an alcohol use disorder, or substance addiction, please seek out some kind of support group. It is often more difficult for persons who are codependent, struggle with relationship addiction, or have “the Family Disease” to do this, because these conditions involve people, not substances.
These persons may feel completely cut-off from others. If you know someone, or are someone, in a position where the abuser controls every, single move-- a more serious intervention must happen before recovery can be addressed. In this case I suggest contacting The National Domestic Violence Hotline
No matter which terminology rings true for you, or possibly someone you know, please understand these conditions are every bit as life-threatening as a practicing alcoholic, or addict.
My posts this week will talk about a few of the MANY ways that Naturopathic Medicine can assist persons in these situations. As licensed doctors, we are well-equipped to help identify effective treatments for the medical toll these conditions take on a person, such as:
As your friendly, neighborhood ND-- I am also happy to be there, if you want to come in, and use a visit with me as an excuse to get a moment away from the harmful relationship. I can’t give you a free visit, but I can give you a space to make a phone call to any of the above organizations
Help is available, no matter your situation. There is hope.
I want to preface this post with a warning:
That said, there are “Stop Smoking” tincture blends available at most stores that have a quality natural health section. Here in SC, Staff of Life, New Leaf, & Whole Foods come to mind. Take them as directed on the bottle, unless your ND says otherwise.
In my clinic, I have it in a glycerite tincture, because many people who are in recovery from an Alcohol Use Disorder are also smokers who usually want to stop at some point. The glycerite form is less toxic than the alcohol based tincture of Lobelia, and is also effective. Besides that, it tastes better, lol. I wrote an Instagram post on glycerites: https://www.instagram.com/p/B2Psz-lhlX8/
The reason Lobelia is effective in aiding recovery from a nicotine addiction is its main active phytochemical (phyto=plant), lobeline. Lobeline acts on nicotine receptors in the body. Receptors are like a lock. Each one has a different shape. Chemicals that have that shape are like the key that opens or closes the lock. There can be more than one chemical that will act on each receptor, because of similarity in shape. --And yes, we have actual receptors in our body for the chemical nicotine, or chemicals that are similar to it, like lobeline.
Lobeline, however, does not exert such a strong response. You will not become addicted to Lobelia either, because you will throw up before enough of it can be ingested to ever begin reaching any kind of tolerance. It’s a very effective deterrent, and another reason why it actually helps people recover. Oh nature, you are so dang smart.
Lobelia not only helps reduce nicotine cravings, it has a particular affinity for lung tissue, just like nicotine. One of the withdrawal effects of nicotine is coughing as the body begins to work on detoxifying the lungs. Lobeline opens up the bronchial airway, and relieves this symptom.
This article gives a complete picture of nicotine withdrawal:
I would like to offer another caution here- See a doctor, if you are experiencing:
In my previous blog post (https://20785214-802238062905058347.preview.editmysite.com/editor/main.php#) there is information on how to find smoking cessation programs. Many of these are free.
If you do want to quit smoking, it will not be easy, but it is definitely possible. Find friends, or family, who will be kind and encourage your effort. Having such a support group statistically increases a person’s ability to recover. Just know, your friendly, neighborhood ND is hoping the best. I would certainly welcome the chance to be a part of making your recovery successful!
They also have incredibly short half-lives (nicotine 2 hrs, most opioids 2-4 hrs). That means, at first, the user must re-dose every 2-4 hours. Re-dosing that often causes rapid depletion of the neurotransmitters they cause the body to dump. It also forces the body to increase the number of chemical receptor sites they activate. Very quickly, these effects add up to increased “tolerance,” and the user must take in more & more to get the original feeling of pain relief. The body just can’t keep up. Eventually, the relief doesn’t happen anymore, but the person continues to chase the original feeling.
Don’t despair, recovery IS possible!
Naturopathic medicine has some amazing treatments that can help make your recovery easier:
!!! There are some fantastic programs widely available for smoking cessation, and many of them are free! If you’re here in California go to:
If you’re anywhere else, do an internet search for “Free smoking cessation programs.”
As for opioid addiction recovery, I would strongly suggest starting your recovery process by going to a reputable treatment program, if possible. Here is a website with some good info on how to locate help without insurance:
About the Roaming Naturopath
Dr. Lisa is an Naturopathic Doctor in Santa Cruz who focuses on cardiovascular health, addictions medicine, and chronic pain who shares health news and natural medicine tips.