What are amino acids? Amino acids are the building blocks for neurotransmitters like Dopamine, GABA, Serotonin and Endorphins, which are closely tied to addictive behavior. With the use of various amino acids, brain chemistry can be adjusted to help normalize and restore deficiencies in these neurotransmitters that spur cravings that can lead to both addiction and relapse.
Dopamine is the most commonly referred to neurotransmitter in the addiction field for its role in the limbic system in forming overvalued relationships with addictive chemicals in those with vulnerable brains. However it is also responsible for things like energy, enthusiasm, mental focus, and concentration. Persons with dopamine deficiencies would experience inability to concentrate, lack of interest, lethargy, or attention deficit disorder and would likely gravitate towards substances mimicking these characteristics, such as uppers and stimulants.
GABA is a less well known neurotransmitter, but should be held in high regard as it is the only neurotransmitter that can be taken as itself in supplement form. GABA’s role is stress resistance, anxiety reduction, and calming the nervous system. Those struggling with a GABA deficiency would experience panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia, shakiness, and would likely move towards chemicals in the benzodiazepine family or alcohol.
Serotonin is often discussed in conjunction with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) medication, which are commonly used to treat depression. Serotonin’s role in the nervous system is mood stabilization, relaxation, happiness, and sleep. Those with a serotonin deficiency would experience depression, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, negative thoughts, aches and pains, obsessions and compulsions, or low self-esteem and lean towards downers, alcohol, and marijuana.
Endorphins are usually talked about with regards to exercise. This is because their role is pain mitigation and management in the brain and/or body. This could be emotional or physical pain and those with a deficiency in these chemicals would experience oversensitivity to physical and emotional pain, lack of pleasure, dullness, and feelings of emptiness. People with an endorphin deficiency would likely look towards substances in the opioid family to medicate these symptoms.
Bridging the Gaps (BTG) believes in treating substance use disorders by integrating traditional forms of psycho-social-spiritual approaches with complementary modalities that promote physiological healing and wellbeing. BTG strives to address the needs of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit.
During the Phase I of the BTG residential program, the focus is on physical and emotional stabilization. Throughout a client’s course of treatment, a variety of treatment modalities including:
• Intravenous Amino Acid Therapy;
• Oral Amino Acid Nutrients;
• Acupuncture Detoxification;
• Massage; and
All these modalities are designed to specifically target the healing and restoration of the physiological self. Specifically, the amino acids are an all-natural therapy aimed at healing the neurochemical deficiencies either brought on by addiction or those that predate addiction.
At the beginning of treatment clients meet with the Attending Physician to undergo functional testing and are put on a regimen of oral amino acid supplements and then scheduled for the appropriate corresponding Intravenous Therapy (IV). The IV will allow the amino acids to get right to the brain and start the healing process immediately. This is where we see significant reduction in abstinence severity scales and withdrawal symptomology. Both the IV and the oral nutrients contain amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to rapidly restore clients to optimal brain functionality.
By strategically targeting these “feel good” neurotransmitters related with addiction we rapidly rebalance the brain. This leads to a reduction in abstinence symptoms such as cravings, anxiety, and fuzzy thinking thus making it easier for our clients to absorb the counseling and educational aspects any treatment program.
For more information on amino acid therapy or on the BTG program, please contact an admissions representative at 540-535-1111.