For quite some time, the public view towards drug or alcohol addictions was more focused on the problems of personal will power and lacking self control. But fortunately, the smoking cessation treatment programs in recent years have started to shed more light into our understanding about the unique biological needs in certain individuals driven by particular genetic predisposition and environmental factors.
Addiction to drugs and alcohol can predispose or coexist with other medical conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. Adolescence is the often the time when some may start to seek relief and experiment with drugs and/or alcohol by themselves or with peers. Adolescents may lack knowledge and understanding of consequences and not have a good social support system in place.
It is important to raise awareness in patients, families and society to understand how some of the possible underlying biological causes and potential treatment options can have a direct impact on the outcome for individuals who become addicted, and to society at-large.
While personal discipline and social standards still play a vital role in combating against drug and alcohol abuse, a holistic clinical and laboratory evaluation to identify the root causes based on analysis of certain biochemical profiles and particular nutritional needs may open a new realm of therapy and provide hope for those with substance use disorders. With the advancement in genetic analysis, a spectrum of mild presentations of inherited genetic deficiency has been increasingly recognized. A majority of them have therapeutic options. Furthermore, coexisting chronic medical conditions, such as Epstein- Barr virus (EBV) and Lyme Disease/co-infections must be ruled out before any psychiatric drug therapy should be implemented. Many of the laboratory evaluations are available now and also covered by medical insurance. The goal is to enhance the treatment efficacy and improve the treatment outcome.
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