Addiction is the real burden to our nation, with the majority of the population addicted to something. Addiction is responsible for a huge percentage of injustices, where a drug-fueled act of a substance abuser can, in a moment, destroy their own life, or the lives of others. Excessive drug use is also responsible for a large percentage of mental illness. Drug induced psychosis, schizophrenia, bi-polar, major depressive and anxiety are common, but once this occurs these people can be medicated and stuck in the health system indefinitely. There are other addictions that go under the radar, like fats, sugars and coffee that can have serious health implications with chronic abuse. I haven’t even touched on gambling and sex.
Each addict is striving for a better pleasurable experience each time with the release of dopamine and endorphins. Serotonin is the chemical that, when released, communicates to the body that it is satisfied - but an addict's serotonin levels are depleted, hence the desire for more and more stimulus. What is interesting is that dopamine is released before we even get our hit of our choice of addictive substances, it is released on the expectation that we will obtain this hit.
So what can we do about it?
Despite my experience in the treatment room, there is strong evidence in clinical trials to claim that acupuncture is a good adjunct to withdrawal. It lowers craving scores and anxiety, accelerates the disposal of toxic build up and builds the immune system so that people can make clear decisions without the weight of the drug clouding their mind. There is a critical period after the decision is made that one needs this help, but it is not all the practitioner’s responsibility. The patient will have to make life style choices and alter patterns that trigger the desire for the drug. They may even have to change their environment and friends who have the same problem.
I am personally experienced in this fight, and I can offer you help based on that experience.