Recover Your Life
Alcohol Recovery Medicine
Do you sometimes lose control over how much you drink? Do you want to change your relationship with alcohol?
This website and my medical practice are dedicated to helping people with Alcohol Use Disorder, or AUD. Here you can read about Ten Good Rules to prevent AUD, about medications which reduce alcohol craving and about the Sinclair method, which uses targeted naltrexone to help overcome addiction to alcohol.
- John C. Umhau MD MPH
Naltrexone and other medications have helped thousands of people safely reduce their drinking. Although the effect of medical treatment varies, some people experience dramatic benefits from medication and following the Ten Good Rules.
One 40-year-old professional, for example, came to my telemedicine practice to try naltrexone after losing control of her drinking. She could avoid drinking during the week, but on weekends, one glass of wine led to a binge ending only when she passed out. On Mondays she was hung over, unable to work, and terrified that one day she would hurt someone while driving drunk.
She had tried abstinence, but after a time the craving for alcohol became overwhelming and she would start drinking again. When she took a drink following her first dose of naltrexone, she felt like something had been “switched off”; she no longer felt the “manic feeling” that compelled her to drink more and more. The next day, she woke up without a hangover.
Medications often help people drink at less dangerous levels; others find the freedom to quit alcohol altogether.
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A Physician's Perspective on Alcohol Recovery
Alcohol use disorder is a complex condition affecting different people in different ways. The most effective treatment adapts the latest scientific knowledge to the individual, often using medications with the Sinclair Method while recognizing the importance of psychological, social, dietary, and spiritual aspects of recovery. At AlcoholRecoveryMedicine, we know that asking for help is a sign of strength, not of weakness. Let us show you how medicine and diet can help restore a life threatened by alcohol.
My research and 20+ years of experience using naltrexone suggest that once heavy drinking starts, it may be driven by an inflammatory process in the brain, a process made worse by the effect of excessive alcohol to disrupt the natural gut biome and promote Inflammation. Fortunately, the lifestyle choices we make, and particularly what we eat, can make a big impact on recovery. We can’t be completely healthy unless our heart and mind are at peace; the latest neuroscience explains why this is so. Past trauma, subconscious stress, and undiagnosed illness can sometimes promote drinking, which is why a specialist in addiction medicine can provide critical help for long term recovery.
Ten Good Rules
1. If you choose to drink alcohol, drink only after a meal and never on an empty stomach. Before drinking becomes a problem, switch to less concentrated alcoholic drinks like wine or beer and always keep track of how much you drink. Ten percent of American children have a parent with Alcohol Use Disorder; they will be at high risk if they drink.
2 Get care from a physician who understands addiction. Some medications reduce alcohol craving, promote abstinence and help you drink less. Avoid any drug that could make you it’s slave.
3. Outdoor exercise exposes you to healthy sunlight and vitamin D. Working out can decrease your interest in unhealthy habits. Join a class, play on a team, or find a hobby that you can love, especially one that keeps you active and surrounded by nature.
4. Omega-3 fat in food from the ocean can help stabilize your mood, and fish oil supplements may help you control your temper. Enjoy olive oil, coconut oil, and "grass fed" butter but avoid the omega-6 fat found in oil from soy, peanut, safflower, corn, or meat from animals fattened on these seeds.
5. Drinks that taste sweet may be a satisfying substitute for alcohol when you crave a drink, but avoid sweets which contain high fructose corn syrup which is especially harmful. Drink water and coffee instead.
6. Replenish essential vitamins and minerals. Alcohol drinkers often need magnesium, zinc, thiamine and other nutrients to avoid health problems and promote recovery.
7. Understand yourself. Don’t let denial of your situation prevent you from developing self-awareness. If you make poor decisions, find a good counselor who can help you make the best choices to achieve your goals. Develop healthy habits and make the hard choices that are right for you.
8. Look for friends who will give you good counsel, friends with whom you feel safe and can be completely honest. You will become like the people you are with so choose your friends wisely. Be active in a group that will help you reach your goals. Isolation can keep you in darkness.
9. Eat the best food you can; pre-biotic foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans and oats will give you a healthy gut, but gluten and highly processed foods may cause problems. Pro-biotics or even fermented foods like yogurt may help heal a liver damaged by alcohol.
10. Seek your purpose, be grateful, and encourage those around you. Find life’s meaning so you will have strength when difficulties come. Many people find strength by seeking an authentic relationship with God. Live free from the trap of alcohol.
© 2019 John Umhau MD MPH. All rights reserved