Chemical Dependency (Narcotic)
The family of drugs loosely known as “narcotics” includes chemicals in the opiate family, such as heroin, along with cocaine and variations of methamphetamine (“speed”). All of these drugs produce intense psychological symptoms during withdrawal, and most cause physical symptoms as well, making them some of the most addictive substances known.
The process of overcoming narcotic addiction involves short-term assistance to ease the immediate withdrawal period, long-term psychological work to induce behavior change, and, in some cases, maintenance treatment with long-acting narcotics such as methadone. New classes of medications are under investigation for aiding withdrawal as well.
Proposed Natural Treatments
There are no well established natural treatments to aid the treatment of drug addiction, but some have shown a bit of promise.
is thought to have mild sedative properties and has been suggested as an aid to drug withdrawal. A 14-day,
In this 14-day study, the use of passionflower along with clonidine significantly eased the emotional aspects of withdrawal compared to use of clonidine alone. However, more research will be necessary to prove this treatment effective.
Although some animal studies suggest that various forms of
For example, while benefits were seen in a much smaller single-blind trial,
Other Natural Approaches
One study provides weak evidence that the substance
In a review of 21 studies involving almost 3,000 subjects, researchers concluded that
3. Ng LK, Douthitt TC, Thoa NB, et al. Modification of morphine-withdrawal syndrome in rats following transauricular electrostimulation: an experimental paradigm for auricular electroacupuncture. Biol Psychiatry. 1975;10:575-580.
9. Shaffer HJ, LaSalvia TA, Stein JP. Comparing Hatha yoga with dynamic group psychotherapy for enhancing methadone maintenance treatment: a randomized clinical trial. Altern Ther Health Med . 1997;3:57-66.
10. Miller DK, Crooks PA, Teng L, Witkin JM, Munzar P, Goldberg SR, Acri JB, Dwoskin LP. Lobeline inhibits the neurochemical and behavioral effects of amphetamine. J Pharmacol Exp Ther . 2001;296:1023-34.
13. Sumathi T, Nayeem M, Balakrishna K, Veluchamy G, Devaraj SN. Alcoholic extract of 'Bacopa monniera' reduces the in vitro effects of morphine withdrawal in guinea-pig ileum. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002;82:75-81
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Medical Review Board
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.