However, you approach it; drug addiction is challenging to beat. More than merely a fixation, it is a chronic illness that can consume you both physically and mentally, and it will only worsen over time if left unattended. But what makes them so addicting? And what is the easiest way to overcome their grip on your body and mind?
Studies backing the application of nootropics for drug addiction is still in its infancy. The considerable majority of support for nootropics is based on animal research. However, a few studies have found the intake of certain nootropics (above all, citicoline) to counter addiction and facilitate quitting.
The Best Supplements for Recovering Drug Addicts
Citicoline is best known as a memory- and cognition-enhancing brain energizer, but its biochemical actions within the body also make it a possible contender for fighting drug addiction.
Its major function is as a precursor of the substance acetylcholine, which finally gives it a crucial role in neuronal signaling. In essence, supplementing with the nootropic escalates levels of critical neurotransmitters that are often drained by drug usage .
Citicoline can increase the presence of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the hypothalamus and other regions of the brain responsible for handling the endocrine system and, in turn, regulating hormones. Thus, citicoline has the potential to act as a natural replacement for several addictive substances.
Almost 12 clinical trials have corroborated this idea in recent times. An extensive review of these studies concluded that citicoline was not only well-tolerated and safe to use but effective against addiction as well:
Citicoline is associated with a reduction in use and appears to decrease craving.
Collectively, the nootropic showed promising benefits for former drug users, including the following:
- Improving orientation and concentration
- Decreasing cravings
- Restoring brain response to food stimuli
- Prolonging treatment retention
- Reducing depression and other mood-related symptoms
Scientists from one of the clinical studies noted that citicoline intake minimized the drug relapse rate by more than 6 times that of the placebo.
2. Rhodiola Rosea
As an herbal adaptogen, Rhodiola Rosea can fortify the body and mind against a wide variety of stressors and optimize mental and physical activity. In terms of addiction, Rhodiola promotes many bioactivities that may help relieve the withdrawal process:
- Modulating stress hormones
- Balancing the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin
- Protecting brain cells
- Sustaining acetylcholine levels
Several rodent-based studies have shed light on the adaptogen’s potential as an aid for quitting an array of drugs . long- and short-term Rhodiola administration remarkably reduced both the expression and development of drug dependency
One research suggested that the supplement could be excellent for handling withdrawal as well: Rhodiola “abolished” common withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, shaking, and chewing. Besides, scientists of a separate study discovered that Rhodiola was “effective for reducing craving and vulnerability to relapse.
The amino acid L-Theanine made its reputation long ago as one of the critical soothing ingredients present in green tea. Studies have verified its capacity to increase alpha brain waves’ activity, which is related to enhanced mood, “wakeful relaxation,” and mental clarity.
L-Theanine is also known to naturally increase serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels, reducing the body’s dependence on drugs to maintain these neurotransmitters’ sufficient levels. It also has a proven ability to protect brain cells by promoting antioxidation and blocking glutamate receptors .
Collectively, these bioactivities may prove beneficial for overcoming drug addiction. Among its most relevant possible effects include the following:
- Promoting calm without sedation
- Increasing alertness and attention for mental tasks
- Managing jitteriness
- Instilling a sense of happiness and relaxation
Various animal trials have further validated some of these effects, showing that the nootropic was specifically well-geared toward handling with withdrawal. L-Theanine can remarkably attenuate withdrawal signs ranging from irritability to anxiety.
One scientific study showed that L-Theanine attenuated various drug withdrawal signs such as rigid abdominal muscles, abdominal pain, retching, shaking, and pacing.
The results of these studies indicate that L-Theanine can be beneficial in the pharmacotherapy of treating anxiety-associated behaviors as well as withdrawal, the researchers concluded.
Besides, L-Theanine appeared to have a relatively quick onset of action in these studies, with a duration of at least 2.5 hours.
[Also Read: Natural Ways to Overcome Any Addiction]
4. Bacopa Monnieri
Like Rhodiola, Bacopa Monnieri is a storable adaptogen with a rich history of usage in herbal medications. The Ayurvedic herb contains an adequate amount of active bacosides that may enhance aspects of learning and memory.
Regarding drug addiction, Bacopa’s adaptogenic activity can help the body cope with its stress responses during periods of non-drug use and withdrawal. Bacopa’s ability to promote the natural production of acetylcholine, serotonin, and GABA may also lessen the body’s drug cravings and dependence .
Various animal studies have affirmed various potential beneficial effects from taking Bacopa for the management of drug addiction:
- Decreasing drug withdrawal-based depression
- Reducing the expression and development of drug tolerance
- Lowering drug-induced hyperactivity
- Protecting brain cells against toxicity from prolonged drug use
- Protecting the kidney and liver against toxicity from extended drug use.
Similarly, several other nootropics may help deal with these symptoms as well: lion’s mane mushroom extract could help reduce depression and anxiety, and N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine could help ward off stress.
5. Addiction is a treatable disease
It is important to remember that addiction is not a sign of weak moral standing or a personal choice —addiction is a treatable disease. It is a little more personal than most, but the focus must be on treating and healing the causes and symptoms rather than blaming them.
It’s a long road ahead, but it can most definitely be done with support and dedication.
Drug addiction has negative effects on a person’s mind and body that only intensify with continued use. Stopping the cycle is extremely challenging and often requires a lot of medical and emotional support. There are various types of therapies to overcome drug addiction, and it takes time to figure out which one is suitable for a particular individual.
Whatever method a person decides to take, these supplements can help reduce drug cravings and dependence and manage withdrawal symptoms, from anxiety and depression to pain and shaking.