I think this quote from The American Society of Addiction Medicine sums up what actually happens during addiction pretty well..
“Addiction is not about drugs, it’s about brains. It is not the substances a person uses that make them an addict; it is not even the quantity or frequency of use. Addiction is about what happens in a person’s brain when they are exposed to rewarding substances or rewarding behaviors, and it is more about reward circuitry in the brain than it is about the external chemicals or behavior that “turn on” that reward circuitry.”
If you’ve used opiates for longer than 2-4 weeks, then you’re probably lacking in natural “feel good” brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters.
Your brain has four primary neurotransmitters and each plays a critical and different role in your health and how you feel.
The four primary neurotransmitters are dopamine, serotonin, GABA, acetylcholine.
So what do they do for you?
- Serotonin regulates sleep and appetite.
- Dopamine is the feel good chemical, plays an important role in mood, energy, attitude, motivation.
- GABA acts as your calming neurotransmitter, helping you relax.
- Acetylcholine for processing information and memory.
- Endorphins are feel good chemicals our bodies release under extreme pain. They are considered the bodies own opiates.
When heroin and other opioid prescription pain relievers are abused for longer than a couple weeks, your brain slowly stops producing these critical neurotransmitters.
And here’s why:
Opiates release 2 to 10 times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards do.
This nifty chart shows you how much more pleasure you get from cocaine than from eating:
What do you do if the volume on the stereo is too loud? You turn it down, right? Well our brain does that same thing when it adjusts to the overwhelming surges of dopamine (and other neurotransmitters) sent from abusing drugs.
To compensate for these surges your brain begins to automatically produce much less natural dopamine and other key neurotransmitters. This is what causes many of your most painful opioid withdrawal symptoms.
And it’s why when you stop using drugs your brain’s naturally occurring neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA) are FAR below normal healthy levels.
Because opioids and all drugs pretty much destroy your body and brain’s production of it’s own natural feel good chemicals.
This creates a neurotransmitter imbalance or chemical deficiency and depending on the deficiency it can cause a wide range of narcotic withdrawal symptoms and other health problems.
The Deficiencies and Imbalances in the Brain Caused by Heroin and Opioid Addiction
When your neurotransmitters are low or imbalanced, like they are almost always after addiction, you will likely feel flat, lifeless, depressed, nervous, anxious, stressed and unable to enjoy the things that use to bring you pleasure and joy in life.
Behavior like this is a common sign of a neurotransmitter deficiency or imbalance. Opiate and drug users almost always have neurotransmitters deficiency’s and certain chemical imbalances that may affect your mood and health.
And the longer you’ve used drugs for, the greater the imbalance or deficiency may be.
Dopamine deficiencies can cause fatigue, memory lose, depression, addiction, personality disorders, chronic fatigue, panic.
Serotonin deficiencies can cause constipation, nausea, blues, insomnia, addiction, depression, learning disabilities, thought confusion.
Acetycholine deficiencies can cause anxiety, stress, learning difficulties, agitation, mood swings, memory lapses, attention problems, diminished comprehension.
GABA deficiencies can cause insomnia, sleep disorders, muscle pain, muscle tension, stomach cramps, high anxiety, inability to think clearly, headache, hypertension.
Learning the hard way, costly mistakes taught me that you don’t have to suffer from this imbalance forever, because there are natural ways to raise many depleted nutritional deficiencies.
The Best Natural Supplements for Raising Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins After Drug Addiction
One of the easiest ways to release brain chemicals is by using a dopamine or serotonin building supplement. Because there are many natural ingredients that are researched, tested and proven effective at releasing dopamine in the brain.
These easy to find vitamins and supplements are an excellent way to ensure a steady supply of nutrients essential to the production of neurotransmitters and to boost biochemical levels.
Natural Serotonin Raising Supplements
Serotonin effects your sleep, body temperature, sexual behavior and your pain sensations. It’s also a contributor in feelings like happiness and well-being.
5-HTP (hydroxyryptopan) – 5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin and helps your brain manufacture more serotonin. It is also the precursor for melatonin, the hormone involved in sleep patterns of the human body.
It works in the way that it helps the body to produce serotonin. 5-HTP is effectively used today for many ailments including weight loss, treating depression, fibromyalgia, migraines and it is said that it helps in treating Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, down syndrome, alcoholism, opiate withdrawal, PMS and menopausal symptoms and many other symptoms we face.
It’s thought to improve mood, help you sleep, and instill feelings of relaxation and calmness.
St. Johns Wort – An anti-depressant herb that is commonly used for its positive neurological effects on mood and attitude.
Natural Dopamine Releasing Supplements
Dopamine boosting supplements are very important after addiction. Because these levels are directly impacted by prolonged opiated abuse.
Mucuna Pruriens (extract) – A deficiency of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain can result in depression, sadness, lack of focus and low motivation. Fortunately if these levels are low, mucuna pruriens can help rebuild depleted neurotransmitters norepinephrine and boost dopamine. This improves mood and makes more chemical messengers that act in the brain to produce mental alertness and energy. Mucuna Pruriens can rapidly replenish depleted dopamine stores.
L-Tyrosine – This is another ingredient well known for its abilties to naturally help rebuild dopamine.
Natural GABA Boosting Ingredients
GABA boosting supplements can help you calm the brain and keep you on even keel. They also reduce stress, ease anxiety and promote sleep.
GABA – Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid, or GABA is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain – in the central nervous system. As a supplement GABA is commercially sold as a natural tranquilizer for the neurotransmitter effects. In other words, GABA is used to help people relax, calm down, relieve anxiety and sleep.
Glutamine – Helps decrease symptoms of anxiety, relieve muscle spasms, muscle tension
Melatonin – Controls sleep functions and awake sleep cycles.
B-Complex Vitamins – Produces a calming, relaxing effect by activating GABA and cyclic adenosine monophosphate.
L-Theanine – Helps you keep a calm and relaxed state without making you fall asleep.
Natural Acetycholine Increasing Supplements
Acetycholine is responsible for thinking functions, such as comprehension of language, intelligence, and attention.
Phosphatidylserine – An impressive volume of research shows that phosphatidylserine, another modified amino acid, benefits acetylcholine deficiency. Recommended for memory disorders and depression.
N-acetyl-cysteine – an amino acid that helps detoxify many chemicals and is a strong antioxidant.
Huperzine-A – Preserves acetylcholine, which helps neurons process memory without losing speed.
Introducing a natural way to relieve symptoms and speed detox at-home
We’ve formulated our own line of natural supplements with the most effective ingredients. Each is designed to work synergistically with each other to provide opiate withdrawal relief and support your recovery.
Contains 23 highly regarded nutrients such as St John’s Wort, 5-HTP, Mucuna Pruriens, GABA known to help naturally support dopamine and serotonin production .
- Promotes Relief from Many Painful Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
- Supports Healing During Detox by Replenishing Nutritional Deficiencies
- Naturally Boosts Serotonin, Dopamine and Other Important Brain Chemicals
How to Release and Increase Endorphins Naturally At-Home
Here’s a few more excellent additional ways to release endorphins naturally after drug addiction while at home.
- MUSIC – Music is powerful and can move you emotionally. When you’re coming off opiates you’re body probably feels like it’s thawing out. Your bodies probably more sensitive to touch and sound. Good music can absolutely help your mood and get those brain chemicals working again. Try and listen to mostly upbeat music and this can be a helpful homeopathic home remedy.
- MEDITATION – Meditation helps the nervous system operate at its best; when done properly this raises levels of serotonin, endorphins and dopamine.
- LAUGHTER – Watch a good comedy movie or have a laugh with friends to release endorphins.
- SUNLIGHT – bright light increases Serotonin production in the body. Spending time in the sunlight can absolutely improve your mood and also soothe muscle aches. Tanning beds can be helpful if no sun is shinning.
- SEX – is a powerful producer of endorphins. A long session can dramatically increase endorphins. When you’re in withdrawal sex can be a very nice escape.
- ACUPUNCTURE – acupuncture increases circulation and stimulates the release of endorphins. If you haven’t looked into acupuncture while in withdrawal – you might want to try it out, it can be VERY helpful during healing.
- MASSAGE – stimulates the release of endorphins. Massaging your own scalp and shower massager’s can provide an affordable alternative to expensive treatments. Massage therapy can feel wonderful.
- EXERCISE – is one of the best natural ways to produce both serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. Vigorous exercise is best because the stronger the physical demand you place on your body, the greater the release of endorphins. You should try weight training and high and low intensity exercises. Work out as long as you can.
Dopamine Boosting and Serotonin Releasing Foods
You can help replenish needed neurotransmitters by eating the right foods.
- Eat carbohydrate rich meals and lots of vegetables. Healthy choices include whole grain breads, whole grain pasta, rice, brocolli, spinach lettuce, etc. Eating fat processed foods will do the opposite. Eat better and improve how you feel. (now to contradict myself)
- Eat sweet foods like chocolate (sparingly), only a couple squares of good quality chocolate with a high percentage of Cocoa in it can raise these chemicals.
- Serotonin is naturally occurring in foods like pineapples, bananas, nuts and plums.
- Get an adequate supply of B vitamins, folic acid and vitamin C because these vitamins play a role in transmitting brain chemicals.
- Spicy foods like Chile’s, peppers and jalapenos. The heat triggers the release of endorphins, so the spicier the better.
- Weight bearing activity builds dopamine and releases endorphins. Try lifting weights or doing a difficult workout, many begin to feel very good and amped up.