If you have been faithfully following the biochemical repair program outlined in Seven Weeks to Sobriety and still do not feel as well as you suspect you should, you may be wondering whether a biochemical restoration program is right for you.
Relax. This program works for all alcoholics, but you may be suffering from food allergies or chemical sensitivities that must be identified and treated before your recovery can be complete. Or you may be battling an overgrowth of Candida Albicans, a yeast that can sap your energy and undermine your health. Alcoholics are particularly vulnerable to candida overgrowth.
To deal with these complex conditions you’ll need to learn how to determine whether you are affected and, if so, what you can do to overcome these debilitating disorders. Dramatic recoveries have been made baby Health Recovery Center clients who discover that they are afflicted with one or more of these problems.
When I suspect that a client is chemically sensitive, I always tell the story of Roger, a counselor at an alcoholism detox center who had not had a drink since he had completed traditional treatment three years before I met him. Underneath the veneer of success, Roger was tormented by explosive anger, anxiety, and exhaustion.
When he called me, he said his dry-drunk behavior was threatening his job. He didn't know how to control his emotions and was afraid that he would wind up drinking again. Worse, he recognized that he was having suicidal thoughts. He was very frightened.
At our initial interview, I discovered that Roger was consuming twenty-five cups of coffee and a six-pack of cola every day. Correcting his hypoglycemia soon calmed the mood swings, but his behavior was still unpredictable. Not until he told me about his hobby, taxidermy, did I begin to suspect the culprit.
In his off-hours, Roger was inhaling solvents, glues, and thinners that just might explain the symptoms that continued to trouble him. To find out, I sent him to a clinical ecologist for tests. His reaction to ethanol's and formaldehydes was dramatic. Upon exposure in the lab, he became quite anxious and paranoid. Tests also revealed sensitivities to wheat and dairy products that brought on delayed reactions of severe irritability and fatigue.
When Roger was drinking, withdrawal from alcohol typically brought on violent scenes and bleak moods. Although he had managed to quit, for permanent relief he had to avoid other substances that altered his brain chemistry and undermined his emotional stability as well. Roger recovered by giving up caffeine, nicotine, refined sugars, wheat, and dairy products, and minimizing his exposure to ethanols and formaldehyde.
Over the years I have learned that house painters, garage mechanics, hair stylists, printers, and others who continually breathe chemical fumes on the job are often alcoholic. At the end of the workday they are literally intoxicated by the fumes from their jobs, and they head straight to the bar to forestall withdrawal symptoms. Those who try to stop drinking develop unrelenting cravings for alcohol.
A distinguished Chicago allergist, Theron Randolph, M.D., was the first to propose that many physical and emotional disorders may be related to exposure to environmental chemicals. He discovered that susceptible people first experience a pleasing, addictive high followed eventually by withdrawal symptoms.
Dr. Randolph’s book An Alternative Approach to Allergies, will give you an idea of the range of these symptoms from the initial "up" to the subsequent withdrawal or "down." The more you are stimulated (intoxicated) by the chemical, the more severe the withdrawal will be.
A Health Recovery Center study showed that 56 percent of our clients were sensitive to chemicals in the environment. The most common offender was ethanol, contained in a wide range of products, including:
- Natural gas
- Gasoline (regular and diesel)
- Some paints
- Automobile exhaust
- Soft plastics (new car odors)
- Certain hand lotions and perfumes
- Disinfectant cleaners
- Tobacco smoke
- Maladapted Cerebral & Behavior Responses
- Adapted Responses
- Maladapted Localized Responses
- Maladapted Systemic Responses
- Maladapted Advanced Stimulatory Responses
The most common reactions are fatigue, exhaustion, spaciness, mental confusion, depression, cravings, irritability. The magnitude and severity of these responses is startling-sudden intense anger, tears and sobbing, falling asleep, the inability to think or speak coherently.
These symptoms can be readily produced and extinguished in an allergy lab. Testing involves placing a sample of the suspect chemical under the tongue (sublingual testing). If a reaction occurs, it can be turned off by placing a much smaller neutralizing dose of the same substance under the tongue. These test results provide convincing evidence for skeptical clients and those who suspect that their symptoms are all in their minds.
Test Yourself for Chemical Sensitivities
The chemical screening test (Chart 8 from the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety) was developed at HRC and is based on a questionnaire originally developed by Theron Randolph, M.D., regarded as the "Father of Clinical Ecology.”
If on the basis of this test you believe you are chemically allergic, you should consult a clinical ecologist/allergist for further testing and treatment. I was tested at Dr. Kroker's office in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The result was a real eye-opener.
Before exposure, I had completed a short exercise that required me to match symbols. After the mysterious dose, I was asked to match another page of symbols. I was so sleepy and muddled that I simply could not perform the exercise at a normal pace. I felt as though my IQ had dropped fifty points. Then, with a neutralizing dose under my tongue, I slowly brightened up.
The substance responsible for my sleepiness and confusion was ethanol, the base of most perfumes and after-shave lotions. The test results explained why I had been having trouble concentrating when new clients wore a lot of cologne or after-shave.
How to Turn Off Chemical Reactions
Once substances that trigger negative reactions are identified, clinical ecologists can desensitize you with a three-step procedure.
First, they'll prepare a neutralizing dose containing minute amounts of the chemical(s) to which you are sensitive. When this is placed under your tongue, the allergic reaction diminishes within minutes. At the same time, the ability of your Immune system to handle the chemical begins to strengthen. You may get a prescription to take home and use according to the doctor's instructions. You may have to use it dally until your immune system can handle exposure normally.
Second, he or she will recommend that you take a sodium and potassium bicarbonate in the form of Alka-Seltzer Gold or alkali salts available with a prescription. The salts effectively neutralize the excess acidity that develops in the body during allergic reactions. Two tablets of Alka-Seltzer Gold quickly reduce symptoms that occur after chemical exposure. The adult dose is two tablets every four hours; do not exceed eight tablets in a twenty-four hour period.
Third, to prevent reactions in the future, it is essential that you avoid, as much as possible, the chemicals to which you are sensitive. Also avoid or eliminate chemicals in your home that could potentially cause you problems, including:
- Cigarette smoke
- Gas appliances
- Perfumed cosmetics and hair sprays
- Soft vinyl and acrylic items
- Spray cleaners for ovens, baths, and kitchens
- Air fresheners
You can further reduce your exposure by drinking deep well water or bottled spring water instead of chlorinated tap water and avoiding foods that have been heavily sprayed with chemicals (switch to organically grown products). Room and car air filters can also help minimize exposure to chemical fumes. If you must inhale strong chemical odors at work, a portable charcoal mask can help protect you.
The information presented in the article comes from Seven Weeks To Sobriety©. It is based on 40 years of research and clinical observations at Health Recovery Center®. and their effective methods of biochemical repair following an orthomolecular approach to restore health and balance to the brain. We invite you to learn more about Health Recovery Center®, and the superior “cause-based” treatment it has pioneered for addictions and mental health.