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NAD Therapy to Treat Addiction: How Does It Work?

Addiction is a widely misunderstood disease that, in the past, was widely thought to be a simple issue caused by a lack of willpower or a moral flaw. In reality, addiction is a serious health concern caused by mental health issues, behavioral issues, societal problems, and social issues. Substance abuse also causes physical changes as the brain becomes accustomed to the drug being in the body. Because the brain is wired to seek pleasurable experiences and rewards them with neurotransmitters responsible for pleasurable feelings, like dopamine and serotonin. This function in the brain evolved in humans to reward us for exercise, eating nutritious foods, and other life-sustaining activities. Drugs can trigger the same effect, encouraging people to repeat the same behaviors, thus reinforcing the cycle of substance abuse. But help is available, including NAD therapy to treat addiction.

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Understanding Addiction and Its Impacts

Physical dependence is only a piece of the puzzle when it comes to addiction. A substance use disorder includes compulsive behaviors that cause a person to continue using the drug. The brain “learns” to prioritize drug use, causing the user to utilize their drug use first, even over important life activities, work or school, or spending time with loved ones. 

Over time, the person becomes unable to experience pleasure on their own, without the drugs in their system, as their brain becomes accustomed to the consistent, artificially stimulated dopamine production. They develop a tolerance, needing more just to feel normal and avoid withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can become so painful and mentally distressing that avoiding the symptoms and the cravings associated with withdrawal becomes the person’s top priority.

Areas of the brain responsible for learning, making decisions, and exercising judgment are also affected, lessening their behavior control and contributing to self-destructive behavior. Other factors that can contribute to addiction include:

  • Biological predisposition and genetic makeup.
  • Past life experiences and trauma.
  • Family history of addiction.
  • Snorting or injecting drugs due to the immediate rush these methods provide.
  • Having a co-occurring mental health condition or dual diagnosis like schizophrenia, mood disorders,  anxiety disorders, or depression.
  • Using drugs at an early age.
  • The unique way their brain chemistry reacts to substance use.

Consequences of untreated addiction can include:

  • Serious health issues like stroke, heart disease, cancer, and lung diseases.
  • Exacerbated mental health problems.
  • Dental problems, especially when using methamphetamine.
  • Nerve or brain damage.
  • Inhibit the learning of healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Increase in risky behavior due to intoxication.
  • Increased vulnerability to certain diseases, bloodborne pathogens, and infections, including endocarditis, liver disease, Hepatitis A/B, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Overdose.

Once substance use begins to affect a person’s quality of life, it may be time to seek external help. Addressing the underlying issues within a comprehensive treatment plan is a big part of addiction treatment, which may include using NAD therapy to treat addiction.

What is NAD Therapy?

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a natural niacin co-enzyme produced in the body as part of the system that converts food energy into energy at the cellular level. 

nad therapy

Scientists have learned how to produce NAD artificially in the lab and have found that by administering it to patients, it can:

  • Improve brain function.
  • Increase energy levels.
  • Repair DNA.
  • Improve cellular communication.

Substance abuse can lower a person’s natural NAD levels, and there is also speculation that low NAD levels can make a person more likely to abuse drugs. Boosting NAD in the body can be as easy as exercising and eating food full of vitamins and protein, but getting 6 to 10 days of NAD infusion is the fastest way to increase the levels in the body, which may reduce a person’s urge to abuse substances. 

NAD Therapy and Detoxification

Researchers have found that those who use large amounts of drugs or drink a lot of alcohol may deplete their natural NAD supply. Some studies found that IV administration of NAD to individuals with acute withdrawal symptoms felt fewer cravings and lower amounts of stress, anxiety, and depression, especially when combined with specific amino acids. The infusion can also flush the drugs out of the person’s system. It may be given in multiple infusions over several days or administered in pill form.

Spas and treatment centers may advertise NAD therapy as a way to reduce aging and sell it as an alternative to rehabilitation. It has not been approved for medical use but can be utilized as a supplement. NAD therapy may improve patients’ moods and give them a natural energy boost, but it is not enough to treat addiction. It must be used in conjunction with an integrated treatment plan that includes evidence-based therapies and treatments. 

Integrating NAD Therapy with Holistic Treatment Approaches

While NAD infusions may help some people feel more energetic, addiction treatment requires more than detox and co-enzyme infusions. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, our treatment plans for addiction include evidence-based therapies, holistic treatments, and NAD therapy to treat addiction in an integrated treatment plan. Our programs target psychosocial aspects of addiction, the social issues surrounding substance abuse, and the patient’s behavioral health, mental health, and physical health while teaching new healthy habits with effective relapse prevention programs. 

Some of our treatment options include:

  • Medical detox programs.
  • Medication-assisted treatment plans.
  • Dual diagnosis treatments.
  • EMDR.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
  • Life skills programs.
  • Experiential therapy.
  • One-on-one therapy sessions.
  • Fitness and nutritional counseling.
  • 12-step and other support groups.

What Questions Should I Ask Before Receiving NAD Therapy to Treat Addiction?

It is always a good idea to check with your primary care provider before you try new medications, infusions, and treatments. Some questions you may want to ask your doctor before trying NAD therapy to treat addiction include:

  • Do I need a referral to be able to get NAD therapy?
  • Does my insurance cover NAD therapy?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Is NAD therapy safe for me? 
  • Will there be any side effects if I get NAD therapy? 
  • How does NAD therapy compare to other medicines used in addiction treatment?
  • Should I incorporate any other treatments with my NAD therapy? 

If you are considering addiction treatment but aren’t sure where to start, you can call Resurgence Behavioral Health at 855-458-0050. We offer the full continuum of care, which includes levels of care like:

  • Medical Detoxification: 24-hour inpatient medical care, with prescription medications, strong support, counseling, and healthy living options available.
  • Inpatient Rehab: full-time residence inside a safe, comfortable environment, with fully scheduled days of treatment, therapy, and recovery programming for 30 to 90 days.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): Full days of treatment, with patients living and sleeping outside of the treatment center, either at home or in a sober living home.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Flexible outpatient treatment plans that can be customized to fit around work or school schedules.
  • Aftercare: Personalized aftercare plans that help each person manage their addiction long term through alumni programs, support groups, and ongoing therapy.

We can provide the evidence-based care you need to heal the underlying causes of your addiction, with options that will suit any person’s unique needs. To learn more about the types of amenities, services, and therapy we offer, please contact our team today.

Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

Research | Editorial

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