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What Is NAD Therapy?
NAD, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is a naturally occurring co-enzyme of niacin that helps cells in our bodies produce energy. It does so by converting the energy we get from food into cellular energy. Administering lab-produced NAD will boost the levels of the chemical in someone’s body, but they will need to be administered more to sustain that level. Advocates of NAD therapy have made several claims: like that it can assist with brain function, DNA repair, and repairing signals between molecules for cellular communication. If someone is using NAD therapy, they should also be sure to combine it with more conventional and proven treatment methods.
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As a person abuses drugs and alcohol, their natural amount of NAD is depleted. This makes it more difficult for them to convert the energy that is broken down from food. It is even speculated that people who naturally produce less NAD are more likely to develop an addiction and potentially a co-occurring disorder. Other reasons the body’s natural reserve of NAD would be depleted are:
- Post-traumatic stress
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
- Neurodegenerative diseases
All of these co-occurring disorders can drain one’s energy, and there are many ways to boost NAD in the body by exercising, eating vitamin-rich foods, fasting, eating protein, and eating raw foods. Many of these practices are introduced to people in treatment for substance abuse disorders (SUD). For instance, yoga and fitness centers are available to encourage healthy lifestyle practices, boost endorphins and will produce NAD. Dietary plans can include vitamin-rich foods to boost dopamine and can produce NAD in the brain. Most patients need roughly 6 to 10 days of infusion to feel effects. Oftentimes, as individuals enjoy the pleasant feelings, they are less inclined to abuse substances.
How Is NAD Therapy Used?
In NAD Therapy, the co-enzyme is placed in an IV and slowly dripped into the blood stream. This allows the substance to bypass the stomach (where Analgesic medication breaks down) and travel directly to the brain. This provides the individual with a boost of energy, providing enhanced mood and awareness, as the energy they get is now from their natural sources, not other substances. It has also been claimed to slow the aging process. These benefits have opened the door for clinics to use it as a luxury, like a spa treatment.
Advertising it as an all-natural, mood-elevating, no-crash, anti-aging energy booster, clinics are providing this service to people who have not suffered an addiction of any kind. It is advertised as a therapeutic treatment to give them more energy and reverse aging. This procedure isn’t as lengthy as someone looking for rehabilitation and can be sold as a regular treatment appointment, receiving a “top off” every 6 to 8 weeks.
Why Use NAD Therapy To Treat Addiction?
It has been determined that the excessive use of drugs and alcohol will deplete the body’s natural stores of NAD. Because of this, the brain cannot receive the same energy it usually would from breaking down food. NAD therapy floods the brain with the co-enzyme to replenish its stores, providing 4 key effects.
- It flushes out all of the drugs that are still in the user’s system.
- It reduces withdrawal effects, which can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable to tolerate.
- It curbs the cravings for alcohol and Opioids and lessens the pain of withdrawal, making recovery easier physically and mentally.
- It allows the body to produce energy more naturally, without a crash or jitters like Caffeine and sugar or the negative effects that come with other substances.
Length of sessions vary depending on severity of the addiction and what the clinic recommends. After the initial session, follow ups will be scheduled 1 to 2 months later. These sessions can continue at the discretion of the prescribing clinic.
Research Behind NAD Therapy
While new research is being conducted on the benefits and uses of NAD therapy as we speak, supportive data has been found in recent years. In 2019, a clinic in Springfield, Los Angeles, developed a protocol using IV administration of NAD for patients with acute withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms were associated with chronic Opioid and alcohol abuse. Follow-up data shows that NAD therapy significantly reduced the symptoms of acute withdrawal like cravings, anxiety, stress, and depression.
Additional research shows that combining NAD with specific amino acids provides recovery for individuals with a SUD that is significantly more profound, complete and lasting. This combination treatment greatly reduced rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and cravings among the test group. These improvements suggest effectiveness in treating withdrawal symptoms without negative effects.
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NAD Therapy With Regular Support
NAD has shown to have many benefits, but the length of time that it has been on the market leaves much to research. As far as physicians can see, regular boosters are required to maintain the effects, and the long-term effects are still being tested. It must also be stated that this isn’t a miraculous cure. While NAD has been seen to greatly reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and Opioids, it still can’t do the work alone. Individuals may need other medications to assist, or other types of treatments offered in facilities.
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Finding Help With NAD Therapy
If you or a loved one has tried and failed at recovery in the past, then it may seem hard to try again. Remembering the pain involved can always be a huge obstacle in a second attempt, but with NAD, it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps a new form of treatment could be what was missing before, helping with detox and managing the symptoms of withdrawal. However, it is best not to count on one form of treatment for recovery.
Again, while this treatment may seem miraculous, you can’t count on it to be your one-and-done cure. True recovery can only be achieved by getting to the root of the problem and working at it every day. While NAD could be a strong beginning, it is just that- a beginning. The long-term effects are still be researched, so use caution in choosing a clinic. For more information on NAD and other treatment options, contact a treatment provider today.
Cooper Smith earned his Bachelor’s in Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University. While he was initially interested in a career in television, he saw an issue in his community and felt compelled to do something more. Now, he uses his knowledge to reach out to people who may need help and make the public aware of issues we are facing as a society. When he isn’t behind a computer, Cooper travels somewhere new.
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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:
A survivor of addiction himself, David Hampton is a Certified Professional Recovery Coach (CPRC) and a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).
- More from David Hampton
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