General Definitions - E

Emotion: An intuitive feeling, based on complex subjective experience from biological, physical, psychological, and social responses to a life situation; influenced by mood, personality, motivation, hormones, and neurotransmitters.

Emotional Bondage: Being caught in cycle of emotional abuse, and feeling unable to break free. Usually inflicted by another person, but can be self-inflicted.

Emotional Flexibility: The ability to experience the full-range of emotions, positive and negative, and express them appropriately, and then let them go.

Emotional Intelligence: The ability to know what you are feeling and how to deal with those feelings.

Emotional Regulation: The ability monitor, evaluate, and modify your emotional reaction, and respond appropriately.

Empathy: The capacity to recognize, feel and ask about another person’s emotional experience.

End Stage Addiction: When one’s addiction has led them to enough health consequences that they will likely die.

Engagement, The Zone, The Groove: The ability to be totally involved, absorbed, or lost in a challenging activity; can be, but is not always fun.

Enmeshed: Family members drop their boundaries, lose their identity and direction, take on family roles, and help perpetuate the family’s addiction.

Environment or Social Trigger: Any person, place, thing, situation, or time that has a past association with using, and that could cause you to feel like using.

Euphoria, High, Intoxication: The emotional brain state of ecstasy, joy, and complete self-satisfaction; usually with change in perception, mood, or consciousness.

Euphoric Recall: Remembering and re-experiencing using as a very positive experience while disregarding the negatives.

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General Addiction Recovery Definitions - DUseful definitions in addiction recovery:  “D”

Defenses, Psychological: Psychological protection to cope with and reduce anxiety. There are various types of defenses, primarily unconscious. The most common is denial.

Defensive, Defended: Using one of many defenses as protection against change, criticism, vulnerability, or mental-emotional attack. Defenses can be used counterproductive.

Denial: A defense; the refusal to accept the truth, even in spite of feedback from people you trust.

Detoxification, Detox: The period of physical withdrawal from a substance.

Diagnose: The process of identifying and labeling the cause of a condition or situation.

DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders): The psychiatric insurance bible for diagnosing mental illness; current version is DSM-V.

Dual Diagnosis: A diagnosis wherein one has an addiction and a psychological-psychiatric condition.

Dysfunctional Family: A family’s very ineffective way of interacting with each other and the world.

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General Definitions - Addiction Recovery "C"

Useful definitions in addiction recovery:   “C”

Clinical: Assessment and understanding based on research and treatment of psychological or physical distress.

Clinical Training: Instruction in counseling and psychology: classroom and supervised internship, working directly with clients. Clinical training is the practical application of how to facilitate healing.

Codependent, Enabler, Rescuer, Controller: Anyone, usually a partner, whose “helpful” attitudes and behaviors enables the addict to continue to use. A codependent is addicted to pleasing, fixing, and rescuing the addict, and not looking at themselves. See also CODA and Al-Anonn.

Cognitive: Thinking or awareness of thinking.

Cognitive Therapy: Therapy that focuses on increasing the accuracy and focus of the client’s thinking from negative problems to positive solutions.

Co-ing: Codependent behavior. See Codependent.

Consequence: A result that follows an action or a situation. Often used to mean a negative result.

Container: Mental imagery tool; an imagined container that holds an emotional issue until you’re ready to deal with it.

Contempt: An intensely negative feeling or attitude towards someone or something as being inferior or worthless.

Co-occurring: Additional conditions that accompany the primary condition or issue.

Cortisol: A hormone produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress. It increases blood sugar and often leads to weight gain.

Counseling (Psychotherapy): The process of a trained professional working to assist a client in moving through personal issues and related feelings about current, past, and childhood issues. There are many styles; talk therapy is the most common. See also Psychotherapy.

Counselor: Usually a trained professional who may or may not specialize in addiction treatment. Counselors have a wide range of training. If in private practice, he or she will hold a private psychotherapy license. See also Psychotherapist.

Critic: An inner voice that attempts to help by pointing out your deficits, mostly judges and demeans.

Cross Addiction: A person dependent on one substance or behavior, trades that addiction for another one, often prescription medication.

Cue: See Trigger.


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General Addiction Definitions - "B"Useful definitions in addiction recovery:   “B”

Baseline: A starting point or personal standard that provides a point of reference for evaluating change. A new baseline can be created.

Behavioral Addiction: Any behavior you continue to participate in, in spite of negative consequences. See Process Addiction.

Behavioral Therapy: Therapy that focuses on reducing negative behaviors and increasing positive ones.

Belief: An acceptance that something is true and that things that in opposition to that belief, are not true.

Bond: A deep, emotional connection with another person.

Boundary: A physical, visual, mental, emotional, or spiritual border or limit: your resources, space, or time. A big issue in personal relationships, especially codependency.

Brain Scan: An image of one’s brain taken with a fMRI, MRI, PET, or SPECT machine. It provides insight of brain functioning, helping with diagnosis and treatment.

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Definitions Useful to Addiction Recovery

These general definitions are useful in addiction recovery:   “A”

Abstinence, Clean, Clean, Sober: Free of all mood-altering substances and addictive behaviors.

Addict, User, Abuser: A person who is using substances or practices any behavior excessively and consistently, in spite of negative consequences.

Addiction, Using, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Addiction: An addiction is an excessive behavior or a physical and emotional dependence. One feels compelled to indulge in the behavior or use, even after it has created major life problems.

Addictive Process: The process where one practices their addictive behaviors or substance abuse, in spite of negative consequences.

Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACA), Addict or Dysfunctional Family: Someone raised in an addicted or chaotic family system. ACAs are characterized by lack of trust, fear of abandonment, and approval-seeking.

Alcohol, Drug, Mood-Altering or Psychoactive Substances: Substances that create a positive change in perception, mood, or consciousness, usually with a lot of pleasure.

Amino Acid Repair: The healing of brain and body through, amino acids (protein) and other quality nutrition.

Anchor, Trigger, Que: A memory of a person, place, situation or something that’s wired into the memory and is experienced when stimulated.

Attitude: An expression of favor or disfavor towards something.

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS): Negative thoughts, often based on lies, which become an automatic, declared as true, and damaging your self-esteem and self-concept.

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Personalized Diet Approach

Personalized Diet Approach

It’s best if your diet is based on your nutritional needs. Ultimately, if you listen to the feedback your body is giving, you can determine the foods you were designed to eat. Are you tired, fulfilled, or starving 20 minutes after you eat? If you feel really tired, hyper, or sad soon after you have finished a meal, maybe you are eating the wrong foods for you. Also look into food allergies. You can get tested for food allergies, or just eat a suspicious food by itself and see what happens. Allergies to wheat and other products can cause relapse and physical problems, even death.

General Recovery Diet

  • Fresh food is best; frozen is the next best.
  • Protein: Eat meats three times a day in moderate portions; also consider amino acid supplements.
  • Supplements: Take daily:
  • High-quality amino acids until your diet improves
  • Vitamins and minerals (cold press, food state)
  • Fresh vegetables: All colors. As many and as much as possible.
  • Fresh fruit: Equivalent 1 to 2 cups a day.
  • All fats: Omega 6 and 9, but mostly Omega 3.
  • Greatly reduce or eliminate all processed foods, processed sugar, and flour.
  • Includes most cereals, packaged meals, and a lot of restaurant food.
  • Eliminate all artificial sweeteners.
  • No caffeine or nicotine.
  • No foods you’re allergic to.

It’s especially important to follow this food program during the amino acid repair phase. This is usually a 3 to 12-month period, but varies with the person.

General Menu Ideas

Bread: The best breads are apparently sprouted grain, stone ground whole-wheat, rye, or pumpernickel. Though these are healthier options, you still want to limit your intake.

Sugar: Processed or refined sugar is addicting, and it is a contributor to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. All of those conditions damage your brain.

Salt: Salt is also addicting. Alkalizing mineral salt is supposed to be the better option and is very good for you, meaning you can use a reasonable amount and still be healthy. This product is expensive.

Note: Consider:

  • Steaming vegetables
  • Baking fish
  • Replacing butter, cheese, sour cream, salad dressing (oil), etc. with smaller amounts, unless…
  • Using extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • Using almond, coconut, or rice milk
  • Reducing Omega 6 fat
  • Using organic products
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Amino Acid Therapy Precautions

Amino Acid Therapy PrecautionsConsult a knowledgeable professional if you:

  • React negatively to supplements
  • Have a serious physical illness, particularly cancer
  • Have severe liver, kidney, or ulcer problems
  • Are pregnant or nursing
  • Have Bipolar or other mental disorders
  • Are taking mood-stabilizing medication

If you have:                                           

  •  Melanoma, PKU, Grave’s Disease  –  be cautious of DLPADPA
  • High blood pressure  –  be cautious of L-tyrosine, DLPA, DPA
  • Very low blood pressure  – be cautious of  L-tyrosine, DLPA, L-phenylalanine
  • Bipolar tendencies  –  be cautious of L-tyrosine, L-phenylalanine, DLPA, L-glutamine
  • Asthma, severe depression  –  be cautious of Melatonin
  • A carcinoid tumor  –  be cautious of L-tyrosine, DLPA
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis  – be cautious of DLPA, DPA

Additional Nutrients for Detoxification

For all addictive substances: General multivitamins and minerals, Vitamin C (up to 5,000 mg daily), Omega 3, and a pro-recovery diet are helpful. Amino acids vary with your situation. There are specific amino acid compounds blended to help your brain regenerate in early recovery.

For liver detox: Vitamin C.


Tests help determine whether something physical or chemical is working or not working. There are tests that examine neurotransmitter and amino acid levels, as well as those pertaining to adrenal glands, blood sugar, food allergies, Vitamin D, the liver, pancreas, Pyroluria, and thyroid gland. Consult with a qualified professional.

Orthomolecular Medicine and Psychiatry

Orthomolecular medicine is the practice of preventing and treating disease by providing the body with optimal amounts of substances that are natural to the body. According to this field, Pyroluria is a blood disorder that appears to cause depression and contributes to many addictive, psychiatric, behavioral, and physical conditions. The established medical field currently disputes the concepts behind orthomolecular medicine.

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Nutrition – Part Two

Amino Acids

Using Amino Acids

(Check with your physician first)

Time of Day: Follow suggested directions

Dosage: Start with the lowest recommended dose (or half dose) and wait 30 minutes for any potential allergic reaction, often only a headache. If no reaction occurs, continue. Take as directed on the bottle, even though some people say they experience relief of their symptoms by raising their dosage with no negative side effects. The absorption of amino acids can be somewhat improved if you hold the powder under your tongue. There appears to be only one consistent side effect of taking too much of an amino acid: Reverse Syndrome.

Reverse Syndrome: The symptoms you are trying to eliminate can return if you take a larger amount of amino acids than your brain needs or if you take them for longer than is needed. Allergic responses are unusual and might be eliminated by powdered Vitamin C.

Response Time: The body usually responds to amino acids within 15 minutes. Some blends may take a few hours. The directions on the label may state that it can take a few days.

Best Results: Take quality vitamin and mineral supplements and higher doses of Vitamin C. Ask your physician for general nutrient testing.

Amino Repair Period: A 3 to 12 month period is usually required for amino acids to fully positively affect your brain, after which you won’t need regular supplements unless your life becomes difficult.

Duration: Take a supplement for three months then stop taking it and see how you feel. If your symptoms return, continue to use it. If you feel better, stop and see what happens.

Amino Acid IV

Amino Acid Intravenous Drip: In some cases, an amino acid IV drip is a highly effective detoxification method for all drugs, even opiates like methadone and Suboxone. It can be performed at an out-clinic, but medically difficult cases need to be inpatient. It’s not widely available in the US, but availability is increasing.

Evaluation: Most of the time, your experience is enough to know the effect of what you are taking. If you don’t get good results from amino acid supplements or if you have an allergic reaction, testing is the best approach. The only reliable test for neurotransmitters is examination of blood platelets (BP). Also consider testing for heavy metals and other substances.

Experiential Feedback: If you aren’t sure of the results you’re getting, relax and pay attention to what you’re feeling: maybe you’re feeling relaxation, stimulation, or the relief of pain, or a negative mood or anxiety.

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Nutrition – Part One

Good Nutrition for Your Recovery


Everyone’s body, and especially the brain, needs the proper nutrients in the correct amount to work well. Neurotransmitters in the brain require specific nutrients to work effectively so information can be transferred from one brain cell or neuron to another. The most important food is protein, which is made up of amino acids.

If your brain doesn’t have the amino acids it needs, you may be more vulnerable to addictive substances that mimic those amino acids. Mimicking in neurotransmitter sites promotes addictive responses in your brain. Taking enough amino acids is necessary if you want your brain and body to work right and to be less susceptible to addiction and mental health issues.

Your brain also needs many other nutrients to function properly. For example, the brain is two-thirds fatty acids and cholesterol, so you need to provide those nutrients for it to work at its best. Feed your brain and you’ll have one less roadblock in recovery.

Note: Amino acid research started in the 1970s. Research in the mid 1980s showed that amino acid supplements increased the success rate of drug addicts in recovery. Yet, most recovery programs don’t know about the body’s amino acid requirements or use them in their recovery process. You may have to inform your treatment program of this essential resource for successful recovery.


Neurotransmitters and Their Effects

Amino acids are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. The following outlines the four vital neurotransmitters and their roles, including:

  • The amino acids that affect them
  • The symptoms of deficient amino acids
  • The drugs and activities that are desired for a higher level of brain function
  1. Endorphins: The natural pain reliever
    • DPA (D-phenylalanine) or DLPA (DL-phenylalanine – L form also stimulates) are used for the symptoms:
      • Physical or emotional pain, including flooding
  1. GABA: The natural relaxer
    • GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) is used for the symptoms:
      • Anxiety, sleep problems, stress, or tension
  1. Catecholamine: The natural stimulators
    • L-tyrosine is used for the symptoms:
      • Apathy, depression, low energy, poor concentration
      • Lack of focus or motivation
      • Being irritable or stressed
      • Desire for stimulating or risky sports and activities like gambling and unsafe sex
  1. Serotonin: The natural mood elevator
    • 5-HTP or tryptophan are used for the symptoms:
      • Anxiety, depression, negativity, worry, or stress

Blood sugar balance is also a vital issue in addiction recovery because imbalance causes cravings. It can be helped with the amino acid L-glutamine.

  1. L-glutamine: Natural blood sugar stabilizer
    • Hypoglycemic condition:
    • Blood sugar instability is balanced with L-glutamine
    • The symptoms are:
      • Blood sugar highs and lows
      • Processed sugars and carbohydrates, caffeine, and nicotine influence blood sugar instability
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Evaluating Addictions

Brain Activity

Addictions and addictive behaviors are often defended by the addict. When you defend, it usually means you fear there is a problem. A healthy person doesn’t need to defend an annual indulgent evening on New Year’s Eve, an occasional cosmetic procedure, or hanging on to a tacky, old chair.

All regularly repeated, nonessential behaviors need to be explored for the degree of their addictive nature. For example, feeling compelled to jog daily for an hour may be a bit excessive, but feeling bad about yourself if you don’t train every day for weekly triathlon events is clearly an addictive pattern.

Brain Chemistry’s Role

The main role of the neurotransmitter dopamine is to signal the frontal lobe that a behavior is desirable, important, or better than most, which causes heightened awareness and a craving for more.

All natural pleasures produce dopamine, including drugs and addictive behaviors. Drugs induce a very large release of dopamine, which serves to intoxicate the brain into thinking that the experience was overpoweringly wonderful. And, indeed, perhaps it was.  However, with enough use, the brain’s pleasure center becomes rewired to believe that use of mind altering chemicals is the highest form of pleasure, and when triggered, your chemical response eventually becomes, “I must use to survive.” This results in persistent using and a loss of control, even when there are significant negative or even disastrous results.

Potential positive addictions

Positive Addiction

The term positive addiction sounds good, but if something is a true addiction, it’s not positive. Some maintenance addictions, like exercising or dieting, have positive aspects, but can be unhealthy when done in excess. It creates an unclear gray area where addiction problems are compared to the added value of the addictive behavior, resulting in an almost equal balance of cons and pros. This is especially tricky when dealing with addictions related to everyday tasks like eating and working. If your behavior falls into this category, consider cutting back when possible and getting involved in another positive activity.

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