Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic
Common Sense Solutions for Our #1 Health Problem
By Pam Killeen
Xlibris Corporation 2010
It is a common belief that those who struggle with addictions, especially to alcohol or street drugs, suffer moral or character flaws that inevitably produce these behaviors. Perhaps more kindly, we might blame emotional or environmental stressors for leading these souls astray. Yet it is now possible to show that individuals struggling with addiction—whether to alcohol, sugar, gambling, prescription drugs, or the internet— have very clear and often severe biochemical imbalances. In other words, these people are terribly malnourished, and their “unhappy brains” are merely seeking relief from otherwise constant misery through the outlet of their addictions. Nutritionally targeted therapies—as opposed to the familiar psycho-spiritual conventional programs for addiction recovery—have already demonstrated very impressive success rates and relieved many from years of suffering. Better yet, these newly healthy individuals tend to go on to lead productive, creative lives—to their own, and society’s, benefit.
Pam Killen, a nutrition consultant, educator and author located in London, Ontario, has written Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic as a wake-up call to modern society. Killeen demonstrates that addictive behaviors and the mood disorders such as depression and anxiety that both precede and accompany them cut across all generations, incapacitate millions, make life miserable for countless families, and in general exert devastating effects on society at large.
Killeen emphasizes the critical importance of animal fats for good physical and mental health and presents a historical perspective on their protective role in the diet by highlighting the work of nutritional researchers Dr. Weston A. Price, Sir Robert McCarrison, and Dr. Vilhjalmur Stefansson. She goes on to show that therapists who implement nutritional protocols in their treatment programs experience much higher recovery rates among their clients than conventional treatment programs.
Besides a paucity of good fats, the near hegemony of industrialized foodstuffs in the modern diet, devoid of nearly everything except sugar, salt, toxic oils, and devitalized flours, has helped to create an undernourished population primed for addiction, among other maladies. A culture of pervasive prescription drug use abets this nutritional wasteland. Killeen delineates the commonly missing nutrients that are absolutely vital for the health of the brain, and shows how treating malnourished individuals with these nutrients can liberate them from their compensatory addictions as they are restored to health.
Killeen provides insightful interviews with numerous researchers and therapists who treat psychiatric conditions with nutritional approaches, including the late Dr. Abram Hoffer, pioneer in orthomolecular (nutritional) medicine; Dr. Charles Gant, of the Alliance for Addiction Solutions; Julia Ross, a leader in the field of nutritional psychology; Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride for her work with children, and many others. It seems clear that unless we develop more successful recovery strategies that address the central concern of nutrition, we will continue to see skyrocketing rates of mood disorders and addiction for generations—if we last that long. Since typical conventional therapies miss the nutritional and biochemical components behind mood disorders and addiction, we have no time to lose in integrating effective nutritional approaches into treatment programs. Killeen’s book is full of supportive resources and is certain to be helpful—and truly hopeful—to those who are suffering mood disorders and/or addiction or for those who love them.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2010.