Alcoholism is a disease, a genetically influenced biochemical disorder that affects more than 18 million Americans. Yet we treat alcoholics as if they are to blame, as if the disease results from a character flaw they should be able to control. When they can’t control it and hit bottom, they’re carted off to a hospital or rehabilitation center where they undergo group therapy, which may or may not provide a long-term solution.

While the group therapy approach may work for some people, in my opinion it makes about as much sense as using talk sessions to lower the blood sugar of patients with diabetes. Research dating back 60 years clearly shows that the biochemical basis for alcohol cravings is strongly influenced by nutrient intake. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies stimulate the desire to drink, especially in genetically prone people, while a robust nutritional program reduces it.

For the past 35 years, the Whitaker Wellness Institute has been effectively treating alcoholism by correcting nutritional deficiencies. The protocol we use at the Whitaker Wellness Institute includes intravenous vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, which helps curb addictions and cravings. Other nutrients, both oral and IV, that figure prominently are magnesium, calcium, B-complex vitamins, essential fatty acids, and L-glutamine and other amino acids.

Our treatment program also includes a personalized diet—many alcoholics have low blood sugar and they drink alcohol to give their brains a quick boost of energy—as well as hyperbaric oxygen therapy and neurofeedback, which help restore normal function to brains damaged by chronic alcohol abuse.

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