Substance dependence, commonly called drug addiction is defined as a drug user's compulsive need to use controlled substances in order to function normally.
The July 14, 2006 issue of the Psychology Today Online carried a story with the subtitle "Beating addiction may take an extra nudge from the chiropractor." This article, in a mainstream psychological publication, starts off by following the success story of one individual enrolled in the Exodus addiction treatment center of South Florida. The article notes that this center has a much higher rate of success in addiction treatment than the national average for such centers.
When this one patient was asked what he attributed his success to he noted, "I think that chiropractic care was an integral part of my recovery." The Exodus center adds chiropractic care to the normal treatment of addiction. The article then asks, "But what does the spine have to do with addiction?" The connection is explained by the effect chiropractic care has on the nervous system and brain chemicals called neurotransmitters that under chiropractic care are released in a specific sequence and a state of well-being.
The article notes that "subluxations" interfere with normal nerve transmission and therefore interfere with the normal chemical sequence. Chiropractic care is designed to correct subluxations, return normal nerve functions and therefore allow the chemical sequence to return to normal.
The article recalls a study, previously published in the scientific journal Molecular Psychiatry, that proves the reasoning behind the success seen at Exodus. In the original study, 98 subjects enrolled in the Exodus program for addiction treatment received frequent chiropractic adjustments over a 30-day period. These subjects were compared to two other groups of patients who did not receive chiropractic. One group called the passive group, underwent only standard rehabilitation, and another, a placebo group, received sham chiropractic care.
The national average for completion of addiction programs is about 55 percent. In the study noted above the two non-chiropractic groups had completion rates similar to the national average. However, the patients in the group that received chiropractic care displayed an unprecedented 100 percent program completion rate.
Dr. Jay Holder (pictured above) of the Exodus center stressed in the article that chiropractic care does not represent a new form of treatment for addiction. He noted that chiropractic helps patients use existing treatment more thoroughly.
From the March 29, 2001 issue of the Miami Herald comes a story of how chiropractic care is helping those in a Miami drug addiction program. The story starts by explaining that patients in a residential drug-addiction program who received chiropractic care designed to realign their vertebrae completed the treatment program at a remarkable 100 percent rate.
Ninety-eight patients at Miami's Exodus drug-treatment program participated in the study that was featured in a Journal of Nature magazine called "Molecular Psychiatry". The study also reported that the patients involved in the study at the treatment center who received chiropractic care made fewer visits to a nurses' station and showed significant decreases in anxiety.
Dr. Jay Holder, medical director of the Exodus program and the chiropractor who conducted the study said, "Completing a 28- to 30-day program greatly enhances an addict's chances of staying clean, but nationally only 72 percent of participants make it all the way through such programs." Holder went on to say, "This correction of what chiropractors call subluxation results in a sense of well-being that allows patients to benefit more thoroughly from the group therapy and medical care of addiction treatment. "Chiropractic does not treat addiction -- it does not treat any disease,'' Holder said. "We're allowing those things that treat addiction to be embraced more thoroughly."
The participants were divided into three groups. One group got the regular regime of addiction care. The second group got "sham" adjustments, while the third group got actual chiropractic adjustments to correct subluxations. The group with the regular care and the sham chiropractic had a completion rate in the program of only 74% and 56%. The group that received the chiropractic care to correct subluxations showed a completion rate of 100%. The implications of completion of a drug treatment program are very important to preventing addicts from returning to drugs.