(Natural News) More than 25 million American adults – roughly 11.2 percent of the population – report having chronic pain, according to the National Institutes of Health. This epidemic has triggered an unprecedented national spike in the use (and abuse) of painkillers – including over-the-counter drugs and prescription opioid medications.
Tragically, 44 people die in the United States every day as a result of prescription opioid overdose – while non-narcotic medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen carry risks of their own, including damage to the stomach and liver. But, according to Charles Gant, MD, PhD, the solution to the problem of chronic pain and painkiller use could lie within our own bodies.
Neurotransmitters hold the key to relief from chronic pain and addiction
According to Dr. Gant, drugs simply mimic the actions and effects of neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers in the brain. But depletion and deficiency of these neurotransmitters can cause increased awareness of pain, and trigger cravings and addictive behavior. The key to relief, says Dr. Gant, is restoring proper biochemical balance in the brain – which can break the cycle of addiction.
For instance, proper levels of serotonin in the brain can ensure stable mood and restful sleep. The neurotransmitter GABA also has a calming effect – which is mimicked by Valium and other benzodiazepines.
Endorphins and enkephalins, which are mimicked by opiate drugs such as oxycodone, help with relief of pain and create a sense of well-being.
According to Dr. Gant, there is even a “natural nicotine” – acetylcholine – in the body, as well as a form of “natural marijuana,” the endocannabinoid system.
When we take the actual drugs that mimic the neurotransmitters, says Dr. Gant, the brain no longer feels impelled to create them. As a result, it produces less and less of them. “Physical substances cause physical changes in the brain,” Dr. Gant reports. (Click to Site)