The Surgeon General of the United States has just released his landmark report on “Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.” This report declares that these issues are a grave public epidemic that requires dramatic and extraordinary attention to reduce its ravages in our society. And it makes the indisputable case that alcohol and substance abuse cause brain damage that must be seen and treated as a chronic, progressive disease. There are nearly 22 million people actively struggling with this disease in our country today. HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) is a well established treatment for brain injury that can play a role in fighting this brain disease epidemic in three ways.
Opioid Withdrawal: HBOT has recently been shown to ease the severity of opioid withdrawal. Because withdrawal symptoms can be a major obstacle to seeking or entering treatment, HBOT should be a major component of this critical first step toward treatment.
Residential or Intensive Outpatient Treatment: HBOT stimulates neuronal growth and cellular processes essential for brain healing and normal function. It has been shown to be an effective component of residential treatment programs around the world, and should be implemented as such in the U.S.
Recovery: Ongoing and improving brain health and clear decision-making are critical to long-term successful recovery, which the Surgeon General declares is a many-year process. HBOT should certainly play a role in the period immediately following residential treatment or intensive outpatient treatment programs to support brain healing.
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Related Article: Facing Addiction in America