In addition to being a product of genetics and environment, addiction is a matter of brain chemistry. Actually, the three are closely interrelated. Drugs of abuse are powerful, mind-altering substances that can disrupt the brain’s reward system and adversely affect natural chemical levels. Meanwhile, scientists estimate that genetic influences account for 40 to 60 percent of a person’s potential for addiction. These influences include an underdeveloped rewards system and poor production of essential brain chemicals. One such chemical is serotonin.
What Is Serotonin?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, carrying signals throughout the central nervous system. Its functions range from memory to bone metabolism. However, popular culture knows serotonin as a mood regulator, promoting feelings of happiness and well-being. In fact, studies show depression to have a correlation with low serotonin levels. The relationship between depression and substance abuse disorders alone make maintaining healthy levels of serotonin important to a successful recovery. However, it also plays a part in the brain’s reward system. A poorly functioning reward system is easily hijacked and that’s where addiction can step in. Fortunately, there are simple and healthy ways to balance serotonin levels.
Boost Your Mood Naturally
One way you can give your serotonin levels a boost is by eating a healthy diet. While the body synthesizes serotonin, its production needs tryptophan, an important amino acid. We often find it in protein, so go for healthy sources like salmon, seeds, poultry, eggs, spinach, or nuts. Tryptophan also needs carbohydrates to synthesize and studies show an increased efficiency of tryptophan consumed with carbs. Go for nutrient-dense sources like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Furthermore, try to maintain energy through healthy snacking and be sure to stay hydrated. Other ways to balance serotonin and mood include exercise, sunshine (particularly in the winter months), and maintaining a proper sleep schedule.
Build a Foundation for Success
These are a few of the things clients learn in our nutritional therapy sessions. Ocean Recovery takes a holistic approach to substance abuse treatment, attacking addiction from all angles by treating the whole person. We also offer individual and group counseling, addiction education, yoga, and more, and have been successfully treating substance abuse disorders since 2002. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please consider giving Ocean Recovery a call today. Our admissions specialists are standing by and ready to help you start building your foundation for success.