Friday, 23 November 2012

Review of Healing Addictions

(See also

Healing Addictions Without Drugs by Karl Schmidt is now available on Amazon for £25.50

and Waterstones for £21.50

Review by Jo Kirkpatrick:

During the past forty five years I have been deeply involved in the science of addiction, studying the debates over causes; the different options for treatment and the considerable amounts of addiction research; as well as the social and political history of opiate use over the last 200 years. I therefore, consider myself to be well qualified to review Healing Addictions by Karl Schmidt. 

There has recently been a considerable increase in knowledge and understanding of the brain and its interaction with mood and behaviour through the advent of brain imaging technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). The type of X-Rays used on the rest of the body are unable to penetrate the skull so until the latter part of the last century the brain could only be examined properly after death. Finally neuroscientists can see the living brain functioning in real time, using equipment that can record the time and the position of neural activity.

Great strides have been made in other branches of medicine, however, the treatment of addiction still trails behind other branches of medical science, and in practical terms little has changed for thousands of addicts. Although far more is understood about the social, genetic, and neurological causes of vulnerability to addiction there has been no real advances in treatment methods. During many years of online research I have only read about two treatments that might have given addicts hope. 

The first is Ibogaine, which is reported to be highly successful in treating all kinds of addiction in places where it is available. It is currently undergoing trials in USA. It is a type of therapeutic hallucinogenic herb Ibogaine is still unavailable in the United Kingdom and is not recommended for use as self help therapy. 

The following account explains the second, which is Neuro-Electric Therapy (NET) and is available in Scotland see also . However, this treatment is only effective during withdrawal. In order to get through the years following drug rehabilitation without relapse it is necessary to add a strict regime of regular meditation, varied diet and exercises, which combined make the Brain Electro Stimulation Transcutaneously (BEST). Instructions for all of these are to be found in the pages of the book Healing Addictions as well as on the NET Device website where they are freely available for download.         

I will also be including improved user-tested self-help instructions for NET and BEST, which allow this technique to be used to manage withdrawal symptoms by using a TENS Unit. There are no guarantees, no method will work for every case, but during the 1980s, 189 people were treated by Dr. Meg Patterson; and another 72, were treated successfully in Somerset by Dr. Karl Schmidt. I have spent many weeks with Karl at his beautiful home, in Somerset and spent many hours talking to him and to Erika Gupwell, the nursing sister who led the team who performed the treatment described in the following account. I have also met their friends and families.  

The TENS units, which are similar to the NET Device referred to in this account, are now easily available in most pharmacies, or online for around £30, (some types cost considerably more, up to £200) for dealing with withdrawal only the basic model is required [about the same as a going out for a meal]. Using the correct settings for current and frequency is crucial to this method’s success. If these are too low the unit will not produce enough stimulation to work and if they are too high the effect would be over stimulation, which would be annoying rather than therapeutic. The electrodes, with the surrounding rubber cut to a suitable size and shape, are placed on the apex (highest point) of the mastoid region [the raised bony part] behind the ears. Google images using keywords 'mastoid' + 'acupressure' can show potential users the exact place. For the first three to five days the electrodes should be used throughout, at this point the electrodes can be removed at night and over the next ten days their use can be gradually reduced.

We are legally and morally obliged to suggest that NET therapy is only used after medical advice. In addition it should also be avoided by anyone who uses a pace-maker to regulate their heart. People who have or are likely to develop deep vein thromboses must consult their G.P. before using a TENS unit. However, for those whose Health Care Providers are sceptical or just unsympathetic the book Healing Addictions will included improved instructions to allow this non-invasive method to be used without constant medical supervision.

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