The thyroid gland at the base of the neck stores and discharges thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. The most common thyroid disorder among alcoholics is hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function. Symptoms include fatigue, slow thinking, depression, hoarseness, dry and flaking skin, cold feet and hands, coarse or brittle hair, finger-nails that are ridged and break easily, and sexual problems. There are several tests to measure specific thyroid hormones and a thyroid stimulation test to determine if thyroid function is normal. At HRC, results of these lab tests sometimes are within normal ranges, but a newer test, the fluorescence activated microsphere assay (FAMA), can reveal abnormalities the other procedures often miss. It can identify hyperthyroid conditions that had been previously undetected, as well as disorders in which the body attacks the thyroid. If you have a thyroid disorder, you will require medication prescribed by your physician.
Chronic alcohol consumption and high sugar intake often force excess zinc excretion, which can lead to a deficiency. This in turn can permit copper levels to rise dangerously, which can bring on psychological disorders, including paranoia.
If your lab tests reveal that you are low on zinc but your copper levels are not elevated and you are not subject to paranoia, you can bring your zinc levels back to normal by taking twenty-five milligrams of zinc (one capsule) per day. For most efficient absorption, take your zinc on an empty stomach.
If your zinc is low and serum copper is high (this may also show up in your hair analysis results) and you are subject to paranoia, you can correct matters with the HRC formula for paranoia (Table 10, Seven Weeks to Sobriety) You can lower excess copper levels by taking zinc, which will gradually remove copper from your body tissues. Vitamin C and niacin are also powerful antidotes to excess copper. Interestingly, the estrogen in birth control pills can raise copper levels and destroy zinc, so if you are on the pill, you might want to consider another means of contraception.
Paranoia can also occur with low levels of histamine and folic acid and/or ongoing insomnia. Whatever the underlying biochemical cause, paranoia is common among alcoholics. Therapy will not help; a few years ago I was horrified to read in Newsweek an account of how clients at a well-known treatment center were "helped" to overcome their paranoia. Their therapy required them to be blindfolded and spend many hours trusting others to help them find their way around!
Histamine is a major brain neurotransmitter and a brain-chemical modulator. If your lab tests show that your histamine levels are low it is important to have your blood levels of copper measured (your hair analysis will give you some indication of your copper status. Copper destroys histamine in the brain. This process can cause violent behavior and depression as well as paranoia.
Low histamine persons have certain identifiable traits: They are irritable, tire very easily, become frustrated quickly, and gain weight in a pear-shaped distribution (hips and thighs adding the most pounds). They have a low tolerance for medications. These alcoholics are the binge drinkers. They typically feel paranoid and may have a thought disorder. Often they find themselves unable to complete projects they begin. The alcohol biotype most likely to fit the profile of low histamine is the allergic-addicted alcoholic. If your histamine levels are low, you will need the HRC paranoia formula (Table 10, Seven Weeks to Sobriety) to restore these levels to the normal range. Besides lowering copper levels, other benefits of raising histamine levels are increased energy and libido, needing less sleep, and feeling less irritable. This research and treatment was developed by the late Carl Pfeiffer, M.D., Ph.D., a histamine researcher and founder of the famed Princeton BioCenter in SkilIman, New Jersey.
High histamine levels can be a problem, too. II ADH THIQ alcoholics, are most likely to be affected. They are compulsive, obsessive, driven, highly sexed individuals who need very little sleep. When depressed, they are subject to suicidal tendencies. Dr. Pfeiffer determined that histamine levels will decrease and symptoms lessen in response to daily doses of methionine, an amino acid that detoxifies histamine in the brain. Calcium taken morning and evening also lowers histamine. Both are included in the HRC Formula for Compulsiveness / Obsessiveness (Table 11, Seven Weeks to Sobriety), which contains Pfeiffer's recommended treatment for high histamine levels.
If your histamine level is extremely high, your physician may prescribe the drug Dilantin, which works rapidly to interfere with histamine and bring levels back to normal. I have not liked the side effects that I've watched from Dilantin, so its use should be reserved for difficult cases only.
The formula also contains tryptophan. A study by J. Yaryura-Tobias, M.D., established that tryptophan combined with niacin and vitamin B6 stabilized compulsive/obsessive patients in six months by increasing the availability of serotonin, the brain's calming neurotransmitter.
I suspect Dr. Yaryura-Tobias's study would have produced results earlier if he had combined his regimen with inositol. An Israeli study recently appearing in The American Journal of Psychiatry reports that this B vitamin effectively eliminates symptoms of compulsive/obsessive disorder over a six-week period and, unlike accepted drug treatments, has absolutely no side effects. It works by regulating the action of serotonin within the nerve cells.
Information on this website is reprinted from the book,
Seven Weeks to Sobriety by Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D. (ISBN 0-449-00259-4) Copyright ©1991-2000. All rights reserved. This information may not be reproduced without permission from Villard Books, a division of Random House Inc. and Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D.
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