About Dr. Joan Mathews-Larson

Understanding The True Nature of Addiction

Joan Mathews-Larson began her work over thirty years ago. The loss of her son, shortly after he completed a top-rated, 12-step treatment program, fueled a passionate search for more effective solutions to treat addictions. Convinced that alcoholism is not the result of emotional triggers or willpower weaknesses, Joan delved into the scientific research, and uncovered scores of studies, including those by the groundbreaking biochemist Dr. Roger Williams, which clearly established a genetic and nutritional connection to addiction.

Mathews-Larson holds a doctorate in human nutrition and is the author of the national bestseller Seven Weeks to Sobriety and Depression Free, Naturally. Her books have led the field into new ways of understanding chemical addictions and mental health problems. They have both been translated into several languages. Her breakthrough, bestseller on alcoholism, Seven Weeks to Sobriety, has served as a textbook in upper-level nursing classes and continues as a manual for other treatment centers wishing to incorporate cause-based healing strategies into more progressive programs.

Bio & Credentials

Dr. Joan Mathews-Larson founded her unique psychobiological model for treating addictions and emotional disorders in 1981. The focus of her clinic, Health Recovery Center®, is to combine therapy with intervention at a molecular level to repair the biochemical damage that manifests as impaired mental functioning and behavior problems. Her research, published in the International Journal of Biosocial and Medical Research in 1987 and 1991, describes this work.

Over the years, Health Recovery Center has received national recognition due to its high recovery rates. Today, Dr. Mathews-Larson continues to work as the Executive Director of this internationally renowned program, having successfully treated thousands of people from around the world. After more than 30 years, the success rates of HRC is unparalleled by conventional approaches. Not only do clients no longer drink, they no longer crave alcohol, nor do they suffer from depression, anxiety, or the myriad of symptoms that drive most alcoholics back to drink. Yet, few other programs have adopted Dr. Mathews-Larson’s psychobiological approach to therapy.

Being a new, revolutionary approach, Dr. Larson has had to butt heads with the establishment, which seems to cling to the status quo despite failing recovery rates. As she continues to defend the logic of her innovations, slowly the treatment industry is coming to recognize and accept her ideas as true innovations to enhance the success of treatment.

Published Work & Speaking

Articles about Joan Mathews-Larson and her work have appeared in:

  • Psychology Today
  • The Townsend Letter for Doctors
  • The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine
  • Let’s Live
  • Harper’s Bazaar
  • Prevention Magazine
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Common Boundaries
  • Natural Health
  • Mpls St. Paul Magazine
  • Minnesota Monthly
  • Minnesota Physician
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Chicago Daily Herald
  • New Orleans Times-Picayune
  • Dallas Observer
  • Denver Post
  • Rocky Mountain News
  • Norway Times

In addition to being a popular guest lecturer, she is also in high demand from the media. Her best-selling books, Seven Weeks to Sobriety and Depression Free Naturally—published by Ballantine in 1992 and 2000 –respectively– have led to over 500 television and radio appearances including:

  • 20/20
  • The Susan Powter Show
  • ABC Network News
  • Universal Studios American Health Network
  • CBN-TV’s 700 Clu

Articles about Joan Mathews-Larson and her work have appeared in:

  • The American College for Advancement in Medicine Physicians
  • The 32nd Annual International Conference of Nutritional Medicine Today, April ’03
  • Keynote speaker at The Toronto Health Expo, Nov. ’03
  • 35th Annual International Conference of the Society for Orthomolecular Medicine, April ’06
  • Keynote speaker at Beyond Talk Therapy: New frontiers in Addiction Treatment Symposium, July ’07.