Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The role the thyroid plays with addiction

There are two ways that thyroid function is indicated in the subject of addiction: one is physical and the other is metaphysical.
The physical correlation between the thyroid function and addiction is through the thyroid's role in handling blood sugar. If the body has any issue successfully maintaining blood sugar levels, rest assured there is a thyroid issue as well. I have seen through the years that controlling blood sugar behavior in the body is the key to successfully treating many situations previously understood as untreatable without prescription medication.  These include diagnoses like obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder.
Photo courtesy of Thyroid Nation
Treatment for the physical thyroid is not something easily outlined. One needs to first diagnose if the thyroid itself as fast, slow, allergic, or even if it is tired and needs food in the form of targeted nutrition. If there is no issue with the thyroid itself as a gland, there may be an issue with conversion of the thyroid hormones into its usable form, which happens mostly in the intestines.
When the intestines are overwhelmed by virus, bacteria, mold, fungus, candida, etc.,  this interferes with the production and maintenance of the healthy digestive flora. What follows is interference with the body’s absorption of nutrients, and use of the thyroid hormones, which then interferes with blood sugar handling in the body. This is where we can most easily see the link between thyroid function (or thyroid hormone function) and the steadiness (or unsteadiness) of blood sugar patterns in the body. This information is sourced in a bit more complicated terms in our gold standard for physiology, a medical textbook called Textbook of Medical Physiology, 11th edition, Guyton and Hall, in the chapter on thyroid function.
Photo courtesy of Thyroid Nation
When nutrient absorption doesn't take place at the needed rate and blood sugar is low, there is a tendency toward impulsive behavior and depression, both of which are underlying contributors to addictive behavior. Because the blood sugar stays unstable, the thyroid is most often compromised in that dance.  Impulsive action, while caused by the imbalance, either does not adequately raise blood sugar (shopping, sex, television, internet, etc.), or it raises blood sugar too much (as with binge eating, and alcohol use). It can also cause a reaction in the physical and energetic systems, simulating a blood sugar high (i.e.: the dissociation typical in the high from drug use). In these cases, modulating thyroid function, coupled with dietary changes to keep blood sugar steady and predictable, are the most effective ways to make significant changes in addictive behavior.
Additional treatment will settle around other issues that the individual tries to handle by escaping, but in my practice, I have found that if optimal thyroid function and blood sugar stability are addressed, then the biological roots of addiction can be effectively managed. This has been a regular experience of mine treating alcoholics. I have so far never worked with an alcoholic who ate breakfast regularly, and often they skip other meals as well. When blood sugar is managed through diet and the thyroid is supplemented through modulators that feed the thyroid and encourage it to work efficiently, the biological craving for alcohol is cut completely or almost completely. At that point, the next step is handing the metaphysical issues of addiction.   
The metaphysical connection between the thyroid and addiction is the thyroid's implication in the 5th energy center, or 5th chakra. Caroline Myss said that the 5th chakra lines up the head and the heart, and that if the head wants one thing and the heart wants another, you have the 5th energy center "out,” and addiction inevitably follows. I have seen this to be true in my practice. When the 5th chakra is not up to par, or out of balance in some way, always, always always do I find that the thyroid is also "not up to par."
According to Under Root Healing, "The thyroid is located in the part of our body that corresponds to the throat chakra.  The throat chakra is the center of energy in the body that is about speaking and hearing your inner truth and the truths of others."
Photo courtesy of Dharma Yoga Center
Aside from the physical thyroid-boosting work, one must ask oneself, “where have I not had firm boundaries on a situation that came back to bite me? Where was there something I needed to say but didn't?  "What do you want that is sanctioned by society?” is a great question for examination, because often I find that people want things that they think they should want but that really don't make their hearts sing. For example, the 17 hour a day job with the fabulous paycheck that does not leave time to enjoy that lifestyle... This type of situation is the basis of the head/heart split.
When these issues are identified and resolved to the best of that person's ability, the next step is often to address the physical issue by modulating or adjusting thyroid function to be more efficient through herbs, diet, whole food supplements or other means, and that helps tremendously in the resolution of addictive issues.
I hope this information has been helpful. Often the issues discussed in these blog posts are very complex, and I do my best to break them down into readable and understandable essays. If ever there are questions or inquiries about anything I have written, I may be reached at As always, these posts are here for information purposes, and never to treat or informally diagnose any issues you may be experiencing individually; only a trained physician can do that in a real time consultation.

Lots of love to you..
Dr. Lisa Avila

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