Natural Remedies for Brain Damage After Drug Abuse?

Question by Liza Shevchuk: Natural Remedies For Brain Damage After Drug Abuse?
My older brother has done many drugs from about 16-21. Its been a year since his last use, and he’s been having some serious problems. He has high anxiety and he’s been having frequent episodes of “weird” (as he calls it) feelings. He doesn’t label it as feeling sick. During these episodes he feels jittery, emotional (even cry’s sometimes) out of control, his heart rate goes up. This also causes him to have insomnia. Maybe they’re panic attacks, but the thing is, what triggers it? This occurs randomly on a normal day. We believe its typical withdrawal symptoms, because he abused quite a few drugs. (Marijuana, cigarettes, ecstasy, crystal meth, shrooms, hookah, cocaine, inhalants, “uppers” (as he calls them))
He has gone to see his doctor several times to get treatment, and his doctor said he has migraines.
He prescribed him anti depressants and that didn’t help my brother AT ALL.
He does this herbal drop treatment (echinacea, other oils, etc) That help him sleep.
Now we’re trying to find him herbal remedies that would help repair his brain damage from all of the abuse he has done to it.
Thank you very much.

Best answer:

Answer by jannsody
I’m not sure that there will be repairing of the brain damage (presuming that he has that as I’m not a medical doctor :), but researchers believe that the brain is very “plastic” and may form new nerve pathways to *help* compensate for the injured areas.

With regard to inhalant use, my friend actually has a severe Brain Injury from huffing at the age of 12, now in her 30s. The chemicals in products used for huffing are actual *poisons* that were never meant to go through the bloodstream.

Please be *very* careful with herbal supplements or “remedies” (e.g., echinacea, ginkgo biloba, chamomile) as they can result in side effects and/or drug (medication) interactions. It’s best to check with a licensed pharmacist before taking any of them. Not everything that is “natural” is safe 😉

Regarding the panic attacks, some people have generalized anxiety (to know specific event) or other types of anxiety. The antidepressants may help to lessen the intensity and/or frequency of the anxiety symptoms. Such medications tend to take about 6-8 weeks before possibly noticing results. A caveat (warning) is that some antidepressants may cause insomnia (trouble getting to and/or staying asleep). However, there are medications that one may take to help counteract the insomnia.

Even though benzo’s (e.g., ativan, valium, xanax, klonopin) may be prescribed to help with sleep, they’re not always recommended as a medication due to their physical addictiveness. (Some withdrawal symptoms from benzo’s may include seizures, psychosis/mental break from reality, or even death.) Some psychiatrists (it’s best to get medication for mental health issues from a board-certified psychiatrist as opposed to “just” a family doctor) prescribe seroquel (or other medications), which is classified as an antipsychotic but in smaller dosages may help with sleep.

You’d mentioned that he’s gone to the doctor several times, and I’m wondering if he’s gone to a neurologist which is medical dr who can help rule out disorders of the nervous system – brain, spinal cord, nerves. I’m just thinking that to help “cover all the bases” (not trying to give false hope though, know what I mean).

I’m not sure that he’d still be going through withdrawal symptoms a year after stopping the drugs, but it’s a good idea to ask a doctor about that as well.

Pertaining to the anxiety, please show him this government site which may have some local counseling agencies: and can click the second link. Then one can click “near you” on the left-hand side of the page under “find facilities” and can type one’s city and state of residence into search. Their toll-free 24/7 referral helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Just an fyi that the first link is for those looking for substance abuse counseling/treatment, and that may be an option if he’s still “using” or having cravings for substances.

A 12-step program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), may have some local support groups. The only requirement is having a desire to get sober. One may attend an “open” AA meeting if there is no drinking problem:

This site has some common mottos pertaining to those 12-step programs, including “One day at a time”, “First things first” and “People, places and things”:

Al-Anon is a 12-step program for the *friends and family* of the problem drinker, but one may attend an “open” Al-Anon meeting if the loved one doesn’t have a drinking problem:

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