“Did you know that rates of depression, anxiety, and insomnia have TRIPLED since 1980? What the heck is going on with us in this country? Are we all just addictive personalities, is it a matter of overdiagnosing, or is there something else? Suzanne Somers explored those questions and more on this week’s episode of her CafeMom Studios YouTube show, Suzanne Somers Breaking Through.
Somers sat down with addiction specialist Dr. Rick Sponaugle to talk about why it seems like some people have “addictive brains.” As we all know, being addicted to gambling, drugs, shopping, or even “good” things like working hard can be linked to brain chemistry. But there’s something else going on here that you may not have guessed.
Dr. Sponaugle talks about how we’ve seen a major change in brain chemistry in the last 30 years due to antibiotic use in poultry and cows, as well as city water. Sucking out bacteria sounds like a good thing, but what happens when we ingest so many antibiotics that the good bacteria in our guts is eliminated? Gut toxicity. Which can lead to all of those awful mental health challenges that so many Americans are taking prescription meds for. Craaazy!
This isn’t to belittle real mental illness at all — which Suzanne and Dr. Sponaugle note can certainly be an inherited imbalance — but it does seem important for us as a population to realize that our food and our drugs could be seriously affecting our stomachs and our brains. And a few diet tweaks (eating organic meats, drinking highly filtered water, etc.) might make all the difference.
I have received a lot of very thoughtful and interesting responses to the video blog I posted about the recent study on NFL players and dementia. Here is one from Dr. Rick Sponaugle, Medical Director of Florida Detox and Wellness Institute, that I would like to share with you:
“I have utilized Dr. Amen’s brilliant research and SPECT brain imaging in my addiction practice since 2004. Since then, I have treated many NFL and college level football players who developed Oxycontin addiction from their football injuries.
I encourage all of my professional wrestlers and football players to undergo SPECT imaging at the Amen Clinics a month or so after drug detoxification. Every football player and professional wrestler I have treated for opiate addiction, if they played through college level, NFL or WWE, came back from the Amen Clinic with really ugly, traumatic brain scans.
Most of the players suffered severe temporal lobe damage and subsequently exhibited rage issues, often with spontaneous panic attacks, some with depression. Their wives insisted that they suffered more from their husband’s rage issues, while some of the players considered the rage an occupational advantage, eventually they all admitted it got them into trouble. The players also think that it is normal to experience “deja vu” once a week, not once a year. [Read about temporal lobe trauma in Dr. Amen's Book, Healing Anxiety and Depression.]
With the tremendous advantage I have gained by intense study of Daniel Amen’s research, I have proven that these addicted football players and pro wrestlers, were in fact, using Oxycontin, more for the purpose of quiescing the mini-seizures in their damaged temporal lobes, than for treating their physical knee/back pain.
When treated effectively with high dose pharmaceutical grade GABA or anticonvulsant medication, the players/wrestlers no longer crave or “need” Oxycontin, nor do they abuse alcohol for its GABA A receptor effect.
Alcohol and Oxycontin “like” pain medication, eventually shut down pituitary gland function, creating multiple hormonal deficiencies that are causative for increased pain sensitivity, depression, chronic fatigue and disorders like “Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Hopefully after completing his NFL study, Dr. Amen will commence a study on professional wrestlers and soccer players.” — Dr. Rick Sponaugle
Hear What Former NFL Players Are Saying About the Amen Clinics
In the wake of the recent NFL-commissioned study on brain injuries and the ensuing media storm, I thought you might be interested to hear what an actual NFL player has to say about our program here at the Amen Clinics. If you have been keeping up with my blog, then you probably know that we are currently conducting one of the largest brain-imaging studies on retired NFL football players.
Using sophisticated imaging techniques our goal is to visualize the brains of NFL players to characterize the damage incurred by playing professional football and to provide treatment strategies to improve the players’ brain function and improve their lives.
One of the retired players we scanned for the study is Harry Carson who played for the New York Giants from 1976-1988. Harry was diagnosed in 1990 with post-concussion syndrome and has been dealing with the effects of brain trauma ever since. He recently wrote a blog encouraging other former players to participate in the study:
“If any of you are wrestling with neurological issues that you are aware of or may have been brought to your attention by a loved one I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of the Amen Clinic’s free offer. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, please consider doing it for your families.”
To read the full text of Harry Carson’s blog on the Amen Clinics, click on one of the following links:
To find out more about the NFL study and to see Dr. Amen’s video blog on it, click the following link: http://www.amenclinics.com/blog/1956/dr-amen-on-the-nfl-dementia-debate/
Dr. Rick Sponaugle
Founder and Medical Director of
Florida Detox® and Wellness Institute
Click here to view Dr. Sponaugle’s Curriculum Vitae.
Dr. Marvin “Rick” Sponaugle is Board Certified in two specialties, Addiction Medicine and Anesthesiology. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Dr. Sponaugle is also a member of ACAM, the American College for the Advancement of Medicine.
Dr. Sponaugle is often invited to speak at physician meetings and national audiences on “Brain Chemistry and Addiction” and the topic of ”The Brain-Body Connection in Wellness.” Dr. Sponaugle was a guest speaker at the White House in 2008 where he met with Rubin Brasalis, Deputy Chief to President Bush. A list of Dr. Sponaugle’s past and upcoming speaking engagements can be located further down this page.
Dr. Sponaugle is the first addictionologist to correlate brain chemistry patterns with variations seen on SPECT Brain scans in addicted patients. He has matched these changes to specific drug craving patterns in his patients. This research has enabled Dr. Sponaugle’s patients to achieve much lower relapse rates because their drug and alcohol craving stops when their brain chemistry imbalance is corrected.
Dr. Sponaugle is also the first addictionologist to prove that imbalance of female hormones has causation in at least 60 percent of the addiction issues seen in middle age women. Dr. Sponaugle lectures on this phenomenon at national meetings and was a speaker on “Menopause Causing Alcoholism and Drug Addiction” at the annual AACC meeting [8,000 attendees] in Nashville, September 2011.
Dr. Sponaugle is the first doctor in America to determine a classic brain chemistry pattern caused by Black Mold Toxicity, the excessive accumulation of the Stachybotrus Trichothecene T2 toxin in the brain. Dr. Sponaugle’s research has clearly proven that changes in brain chemistry derived from hidden mold toxins causes craving for relaxing drugs and subsequently, alcoholism, Xanax addiction and Oxycontin addiction. Americans with HLA DRBQ genetics have difficulty removing these toxins from their brain and body.
Dr. Sponaugle’s clinical research has proven that there are hundreds of biochemical and medical disorders that commonly contribute to the drug and alcohol craving!! Yet, these treatable disorders are rarely diagnosed at America’s drug treatment centers. Since 1998, Dr. Sponaugle has attempted to change the paradigm of addiction treatment to a less judgmental, more scientific model – one that embraces the biochemical basis for addiction.
Dr. Sponaugle’s use of advanced brain science combined with integrative medicine principles for the healing of drug induced brain damage in thousands of patients has taught him how to more successfully treat multiple brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Autistic disorders, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Sponaugle is currently proving that these brain disorders can be more effectively treated with integrative medicine protocols than with pharmaceutical medications alone.
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: Dr. Sponaugle was born in Franklin, West Virginia. While majoring in chemistry at West Virginia University, Dr. Sponaugle was awarded the Alpha Epsilon Delta National Chemistry Honor Society, the Beta Theta Pi National Merit Scholarship and Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.
After graduating with the honor of PHI BETA KAPPA, Dr. Sponaugle accepted one of four scholarships given by the state of West Virginia to outstanding pre-med students for enrollment at the WVU School of Medicine. After receiving his MD degree at WVU, Dr. Sponaugle attended the University of Florida where he performed specialty training in anesthesiology, cardiac-intensive care medicine and pain management.
In 1985, Dr. Sponaugle began private practice in Tampa Bay. He has served as Chief of Anesthesiology for two Tampa Bay hospitals, Medical Director of three surgical centers and the Medical Director of the Watermark Pain Treatment Center.
While treating chronic pain patients in the 1990′s, Dr. Sponaugle became aware that patients treated for OxyContin addiction or Methadone addiction at America’s rehab centers suffered painful and dangerous withdrawal symptoms for weeks, further investigation revealed that barbaric detox protocols had not changed for fifty years.
Because of his ICU training, Dr. Sponaugle realized that the Oxycontin detox, Xanax detox and alcohol detox protocols used at America’s addiction treatment centers were dangerous, producing unchecked surges of adrenaline that reduced blood flow to the brain and heart for days/weeks.
In 1998, Dr. Sponaugle began designing safer and less painful alcohol and drug detox protocols using his cardiac anesthesiology skills and a computerized heart monitor known as TEE, trans-esophageal echocardiography. Dr. Sponaugle designed a relatively painless Oxycontin detox that protects blood flow to the heart and the brain. Dr. Sponaugle proved the extraordinary safety of his monitored and accelerated “rapid detox” protocol in 2007 when he treated a heart transplant patient from Kansas City who was suffering from an Oxycontin addiction of 3,200 milligrams a day.
Dr. Sponaugle has professed since 2000, that brain chemistry is the key to treating addiction. He is changing the paradigm of addiction treatment from a historical foundation of ‘talk therapy’ to a more scientific and fully integrated treatment model – one that treats the brain and the body together balancing brain chemistry through correction of multiple hormonal and nutritional deficiencies that commonly cause drug and alcohol craving.
Dr. Sponaugle’s clinical research has proven that there are a myriad of medical disorders that cause drug craving and addiction. Unfortunately, these medical disorders are misdiagnosed, constantly over looked at traditional addiction treatment centers because they still consider addiction to be a primary disease. How could they possibly know any better if they have failed to look, many fail to measure any laboratory values?
Dr. Sponaugle’s addiction research has proven that common neurotoxins derived from indoor mold in water damaged buildings, petroleum products, paint thinners, nail polish remover change brain chemical patterns causing anxiety and insomnia and hence, subsequent addiction. Matching a brain chemistry pattern that is an indirect biomarker of excessive toxin accumulation in the brain, Dr. Sponaugle has diagnosed brain toxicity as a leading cause of Oxycontin addiction in teenagers and young adults.
Through proper diagnosis and treatment of underlying medical disorders in addicted patients, Dr. Sponaugle has produced an extremely low addiction relapse rate of only nine percent at six months post detox.
Dr. Sponaugle accepts referrals from doctors throughout North America including University Medical Centers and Dr. Phil. He has been featured on numerous national media including the Dr. Phil show, Ricki Lake show, CNN Anderson Cooper, FOX News, ABC News, CBS News and NBC News and PBS.
Dr. Sponaugle recently co-authored the amazing health reference book “The Road To Perfect Health – Balance Your Gut, Heal Your Body with renowned natural health & nutrition expert Brenda Watson, C.N.C., N.D. and Leonard Smith M.D. who is associate professor of Integrative Health at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
You can purchase “The Road To Perfect Health” through PBS using the link here! 100% of your donation goes to WEDU-West Central Florida’s PBS Station.
We are proud to announce that Dr. Rick Sponaugle was featured in the October 2011 edition of Life Extension Magazine. This is a great honor as Life Extension is one of the most prestigious Anti-aging and Wellness Institutions in America. They are the nation’s leader in research for Anti-aging and Longevity Medicine.
© Copyright (2012) Marvin Sponaugle, MD All Right Reserved