Addiction Secrets to Stopping Alcohol Cravings With Dr. John Umhau By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief Published on May 03, 2021 Print Verywell / Julie Bang Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Meet Dr. John Umhau Why Dr. Umhau Is Mentally Strong What You’ll Hear on the Show What You’ll Learn About Addiction Quotes From Dr. Umhau More About the Podcast Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews experts, authors, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life. Subscribe Now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts Meet Dr. John Umhau John Umhau is a physician and addiction medicine specialist. His telemedicine practice focuses on the treatment of alcohol use disorder through diet, medication, and The Sinclair Method. He spent more than 20 years as a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He’s authored more than 50 scientific publications. Some of his research has focused on measuring the brain update of the essential omega-3 fatty acid DHA as well as the link between vitamin D deficiency and suicide. Why Dr. Umhau Is Mentally Strong Dr. Umhau doesn’t just prescribe medications. He conducts his own research on treatment options before advising his patients. He’s willing to share the pros and cons of various approaches, and he’s not afraid to express concerns about certain practices in the pharmaceutical industry. He also takes his own advice. He talks about the benefits he’s gained from omega-3 fatty acids in his own life. He’s willing to help his patients in some less traditional ways as well. He talks about nutrition more than most physicians and he provided telemedicine before the pandemic made it popular to do so. What You’ll Hear on the Show Why medication is so effective in curbing the cravings for alcoholWhy many people still don’t know that medication can be helpfulThe simple diet change that could make a huge difference in the brain and reduce someone’s cravings for alcoholWhy omega-3 fatty acids are good for your brain even if you don’t drink alcoholHow “The Sinclair Method” changes the brain so people no longer want to drink alcoholNaltrexone and other medications that can be used to reduce problem drinkingHow alcohol depletes the brain and body of essential vitamins and nutrientsHow to establish a lifestyle that promotes healthier habits and why this is essential for long-term successThe importance of vitamin D in reducing the risk of depressionWhy some cultures have fewer individuals with alcohol problems than othersWhy more willpower isn’t the solution to beating addictionWhat everyone needs to know about inflammation, gut bacteria, and dietWhere to find help if you’re drinking is getting out of control What You’ll Learn About Addiction Medical professionals often tell people to stop using substances without giving them tools to quit. Consequently, many people fail in their attempts to cut down on drinking or stop using drugs. There are many ways to address substance use and mental health problems (two things that often go hand-in-hand). Sometimes brain chemistry has been altered to the point that it’s nearly impossible for someone to make behavioral changes that could improve their lives. The struggle to give up an addiction or change a destructive behavior doesn’t necessarily stem from a lack of mental strength. A combination of factors, ranging from genetics to brain chemistry, are at play. It’s important to find a physician or mental health provider who can recommend treatment based on your specific needs. Treatment needs for addiction vary greatly, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Quotes From Dr. Umhau John Umhau, MD One of the critical things that people should know if they have friends, or loved ones, or even themselves who have alcohol problems is that there are medicines that really can reduce the craving for alcohol. — John Umhau, MD When you have someone who's kind of trapped by alcohol, they can't imagine not drinking. It's like they would die if they don't have a drink. When you drink, brain pathways are developed to promote drinking. So you associate the thoughts of alcohol with pleasure. You associate going to a bar and drinking with pleasure. You associate all the taste of wine and alcohol and so forth with pleasures. And so your brain is wired to go that way. The alcoholic brain is very different than the healthy brain. And the people with alcoholism, when they stop drinking, they have a much greater need for omega-3 fatty acids.Life is too short to be wasted on chemical pleasure. Look for pleasures in spirituality. Look for pleasures in your friends and loved ones. More About the Podcast The Verywell Mind Podcast is available across all streaming platforms. If you like the show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too. Links and Resources Visit Dr. Umhau’s website to schedule an appointment or learn more Take an addiction test What Is Alcohol Use Disorder? Medications Used to Treat Alcoholism Frequently Asked Questions About Alcohol Problems By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk, "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time. 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