Regen Med Blog Post
May 10, 2023 | 17 min read

The Profound Effect of Regenerative Medicine on Addiction and Mental Illness

Updated: June 2, 2023

Addiction and Mental Illness

Addiction and mental illness have become discussed more and more in recent times.  The opioid epidemic has run through our country from top to bottom, leaving families mourning both the dead and the still living and suffering. .  In these hard times of  disease, economic uncertainty, social media, environmental toxins, and constant stress, all "diseases of despair" are on the rise.  Drug addiction has become a nationwide epidemic that has taken countless lives and destroyed family after family.  Alcoholism also on the rise, has proliferated during the pandemic as people are grasping for any way to try to deal with the uncertainties of the future.  Other types of addiction on the rise today range widely from designer drugs to food to technology.  The truth is the all compulsive behaviors are on the uptick and things like gambling and sex addiction can be just as destructive as drug addiction and alcoholism.  These cross over all boundaries of sex, race, color, and class. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released some statistics recently.  Here they are:

  • 7.7%(19.3 Million) of the people over the age of 18 have a substance abuse disorder(SUD)P
  • 3.8%(9.5 Million) people 18 and older had BOTH SUD and mental illness
  • 20.6%(51.5 Million) over 18 had a serious mental illness
  • 9.7 Million People Abuse Prescription Pain Killers
  • 745,000 Heroin Users Across the Country
  • In 2019 Opioid Overdose Deaths Increased 4.6%

Tech Addiction

Drugs and Alcohol tend to be what most people talk about when it comes to addiction.  But, as Joe Rogan once said, "If they invented a drug that made you stare at your hand all day, it would be illegal!" His statement is very true.  When you think of the way we tend to need our phones all the time and we freak out if we don't have them.  It can easily become an addiction.  Here are some stats on technology addiction:

  • Nomophobia(Cell Phone Dependence) affects 66% of our population
  • The average smartphone user 150 times a day and we check it 10 times more than that
  • Users spend on average 2 hours and 51 minutes a day on their phones
  • 58% of smartphone users don't go 1 hour without checking their phones
  • The average user touches their phone 2617 times per day
  • 40% check their phones in the middle of the night
  • Internet addiction is now listed as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

This leads to:

  • Information overload.  Which leads to decreased productivity and less family interactions
  • Compulsions-Gaming, stock trading, gambling, and even auctions.
  • Cybersex addiction
  • Cyber Relationship Addiction
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Detachment from society

Food Addiction

Like water and air, food is a necessity of life that is unavoidable, which makes treating food addiction even more difficult to treat.  Food addiction occurs in more than 5% of people.  They, unlike others, can't stop eating when they are full seeking out the dopamine release high-calorie foods give the user. Just like all addictions, the underlying pathology of what causes it can vary broadly between patients.  

The effects of food addiction lead to:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Joint Degeneration
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Death

Previous Treatments

Group Therapy

The treatment of alcoholism, the primary addiction of the time, was all but hopeless in the early twentieth century.  Alcoholics and drug addicts were destined to live the end of their days out in a state-run insane asylum.  Then, around the time of The Great Depression, Alcoholics Anonymous was formed and showed gleaming success, with their first 50 members achieving "life long sobriety".  AA used a "12 Step Program" that was based on the Alcoholic accepting their inability to take a sip of alcohol, "asking God for help", clearing your conscious, and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.  This worked for all at first, many after a while, and now have recovery numbers dwindling in the single digits for one year of sobriety.  These statistics are estimates since it is impossible to track any "anonymous" group.  Today, most drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities use a 12 Step Method as part of their program to treat addiction.  Over the years, other types of "group therapy" to treat addiction have also popped up with limited success.

Medications have come into play in the battle against addiction.  Antabuse and Narcan are drugs that block the receptors in the brain to prevent specific drugs from working.   Antabuse was created and used to keep alcoholics from drinking.  It prevents the body from having a positive reaction to any alcohol consumed.  The patient will get violently ill if they drink.  Unfortunately, this does nothing for the cravings.  So, we saw many alcoholics whose drive to drink was so bad that they would "drink through" the Antabuse, forcing it out of their system by vomiting.  Narcan is a drug that is used daily in this country to pull people out of an opioid overdose.  It is truly a lifesaver!  There are, however, problems with this drug and the ultimate outcomes.  When this drug is administered to someone in opiate overdose, it pushes the opiate off the receptor and the addict wakes up in the throes of withdrawal.  Body aches, diarrhea, cold sweats, etc.  Add this to the fact that addicts aren't generally treated with compassion when they are brought into the ER.  Often, they leave the ER still in withdrawals, untreated, and in pain.  This, more often than not, sends the addict looking for more opiates to relieve their withdrawals while the Narcan is still active in their body.  This creates a dangerous scenario, leading many addicts to a second and more deadly overdose.  You see, Narcan has a longer half-life than most opiates, so the addict goes back to using, can't get high, uses more, and then the Narcan wears off while that double dose of opiates is peaking in their system.  This leads to a massive overdose with a high death toll.  Showing more compassion for the addict and managing their withdrawals in the hospital could drastically change this distorted pattern.

Psychiatric disorders and addiction can frequently go hand in hand and even display similar symptoms making clear diagnosis difficult.  Another set of drugs used to treat addiction are those created to treat serious mental illness.  Anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and mood stabilizers are often used for patients with psychiatric disorders, addiction, and those with both.  The results with these drugs are hard to track.  They do give relief to some, to others the side effects are too great, and with others, they don't help.  While there are notable therapeutic effects of these drugs, the side effects include things as serious as suicidal ideation, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and fatal problems with blood sugar.  Taking medication is a personal choice that should be decided between the patient and their provider, but the side effects of these drugs are not taken seriously enough in my opinion.

Brain Damage


Addictions and Compulsions are not part of normal brain function.  They are both caused by and the cause of damage or irregularities in the brain.  Therefore, repairing, replacing, or rerouting abnormal cells, areas, and neural pathways are the way to fix these conditions.  In the past, we have tried to change the brain health of someone who has suffered from addiction strictly relying on removing the drugs from their systems, getting the user through the detox, changing their behaviors, some sort of spiritual enlightenment, and maintaining sobriety.  This relied on the patient's brain recovering over time, sometimes with psychiatric meds, and also having a large enough support network to keep them from returning to addiction.  These things are still essential aspects of treating addiction, but left us coming up short very often on their own.  In steps Regenerative Medicine to bridge the large gaps our best treatments used to not cover.  Image the difference in trying to overcome addiction while feeling well vs trying while feeling bad.  It is night and day.  Better sleep, more energy, less anxiety, easier social interactions, and less cravings are all aspects that Regenerative Medicine can offer those going through addiction treatment.

Regenerative Medicine's Ability to Heal The Body and The Brain

Let me begin by stating that I am in no way stating that Regenerative Medicine on its own can cure Addiction.  Addiction is a disorder that is physical, mental, emotional, social, and comprehensive in its nature.  Those suffering from it must seek help in many different ways that suit them individually.  Regenerative Medicine like we practice at Elevate Vero Beach, is able to heal the body, including the brain, to allow the recovering addict to feel well enough to change their lives for the better.  From adequate hormone levels, to lower levels of inflammation, healthy mitochondria, and growing new nerves through neurogenesis, Regenerative Medicine allows the patient suffering from addiction and mental illness to truly recover physically so they can take on the task of changing their lives.

Hormone Optimization


the priorities of life that supersede this behavior are chosen and the person develops a healthy relationship with the behavior.  Whether it is eating or smoking a joint, this behavior is used in a healthy way, like eating when hungry or relaxing with friends.  It doesn't become a compulsion that they want at inappropriate times.  With an addict, the pleasurable experience creates a compulsion to repeat the behavior, looking for the same feeling over and over.  Estrogen makes this compulsion stronger, creating a greater feeling of reward and producing an addictive pathway in the brain that is hard to break.  
While Estrogen increases this addictive behavior, Progesterone tends to reduce it.  Progesterone is another hormone that tends to lower depression and anxiety scores in those administering it.  It seems to also counteract much of the negative effects of high estrogen, leading to better sleep and a reduction in addictive tendencies.  Here at Elevate Vero Beach, we treat female hormone deficiency with customized formulas that contain Progesterone, Estradiol(not Estrogen), and Testosterone(very low dose compared to men).  We tend to see our patients feel more energy, better sleep, higher sex drive, and improvements in their mood.  
While Estrogen is considered a "female hormone", it is also present and necessary in men.  Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, and Cigarette Smoking often cause Hypogonadism(low testosterone) and Hyperestrogenism(High Estrogen) in male addicts. Testosterone is the primary male hormone, but a small amount of it needs to be aromatized into Estrogen.  This happens through something called Aromatase Enzymes in the body.  This little bit of Estrogen is necessary for cardioprotection, lower inflammation, good mood, and a high sex drive.  Without enough estrogen, men suffer.  But, too much is almost worse.  When your aromatizing too much, it can cause weight gain, loss of sex drive, gynecomastia(man boobs), and genital shrinkage(in hypogonadal men).  Aromatase Inhibitors along with the addition of exogenous Testosterone can reverse these symptoms in men almost immediately with the exception of gynecomastia, which requires surgery only in severe cases.  Depression, anxiety, and addictive behavior are also symptoms observed in men with low testosterone and high estrogen that can be easily relieved by balancing the man's hormones.
Other hormones that can dramatically affect the way a person feels and as a result, their addictive behaviors are the Thyroid Hormones, Cortisol, and Growth Hormone.
Thyroid insufficiency is another common issue among many patients we see.  This can cause low energy, depression, and sensitivity to cold.  We treat this with the appropriate amount of a natural thyroid product like Armour Thyroid that contains natural amounts of all the Thyroid Hormones.  We choose this over Synthroid, which most Dr's prescribe because Synthroid is synthetic and only contains T-4.  Armour Thyroid is simply superior both in theory and in practice.  Growth Hormone is another very important hormone in which we frequently find deficiencies.  Our bloodwork tests for IGF-1, which is a direct indicator if your growth hormone levels are doing anything in your body.  When IGF-1 is low, we treat our patients for this with one of two options; The first is to use peptides that cause the pituitary to release more of the hormone on its own.  If the pituitary is healthy, it will be properly stimulated and release enough HGH to improve the patient's condition and raise their IGF-1 levels.  This will have similar effects as exogenous HGH, which we also use to treat this condition.  When we prescribe HGH to a patient, it is Zomacton, pure Somatropin(HGH) and the results are nothing short of incredible.  While patients are on the therapy, we see IGF-1 levels go up significantly which leads to them losing weight, building lean muscle, having stronger connective tissue, better skin tone, and a better overall feeling of well-being.  


10 Nad

Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) IV treatments can help you beat addiction by helping relieve the symptoms of withdrawal and repair cellular damage to your body.  NAD is an enzyme that our body naturally produces.  These enzymes have a lot to do with energy production in the cell, particularly its mitochondria, where energy is produced.  This enzyme can get depleted in addicts, causing problems with energy, sleep, and neurologic problems.  At Elevate Vero Beach, we've seen results that include:

  • Reduction in Withdrawl Symptoms
  • Increased Energy
  • Improved Mood
  • Anti-Depressant Effect
  • Less Anxiety
  • Reduced Cravings

NAD can reduce Acute Withdrawal Symptoms 70-80% based on some reports.  We would never encourage someone going through this initial stage of withdrawal to use NAD as a substitute for adequate medical help.  Detoxing from drugs and alcohol can be dangerous and even deadly in some cases if the patient is not properly monitored with medication under the proper care.  NAD could be successfully used in conjunction with a medically supervised detox, allowing the clinicians to use fewer drugs with a better result.  Post-Acute Withdrawl Syndrome can last for up to a year and can cause mood swings, anhedonia(not finding pleasure in anything), anxiety, insomnia, sleep disturbances, cognitive impairment, depression, fatigue, sensitivity to stress, and drug cravings that can all push the addict towards relapse.  This is where NAD really shines!  When the addict gets out of the safety and control of a facility, the world comes flying right back at them and they need to feel well enough to handle it.  IV NAD is somewhat of a reset for the addict, letting them stand with their feet on the ground physically instead of in a hole trying to get out.  Other help is often necessary too.  Meetings, therapy, and medication are often necessities following rehab that have inconsistent outcomes.  Adding NAD to these other modalities can be an absolute game-changer in long-term outcomes.
One patient who'd struggled with addiction his whole life went through our NAD treatment and said, "It is the best I've felt in my whole life!".   We see him regularly and, to our knowledge, he is still clean and feeling well.  NAD also causes 
Neurogenesis, repair, and regrowth of brain cells, which is huge when it comes to recovering the brain from the type of trauma addiction causes.  Drugs, alcohol, head injuries, and illnesses can kill brain cells and disrupt normal processes.  Neurogenesis allows the brain to generate new brain cells and re-route neural pathways.  This allows the patient to feel and function at a much higher level, which gives them a better chance at recovery.  Very often patients who use this therapy experience a reduction in depression and anxiety with the added benefit of improved sleep.  



Body Protecting Compound-157 is a peptide that was discovered to be the compound in gastric juices that repaired ulcers and other injuries of the Gastrointestinal Tract.  After it was reproduced in a lab, it was found to have powerful healing effects across the entire body.  Scientists injected this into mice after completely severing the Achilles tendon of the animal and saw the tissue grow back together.  This compound can literally heal all kinds of injuries and ailments from your toes to the top of your head.  When given to Addicts with brain damage due to amphetamine abuse, it caused a reversal of their symptoms.  Its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier allows 
 BPC-157 to reduce inflammation in the brain and stimulate neurogenesis.  It also improves neurologic function through a mechanism called the gut-brain axis.  One of the uses of this wonderful compound is to repair damage to the gut and intestinal tract.  Ulcerative Colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome both improve with the use of BPC-157.  When the gut is healthy, the brain functions better due to the nerves that send signals back and forth between our digestive tract and our central nervous system.  Inflammation in the gut causes the brain to scavenge Tryptophan and converting it into substances other than Serotonin.  This causes low levels of this uplifting neurotransmitter, which results in anxiety and depression.  

Stem Cells

Stem Cells Repair Cells in the Body

Stem Cells are the creme de la creme of Regenerative Medicine whether you are talking about regenerating brain cells, curing injuries, or improving overall well-being.  These cells can be injected into the body either directly into a diseased and damaged area or introduced through an IV infusion directly into the bloodstream.  Once in the body, the stem cells are attracted to inflammation where their effect begins by lowering that same exact inflammation.  From there, the stem cells begin to double in numbers every 28 hours, eventually differentiating into whatever cells and tissues need help regenerating.  Knees, shoulders, hips, ankles, fingers, and toes can all be injected directly into the joint to cause a localized effect while spinal injections can reduce both local and radicular pain.  But, for problems like addiction, Intravenous Infusion is the way to go.  Addiction causes damage and inflammation to the brain and the stem cells are drawn into the area to begin the process of repairing and replicating healthy cells.  The mixture of mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem replaces the damaged cells with healthy ones, creating new neurons and neural pathways while reducing brain inflammation.  Other regenerative therapies like BPC-157, NAD, and Hormone Replacement Therapy are often added to give an even greater synergistic effect.  The results are nothing short of miraculous.

Standing United Fighting Addiction and Mental Illness

Addiction and Mental Illness are plaguing our country and here at Elevate Vero Beach, we stand with everyone fighting for the people suffering from these disorders.  We want to use Regenerative Medicine to strengthen the resolve of the patients and the caregivers in the battle to save precious lives.  We look forward to working with all treatment centers in the area.

Written By:
Billy Dayton
Elevate Vero 
755 27th Ave SW
Vero Beach, Fl 32968

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