Because overcoming addiction is a struggle, people turn to a variety of therapeutic interventions at different stages of recovery. They look for ways to ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.

One type of therapy offered at a number of addiction treatment centers involves nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, a molecule found in every cell of the body. Some claim that NAD therapy is genuinely helpful for people who are addicted to drugs. But it’s important to evaluate the evidence and consider whether this particular therapy is right for you.

What Is the Purpose of NAD Therapy?

NAD is a coenzyme, a molecule needed by enzymes for various functions in the body. It’s involved in cell metabolism, the chemical processes in the cells that produce energy from nutrients. It’s also associated with other functions, including a cell’s ability to repair itself and show more resilience against stressful forces.

NAD levels decrease as people get older, and this decrease is associated with some of the effects of aging. Much of the current research on NAD therapy focuses on its potential to combat problems linked to aging, including diminished mental functioning and a higher prevalence of certain diseases.

Why has NAD therapy also been introduced into addiction recovery? Addiction and its unhealthy habits, including poor nutrition and lack of sleep, place a great deal of stress on the body. The rationale behind this therapeutic intervention is that it may counteract some of the effects of addiction and help the body recover.

How Does NAD Therapy Get Administered During Addiction Recovery?

Typically, NAD therapy is intravenous. Patients receive an infusion that contains NAD, and it may also have various vitamins, amino acids, and other supplements.

The recommended number of infusions depends on multiple factors, including addiction severity. Over the course of several days, patients may receive infusions lasting for several hours each day. After this initial treatment, they may be scheduled for follow-up sessions weeks later.

NAD therapy isn’t exactly the same from one treatment center to another. If you’re interested in this intervention, be sure to ask about the content of the infusions and the schedule. Also, look into what amenities you’ll be given. Will you be able to relax on a recliner and watch a TV show? Will you be able to get some work done on your laptop during the infusion? The comforts and conveniences of the treatment environment are important.

What Are the Potential Benefits of NAD Therapy?

Replenishing and Reinvigorating the Body

Especially after a more severe or long-lasting addiction, the body may be depleted in various ways. Low levels of NAD and general deficiencies in nutrients make it harder for people to face the challenges of withdrawal and addiction recovery.

NAD therapy can help build up the strength of the brain and body. It can elevate energy levels, reduce fatigue, and enhance people’s overall sense of well-being.

Easier Withdrawal

During the detoxification stage of addiction treatment, people go through withdrawal, the physical and psychological reactions to stopping the use of a particular drug. Because of the pain, discomfort, and potentially strong intensity of withdrawal symptoms, people sometimes receive medications that help them endure the process.

When undergoing NAD therapy, some people report a less painful experience of withdrawal. They aren’t hit as hard by exhaustion, muscle cramps, or a variety of other unpleasant symptoms. In some cases, they may not need to take certain medications to get through withdrawal.

Weaker Cravings

Especially in the early stages of recovery, drug cravings can undermine people’s efforts to maintain sobriety. NAD therapy may result in fewer cravings or cravings that have less intensity.

What Evidence Supports the Use of NAD Therapy During Addiction Recovery?

Given some of the positive reported findings around NAD therapy, it’s tempting to assume that this therapeutic intervention will definitely work during recovery from addiction. However, a lot more research is necessary before we can reach any conclusions.

Some research suggests that NAD therapy eases cravings and withdrawal symptoms, such as depressed moods, for opioid and alcohol addiction. But there’s still much we need to discover and understand. Among the questions researchers need to explore are the following:

  • What is the exact relationship between NAD levels and the effects of addiction?
  • What version of NAD therapy produces the strongest and most consistent results? We need to consider different factors, including the duration of the therapy and the contents of the infusion.
  • Why is this form of therapy more effective in some people than in others?
  • How does this form of therapy interact with other therapeutic interventions?
  • Does it work better for some kinds of drug addiction more than others?

At this point in time, we don’t have proof that NAD therapy is an effective intervention for addiction recovery, and it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. There are people who report that it has worked well for them, but we need much more data and well-designed research studies.

Does this mean you should disregard NAD therapy? Not necessarily. Maybe it will be beneficial for you. Maybe you feel that you should try any therapeutic intervention that isn’t dangerous and that takes place under professional supervision. At worst, it may not work, but if it does help you fight addiction, then it may be worth trying.

Are There Any Side Effects to NAD Therapy?

When you receive NAD infusions under medical guidance, it’s generally a safe form of therapy. Some people, however, do report side effects, which may include brain fog, muscle cramps, and nausea. Because NAD therapy is intravenous, there may also be side effects connected to injections, such as bruising, swelling, or redness at the injection site.

Be sure to let medical staff know about any unpleasant effects you may be experiencing. Many of these effects can be remedied by adjusting doses or other aspects of the infusion. Also, before starting infusions, make sure to discuss your medical history with the therapy provider. Mention any medications you’re currently taking, and disclose whether or not you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Does Insurance Cover NAD Therapy?

Although you should always check the details of your plan, it’s highly unlikely that NAD therapy will be covered by your insurance. Because it hasn’t been approved by the FDA, and because it isn’t a proven treatment for addiction recovery, this form of therapy will be an out-of-pocket cost.

Going through an entire course of NAD therapy may cost at least several thousand dollars. When considering different therapy providers, ask about the pricing and about payment options. You can also try to negotiate with your insurance company for at least partial coverage.

Is NAD Therapy a Substitute for Other Therapeutic Interventions?

Don’t look at NAD therapy as a substitute. Instead, see it as a potential supplement. It can become part of your overall approach to fighting addiction.

It isn’t a substitute for taking medications, attending group therapy, or making healthy changes to your lifestyle, such as eating nutritious food and exercising regularly. What NAD therapy may do is give you additional strength as you confront the challenges of withdrawal and recovery.

Why You Should Contact NJ Addiction Resources

Treatments for addiction need to be highly individualized, compassionate and guided by scientific evidence. Drawing on our extensive network of resources throughout New Jersey, we’ll help you find treatment programs and therapeutic interventions best suited to your needs. With our guidance and support, you’ll be able to benefit from highly qualified professionals and dedicated advocates throughout your recovery. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us by email or phone.