Integrative Psychiatry

Functional Medicine for Addiction by William Billica, MD

By February 13, 2021No Comments

Watch our short video as Dr. William Billica talks about hypoglycemia and insulin.


You know, certainly when you’re treating people, you need to treat all of it.

I mean, there’s their psychologist, addiction counselors, there’s all the other parts of that, that go with an addiction program. As a matter of fact, I have a few people who come to me with addictions and things, and I do the biochemistry. And I try and get them plugged in with counseling and stuff, and they don’t do it. And they really struggle to stay clean. So, it really is a full picture.

Digestion and Amino Acids
Low amino acids, especially brain chain amino acids may have major impact on mood and addiction

So, most addicts have poor digestion and diets, they come in, they’re depleted of everything. It makes it kind of tough when you do organic acids and amino acids, some people are just depleted of everything, and it’s hard to tell. Is this genetic, is this just poor nutrition? If somebody hasn’t been eating well and has low amino acids, even using something like whey protein, whey protein has a lot of branched-chain amino acids, which have a big impact on mood and addictions. As long as they don’t have a dairy issue, I would do that. It’s a lot cheaper, and it tastes better than using fancier amino acid blends.

Hypoglycemia and insulin

Hypoglycemia, that’s huge. I mean, you know, go to any AA meeting, and what are they doing? They’re drinking coffee with cream and sugar, and they’re eating donuts or cookies. They are setting all of those addicts up to crash and relapse a couple of hours after the meeting.

Blood Sugar is a big factor. So, when we look at that inner balance, when alcohol is involved, it’s like 97-98% of the time, on a glucose tolerance test, they have significant hypoglycemia.

Histamine balances

Low histamine, lots of anxiety, paranoia, thought disorders, they don’t tolerate much in the way of medications, trying to give them a bunch of supplements, they often don’t tolerate those. So, you focus on trying to increase histamine, you have to be careful about over-methylating. You still can use some B12 and a little bit of methylfolate, but you don’t want to give them a big dose or a big multi. N-acetyl cysteine has good support for these people, helps balance their brains and their responses.

Kryptopyrroluria Treatment
All right, so Kryptopyrrols, we tend to use P5P. It doesn’t have as much side effects of high dose regular B6. We typically just put people on 50 milligrams, a typical capsule that you can get as a supplement. And that’s pretty much what I use there and what I use in my office.


So, Holistic Health lab is Amy Yasko’s lab. I haven’t used it in a few years, but they were very good. Genova does subsets, just about any lab you can do the MTHFR for the 1298 and the 677.

If you send a patient to a lab, and just say MTHFR you’re only going to get this one, 677. They won’t do the 1298, you have to request it.

A lot of these genetic panels, like a 23andMe, will take too long to get all that back when I’ve got somebody in an addiction program for four weeks. But these are ways you certainly could do with an ongoing interaction with somebody as their mental health professional.