How Ayurveda helps de-addict
Of late, a number of youngsters complain of lack of interest in life, lack of concentration in job or higher studies, great fatigue etc. When questioned about their diet, illness or medication, there is a shocking revelation – most of them either use alcohol or smoke on a daily basis.
Some of these youngsters have even spent some time in rehabilitation centres and have undergone counseling. The fortunate fact is that they want to get out of this addiction, and would like to get some Ayurvedic help.
The younger generation does not seem to realize that they are addicted until pointed out to them.
Addiction is a pathological condition which arises due to the frequent use of drugs, medicines, alcohol; clinically even frequent coffee drinking is termed as addiction.
Stages of addiction
a. Progression of acute drug usage
b. Development of drug seeking behavior
c. Vulnerability to relapse
d. Decreased ability to respond to stimuli
e. Decreased motivation to live
Interestingly, Ayurveda terms addiction as a social disorder as it leads to failure in schools, crime, violence, etc.
The addiction process starts with people who desperately try to reduce the physical and emotional stress or discomfort. Even though it helps them relax for a short time, they really do not help to treat the cause. Hence the person is urged to use it continuously for a long time.
Unfortunately, the physical, psychological, and social consequences of drug abuse and addiction become worse than the original problem they were trying to cope with or avoid.
Ayurveda and addiction
Ayurveda terms this condition as ‘Madatyaya’ which means intoxication.
Though Ayurveda restricts this condition to alcohol and drug use, the mode of treatment is very effective for smoking also. According to Ayurveda, alcohol, drug or any intoxicating material reduces the essence of life (Ojas).
The four stages of addiction are common to modern medicine and Ayurveda
a. Acute intoxication
b. Withdrawal symptoms
c. Drug dependence
d. Drug abuse
Ayurveda doshas and addiction
The following doshas exhibit these symptoms:
Vata: Headache, difficulty in breathing, insomnia, vivid dreams, dry hallucinations, anxiety, constipation, mood swings, erratic thoughts
Pitta: Burning in the stomach and digestive problems, excessive sweating and thirst, diarrhea, fever, giddiness, aggression and violence
Kapha: Excessive sleep, lethargy, heaviness in the body, nausea, and vomiting
Tri dosha combination of the above symptoms
Common symptoms: Restlessness, piercing pain in the heart, sweating, diarrhea, thirst, fever with chills, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dizziness and disturbed sleep
All these symptoms are experienced in the variety of modern drugs like opium, alcohol, nicotine, etc. So, the Ayurveda concepts of Madatyaya and treatment, therapies are very much relevant to today’s addiction therapies.
Ayurveda treatment protocol for addiction
1. Detoxification: Ayurveda recommends personalized detoxification therapies to address this issue. Depending upon the condition, vitiated dosha one among the five purification methods like medicated emesis/ medicated purgation/ medicated bloodletting/medicated enema/medicated nasal drops therapy is administered.
2. Strengthening/rejuvenating the system: Since addiction not only affects the body but also the mind, Ayurveda recommends a dedicated diet and nerve rejuvenation therapy to improve lost IQ, etc. Herbal juices like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), and Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis). These herbs also improve memory, concentration and comprehension.
Source: Dr. Gowthaman