Ayurvedic Treatment for Chemical dependency
Also known as substance abuse or drug addiction, chemical dependency is a medical brain disorder characterised by abuse of illegal substances (eg: heroin, marijuana, cocaine) or even legally permitted substances (alcohol, nicotine or a prescribed medicine). When the pattern of a substance use causes substantial problems or distress, it is considered as dependency or abuse. In serious cases it often ends up in several legal issues. It is a major a reason of relationship problems in both developed and developing countries.
A person is identified as substance dependent when the abuse of drugs/alcohol continues even with difficulties popping up related to their use.
Causes of chemical dependency
Chemical dependency is usually multifactorial. Environmental stress, social pressure, genetic vulnerability, personality traits and some psychiatric disorders may be counted as the reasons.
The signs and symptoms of substance abuse differs from person to person. Strong desire to use a substance; usage of larger amounts of a substance and/or for a longer period; continuous desire or failed trials to cut down or control its use; drug/alcohol usage which interferes with work/school/home duties; spending a lot of time for getting drugs or alcohol; sticking on the substance of use despite continuous relationship, physical or psychological issues; being fervent in taking risks (including sexual risk) under the influence of substance; developing tolerance to get same effect and withdrawal symptoms; quitting/dipping activities because of drug/alcohol use are generally shown. These symptoms may resemble other medical or psychiatric conditions.
Peer pressure, media influence, poor parent-child communication and lack of supervision are the chief risk factors which often lead to substance abuse.
Treatment of chemical dependency
Treatment for chemical dependency often determined by many factors such as the type of substance used, age of the person, period of abuse etc. Major treatment plans include detoxification/ de-addiction therapy, individual and family psychotherapy or long term follow up management.
Complications of chemical dependency
Weight loss, redness of eyes, persistent fatigue, lack of personal and environmental hygiene, anxiety, depression, sleep anomalies and most importantly cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.
Preventive measures of chemical dependency
Family based, school based and community-based programmes are being planned for effective prevention of chemical dependency. Simple yet effective techniques like dodging stress; creating strong bonds with family, friends and relatives; healthy communication; staying motivated can be executed.
Ayurvedic Concept of chemical dependency
Ayurveda explains the concept of addiction in the chapter Madatyaya. It deals with various types of madya (alcoholic beverages) used at that time. In this huge chapter, Acharya explains the production, types, qualities and healthy ways to drink Madya. In each line, Acharya explains the bad effects of alcohol on body mind and social relationships, advising many times, it is better to keep away from substance abuse.
Other ways of chemical dependency in ways like inhalation etc are explained in the chapters of Visha (toxicology & poisoning). The signs & symptoms along with the management are explained in detail and the same depend upon the type of the poison and dose. The effects may vary according to the age sex and strength of the affected person too. Signs and symptoms of chemical dependency are explained which can be compared before confirming the diagnosis. Management depends upon the diagnosis and the condition of each patient.
Ayurvedic Nidana of chemical dependency
Overuse of any kind of addictive substance (maadaka dravya)
Ayurvedic treatment for chemical dependency
Management of chemical dependency is not a single medicine. It depends mainly upon what kind of substance caused the dependence and the mode of administration.
Intake of maadaka dravya (solid or liquid)
Immediate management is attained by cleaning the bowels. In most cases, regular virechana or mild purgation on a daily basis can be given to keep the body from the metabolic toxins. Use of the substance should be totally stopped or reduced without harming the system in total. After the Koshtha is cleaned, herbal formulations are given to reduce the toxins & chemical wastes from the body.
Inhalation of maadaka dravya
Mostly the management is the same as intake but focus is given to the respiratory system also. Nasya or nasal drops with anti-poisonous and cleansing herbal formulations are also done.
Herbal Preparations for chemical dependency
Side effect management of chemical dependency by Ayurveda
Ayurveda gives utmost importance to keeping the body and mind clean. Any kind of toxins produced within the body or entered the body from outside should be eliminated soon. Ayurveda has the most efficient ways and herbal combinations as cleansing therapies in the name of Ayurveda Panchakarma. Chemical dependency can affect the body in many ways, damaging vital organs like liver, kidney, lungs or heart. Ayurveda can help in detoxifying the body and making the body clean, by herbal formulations and Panchakarma therapies.
Yoga and Pranayama
Yoga can help improve general health and immunity. In chemical dependency, Yoga postures like Vrikshasana, Padmasana, or Ardhamatsyendrasana help improve the blood flow and circulation to the brain thereby improving mental wellbeing. Praanayama should be practised starting from Anulom-Vilom and Nadeesuddhi Following a Saatwik diet and a Yoga regimen will help in reducing the discomforts due to chemical dependency as well as reduce the person’s further chance for substance abuse.