What is Alcoholism or alcohol addiction?
Alcoholism is a chronic disease which affects the brain and the body. It can have disruptive tendencies towards family, relationships, school, workplace and neighborhoods. Alcoholism causes varying degrees of loss of control like drinking despite serious physical or physiological problems, where the person can only think of where he can get his next drink, failure to abstain even for a day, feeling alcohol withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit drinking.
Alcoholism can be effectively prevented, treated and managed by healthcare professionals in a controlled environment with the help of family and/or peer support.
Deaddiction is an ongoing process in the life of an alcoholic. The temptation to start again will be there as long as he lives.
What are the causes leading to addiction?
Addiction to alcohol is not an overnight process. A person starts drinking because of many reasons: -
1) Peer pressure: – When his/her friends pressurize him to drink with them or he attends some functions where his friends or colleagues are drinking, he joins them and drinks from time to time.
2) Family History: – He sees his family members abusing alcohol from a very early age and he starts aping(mimicking) them.
3) Stressful environment: – Where the person starts drinking as an act of escapism from work related, family related or society related problems.
4) Psychological impacts: – When he starts to drink to overcome a tragedy in life and to forget the pain and trauma caused by it.
5) Drinking from an early age: – When the person starts drinking from an early age, as he grows older he may become more and more dependent on alcohol.
These are some of the main causes that kick start a person on his path to alcoholism.
What are the problems faced by an alcoholic?
Physical problems faced by an alcoholic are: -
1) Hepatitis – Too much alcohol causes liver inflammation. The symptoms are yellow skin, yellow eyes and increased stomach size due to fluid accumulation.
2) Liver damage – Symptoms are same as with hepatitis along with pain in abdomen.
3) Stomach Ulcers – Excessive drinking causes the lining in the stomach to be frail, which causes interior or exterior ulcers in the form of severe stomach pain or open sores.
4) Loss of appetite – Due to the fluid accumulation in the stomach from frequent excessive alcohol consumption, which in turn also causes constipation.
5) Polyuria – The need to frequently urinate
6) Gallbladder, pancreas, spleen and kidney related problems.
7) Low vision at night.
Psychological problems faced by an alcoholic include: -
2. Loss of confidence and
What are the stages of addiction?
1) Adaptive stage – occasional drinking which is the harbinger of alcohol.
2) Binge drinker – This stage tends to severely abuse alcohol for a few days then stop using for a long time.
3) Bridge user – is a combination of planned users and binge drinkers. When an event arrives where the person has planned to drink but he overindulges and continues to abuse for some time before stopping. In this stage problem starts to show physically and psychologically.
4) Dependence stage – person becomes a daily drinker and constantly abuses alcohol.
5) Deterioration – Physical and psychological problems start at this stage and person tries to abstain but fails numerous times inducing a feeling of frustration and show suicidal tendencies.
What are the ayurvedic treatments for alcoholism?
Terms for alcohol addiction in Ayurveda are Madayaya, Manasikam visargah, Madhyapash, Madhyasakthi.
Ayurveda believes alcohol contains properties that induce laghu, ushna, tiksha, vishada, ruksha, vikaasa, aasuga, amla and sookshma which opposes or negates ojas or life-giving properties.
The alcohol deaddiction treatment in ayurveda can start only after a complete and comprehensive consultation and testing done by the ayurvedic doctor, as everybody’s constitution (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) varies and the stage of addiction may need different approaches. The doctor may use various treatment modalities including internal medicine to detox, emphatic counselling, herbal oil massages, dhava, navaratna kizhi, tailam, herbal steam bath, etc. Generally, these treatments are undertaken in a serene/quality environment with the active involvement and support of significant others/ close family.
Treatment plans vary from 1 month to 6 months. Panchakarma and massage-based procedures are used to clean and remove the toxins which have built up in the body, yoga, diet and meditation are used to rejuvenate the body, in intense cases due to harmful withdrawal symptoms they may also use medicated beverages containing small quantities od alcohol and medicated cigarettes to smoke.
Cost and Duration of Alcoholic Deaddiction treatment:
The cost of undergoing an ayurvedic treatment for alcoholic deaddiction in India starts from around 1900 USD for a minimum in-house treatment of 28 days duration and includes doctor’s fees, treatment fees and accommodation
Post Treatment Rehabilitation:
The treatment should be followed by a good rehabilitation schedule for the person ongoing abstinence of alcohol. A strong emotional support from the family is a must during this period. It helps in the psychological wellbeing of the person and easier adaptation to everyday life. A strong will power is required to overcome to the temptation to start again.