Ayurveda on Addiction


Addiction is directly related to the brain. Drugs trick the brain with dopamine; the body listens to the messages sent by the duped brain and abides by them, leading to addiction. Can the brain be brought back to normalcy, and ensure a permanent addiction recovery? We learned about a few ways like rehab and treatment facilities, pharmaceutical treatment, and support groups. But there are more efficient, effective and proven methods that promise rooting out the problem for a complete addiction recovery.

The answer lies with the ancient Indian medicine system Ayurveda, and its associated disciplines of yoga and meditation. They provide a holistic, natural, and absolute solution to addiction through its guide to addiction recovery.

Ayurveda Way of Addiction Recovery

Addiction is considered in the Ayurvedic topic of Madatya, which literally means intoxication. In this stage, alcohol or drug intake destroys the ojas or the source of energy that is essential for perfect well-being, resulting in appearance of the symptoms of addiction. Ayurveda chooses to treat the cause rather than the symptoms. The addiction, whether drinking alcohol or taking drugs, is a symptom, whereas, the root cause is the underlying mental tension or stress. The symptoms occur because of the toxins produced by the root cause in the mind or the spirit.

Ayurveda way of addiction recovery is a multi-step approach that also incorporates meditation and yoga, as follows:

  1. Accept the addiction, and be willing to be treated.
  2. Determine the aggravated dosha (mind-body type)
  3. Treat withdrawal symptoms with herbal remedies
  4. Remove the accumulated toxins
  5. Follow an herbal and nutritious vegetarian diet
  6. Do meditation
  7. Practice yoga

As evident, the first step has to be the consent and permission of the person under addiction. Besides the mentioned addiction recovery approach, the person might also need life-counseling to help realize and recover the lost inner worth or self-esteem. There are also other therapies like aroma therapy, color therapy, sound therapy, massage therapy, etc. that are used depending on the addict’s particular requirement in order to attain total addiction recovery.

Ayurveda doshas and addiction

To know what doshas are, you’re encouraged to read the article on Ayurveda, which discusses the vital theory of doshas or the psycho-physiological constitutional types. Addiction follows a definite pattern in the addicts of a particular dosha, which are as follows:

  • Vata dosha individuals are prone to addiction. Primary reason for addiction is to reduce anxiety, worry, pain, and insecurity.
  • Pitta dosha individuals use addiction to perform well, and have difficulty in addiction recovery.
  • Kapha dosha individuals are a bit lethargic and use addiction for stimulation. They also have food addiction because of poor eating habits.

For Ayurvedic treatment of addiction and a proper addiction recovery, the doshas need to be balanced and brought to their ideal setting. Once the aggravated dosha in an addict is determined, an appropriate lifestyle is defined to normalize the dosha.

Herbal remedies and addiction recovery

Ayurveda is the science of life that uses herbs complemented by a suggested lifestyle to treat addictions. The herbal therapy begins with hot herbal teas and herbal spices in the food, with a motive to soothe and balance the battered digestive system.

Herbal solution for withdrawal symptoms

Before proceeding with any therapies, it is essential to take care of the withdrawal symptoms faced by the person under addiction. Ayurveda suggests using an herbal replacement for the addiction medium, whether it is alcohol, cigarette, or any drug. This step would serve a dual purpose; satisfy the urge of the person to use addiction substance, and removal of toxins (ama) from the body.

Ayurvedic detoxification process

A diet based on nutritional herbs leads to herbal detoxification, which purifies the body by clearing away the toxins produced in the body, leading to addiction recovery. In addition, Ayurveda has a cleansing method known as Pancha Karma, which is divided into three phases consisting of the preparation, cleansing, and rejuvenation phases. The original Ayurvedic cleansing phase consists of five therapies to root out the deeply embedded stress and toxins from the body, and help balance the doshas. However, some people reduce this cleansing phase to three therapies of Nasya (nasal cleaning), Basti (enemas), and Virechana (purgation).

As a result of continued substance abuse, the person who had been in addiction experiences lack of ability to memorize and degrades in intelligence. For enhancement of such factors, Ayurveda offers herbs like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), and Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis).

Nutritious diet for addiction recovery

The person undergoing addiction recovery has to follow a strict vegetarian diet that consists of cooked whole grains, fresh vegetables, and fruits. Such food is highly nutritional and contains all the required vitamins and minerals. As the recovering addict has a damaged nervous system, he or she requires complete nourishment for total addiction recovery, and their diet should include ghee (clarified butter), which acts as a lubricant and gives strength to the immune system of the body.