By Dr. Mahesh Annapure M.Sc. D.N., M.D. (A.M.)
Alcohol is consumed all over the world. The habit of excessive consumption of alcohol and being addicted to it is called alcoholism. This disease creates physical, mental, spiritual, social, economical and family problems. Hence it is also called Alcohol dependence syndrome, because, it leads to manifestation of a group of diseases.
In Ayurveda and Sanskrit texts it is called as Mansikam Visargah, Madyapash, Madyasakti .
Madya = Alcohol, Pash = Habit, Aasakti = Craving.
Important words related to alcoholism:
Sober :- Person living away from such habbits.
Alcoholic – madyaasakt– Madyapi :– Person who consume alcohol.
Craving – Affection to have drink.
Dry drinking:- Joining in the parties with drinker friends without taking alcohol. It creates craving and mind sleep.
Addict – Takes alcohol all the time.
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome – Craving and other health problems caused due to stoppage of alcohol. The person suffers from anxiety, trembling, temporary memory loss, headache, sweating, nausea, insomnia, depression, irritability, short temper etc.
Hallucination:- A sensory experience in the mind of something, that does not actually exist.
Triggers:- The substances in nearby environment that may initiate the craving or mind sleep.
They induce heavy craving when patient observe this in front of his eyes. The examples are – Sign Board of a Beer Bar, Festivals in which drinks are used like Holi, Empty bottle of wine, Glass cups, particular snacks, friends, locations, memories. Etc.
Every person may have more than 200 such triggers promoting to drink.
Physical and physiological effects
Physical problems of alcoholism:
Hepatitis, Liver damage, ascites
Stomach Ulcers, Loss of appetite,
Polyuria – frequent urination
Gall Bladder, Pancreas, Spleen, Kidneys related problems, and
Low vision at night.
Psychological problems are
Phobia, Loss of confidence, dizziness, etc.
Stages of alcoholism
Stages of alcoholism:
1. Adaptive stage:-
It is the early stage of starting or testing drink. Person believes that he can tolerate it. Gradually the quantity of consumption increases. This is a non noticeable stage.
2. Dependence stage:-
In this stage person needs a large quantity than the earlier, he becomes dependent to alcohol for performing daily activities. He becomes addict. To avoid withdrawal he further increases consumption.
3. Deterioration stage:- At this stage various body organs get damaged, patient gets mental disorder.
Habit level stages:-
1. Planned drinker:- Person plans carefully when and how to take drink. He drinks on particular occasions like Birthday, Festivals, Promotion, Marriage anniversary etc. During other times, he abstains from alcohol.
2. Bridge drinker:- Person drinks through a day time in unlimited manner, for a specific period of a week or two weeks. After that he stops drinking. It is a transit stage in between planned drinking and daily drinking.
3. Daily drinker:- These persons drinks through out the day. They even keep a bottle near to their bed.
Ayurvedic approach to Alcoholism:
Consumption of large quantities of alcohol is considered as Visha – toxic.
Properties of alcohol as per Ayurveda:
As described in the Ayurvedic texts alcohol has following properties.
Laghu– light, Ushna – hot,
Tikshna – sharp, Visada – drying,
Vikaasa – expensive, Ruksha – rough,
Aasuga – swift, Vyavyal- prevador,
Amla – sour, Sookshma – subtle.
All of these properties of alcohol are opposite to the qualities of ojas.
Human brain contains a fluid called Dopamine. Alcohol activates the nervous system and stimulates the precursors to promote dopamine formation, to keep and maintain dopamine level.
In the presence of alcohol , brain creates a receptor cells on his surface to remember the taste and quantity of alcohol to be taken. As the level of drinking increases, the receptor cells also increase in number and watch on the level of the alcohol. If there is insufficient level of alcohol, these cells become aggressive and agitating to have the regular level of alcohol, and ask the person to take sufficient alcohol as like last time. If they are not fulfilled by regular quantity, they creates huge craving . these receptor cells never degenerate, they remains for the life. When the person stops drinking by medication for a time and then later if he wish to tast a small peg, then all the cells may not fulfill and the remaining cells become agitate. Such persons can not practice with small quantity, once they have a teast, they need a complete quota as per routine. Some drinkers ask that why I cannot drink in limitation?. Here is the answer for fulfill of the receptor cells.
- Make a powder of coriander + capsicum + sugar flakes . Soak one teaspoon in a cup of water for eight hour. Filter and take in the morning.- (Antioxidant)
- Take a lemon juice with sugar and pinch of salt every morning (Detoxifier)
- Take 20 grams of carom seeds, boil it in 100 ml of waterwater, filter, and take.
- Eat any kind of sweet food item at craving.
- Take curd or yogurt. (Detoxifier)
- Take one teaspoon of onion juice.
- Take pomegranate or Apple or Grape juice at least two to three times a week.
- Take 10 gram of clarified butter- ghee with sugar. (Antioxidant, Detoxifier)
Ayurvedic treatment for alcoholism-
The person is given Panchakarma treatment in the beginning.
Vamana – vomiting therapy
Virechana – purgative therapy
Basti – enema therapy
Nasya – nasal drops therapy are administered initially.
This detoxifies body and mind and prepares the body for oral medication and other further treatments.
Important Ayurvedic herbs used in the treatment of alcoholism:
Herbs to improve memory, concentration and to fight depression:
Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis),
Brahmi – Bacopa monneiri
Kudzu Pueraria lobata,
Ashwagandha – withania somnifera,
Herbs to treat sleep problems:
Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi),
Jaiphal/ Jaipatri (Myristica fragrans),
Herbs to improve liver functions:
Aloe Vera, Punarnava, Long pepper, Kutki, Tulsi – to revive liver health
Herbs to treat body ache, Myalgia:
Rasna, Guggulu, Shallaki
Herbs to treat inflammation –
Dashamoola – group of 10 roots –
Bilva – Aegle marmelos
Agnimantha – Premna mucronata
Shyonaka – Oroxylum indicum
Patala – Stereospermum suaveolens
Gambhari – Gmelina arborea
Brihati – Solanum indicum
Kantakari – Solanum xanthocarpum
Gokshura – Tribulus terrestris
Shalaparni – Desmodium gangeticum
Prishnaparni – Uraria picta
It helps to strengthen nervous system, muscles, mental balance. It reduces stress.
Mud Bath:- It strengthens, rejuvenates nervous system.
Exercise:- Just warm up avoiding much stress.
Yoga:- Improves memory, concentration, relieves tremors
Tips to get rid of alcoholism:
- Take juice of pomegranate, grapes, watermelon etc.
- Avoid excess non vegetarian food. Excess non veg food would increase Rajas and Tamas, which may influence you to indulge in alcohol.
- Do not move out of home with empty stomach.
- Do not move out of home at night time.
- Do not join parties with alcoholic friends.
- Stay in contact with sober persons.
- Take plenty of sugar water with little salt day time.
- Always be engaged in productive work.
- Think positively, avoid negative thinking.
- Think only for today, do not take tension for tomorrow.
- Keep away from first drop, it may activate receptor cells.
- Worship off your favorite good may provide you mental support.
Caution towards fake alcoholism treatment advertisements:
Now a days a lot of traditional Vaidya or Hakims are doing publicity and challenging that their remedy will cure your alcoholism with just a single dose of medicine. Such practitioners are usually unaware about the disease. They provide you with unknown remedies that may cause brain and liver damage. As with any other advertisements, even in healthcare, if something seems too good to be true, it is really too good to be true.
Always consult a registered medical practitioner for all your health complaints.
Self help centers and groups:
Most of the de-addiction centers arrange for meetups of alcoholism patients. There, ex patients who already have quit alcoholism come and explain how quitting alcohol have changed their lives. It is really inspiring and encouraging. If you are alcoholic, please attend such programs.
Search for “alcoholism de addiction groups [your city]” in google and you should easily come across such self help groups.
Dr. Mahesh AnnapureM.Sc. D.N., M.D. (A.M.)
303, Chintamani park, Shashtrinagar, Nanded. 431605 Maharashtra
e- mail: [email protected]