Sujal Torgal Patil
Food, clothing and shelter are no longer the only basic necessities of human life. We have reached a stage where if somehow we are compelled to skip a day’s meal, we can still adapt, but if our mobile goes out of range for even a minute it makes us go weak in the knees. We are overly dependent on a lot of modern age attributes today ranging from high end gadgets to preservative-stuffed junk food. And if any of these are not available for some time, we are restless and our life comes to a standstill. Over dependency or over indulgence in anything proves that since we can’t stay away from it, we are addicted to it. Alcohol, smoking, drugs, tobacco, specific foods, TV, mobile, internet and porn are prominent items on the list because their effects are larger and sometimes fatal.
When an individual is caught in the complexity of any kind of addiction it ends up touching every sphere of their life, be it individual, family, social or work. Alcoholism or drug abuse is serious in comparison to chocolate or TV addiction. The one common aspect in all types of addictions is the sheer vulnerability of an individual and the hopelessness which sprouts through, followed by a never ending rigmarole of de-addiction camps, rehabs and a lifelong scar on the mind.
Ayurved has explained in some context, that there are grossly three causes of bodily imbalance or disorder, namely Asatmya Indriyarth Sanyog, Pradnya aparaadh and Parinaam/Kala.
Parinam or Kala is seasonal and climatic influences on the body, which leads to diseases like asthmatic episodes in rains.
Asatmya Indriyarth Sanyog is an injudicious contact of the sensory object with the sensory organ ie over-use, under-use or abuse of the sensory organ. For eg reading in extremely bright light or dim light or reading in the moving bus.
Pradnya is our intellect or wisdom and aparadh is an offence against it. It happens when your intellect knows that something is not good for your body-mind-soul but you obstinately go ahead with it.
Asatmya indriyarth sanyog and pradny aparadh are thus major causes of lifestyle disorders. The above factors play a vital role in understanding why one falls prey to addictions. For example: While watching violent videos or pornographic images a part of our us knows we are doing something wrong and hence should stop, but we do ignore that and continue with the fake gratification of our senses. Over a period of time we get habituated to the act and then there is no looking back. This is how any addiction happens.
Vulnerability of the mind plays a major role again. Satva, raja and tama are the three types of mano-dosha.
When satva guna dominates the mind has the capability of thinking clearly, takes appropriate decisions and is rational. When raja guna dominates the mind becomes restless and seeks inappropriate excitement in the form of anger, jealousy, lust, etc.
When there is dominance of tama guna, the mind then becomes sluggish, loses its ability to function and think clearly. In case of addiction there is definite decrease in satva guna and increase in raja and tamo guna.
According to ayurved addiction degrades the ojas (essence of our body). It determines our immunity, strength, vigour and vitality. There is lack of appetite, disturbed sleep, memory issues, and weakened immune systems. Bodily functions don’t occur normally and over a period of time every organ or system is affected, eventually culminating in death.
Each case of addiction needs to be considered as a special case keeping in mind the physical and emotional constitution of the person. What is achieved through addictions is a temporary sense of satisfaction of the concerned sense organ and hence in the process of de-addiction, strong mental resolve is the first step followed by the process of detoxification and rejuvenation of the body as well as the mind.
Detox of the body is done through diet and internal medications or through purificatory procedures like panchakarma. But detox of the mind is done through various therapies like shirodhara, nasyam, shiro basti and dhumapan, which work on the neurological system and bring in positivity in the functions of the mind. Many herbs like brahmi, jatamansi, shatavari, bhringaraj, mandukaparni, sarapgandha, shankhapushpi have a positive effect on the mind and help with withdrawal symptoms. Yoga is also highly beneficial in this process. Yam, niyam help us in imbibing good qualities so that we aren’t distracted by worldly pleasures. Asana along with pranayam improves our breathing, tones our body and helps in thinking clearly, thus imparting qualitative years to our life. The later stages of yoga work more on the minute and subtle being, thus making us immune to any kind of addiction ever.
After attending the conventionally tedious de-addiction camps one is left with a lot of rawness and loneliness. There is scaring of the body as well as mind, which needs attention otherwise there is a chance of relapse. This is where natural ways of de-addiction score over conventional ways where working on the mind is as important as working on the body. Ayurved advocates ashwasan chikitsa in this case, which is assuring the patient of his wellbeing. This is to be done by the physician and the kin of the patient. Psychological healing is of utmost importance.
Life is made of limitless possibilities and opportunities. Sky is the limit for the dreamer but proceed with caution as there are many who lose their paths in the quest of success and many who are vulnerable, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Let us resolve to lead a healthy and fulfilling life and say no to addictions.