treatment name Homoeopathic approach in addiction

Dr Arun S Raj

To most people the word “addict” conjures up images of a down and out, lying semi-conscious in rat infested squalor, surrounded by filthy needles and broken bottles. Helpless, hopeless, rejected by society. And yet we only have to scan the daily papers to see famous celebrities confess to alcoholism, cocaine habits and addiction to love and sex.

Addiction is not just about the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” scene. One can be addicted to gambling, food, tobacco, stimulants, prescription drugs (tranquillizers, and maybe even Prozac), exercise, the Internet, computer games, television, designer labels, work… the list is endless.

The consequences of many addictions like smoking and drinking to excess are recognized, yet ignored by the addict. At one level there is an understanding that a price must be paid, but the person is so dependent on the habit that the realization of the risks involved is almost irrelevant.

In dealing with any addiction, it is fundamental to understand what the addiction is doing for the person. It is not as simple as changing the behavior. If it were, why would people be constantly on diets, battling with their weight?

The lyrics of the songs reflect the artists’ perceptions of life and their lifestyle.

Not every artist has fallen into the trap of using mind-altering substances to enhance their creativity. Meditation and yoga are fast becoming the latest addictions. At least that is wholesome and health enhancing, assuming one understands the true meaning of tantra as oppose to the salacious corruption! Alice Cooper, infamous for his theatrical stage acts with defenceless pythons, demonstrates `one man’s courage in dealing with alcoholism. ` 

Many find comfort in alcohol; it helps them to forget the pain of life. It can be a form of escapism. Addiction impacts not only on the addict, but also on the whole social group, and it is imperative that any treatment takes this into consideration. 

Homeopathy may be used as an adjunct to the treatment of dependency problems. Obviously the main stay of treatment must be on a medical / psychological level, but homeopathic treatment from a professional may assist in the detoxification process and help with healing the emotional issues.

Alcohol, tobacco and drugs leave their mark physically. Nux vomica is a classic hangover remedy and when combined with Sulphur is very helpful in a deeper cleansing process. Many addicts eat very poor diets and essential vitamins and minerals must be replaced. In heavy alcohol and drug dependency, the deficiencies may be so severe as to necessitate injections of vitamins and minerals into the veins to prevent serious nerve damage.

Alcohol literally pickles the liver, and several herbal remedies, such as Milk Thistle, are beneficial in improving liver function. The liver not only acts as the body’s natural detoxification organ, it also manufactures many important chemicals, including those relating to normal blood clotting. It is not uncommon to find a bleeding tendency in those who consume excessive alcohol. Fortunately, the liver has immense powers of regeneration. One literally has a new liver every six weeks, which is why alcohol abuse takes so long to bring about permanent liver damage.

Homeopathy and herbal treatment can enhance this natural self-healing process.

Appropriate homeopathic remedies can facilitate the detoxification process and assist with the emerging emotional issues. When addiction has been used to mask the emotional turmoil within, this will rapidly emerge. The demons within emerge as soon as the drink departs. The person is left vulnerable, frightened and often overwhelmed by the force of these long buried emotions. It takes great strength not to relapse back into former habits.

As homeopathy deals with the whole person, on every level: mind, body and spirit, it is perfect for assisting in this transitional phase. Expert counseling assists in the process. Some homeopaths are trained in counseling skills; others work in conjunction with counselors. Most of the self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous provide group and individual therapy, as well as support for the relatives. 

Statistics show that between 50 and 80 per cent of alcoholics has a close family member with alcohol problems. That is a terrifying statistic and demonstrates the urgent need to address the issues within the family framework. Quite why this occurs is debatable. The scientists take it as conclusive proof that there is a chemical imbalance which leads to addiction. The psychologists claim this is because of sub-conscious modeling of the parent. 

The young boy sees Father return from the pub drunk and take out his fury at losing his job by beating up Mother and the children. Young boy witnesses this and, on a sub-conscious level, decides that this is what grown men do. Get drunk and morose, then violent. The reality is that there is probably some truth in both scenarios. In homeopathy there is a belief in the miasms, the inherent weakness or taint that manifests in future generations. 

Medicine recognises the hereditary component of many diseases; homeopathy takes it one stage further and includes conditions that are not genetically mediated. It is common to see family members share the same or similar remedies, and therefore behavior patterns. If the men in a family internalize their problems and drown them in drink, the child will learn that in their family this is the way to deal with life. Alcohol may be freely available in that household so the child develops a taste for it early. This is not always the case. Many alcoholics come from families of teetotalers. 

Many of the support groups work with modifications of The Eight Steps to Recovery.