Alcoholism is a state in which an affected person becomes physically and emotionally dependent upon alcohol to the extent that it starts adversely affecting his or her physical, emotional and mental health and disrupts social life. An individual may resort to excessive intake of alcohol for various reasons: as a social habit; to relieve physical and mental stress; as an escape from reality; to overcome depression and other illnesses; and as a result of severe dependence. Irrespective of the cause of alcoholism, chronic intake gradually results in a downward spiral in the form of physical disease, emotional dependence, social stigmatization, and problems in career.
While alcoholism can adversely affect the entire body, its main effects can be seen on the heart, nervous system, skin, gastrointestinal system, and most importantly, the liver. Excessive alcohol intake gradually destroys the liver and causes cirrhosis, which is an irreversible destruction causing both structural as well as functional damage, which in the long run can serious consequences and severe morbidity and mortality. The very causes of alcoholism continue to propagate this state and the affected individual finds it very difficult to discontinue this habit. In addition, abstinence or reduced intake of alcohol causes withdrawal symptoms like tremors, loss of appetite, depression, and other symptoms like convulsions. These withdrawal symptoms too create a severe hindrance in stopping alcohol consumption.
The modern management of alcoholism includes counseling, treatment for depression and other physical and emotional problems, medication to stop alcohol consumption, and in severe cases, admission to hospital for de-addiction and rehabilitation. Most of these measures are quite expensive and beyond the reach of the average middle-class or lower middle-class individual. Ayurvedic herbal treatment can provide a cost-effective solution for alcoholism which is within the reach of almost all individuals affected with this condition.
Ayurvedic treatment for alcoholism is aimed at treating the dependence, treating the adverse effects of excessive alcohol intake, and preventing or reducing withdrawal symptoms. Herbal medicines act on the nervous system and reduce the craving for alcohol while at the same time reducing anxiety, depression and boosting confidence and vitality. Ayurvedic treatment helps the affected individual to become alert and reactive to the surroundings and to face real-life situations.
Ayurvedic medicines also help to reverse the damage that alcohol causes to the gastrointestinal mucosa, arteries and veins, nerve cells, heart, and especially the liver. The affected individual notices a significant change in digestion and appetite, and experiences a feeling of well-being and vigor. Timely treatment with herbal medicines completely reverses the effects of cirrhosis and helps bring the liver back to optimum functioning.
Ayurvedic treatment also helps in reducing anxiety, depression and tremors and helps in preventing withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing alcohol intake. Regular treatment with Ayurvedic herbal medicines completely reduces the craving for alcohol as well as helps the individual adjust so as to remove the causes for alcohol dependence.
Most individuals suffering from alcoholism require Ayurvedic treatment for periods ranging from one to six months, depending upon the severity of alcoholism and its after effects on the affected individual. A majority of such individuals can carry on life in a normal manner with very little possibility of a relapse. It is however, important to avoid aggravating factors which may cause the individual to revert to alcoholism.