Food, drugs or alcohol—-it matters not. Addictions can be successfully treated. And they need to be successfully treated because despite the feeling that they may be in some way helping, the truth is they simply get in our way and need to be pushed aside. But how do we push them aside?
Neurochemists tell us that if the complex neuroendocrine systems of the body are balanced, a state of well-being or fulfillment will result. If we feel fulfilled and live with a sense of well-being we will adopt behavior patterns which are in sync with this internal state. Addictions will not get in our way and we will achieve growth.
However, if the nervous system is in disequilibrium, as it is when addictions are involved, the resulting loss of fulfillment prompts the desire to restore an experience of greater well-being or happiness. Chemical dependency represents maladaptive behavior which may arise in a misguided effort to restore well-being.
In other words, we take that substance, whether it is alcohol, a drug, or an over-indulgence of food, in order to make ourselves feel better. You knew that didn’t you? You also know that the substance gives only a temporary feeling of well-being and happiness. It never gives lasting fulfillment and well-being, and, in fact, guilt and remorse often follow the addictive behavior.
In sum: the neurochemist informs that if we are in balance we will behave in accordance with our physiological state and if we are out of balance we will lean toward the addiction. Of course, our addictive behavior serves to drive our physiology further out of balance. How do we disrupt the vicious cycle?
The mind-body is one seamless energetic system. Since the mind-body is a whole, any attempt to use will power alone to cure addiction can be a difficult exercise. Because the neuroendocrine system is out of balance, cravings for the substance become exceedingly powerful and difficult to overcome. Twelve Step programs provide strong relationship and spiritual components which are exceedingly helpful in these situations. Add Ayurveda, with its focus on balancing the physiology, to strongly complement a Twelve Step program. The two are frequently successfully used together.
It has been said that only a new seed can create a new crop and if you are struggling with addiction we strongly suggest that you investigate Ayurveda. Stress and depression are the centerpieces of addiction and our book Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way will give you many helpful tips for the creation of a stress-free life and the attainment of a balanced physiology. In our book you will learn about many different treatment strategies but you will notice that they all have one thing in common: even though they may act in some way on your body, they are also going to be changing the way your mind and body interact.
If you wish to tackle an addiction with full force you will benefit from a consultation with a physician trained in Ayurveda or with an Ayurvedic practitioner. The physician will be able to determine specific imbalances and make appropriate prescriptions for diet and herbal supplements. Even though the techniques you will be learning may seem different from the programs you tried before, and even though some may seem unusual to you, research has shown that they have meaningful benefits for ending addictive behaviors. The techniques are all simple, natural, and enjoyable.
To locate an Ayuvedic practitioner in your neck of the woods, google NAMA, the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. You will find a list of practitioners on their website and hopefully there will be one in your zip code.
We send our best wishes that you may attain an addiction-free life with the side benefits of happiness and fulfillment.
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