Ayurveda’s De-addiction Solutions – By Dr.Gowthaman Krishnamoorthy


I spend time to educate younger people about benefits of Ayurveda lifestyle, therapies etc. Recently, I came across many questions and doubts from younger age groups which I would like share it with you all.

All these questions were just about lost interest in life, lack of concentration in job or higher studies, high fatigue etc. Then I started asking them about the diet, illness if any, medications if any etc. Finally when I narrowed down to life style habits I just got shocked as most of them either use alcohol and smoking as a day to day affair. They boys and girls are from younger age groups, all are below 35 years. Interestingly some of them even spent some time in rehabilitation centers and counseling etc. The fortunate fact is that they want to come out of this addiction, but just wanted a help from Ayurveda.

Let me educate about addiction. The worst thing with Younger age group they somehow never realizes that they are addicted to any such things until some health person or counselor pointed it out.

Addiction is a pathological condition which arises due to frequent use of drugs, medicines; alcohol or clinically even coffee is termed as addiction.

Stage of addiction explained as follows

  1. Progression of acute drug usage
  2. Development of drug seeking behavior
  3. Vulnerability to relapse
  4. Decreased ability to stimuli
  5. Decreased motivation to life activities

Interestingly Ayurveda, terms addiction as a social disorder as it leads to failure in schools, crime, violence etc.

This addiction process starts with people who desperately try to reduce the physical and emotional stress or discomfort. Even though it helps to relax for short time, they really do not help to treat the cause. Hence the person is urged to use it continuously for longer time. Unfortunately, the physical, psychological, and social consequences of drug abuse and addiction become worse than the original problem you were trying to cope with or avoid.

Ayurveda and Addiction

Ayurveda terms this condition as ‘Madatyaya’ which means intoxication.

Ayurveda even though restricts this condition into alcohol and drugs, the mode of treatment are very effective for smoking too.  According to Ayurveda, alcohol, drug or any intoxicating materials etc reduces the essence of life (Ojas).

Both modern and Ayurveda shares the four stages of addiction

  1. Acute intoxication
  2. Withdrawal symptoms
  3. Drug dependence
  4. Drug abuse

  Ayurveda doshas and addiction

  Doshas and Addiction


  Aggravated symptoms


  Headache, difficulty in breathing, insomnia, vivid dreams, dry hallucinations, anxiety, constipation, mood swings, erratic thoughts


 Burning in the stomach and digestive problems, excessive sweating and thirst, diarrhea, fever, giddiness, aggression and violence


 Excessive sleep, lethargy, heaviness in the body, nausea, and vomiting

Tri dosha

combination of the above symptoms

Common symptoms

Restlessness, piercing pain in the heart, sweating, diarrhea, thirst, fever with chills, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dizziness and disturbed sleep

All these symptoms are experienced in the variety of modern drugs like opium, alcohol, nicotine etc. So, the Ayurveda concepts of Madatyaya and treatment, therapies etc are very much relevant to today’s addiction therapies.

Ayurveda treatment protocol for Addiction

  1. Detoxification: Ayurveda recommends personalized detoxification therapies to address this issue. Depends upon the condition, vitiated dosha one among the five purification methods like medicated emesis/ medicated purgation/ medicated bloodletting/ medicated enema/ medicated nasal drops therapy is administered.

  1. Strengthening / Rejuvenating the system: Since addiction is only affects the body but also mind Ayurveda recommends a dedicated diet and nerve rejuvenation therapy to improve the lost IQ etc. Herbal juices like Brahmi (Bacopamonnieri), Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhizaglabra), Guduchi (Tinosporacordifolia), and Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis). These herbs also improve memory, concentration and comprehension.

  1. Ayurvedic psycho therapy: Ayurveda is the first medical system to recommend a dedicated psycho therapy for addiction in order to improve the Stawaguna or mental health. According to Ayurveda, activities like walking or sitting in natural surroundings, flowers, associating with good friends, wearing neat and clean clothes, listening to soft music, and other forms of relaxation and entertainment can uplift the mind and soul and make you happy. All these activities pacify the excited and disturbed body and mind that have been influenced by the drug abuse.

  1. Ayurveda Diet therapy: Ayurveda recommends treatment to enhance Sattva Guna (quality of goodness) for promotion of mental health. People suffering from drug addiction should take fresh and natural vegetarian foods, practice meditation and Yoga, and establish a daily routine that minimizes stress and anxiety.


Addiction therapy is not a short time one. It requires several weeks to months. Removing the unwanted toxins and bringing back the normalcy in the dosha function reduces the dependability a lot. With the proper diet, yoga and exercises it is easy to perform better in life.I strongly believe that Addiction whatever may be of the nature can be eradicated from the society with the support of the family, life style changes, and detoxification and Ayurveda therapies.

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