“Down the ages, drugs have been eaten, drunk, and smoked as a means of attaining a state of narcosis with colorful and fantastic visions.”
DEFINITION: Addiction means a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity despite harmful consequences to the individual health, mental state or social life; be it heroin or alcohol, chocolate or work, sex or church.
PSYCHOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY OF ALCOHOLISM: It was formerly believed that alcoholism was due to some inherited weakness, and also prevalent was the concept of alcoholism as moral inadequacy, constituting a religious or ethical rather than a medical or psychological problem. It is now, however, generally accepted that alcoholism is a surface manifestation of a basic personality disturbance. In some instances it is a form of escape for the person unable to cope with the stress of reality. For such persons drinking is compulsive and they will regain control over their drinking only through a resolution of the basic personality problem. There are also apparently some individuals who find that even a small quantity of alcohol will destroy control over their drinking; once having started, they are unable to stop. Possible explanations for this type of alcoholism include: (1) Constitutional or physiological factors, which may be of genetic origin; (2) Body conditioning or tissue changes resulting from a long continued use of alcohol which create a situation akin to addiction; and (3) psychological factors in which the impact of taking the first drink breaks down the volitional resistance to further drinking. The following are some of the diseases that are caused by long-term alcoholism: (I) Cardiovascular disease. (II) Alcoholic liver. (III) Fetal alcoholic syndrome and (IV) Alcoholism.
Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, also states “If a drunken man gets a child it will never likely have a good brain”.
“Woe unto the children of darkness, the sons of drunkenness who were, nine months before their birth, an outrage on their mothers”. Michelet.
PSYCHOLOGY OF DRUG ADDICTION: – Addiction to a drug is usually a symptom of a basic personality disturbance. Drug addiction, when occurring in the absence of recognizable neurosis or psychosis, is considered a sociopathic personality disturbance. The true addiction means that the body physiology is so altered by the repeated administration of drug, that withdrawal symptoms occur when the administration is not continued. Drug Addiction is distinguished from habituation, the latter condition being characterized by psychological rather than physiological need.
The major drug is opium and its derivatives like morphine and heroin, although cocaine and marijuana are also widely used. Morphine and heroin are administered principally by hypodermic injections and in some cases smoking, eating and inhalation of the drug occurs. Cocaine is most often sniffed but may be taken hypodermically. Marijuana is commonly rolled into cigarettes (reefers) and smoked.
PATHOLOGY OF DRUG ADDICTION: Drug addiction is considered a pathological state. The disorder of addiction involves the progression of acute drug use to the development of drug-seeking behavior, the vulnerability to relapse, and decreased or slowed ability to respond to naturally rewarding stimuli. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) has categorized three stages of addiction: Preoccupation/anticipation, binge/intoxication, withdrawal/negative affect. Drug addiction differs from drug dependence and drug tolerance.
SOME OF THE MOST COMMONLY ABUSED DRUGS: Alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazephines, cocaine, methaqualone, opium alkaloids, etc. To day some of the drugs used by the allopathic system of medicine for therapeutic use, e.g., steroids, anti-inflammatory steroid drugs and anti-epileptic drugs are also cursed with severe withdrawal symptoms.
1. Some alcoholics fall prey to criminality and addicts using hypodermic drugs fall prey to the menace of AIDS due to the use of the same needle. Such cases are best treated in a hospital or rehabilitation centers. Moreover some alcoholics become highly excitable, violent and aggressive after drinking. They may not be treated at private clinics.
2. Only those drug addicts and alcoholics who are willing to get rid of the menace and are ready to cooperate with the physician can be benefited with medication.
PROGNOSIS: The prognosis is a poor one. The addict having lost the control of his own life, sinks continuously lower and lower, psychically as well as physically; he becomes a wreck if not taken care of by others, goes certainly down to destruction. However, it depends on the general health of the addict and the type of drug and the quantity one takes, and how long one is addicted. The addict should be willing and have a cooperative and sympathetic family environment.
HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT: Homeopathy too has its role to help addicts in taking them out of this mire of addiction. In emergencies and acute phases various homeopathic remedies can be used on acute symptom totality. Homeopathy also offers constitutional treatment to remove the craving, boost, general health, vitality, self-control and confidence. After stopping drinking it is important to eat a healthy, varied diet and to make up deficiencies of Vitamins A, B, C, D, K, folic acid, bioflavinoids, iron, manganese, potassium, and Cysteine (an amino acid found in dairy products, whole grains, nuts and seeds). A high-dose multivitamin and mineral supplement would be the most convenient way of doing this in the first month after stopping drinking. Regular intake of all the nutrients mentioned above is advised even for moderate social drinkers. Evening primrose oil would also be beneficial.
Syco-syphilitic miasm at the background.
(The following remedies may be more useful where they are supported by accessory symptoms as per aphorisms 94 and 95 and footnotes to aphorisms 128 and 235 and the remedy administered and repeated as per the instructions given By the Master Hahnemann in the last organon and highlighted by Dr. Pierre Schmidt).
Angelica: In fifteen-drop doses of the tincture, three times a day has caused disgust for liquor.
Avena Sativa: Mental symptoms from Morphine or Opium. Alcohol and Heroin addictions. Opium, Morphine addictions. This is a specific remedy for drug addiction. It is a sedative and tonic par excellence for depletions. It is good for loss of initiative and will, to get well and one will resume one” daily work.
Arsenicum album: It has visions of ghosts, with great weakness; diseases from overuse of alcohol; patients must have their accustomed drinks; great tremulousness and nervous weakness. Suicidal tendency and constantly annoyed by bugs and vermin that he sees on his person and unceasingly tries to brush them off.
Cannabis Indica: A very reliable remedy in acute alcoholism. Some violence, talkative and active mind; subjects crowd upon it, delusions and hallucinations related to exaggerated subjects, time, space, etc.; face flushed, pupils dilated, perspires easily. Surprise is constantly expressed on countenance.
Capsicum: in 10 drop doses of the tincture will stop the morning vomiting, sinking at the pit of the stomach and intense craving for the alcohol in dipsomania.
Ferrum Phosphoricum: Craves brandy.
Hyoscyamus: When delirium tremens occurs this is usually one of the first remedies indicated. The delirium is constant with loquaciousness, rarely inflammatory enough for Belladonna or maniacal enough for Stramonium; the pulse is small, and quick and compressible, the skin is cold and clammy, the patient is tremulous and picks constantly at objects in the air. Marked sexual excitement, desire to expose self and fear of poison. The visions are those of persecution, are terrifying, and the patient makes efforts to escape. Constant insomnia is an excellent indication; outburst of laughter alternating with weeping may also occur. Dr. Butler says that for the production of sleep no remedy compares with Hyoscyamus in the tincture, five or ten drops in a half glass of water, and teaspoonful doses given half-hourly.
Lachesis: Ill-natured, inclined to violent crimes, vindictive, wicked, jealous, envious, induced to kill others and not himself. Talkative, before and during drunkenness.
Nux vomica: Nux is the great anti-alcoholic remedy. It corresponds to the tremor, to the nervous affections, to the headache, to the bad taste. It also corresponds to delirium tremens, where every little noise frightens and the victim finds no rest any place, springs up at night and has frightful visions. The tremor is marked with ugliness and irritability and gastric disturbance. It is the remedy for the acute results of a spree; the morning big head is often large enough for the Nux cap, and the “rich brown” taste corresponds beautifully. It is a remedy to be given while the patient is still under the influence of liquor or any of the stages of alcoholism. Agaricus will sometimes control the characteristic tremor when Nux fails.
Opium: This is a remedy indicated in “old sinners” who have had delirium tremens over and over again. There is a constant expression of fright or terror, they have visions of animals springing up everywhere, they see ghosts, the sleep is uneasy, the breathing is stertorous. It is especially indicated in those cases simulating apoplexy.
Lachesis has visions of snakes and hideous objects. It has a choking sensation in throat, which awakens suddenly from sleep. Stramonium is suitable in habitual drunkards. The prevailing mental characteristic is terror; all hallucinations and illusions are fright and terror producing. It has visions of animals coming at him from every corner and he tries to escape. The face of Stramonium is bright red, not dark red as in Opium. Arsenic has visions of ghosts, with great weakness; diseases from overuse of alcohol; patients must have their accustomed drinks; great tremulousness and nervous weakness. Suicidal tendency, constantly annoyed by bugs and vermin that he sees upon his person and unceasingly tries to brush them off. Belladonna, too has delirium with visions of rats, mice, etc., and so has Calcarea carbonica. Belladonna is easily distinguished from Opium, and Calcarea comes in as a last resort after Belladonna and Stramonium have ceased to do well.
Aconite also has worked well in the acute mania of delirium tremens where the prevailing attitude is fear. Fears darkness, ghosts, with the same desire to escape found under Belladonna. Ranunculus bulbosus given in the tincture has been found to be most calming in attacks of delirium tremens. It is undoubtedly one of our best remedies in the treatment of acute alcoholism. Phosphorus sees faces peering at him from all parts of the room. Cimicifuga is useful in cases that are mentally depressed and tremor is a prominent symptom. The delirium is mild and the hallucinations of sight relate to small objects; there is persistent sleeplessness and physical restlessness. Avena sativa is a valuable remedy in alcoholism where the victim is nervous and sleepless almost to the point of delirium tremens. It is also a useful remedy in the opium and cocaine habits. Strophanthus has also been successfully used.
Pulsatilla: It is a better antidote to whisky than even Nux vomica.
Ranunculus bulbosus: One of our most effective agents for the removal of bad effects from the abuse of alcoholic beverages. It is very useful in acute stage of delirium tremens. It has the calming effect.
Spiritus glandium quercus: It is a good remedy as an antidote to the effects of alcohol. It will frequently cause disgust for the alcoholic beverages.
Sulphuric acid: This is a remedy for chronic alcoholism. It corresponds to inebriates on their last legs, who are pale and shriveled and cold, whose stomach will not tolerate the slightest amount of food. They can’t drink water unless mixed with whiskey. They are quick and hasty in everything, and have a constant craving for brandy. It suits the sour breath and vomiting of alcoholic dyspepsia. It comes long after the Nux vomica stage.
Syphilinum: Craving for alcohol in any form. Hereditary tendency to alcoholism.
HOMEOPATHIC THERAPEUTICS FOR DRUG ADDICTION:
Morphinism: agaricus; anhalonium lewinii; Aurum. mur. Nat.; Belladonna; Chammomilla; Ipecacuanha; Lachesis; Macrotinum; nux vomica; Passiflora Incarnata.
Narcotics; abuse, of: Avena sativa; Belladonna; Camphor; carbo vegetabilis; CHAMMOMILLA; COFFEA CRUDA; Ipecacuanha; LACHESIS; Lycopodium; NUX VOMICA; Opium; Valeriana.
Narcotics, ailments from: belladonna; carbo Vegetabilis; chammomilla; Coffea cruda; Lachesis; NUX VOMICA.
Narcotics, desire for: buthus australis; chlamimydinum; opium; tabacum.
Psychotropic drugs: androcctonus amoreuxii hebraeus; aurum metallicum; lachesis; medorrhinum; natrum muriaticum; natrum sulphuricum; nux vomica; peganum harmala; positronium.
Psychotropic drugs, ailments from: arbutus menziesii, china, sepia.
Marijuana, desire for: rhus glabara.
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Dr. Ajit Singh Tanda
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