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addiction [2018/02/26 18:10] (current)
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 +======= Addiction and Ayurveda - Chinese Medicine - Acupuncture =======
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 +While many in this world would admit to life being beautiful and wonderful it is also very sad, and because the beauty does not last the sadness wins out in the end. Many people suffer countless traumas that begin in utero, and if the Asian belief of reincarnation is to be considered, we have been accumulating trauma over many life times. It is not surprising then that so many seek relief from their pains and troubles, and the easiest way to do this is to take some kind of consciousness altering substance.
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 +In Buddhist philosophy life itself is intimately intertwined with suffering, and the ultimate addiction is viewed as an attachment to life itself, to a continual state of becoming and changing. If one takes this perspective suddenly all addiction becomes placed into its proper context – addiction is natural and it is normal. Somewhere between ice cream and heroin - everybody gives in somewhere. The only difference is that society judges the addiction before helping the person, essentially criminalizing something that is natural and normal.
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 +All addiction and self-abuse is a way to alleviate suffering. It is a mask for a trauma that each of us is continually faced with. Traditional practices such as yoga and meditation are a way to balance the mind and begin to heal this universal trauma, but even they can be a subtle form of addiction. True freedom, or non-attachment,​ as the acharyas (‘wise ones’) tell us, is to be continually open, awake and aware. See all life as an addiction they say, as a trauma born of a desire to alleviate suffering. Until then, all our attachments,​ addictions and self-abuse are just a substitute for a compassionate awareness.
 +Smoking
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 +Tobacco smoking is the single largest preventable cause of death in North America, accounting for roughly one-sixth of the total yearly mortality. Life expectancy is decreased proportionally to the duration of the habit, although former cigarette smokers that have abstained from the habit for at least 15 years have the same risk of mortality as non-smokers.
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 +Among the diseases associated with tobacco smoking are cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive lung disease. In women, the incidence of cigarette smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis and induces menopause at an earlier age by interfering with estrogen metabolism, and appears to be associated with an increased risk of Graves disease (hyperthyroidism). Tobacco smoking in pregnant women has been observed to promote problems associated with the uretoplacental system, and lower than normal birth weight.
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 +There are many methods to quit smoking and among those used in herbal medicine Lobelia (Lobelia spp) is the most common herb used to wean a person off of tobacco. Lobelia contains an alkaloid called lobeline that binds to nicotinic receptors and thereby blocks the effect of nicotine. It provides a similar level of stimulation that satisfies the physiological craving, but over time lobeline down-regulates the number of receptors. Taking Lobelia regularly thus reduces cigarette consumption while reducing cravings. Frequently it is combined with other herbs to mediate its effect and address other aspects of withdrawal including obsessive thoughts, muscle pain and general nervous system irritability. These include Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora),​ Milky Oats (Avena sativa), Ashwagandha (Withania somniferum),​ and Kava (Piper methysticum). Sometimes Lobelia is smoked, combined with herbs such as Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), but only with people who need something to smoke while they detox from nicotine – otherwise, its practice should be discouraged.
 +Alcoholism
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 +Alcoholism is stated as being the consumption of any amount of alcohol that causes injury to the body. Chronic alcoholism is when these amounts are ingested on a chronic basis. As a general rule, daily alcohol consumption should be less than 40 g, which is equal to 120 mL of 43% (86 proof) alcohol, and amounts in excess of this have been shown to be harmful. On an individual basis however, even small amounts can prove to be harmful, depending on certain factors such as age, ethnicity, gender and the underlying health of organ such as the liver. Women appear to be more sensitive to alcohol than men, and certain populations,​ such as the Inuit and First Nations people of North America, may be more sensitive. The rate of alcoholism in North America is stated to be about 10% of the population, although this is not distributed equally through out the population, and certain ethnic groups (e.g. First Nations) the rate of alcoholism can be very high.
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 +The effects of chronic alcohol consumption include alcoholic cirrhosis, acute pancreatitis,​ alcoholic cardiomyopathy,​ chronic skeletal myopathy, feminization in men, ulcer and gastric reflux, megoblastic anemia, and several neurological effects that relate to the toxic effect of alcohol as well as alcohol-induced nutrient deficiencies. In pregnant women alcohol is a teratogen, and if consumed regularly even in relatively modest amounts can promote fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which includes growth retardation,​ central nervous system dysfunction and characteristic facial dysmorphology. FAS is thought to be the most common cause of acquired mental retardation.
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 +For more information see alcoholic liver disease.
 +Drug abuse
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 +Drug abuse is defined as the use of any substance in a manner that deviates from the accepted medical, social or legal patterns in a given society. As such, what constitutes drug abuse cannot be so easily defined as it much of the definition is based on subjective criteria. That said, some commonly used drugs can definitely be shown to exhibit toxicity, and can dramatically alter the course of an individual’s life. Among the most worrisome drug addictions is heroin, a purified alkaloid derived from Opium Poppy (Papaver somnifera), a substance first marketed by the German Bayer drug company as a treatment for morphine addiction. Later, heroin could be found in many OTC products during the early part of the last century, such as in cough syrups, which unfortunately created a relatively large population of addicted users, a ratio in society that appears to be more or less the same today. The greatest problems associated with heroin addiction are contamination and the spread of blood borne illness. Increasingly the focus has on harm-reduction,​ by the use of (apparently) more benign agents such as methadone, but also medicinal herbs such as California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) and Milky Oats (Avena sativa), to mediate the symptoms of withdrawal or facilitate decreased usage.
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 +Cocaine is an alkaloid derived from the Coca plant (Erythroxylon coca), and is consumed in variety of ways, either inhaled into the nose or smoked, where it is absorbed by the respiratory mucosa, or is injected directly into the bloodstream. Cocaine acts by inhibiting the metabolism of dopamine, allowing it to linger longer in the synaptic cleft, promoting feelings of euphoria and enhanced sensitivity to sensory stimuli. Large amounts of cocaine may promote anxiety, seizures, cardiac arrhythmia and even death.
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 +Amphetamines are another stimulant similar to cocaine, stimulating the fight or flight responses in the body, with effects that are longer lasting than cocaine. One common source of amphetamines are doctor-prescribed treatments for weight loss or attention deficit disorder (ADD). In Middle Eastern countries such as Yemen, up to 80% of men regularly use Khat (Catha edulis), a plant that has potent amphetamine-like properties. This class of drugs is particularly problematic as it causes anhedonia, meaning that the user cannot experience any pleasure in life unless under the influence of the drug. In places such as Yemen where Khat is the most valued commodity, the population is at risk of food shortages since too much land is devoted to growing Khat. Crystal meth is a highly addictive amphetamine that quickly takes a severe toll on physical health.
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 +Marijuana (Cannabis sativa, C. indica) is sometimes considered to be in this class of addictive drugs, and although there is some evidence for psychological addiction, there is also very little data to suggest significant harm when compared to either alcohol or tobacco. Unlike the high cancer rates associated with tobacco, smoking as much as one joint per day for more than 30 years has no effect on the risk of lung cancer (Hashibe et al 2006). Other research suggests a beneficial, medicinal effect for marijuana, and while it may be beneficial in chemotherapy and pain, some of its purported uses such as for asthma aren’t substantiated by traditional use. In traditional medicine Cannabis is considered to be a potent herbal drug, weakens the vital force and increases the quality of dryness and heat in the body. Any purported addiction can usually be addressed by making social changes and adopting a healthier lifestyle, without any symptoms of withdrawal – indeed, usually chronic smokers feel better after they stop smoking and can experience a kind of high that can last days or weeks as the stored cannabinoids are released into the bloodstream and eliminated. Useful herbs to support marijuana avoidance include adaptogens such as American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium),​ Milky Oats (Avena sativa) and Calamus (Acorus calamus).
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 +Hallucinogens are perhaps the most controversial of supposedly abused drugs, and comprise a large group of unrelated chemicals from both plant and animal sources that significantly alter sensory perception. Some of these agents however are either inherently toxic, e.g. phencyclidine (PCP), or in large doses can lead to respiratory arrest (e.g. lysergic acid diethylamide,​ LSD). While they can be abused, and can lead to problems such as psychosis, hallucinogens can also be used therapeutically,​ and form the core of many traditional shamanic practices as entheogens.
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 +Another commonly abused substance is organic solvents, such as fingernail polish, plastic cement, and gasoline, which provide for an inebriated state similar to alcohol. Some of the active compounds are known carcinogens and can are extremely toxic, including benzene, carbon tetrachloride,​ acetone and toluene. The problem of organic solvent abuse is particularly striking in Canada’s First Nations youth, and is a practice typically found with extreme poverty.
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 +[[Fair Use]] Source: http://​www.toddcaldecott.com/​index.php/​healing/​disease/​171-addiction
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 +http://​www.ayurveda-california.com/​distance_learning/​index.php/​diseases-treatment-with-ayurveda-chinese-medicine/​addiction
  
addiction.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:10 (external edit)