The Effectiveness of Yoga in Alcohol De-Addiction and Rehabilitation

DOI : 10.17577/IJERTV8IS100097

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The Effectiveness of Yoga in Alcohol De-Addiction and Rehabilitation

Dr. Sushil Kumar Jangid

Assistant Professor, Agadtantra Department, Shekhawati Ayurved College, Pilani, Rajasthan -333031

Abstract:- Background: Alcohol use, its addiction and the related health effects are a global problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) noted that harmful alcohol use is the third leading risk factor for premature deaths and disabilities in the world, accounting for approximately 2.5 million deaths worldwide (corresponding to 3.8 percent of all deaths). Addiction can harm our physical and spiritual health and deeply affect those who love us. Alcohol addicts once the stop alcohol, sadness dawns and that too with greater amplitude. The aim of life is not to lose awareness but to live in awareness. To get rid of sorrow, awareness is needed. So people who struggle with dependencies are finding new hope through the Ayurveda and yoga.

Material and Methods: The material for this article is taken from personal clinical experiences and various clinical studies published in index journal. Text book of Ayurveda, Yoga and Modern medicine has also referred.

Results and discussion: Alcohol de-addiction treatment is required three step treatment-treatment of withdrawal symptoms, alcohol de-addiction and rehabilitation. Practice of Niyam, Asana, Pranayam and meditation which are the part of Astangyoga is effective in reduce the both physical and mental ill effect produce by alcohol addiction.

Conclusion: Use of Yoga (Niyam, Asana, Pranayam and meditation) plays a major role in de-addiction of alcohol and rehabilitation of alcohol addicts.

Keywords: Astangyoga, Yoga, Alcohol de-addiction, rehabilitation.


The harmful use of alcohol ranks among the top five risk factors for disease, disability and death throughout the world. It is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions (as described in Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. Drinking alcohol is associated with a risk of developing such health problems as alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers and injuries. The latest causal relationships suggested by research findings are those between alcohol consumption and incidence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The World Health Organization (WHO) noted that harmful alcohol use is the third leading risk factor for premature deaths and disabilities in the world, accounting for approximately 2.5 million deaths worldwide (corresponding to 3.8 percent of all deaths). Addiction can harm our physical and mental health and deeply affect those who love us along with it affects to their family, society and in broad it affects the country status. Facts indicate that 80% of the crimes are committed under the influence of addictive substances. Alcohol addicts once the

stop alcohol or reduse the amount leades to withdrawal symptom and sadness dawns with greater amplitude. Addiction is detrimental to an individuals health and severe addiction can be fatal. Substance abuse is a very serious reality and needs concerted efforts on part of individual, family, de-addiction centre and the society as a whole. The focus is therefore on creating more awareness and preventing this menace

There are various treatment method and medicine use to de-addict the patient. A successful episode of treatment and discharge from a short spell in treatment doesnt always equate to sustained long-term recovery. It is merely seen as the stepping stone towards the start of an addicts recovery journey. And this road to recovery can be bumpy: Often cited triggers for relapses include negative mood states such as anxiety and depression, boredom, stressors in day to day life, inadequate coping strategies. This is where yoga has a vital therapeutic role to play i.e. in supporting recovering addicts stay in recovery and not to relapse.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES- To collect discuss and evaluate the roll of yoga in alcohol de-addiction, withdrawal and in rehabilitation.


The material for this article is taken from personal clinical experiences and various clinical studies published in index journal which is collected from ayush research portal, journal on web, Pubmed along with various website of journals concern with alcohol addiction, withdrawal its manifestation and management. Ayurvedic samhita text of Yoga along with their commentaries and modern medical text referred to develop the paper.


Alcohol-use disorders -Alcohol-use disorders cover a wide range of mental health problems

as recognised within the international disease classification systems (ICD-10, DSM-IV).

These include hazardous and harmful drinking and alcohol dependence

Alcohol dependence-It is a cluster of behavioral, cognitive and physiological factors that typically include a strong desire to drink alcohol and difficulties in controlling its use. Someone who is alcohol-dependent may persist in drinking, despite harmful consequences. They will also

give alcohol a higher priority than other activities and obligations.

Alcohol withdrawal The physical and psychological symptoms that people can experience when they suddenly reduce the amount of alcohol they drink if they have previously been drinking excessively for prolonged periods of time. It include Nausea/Vomiting (Hrillas / Chhardi), Tremors (Kamppa) , Anxiety (Avasada), Agitation (Uddveg), Paroxysmal sweat (Swed) Orientation & clouding of sensorial (Smritibhransh) Tactile disturbances (Sparsh vibhram) Auditory disturbances (Shrota vibhram) Visual disturbances (Drashti vibhram) Headache (Shirasoola) Insomnia (Anindra). These withdrawal symptoms generally begin within 5 to 10 h of decreasing ethanol intake, peak in intensity on day 2 or 3, and improve by day 4 or 5. Anxiety, insomnia, and mild levels of autonomic dysfunction may persist to some degree for more than 6 months as a protracted abstinence syndrome, which may contribute to the tendency to return to drinking


Acharya Charak stated that the substance which becomes homologous by continuous utilization is called Oak satmya (Acquired homologation) [5]. Acharya Chakrapani stated in Ayurveddipika that the Apathya (unwholesome) substance is more about harmless if it becomes homologous due to continuous utilization though it may be poison [6]. Drug addiction is the process in which the person becomes physiologically dependence on that drug due to continuous utilization. Here addicted person also homologous with alcohol. Hence both the process addiction and Satmya are somewhat similar only difference is that satmya have less craving than addiction after withdrawal. Mahrshi Vedavyas has also mentioned in his Mahakavya Bhagvatgeeta that the Sidha purush(Ascetic) are free from all the indulgence but the common people cannot because the perception of substance will remained in the body [7]. Hence the alcohol addicted person will be tried to leave the alcohol but body will give remind to him, that is why he feels craving.


Aacharya Patanjali in second century BC describe Ashtang yoga, having eight limbs which comprised of yamas (ethical disciplines), niya-mas (individual observances), asana (posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (self-realization or enlightenment). 1 Contrary to popular beliefs and modernization, the ancient practice of yoga involves more than just the asanas (postures) or dhyana (meditation). Thse eight limbs are comprised of ethical principles for living a meaningful and purposeful life; serving as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self- discipline, they direct attention toward ones health while acknowledging the spiritual aspects of ones nature.2

Yamas (Ethical Disciplines)- Ahinsa (Non-killing), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing),

Brahmachary(continence), Aparigraha (non-receiving) these five are called Yamah

Niya-Mas (Individual Observances)- Shaucha(Internal and external purification) Santosha (contentment) Tapah (mortification) Svadhyay (study) Ishvarapranidhanan (worship of God) are the Niyamas.

Asana (Posture)- sthirasukham aasanam Posture is that which is firm and pleasant

Pranayama (Breath Control)- Controlling the motion of the exhalation and the inhalation

Pratyahara (Withdrawal Of Senses)- The drawing in of the sense organs is by their giving up their own objects and taking the form of the mind-stuff

Dharana (Concentration)-Dharana is holding the mind on to some particular object.

Dhyana (Meditation)- The Continuous staying in state of Dharana is called as Dhyana.

Samadhi (Self-Realization Or Enlightenment)- when in meditation all forms are given up reflects only the meaning, it is Samadhi.

During the treatment of de- addiction when patient stop alcohol it suffer from withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms subside within a week or 10 days but some are may last for 6 month like Anxiety, insomnia, and mild levels of autonomic dysfunction. After the de-adiction of the patient there may be possibility in future to take alcohol. This Ashtang yoga is wonderfully applied in above condition of alcohol addict patients for improving their mental status, reduce the anxiety, agitation, insomnia, loss of memory, improve body strength, mental strength and so many disorder which is develop due to alcohol addiction and its withdrawal. And also it improve the patient will power to reduce or stop the chance of recurrence of alcohol

Asanas are physical postures which stretch and strengthen different parts of the body, massaging and bringing fresh blood to the internal organs while rejuvenating the nervous sys-tem and lubricating the joints, muscles and ligaments. Some postures relieve constipation and help bowel movement.

Pranayama is known to increase parasympathetic tone, decrease sympathetic tone, improve cardiovascular and respiratory functions, decrease the effects of stress and strain on the body, and improve physical and mental health.34 Pranayam makes patient better, more confident and competent decisions. And with this, comes the ability to deal with stressful situations, knowing that they now have to hand positive ways of dealing with it. This makes them feel happier and more content.

Dhyana (Meditation) is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth. It helps to Overcoming negative minds and cultivating constructive thoughts.

Niya-Mas are useful for alcoholic patient like Shaucha(Internal and external purification) Svadhyay (study) Ishvarapranidhanan (worship of God) which increase spirituality and give confidence or will power to stop alcohol for whole life and god improve my physical and mental health .


Yoga is a holistic intervention that originated in India several thousand years ago and in its true forms it has immense health benefits. Yogas therapeutic potential in psychiatric conditions such as depression has been studied extensively but their benefit in addictive disorders is yet to be systematically explored. Preliminary findings from studies in the field of yoga and psychiatry indicate changes in neurophysiological, neuroimmunological and neuroimaging measures, thus establishing a scientific basis for yoga treatment5. yoga practice brings balance into the body- at both physical and mental levels. It restores a sense of well-being and gives a patient more energy. There are so many paper or research work had don which prove that meditation, Asana, Pranayam help to reduce insomnia the anxiety, agitation, insomnia, loss of memory, improve body strength, mental strength. . A study done by R. Manocha concludes that the meditation is safe and effective strategy for dealing with stress and depressed mood [46]. A study shows that Anuloma viloma pranayama helps in the reduction of the anxiety and the depression level of the individual and elderly as well.6 Bhastrika pranayama may be established as a non medicinal remedy of insomnia.7 In a clinical trial it is concluded that Exercise and meditation condition significantly reduced alcohol consumption compared to the no-treatment control condition.8 A clinical trial on subjects, who takes bear and wine daily, shows 40 percent of subjects who had meditated for more than 2 years reported discontinuation within the first 6 months. After 25-39 months of meditation, this figure increased to

60 percent. In addition, 54 percent of this group had stopped drinking hard liquor. The authors suggest that meditation could be an effective preventive tool in the area of alcohol abuse.9 Slow breathing type of pranayama for six weeks improves cognition, anxiety and general well- being and increases the parasympathetic activity. 10 Anuloma Viloma Pranayama has shown to reduce stress in chronic alcoholics. Regular Pranayama may thus help in stress management and enhance relaxation skills in alcoholics facilitating recovery.11


Asana (posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) which are the part of Astang yoga, by practicing this or involved in the treatment of Alcohol Addict patents surely benefit in anxiety, agitation, insomnia, loss of memory, improve body strength, mental strength and so many disorder which is develop due to alcohol addiction and its withdrawal. And also it improve the patient will power to reduce or stop the chance of recurrence of alcohol. In shortAshtang Yoga is Activities stimulate a wide array of addiction recovery themes; it is a techniques to improve the physical, cognitive, emotional, social and leisure needs of their subject.


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