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Alcoholism or Alcohol Abuse is a disease that involves physical and psychological addiction to the drug alcohol. It is chronic, progressive and often fatal. Alcoholism is a major social, economic and public health problem, involved in over half of all unnatural deaths and almost half of all traffic fatalities. A high percentage of suicides involve the use of alcohol in combination with other substances. Additional deaths are related to long- term medical complications associated with the disease. The life-span of an alcoholic is shortened by an average of 15 years, as a result of the various complications of the disease.

Alcoholism: causes and risk factors
Alcoholism: causes and risk factors

Heavy drinking over time-Drinking steadily and heavily over time can lead to dependence by altering the levels of certain brain chemicals, causing to crave alcohol to restore positive feelings or avoid negative ones. At-risk drinkers are men who consume 15 or more drinks a week, women who consume 12 or more drinks a week, or anyone who consumes five or more drinks per occasion at least once a week. (One drink is defined as a bottle of beer; a glass of wine/ spirits)

Genetics -genetic makeup may cause brain chemical imbalances and make more susceptible to alcohol dependency. Genetic factors may account for about half the total risk for developing alcoholism

Psychological factors- Some people drink to relieve stress, anxiety, depression or low self-esteem. Having certain clinical emotional disorders, such as severe depression, increases the risk for alcoholism. Social and cultural factors- social environment, which includes elements such as peer pressure, availability of alcohol and social acceptance of its use may also encourage the development of alcoholism.

Age - People who start drinking in their teens or earlier are at higher risk of becoming alcoholic. Rates of alcohol abuse are highest in people aged 18-29, and lowest among those 65 and older.

Gender - Men are more likely to become alcoholics, although the incidence of alcoholism among women has increased over the past 30 years.

Symptoms and signs of alcoholism
Alcoholism includes the following general symptoms:
  • Craving: a compulsion to drink.
  • Tolerance: If the body is alcohol-dependent, it might need to drink increasing amounts of alcohol to feel its effects.
  • Memory problems; confused or sluggish thinking; difficulty concentrating.
  • Losing interest in activities that used to bring you pleasure.
  • Mood changes (anger, irritability).
  • Personality changes (becoming jealous or distrustful).
  • Neglecting your physical appearance.

    Physical symptoms may include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shaking in the morning
  • Poor eating habits and loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain or cramps or Diarrhea
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Weakness in the legs and hands
  • Red eyes, face or palms
  • Unsteady walking or falls
  • Blacking out
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
may vary from mild to severe. The more common, milder symptoms may include:
  • Craving: a compulsion to drink.
  • AutonomicHyperactivity- sweating,Tachycardia,Hypertension,Hyperhydrosis,Pupilarydil ation
  • Tremors-Eye lids, Tongue, Hands
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Shaking hands
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Elevated temperature and sweating
  • Loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting
Severe withdrawal symptoms, or delirium tremens (DTs), may include
  • Extreme agitation
  • Seizures (Rum Fits)
  • Delusions or hallucinations- Tactile, Visual, Auditory
Treatment in Modern medicine
Drug treatments.
Tranquilizers called benzodiazepines (e.g. Valium or Librium) are often prescribed to control withdrawal symptoms. These are most common in the first five days after stopping alcohol. An alcohol-sensitizing drug, disulfiram (Ant abuse), produces a physical reaction that includes flushing, nausea and headaches if patient drink. Naltrexone (ReVia or Depade) is a newer drug that blocks the alcohol "high," and reduces the urge to drink. This medication lessens the craving for alcohol and helps prevent relapses
General health improvement
Eating a balanced diet with vitamin supplements and getting regular exercise are important in regaining health.
Complications of alcoholism
Long-term alcohol abuse can have numerous medical complications, including:
  • Liver disorders. Heavy drinking can cause hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver. This may eventually lead to cirrhosis, the progressive and irreversible destruction of liver tissue.
  • . Gastrointestinal problems. Alcohol can cause inflammation and erosion of the stomach lining (gastritis). It also interferes with absorption of B vitamins and other nutrients, leading to nutritional deficiencies. Heavy drinking can also cause inflammation and damage to the pancreas (pancreatitis). This hinders production of digestive juices and enzymes, and hormones that help regulate metabolism.
  • . Diabetes complications. Alcohol inhibits the release of glucose from the liver and can increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This is dangerous if Patient has diabetes and takes insulin to lower blood sugar level.
  • . Cardiovascular problems. Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure and heart muscle damage (cardiomyopathy). These conditions increase the risk of heart failure or stroke.
  • . Reproductive problems. Alcohol abuse can cause erectile dysfunction and impotence in men. In women, it can interrupt menstruation.
  • . Birth defects. Excessive drinking during pregnancy can cause foetal alcohol syndrome. This condition results in birth abnormalities and later developmental disabilities.
  • . Neurological complications. Alcohol affects the nervous system and can result in neuropathy (diseases of the nerves) and dementia (impaired brain function).
  • . Depression. About one-third of alcoholics also suffer major depression.
  • . Increased risk of cancer of the larynx, esophagus, liver and colon.

Vamana is major pradhana karma of Panchakarma therapy for Kaphaja disorder in which expulsion of aggravated or vitiated Doshas/toxic materials through the mouth. In our classical text Vaman karma is indicated in Madatyaya and in alcohol Abuse Vamana karma has been yielding good results.

In this Clinical study 10 patients of Alcohol abuse are treated by Vaman karma from I.P.D. /O.P.D. of N.I.A, Jaipur

Materials & Methods Vamak yoga -Madan phala powder 5gm,Vacha 3gm,Saindhav Lavan 1gm,Honey 20gm
Other Material - Milk- 2 liter, SharkarOdhak -1 liter , Plain Water-1 liter
Alcohol - Type & dose according to patient (approx 650ml),

Poorva Karma
Snehankarma- Sadhya Snehan is given One day before Vaman karma
Abhayang & Sarvang Sweda is given on the of Vaman karma

Vaman Process-
1st- Akhant doodhpan (approx 2liter)
2nd- Vamak yoga is given then waits for Vomiting or 48 min.
3rd-A Glass of alcohol with SharkarOdhak & a Glass of alcohol with plain water is given alternately up to Samayak vaman

Paschat karma-
Padabhayang, Dhoomrapana & Sansarjan karma

Oral medicine - Vistindhuk vati & other Medhya Drugs are advised


  • 1.Vaman Karma causes Invidious effect that is why it is more effective
  • 2. Carving of alcohol is reduced
  • 3.Withdrawl symptoms are less in no.
  • 4. Can be repeated in relapsing patients
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