Addiction and Doshas


“When I studied Ayurveda in India I was able to speak to several Ayurvedic Gurukuls, asking any questions that came to mind. I made a list of questions to ask and at the top of my list was about treating addiction. I was still in denial but I was convinced it ran in my family and I didn’t technically have a problem. This is what I found…”

Madatya is the term used in Ayurvedic medicine to describe a person who suffers with substance abuse. As we know, addiction doesn’t discriminate.  However, according to ancient Indian theories, there is a way to differentiate the causes and the proper treatment depending on the individuals ‘dosha’. Based on these theories, everyone can be diagnosed once their dosha is determined. There are physical, mental and emotional qualities of each dosha that are used to discern which one you are. Below is a checklist for you to use to find if you are vata, pitta or kappa dominent.

Dosha Checklist

Now that you know your dosha we can make connections as to why your addiction began in the first place.

Vata: Many people who are vata dominant get into drug use to reduce anxiety or help with sleep. They tend to be energized and into drugs that calm them down. Already very creative at heart, they find using  drugs (such as hallucinogens) to further stimulate they’re third eye (the chakra that governs inspiration and light). Also most sex addicts are vata because they have a high libito.

Pitta: These people tend to use drugs to increase energy. Pitta people are effected mainly by external influences and pressures to get things done so they may rely on stimulants. They are driven and can appear completely normal on the outside but can struggle with addiction the most because they feel that they don’t have a problem. They “use to live,” not “live to use.” Also, alcohol consumption increases the fire (or angi) which causes pitta to increase– you can tell this by simply observing the eyes; look for glossy, dim and dull expressions.

Kapha: Kaphas can struggle with using but also overeating. They find pleasure in comfort and once they find that in drugs, alcohol or food, they may wind up over doing it. They often fall into depression which can lead to isolation and loss of energy. That is why they are namely attracted to using opiates, downers and alcohol.

You may find that you are not one or the other, but a combination of 2 or even all 3 of the doshas. This is completely normal but a little difficult to treat. Thats why I recommend the assistance of a properly trained therapist or Ayurvedic doctor. With their help, you may find the perfect remedy.

The alternative medicine of Ayurveda and, what is called, Panchakarma therapy can enhance physical, mental and emotional progression during your recovery. Treatment can include diet change, yoga practice, herbal teas, medicated oil massage (with or without herbal compresses) and detox cleansing like Nasya (nasal cleaning), Basti (enemas), and Virechana (purgation).  Later I will post some instructions and recipes for do-it-yourself treatments! Stay tuned and leave any questions or comments below.

7 responses »

    • I think you know what you are Ziggy.. However, what may not be told in this simple diagnosis is your emotional Kapha qualities I think. Well, I suspect.. I normally diagnose with TCM too.

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