Ayahuasca to Treat Addiction
Learn about Ayahuasca, a psychoactive tea or infusion often used in traditional medicine in South America, and how it can be used to treat alcoholism.
Traditional Healing through Ayahuasca
Ayahuasca is a psychoactive tea or infusion that has been used in traditional medicine and shaman practices for centuries in the Amazon region of South America. The tea is prepared from a number of different plant species, some which include the psychedelic chemical, dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. People use Ayahuasca for its healing properties and to explore their inner mind, fears, hopes and dreams with spiritual guidance.
Ayahuasca is a Quechua word meaning vine of the soul. The drug is known to give users strong and intense audio and visual hallucinations. It is reported to be successful in curing many different ailments including cancer, depression, severe anxiety and drug or alcohol addiction. It is non-addictive and is safe to ingest, although has an incredibly bitter and vile taste.
People who are born and have lived with this intoxicating and potent drug believe that the plants used in the mixture have the ability to release their spirits to guide a person through healing. They believe that the drug can help a person see other-world spirits who will enlighten them to the damage they are doing to themselves, the world and others. Many people who go through the experience of ayahuasca state that they receive clarity in direction. They claim to have seen and know how to overcome the obstacles in their life as well as how to work on their personal development.
Effects of Ayahuasca
The effects of ayahuasca are experienced anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours after ingesting the brew. This depends on the potency and amount of the substance taken. Audio and visual hallucinations, intense vomiting and diarrhea, increased heart rate and blood pressure are some of the more common effects of the drug. Because of the variance in potency and psychoactive materials used in the brew, each session will be different and each person will react differently.
The hallucinations associated with the drug can be very powerful and emotional. Shamans help individuals to work through these emotions and encourage people to face them and deal with the consequences. Advocates of the drug stress the importance of working through the emotional, upsetting and scary visions and emotional reactions they have when under the influence. Without facing their problems, they will not be healed of their physical and psychological issues.
Ayahuasca is used in a traditional setting in South America under the guidance of experienced shamans and their assistants. These people have set ceremonial practices associated with ingesting the substance. In many cases, individuals are expected to abstain from particular foods, drinks and activities (including sex) prior to, during and after the sessions. Chanting, rituals, music, totems and other ceremonial tools may be used during a session which will guide and protect a person while they are under the spell of the drug.
Overcoming Addiction with Ayahuasca
Ayahuasca’s ability to change thought patterns, help people overcome psychological hurdles and heal has become a topic of interest for some who struggle with substance abuse. The medicine may offer a successful method of alternative healing for addicts. Advocates of ayahuasca say it is particularly useful for those addicted to heroin, cocaine and alcohol. In many of the centers that offer this treatment, clients are expected to undergo intense psychological and psychic detoxification and healing sessions which may last many months.
When ayahuasca is used as a treatment for substance abuse, it fits into the realm of psychedelic therapy . This type of treatment is thought to enable an individual and clinician to explore the psyche and help discover the root cause of addictive or harmful behaviors. Many advocates believe that psychedelic substances enable a person to explore and deal with unpleasant memories or feelings in a non-confrontational way that minimizes fears and anxieties.
Psychedelic therapy uses the effects of a consciousness-changing drug to assist the healing aspect of substance abuse. Because this treatment is not a symptom-driven approach, the outcomes are long-lasting. The goal is to help a person live a better life without burdens, obstacles and harm that had previously driven them to abuse drugs or alcohol. Additionally, ayahuasca is able to help a person realize their importance in the world. It may also help them build better relationships with friends, family and others around them.
Dangers of Ayahuasca Use
Ayahuasca is an alternative treatment that offers significant results and may benefit some people. However, extreme adverse reactions are also experienced including violent purging, severe headaches and changes in blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature. These reactions may cause serious harm to some people. The drug should not be used without supervision of an experienced professional. Care should also be taken when combining this drug with other substances, especially anti-depressant drugs.
While this alternative treatment may offer significant and exciting results, it is important to remember that ayahuasca is potentially dangerous and needs to be studied in further detail. There are many different causes for substance abuse. All of these must be entirely resolved for a person to recover from the addiction. With any treatment for substance abuse, individuals should always remember that there is no quick fix.