Essential Oils and Addictions
Read this page to learn more about aromatherapy and how essential oils have been used for cravings and addictions like smoking, alcoholism and binge or emotional eating or addictions to things like video games. Learn more about aromatherapy or see our how to use essential oil videos.
What are addictions?
Addictions are activities which are generally pleasurable but which lead to physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms when you stop doing them. You can be addicted to a particular substance or to an activity. Continued use of the addictive substance or activity can lead to damaging effects on the body or soul. It is generally accompanied by a feelings of not being in control or being dependent on something.
What causes addictions?
In terms of a physical addiction, some substances are known to cross the blood-brain barrier, and to alter the chemical balance of the brain (e.g. alcohol, cigarettes and some pharmaceutical and illegal drugs do this).
In terms of pschological addictions, sometimes a habit becomes an addiction when the person no longer feels in control.
The causes are not clear and obviously many factors may be involved (e.g. physical, mental, emotional and circumstantial). There is some speculation that there is a genetic component that increases the likelihood of someone becoming addicted to certain substances.
What are conventional medical treatments for addictions?
There can be one on one pschological therapy or group therapy in an out-patient setting or in a residential setting. Of course, there are a wide variety of psychological therapies. Some people benefit from self-help groups such as Alchoholics Anonymous. It should be noted that some groups like Weight-Watchers are not non-profits.
The withdrawal symptoms for some addictive substances can be severe and that is why having trained doctors and nurses on hand is recommended.
Sometimes doctors recommend the use of replacement drugs (e.g. methadone in place of heroin) as part of the treatment process. But often this leads to continued physical dependence, but just on another more regulated substance.
Some people decide to stop the addiction suddenly (this is often termed "cold turkey"). Others prefer to gradually decrease the negative activity or intake of the substance.
What are alternative treatments for addictions?
Generally the person has to commit themselves to making major changes to their lifestyle to support positive changes. Because a lifestyle change is often benefical, some people find that by improving a person's diet, doing more exercise and meditation techniques can help. Sometimes adopting a new healthy lifestyle can simply not leave room for old negative addictive habits that may have previously been in place like over-eating. Naturopaths and Ayurvedic consultants may help in this regard. Stress-reducing therapies such as massage can also be a useful addition.
Which essential oils and aromatherapy products have the best effects on addictions?
This video is by the founder of Amrita Aromatherapy and master aromatherapist Christoph Streicher, Ph.D.
See below for the essential oil aromatherapy product mentioned in this video about cravings and addictions: