Can Ayahuasca Switch Off Addictive Behavior?
From what we know generically about Ayahuasca, it seems more than appropriate to consider it as a serious option when dealing with addiction and/or substance abuse.
The Ayahuasca therapy is a very intense psycho-active ceremony that generates a process of introspection, through which one’s whole mind-frame is readjusted. At first it pushes out all unsolved problems and unhealthy attachments for you to reconsider.
Although its manners are gentle and graceful, the process is a hard one because it puts under microscope the darkest corners of your mind. An addict will always try to avoid and deny these parts of himself by consuming his drug of choice to keep his thoughts away. Ayahuasca helps addicts to face their problem.
Readdressing everything and digging deep inside to the core need of your being, you get the chance to rediscover yourself, your purpose and your path. Addiction makes you forget who you truly are, who you were before becoming an addict. Through the Ayahuasca therapy you go back in time to that healthy state of being ans start again.
The cleansing through which your whole being goes through is so profound that its effects will last for as long as you need to consciously and practically set yourself on a healthy track. The closures and conclusions you’ll reach after first session will be easier to manifest under the good disposition that it leaves you with.
Only having this in mind, you can think of Ayahuasca as an essential help in breaking harmful connections, like the one with an addictive substance.
Spiritual Effect Of Ayahuasca On Addictive Patterns – Regaining Yourself
Like other psychedelic substances that are used and researched as alternative to conventional treatment for addiction, Ayahuasca’s main gift is the spiritual experience.
The patterns of addiction work out towards a total dilution of one’s personality and sense of self. You identify yourself with the addictive behavior, with being a victim, oppressed and not understood. You feel unaccepted by society and therefore you slowly redraw in a bubble.
You close all links to the external world as a result of the tormenting internal pressure. Gradually you lose your strength, courage, will and hope. You turn into a mechanism that obeys only its dependency. And in the end it remains just hate towards yourself and everybody else.
Ayahuasca breaks this circle by allowing love and compassion to intervene in this dimension. This gives you the possibility to forgive yourself and all others which in psychological conditions as dependency upon a substance is primordial.
An addict blames himself and the whole universe for his miserable life. The chance to accept and forgive is actually the door towards an independent, un-addicted existence.
The attitude of compassion is an attribute of the divine grace. It enables you to accept and embrace the imperfection in the universe, in yourself as well as in everything and everybody else. Ayahuasca tells you that beneath the imperfect appearance of the addict, lies a perfect being.
As an addict, you feel wrong in so many ways that the chance to see yourself again as a beautiful person is a hope you long lost. That is why, when Ayahuasca offers you this precious gift, it is like your soul is being born again.
It’s almost as if you returned to a forgotten perspective that you had before becoming an addict. Your body, abused along the years of addiction, feels incredibly fresh.
The cleansing process happens through purging. As such, through vomiting and defecating you throw out all toxins, frustrations, insecurities and self-hate. You clear yourself of everything that you fed your body, mind and heart.
What is mostly important is that dependency has a tricky manner in which it captures and takes control of the psychic. A long-lasting addiction transforms the being in such a way that you become addicted to the addiction itself. By identifying with your obsession, you slowly become it. It’s a mental loop.
Ayahuasca has the capacity of transforming this imprisoning pattern. Once you’ve eliminated the negative vibrations, the drama, when the suffering is transformed to peace and love you realize that you don’t need this addiction. That you are somebody else.
After you’ve purged everything, you begin to rediscover your core needs and desires, to reconstruct your personality bit by bit. And the amazing thing is that afterwards you wake up unattached, completely free of addiction.
Chemistry Of Ayahuasca Resets The Chemistry Of An Addicted Brain
The Ayahuasca brew is made out of two Amazonian plants: a vine, Banisteriopsis caapi that contains MAOi (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) and the leaves of Psychotria viridis containing DMT (N,N-dymethyltryptamine).
DMT, the spirit molecule is the substance that your brain is inundated with in states of meditation, deep sleep or when dying. It is this particular chemical compound that alters your mind in the most amazing way.
An addicted mind has the dependency links so strongly engraved that it needs a treatment as forceful to overcome the cycle of self-hurt. It mainly needs an alternative. And this substance opens your eyes to a reality so rich and new, that your three dimensional frame becomes an entanglement of infinite possibilities.
All of a sudden everything seems possible, including the option to just not be an addict anymore. This experience is shocking enough to shake off any preconceived idea, any pattern of behavior. It puts you through a symbolic death, after which you are born again from your own ashes.
The Ayahuasca brew ingeniously combines the MAO inhibitors to combat the natural arising inhibitors of the body. As a result, the effect of Ayahuasca is somewhere between 4 to 6 hours.
This is long enough to experience this symbolic death at all possible levels, enough to be conscious of everything and to remember it in detail. As newborn, you can start off from zero with everything in your life. Only what truly matters is born again with you and the harmful pattern of addiction go away for good with the purge.
Ayahuasca acts at the serotonin and dopamine levels by pushing the organism to create more receptors and in this way use its resources more efficiently. Psychologically this translates in a profound sensation of wellness and a powerful will to maintain it. This grants the addict the confidence and strength to reject his addiction.
The combination of the two plants that make out the Ayahuasca extract offers the addicted brain something it has lost along the way, plasticity. The mind suppressed by addiction is structured on certain paths such rigorously that it becomes blocked.
By working on the neuroplasticity, Ayahuasca not only welcomes new thoughts and feelings but also strengthens exactly the healthy neural network newly created.
Another aspect that is targeted by Ayahuasca in cases of dependency is the reward center. For addicts, the reward is obviously the substance they’re addicted to and the quest is worthwhile. By revealing that you can get your satisfaction from just being alive, that substance starts to feel less and less as reward and more like poison.
Studies Researching The Effect Of Ayahuasca In Addiction
The use of Ayahuasca in the treatments of addiction is relatively new in Western medicine and it still is not definitely accepted as a viable option. This is mainly because of the incompatibility between the differences in approach towards illness.
Western doctors can not accept the relation between the spiritual and the physical without a scientific proof and therefore address the chemistry without taking in consideration the ritual. Or the other way around, claiming that curing comes only because of the consistent and recurrent participation at a collective ritual.
But one of the first scientific researches done in the quest to learn about the way Ayahuasca interferes in addictive patterns was an investigation observing 15 members of the Uniao do Vegetal, a Brazilian church performing rituals with the sacred plant.
Some of them were coming from drug abuse, amphetamine, opioids, cocaine, while others had alcohol and nicotine addictions. A group of doctors studied and interviewed each of them to conclude that through the regular rituals with the Ayahuasca brew, all of them were freed of their addiction.
Here are other studies on the uses and effect of Ayahuasca:
A more recent study was conducted in Oregon, where 32 regular Ahahuasca practitioners, belonging to the Igrejia do Santo Daime were observed to assess the effects of the medicine on their particular psychological disorder. Among them were heroin and alcohol addicts who struggled their whole lifetimes with their condition and found relief through Ayahuasca sessions.
The Takiwasi Center, in the Peruvian Amazon, is dedicated to the study and treatment with Ayahuasca but combining the ancestral knowledge and rituals with contemporary psychotherapy, addressed to addiction disorders. Since its opening, hundreds of patients have been treated in this clinic, most of them addicted to cocaine and alcohol.
Psychiatrist Gabor Mate, under the sponsorship of MAPS Canada, performed an observational study during a 5-day retreat ceremony after which he concluded that the Ayahuasca treatment has significantly reduced the parameters of substance abuse after just one single Ayahuasca experience.
Why The Ayahuasca Therapy Works Where Conventional Treatment Fails
Usually addiction is treated with group sessions and medication. The ‘anonymous’ sessions of 10-15 steps resemble in a vague way the Ayahuasca ceremony in that participants are encouraged to spit out their life sorrow and guided through a process of rehabilitation.
But very few are rehabilitated because it is only the structure that sustains this type of therapy. The traumas are not explored in any conclusive way and this conventional method therapy resides in replacing one addiction with another.
To give up heroin only to become a methadone addict or to lose alcohol in favor of cannabis doesn’t seem like much of a rehabilitation but rather as an indefinite prolonging of the addiction problem.
Ayahuasca in reverse goes directly to the source of the issue, to the real cause of the drama. When you discover your real need, the addiction falls to the last places in your concerns list.
By working out the therapeutic process from the core outwards, the Ayahuasca treatment has the ability to reprogram the functioning mechanisms of your brain organically. It changes the coordinates of your mind so as to let go of all harmful behavior and by this, your addiction.