Aromatherapy May Ease Addiction Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms

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Can enjoying whiffs of lavender, lemon or eucalyptus help people recover from a drug or alcohol addiction?

According to some research studies and centuries of anecdotal reports, yes. Aromatherapy is a pleasurable therapeutic aid for the relief of cravings and other symptoms of substance abuse withdrawal.

Aromatherapy is the use of volatile plant oils, or essential oils, to enhance physical and psychological well-being. The properties of essential oils can produce measurable effects in individuals' cognitive performance and cause subjective changes in our mood. Essential oils are more generally thought to balance the body’s energies and promote healing.

Essential Oils Used for Addiction

The use of aromatherapy by physicians and counselors is most often an adjunct or complement to more traditional treatments. The choice of oil(s) depends on the type of addiction, the withdrawal symptoms and the person's general mood state.

  • LAVENDER has a calming influence and can relieve fatigue and depression. It is reported to alleviate alcohol cravings and helps people feel more comfortable during withdrawal.
  • ANISE is helpful in curbing sugar cravings that alcoholics frequently experience, and helps people relax and fall asleep.
  • GERANIUM is known for its balancing properties and helps reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. It can be of aid during withdrawal and is specifically used in sedative and stimulant addiction recovery.
  • CHAMOMILE is well known for is calming, anti-anxiety and anti-anger effects. It helps people sleep well and decreases the intensity of cravings.
  • FRANKINCENSE is believed to help people let go of the past. It enhances perception, creates clarity of mind and promotes a state of higher consciousness. Frankincense also diminishes cravings related to sedative, sugar and other addictions.
  • BERGAMOT reduces depression, anxiety and compulsive behaviors, and is also used in the recovery of food, sugar, alcohol, sedative and stimulant addictions.
  • EUCALYPTUS, although pungent, is relaxing to our system. It is known to relieve cravings for alcohol.
  • FENNEL is a stimulating essential oil that dispels alcohol, chocolate and sugar cravings.
  • LEMON oil is thought by some aromatherapy practitioners to help people relinquish their cravings for alcohol. It also lifts peoples moods and energizes them.

Talk to your doctor or other treatment professionals before using aromatherapy to help with an addiction or other illness; some oils can interfere with medications. Also, be aware that the oils must be stored and administered properly to be of help.

Sources: PubMed and Luxury Treatment

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