Thursday, November 15, 2012

Addiction: A Problem Created by Doctors for Monitory Gains

The ancient goal of medicine carved on a statue honoring physician E. L. Trudeau’s work at Saranac Lake is: “To cure sometimes, To help, often, To console, always.”[1] Pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturers have not yet developed medicines that can cure most of our common diseases such as the common cold, cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension, mental disorders and so on. Hence physicians, who depend on pharmaceutical drugs for treating illnesses, are unable to cure most diseases, and are left with no alternative but to adopt palliative treatments – treatments that relieve pain and ease the symptoms without curing the disease.

Narcotic drugs and psychoactive substances are excellent painkillers and are also capable of giving instant relief, and opium has been prescribed by physicians to console patient since ancient times. After the discovery of the cocoa plant, physicians also began prescribing cocaine in the late nineteenth.[2] In 1898, the German pharmaceutical company Bayer started marketing a highly potent opioid painkiller – morphine diacetate or diacetylmorphine – under the trade name of Heroin.[3] So by the beginning of the twentieth century physicians had started prescribing the narcotic drugs and psychoactive substances such as heroin and cocaine.

Today we know that, “Virtually all the psychoactive substances exert their actions either directly or indirectly by altering neurotransmitter-receptor interactions in the biogenic amine—particularly dopamine—pathways. … most psychoactive substances act on the mesolimbic dopamine pathway. … the mesolimbic dopamine pathway allows a person to experience pleasure in response to pleasurable events or in response to certain substances.”[4] And, as “the major neurotransmitter implicated in addiction is dopamine,”[5] most psychoactive drugs, or substances, lead to addiction – drug dependence and tolerance. 

A hundred years back, when physicians began prescribing heroin and cocaine, they might not have known about the addictive nature of these drugs, but they must have soon realized it. Because, once a person starts taking these drugs, he soon becomes addicted to the drugs and requires a larger dose, or a more potent drug, to give him the same affects that earlier required a smaller dose. Soon, laws were put in place, in most countries, making the use of narcotic drugs and psychoactive substances illegal, unless prescribed and monitored by a registered medical practitioner.

But once a person gets addicted to these psychoactive drugs, the physiological urge to take more drugs that he develops is so overpowering that the anti-drug laws have not helped us much in curbing illegal drug usage. And as the physicians and psychiatrists continued prescribing the psychoactive drugs to their patients, the tolerance to the drugs developed by the patients made them seek out for more potent drugs. The pharmaceutical companies have given them the highly potent narcotic analgesics and psychoactive drugs for them to prescribe. 

However, now, after prescribing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances to the nation for over a century, America has woken up to face the worst addiction crisis in its history – the prescription drugs abuse crisis.[6] And the number of people dying due to prescription drugs has skyrocketed: “Since 2003, more overdose deaths have involved opioid analgesics than heroin and cocaine combined” according to the January 13, 2012 report of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).[7]

Addiction costs the US governments almost half a trillion dollars each year, $200 billion of which is spent on healthcare costs.[8] When healthcare institutions and their affiliates – physicians/psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and pharmaceutical companies – make hundreds of billion dollars each year that they would lose if the addiction problem vanished, it would be unrealistic to expect psychiatrists, psychologists and physicians to tell everyone about the simple existing solution to the addiction problem. So let us now examine the solution. 

In 1943 Abram Maslow gave us a definitive theory of motivation in his paper A Theory of Human Motivation.[9] The theory, Maslow says, is based on his clinical observations. Every human organism has the need to attain self-actualization – that is, to attain one’s full potential, which Maslow calls ‘self-fulfillment’ and ‘becoming what one is capable of being’. 

In order to attain self-actualization, Maslow’s theory states, one has to first satisfy his deficiency needs – the physiological needs and the three psychological needs, namely the Safety needs, the Love and Belonging needs, and the Esteem and Achievement needs. These psychological needs are the same as the needs/drives contained in the inventory analysis (psychodynamics) that had been described in the 1939 book Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book). The inventory technique/path as followed by the AA founders had helped AA grow a thousand-fold in the 1940s, from 100 members in 1939 to 100,000 members in 1949. Maslow’s paper explains the psychology of the technique. 

The inventory analysis has been explained in details in the book “12 Steps in aDay” and can be used by anyone to help addicts and alcoholics to recover. It has also been reviewed by the professor of Self-management at the Drucker’s Collage of Graduate Management. 


[1] Randolph Nesse and George C. Williams, Why We Get Sick, Vintage Books (1996), page 11
[4] Vander et al, Human Physiology: The Mechanism of Body Function, 9th Edition(2004), Chapter 8 Consciousness, The Brain, and Behavior, pages 258-259
[5] Ibid., page 259

Monday, September 3, 2012

Yoga for Developing Emotional Intelligence

The following article appeared in last month's Khar Gymkhana magazine KRUTI.
We try and give our children the best of education. But, we find it very difficult to teach them the life-skills – handling anger and fear, and developing positive attitudes and skilful behaviors. This is mainly due to the fact that we use two separate modes for learning: one for acquiring information, and another for acquiring our skills. Physiology textbooks tell us that for us humans, ‘Learning is the acquisition and storage of information as a consequence of experience.’ We learn everything from our experiences, and we experience everything only by means of our senses. So basically we learn from all our senses – all our sense organs and the sense receptors in the body. 

Normally, we are taught to learn only by means of our external sense organs – mainly by means of our eyes and ears, from our audio-visual experiences – but not so much with our sense of touch. The things we learn from our external sense organs are the things about the external world. This learning about the external world helps us to control nature, and our environment. However, we are generally not trained to experience and learn from the things and activities going on in our own body. And so, we find it difficult to truly understand ourselves and to control our own nature – our attitudes, and emotions. 

The ancient Indian philosophers had developed a system of yoga to learn by means of the sense of touch – by observing the experiences of sensations in one’s own body. Thus by experiencing things within the body, they were able to understand themselves and control their human nature.

The primary requirement for our mind to learn – or in order to consciously learn – is that our attention must be focused on what we want to learn about, for at least a certain length of time. Most of the time, our mind is focused on the outside world or on our thoughts, but not on our body. In order to learn from our sense of touch, we need to shift our focus of attention away from the outside world and on to our body. This we can do by sitting in a quiet place with our eyes closed, and focusing our attentions on our body and its sensations.

When we do this, we start noticing all sorts of sensations on our body, sometimes pleasant sensations and sometimes painful ones. These pleasant and painful sensations are always occurring in the body. Whenever we interact with our environment we always experience either pleasant or painful body sensations. The things that the body learns from these body sensations make up our emotional learning. But as we are not conscious of these body sensations, the emotional learning is not learnt by the mind, which controls our conscious activities and behaviors, but by the brain, which is responsible for our instinctive responses. This is the reason why we instinctively react to our emotions, and why our mind finds it so difficult to control them.

We can use the ancient Indian technique to consciously observe our body sensations. By observing the body sensations, and continuously making the effort to bear them patiently without reacting to them, it becomes possible for us to avoid reacting instinctively to our emotions. This is how this yoga can be used to control our emotional responses and to develop our emotional intelligence.

This ancient Indian technique is called sankhya yoga or vipassanavipassana is an ancient Indian word which means ‘sensory observation’ or ‘empirical observation’. It is a very simple technique, which can be easily learnt by everyone, and anyone who has learnt it can teach it to others. It is so effective that it helps even addicts and alcoholics to overcome their addiction problems and, it is also used to reform criminals in many jails, such as the W.E. Donaldson maximum security prison in Alabama, USA, and Delhi’s Tihar Jail. However, it is best to teach this technique to children before they start developing mood or behavioral problems. It also helps children to remain free from stress and to concentrate on their studies.

(The author is a self-management consultant, specializing in anger and conflict resolution, and addiction problems. He is the author of the books 12 Steps in a Day and The Lost Path. Contact: 9323715166,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Doctors Can’t Make A Living if We Don’t Fall Sick

Everyone knows the importance of a balanced diet for ensuring their health and well-being. But hardly anyone knows what nutrients a balanced diet should contain, or how much of them a person needs. And so, we are unable to take the nutrients our body needs to remain healthy. This is the main reason why people fall sick and suffer from mood disorders and behavioral problems – dysfunctional or corrupt behaviors.

Proteins are the building blocks of life. 50% of the organic substance in our body is made up of proteins. All proteins are made from the 20 amino acids found in nature. If any one of these amino acids is deficient in our body, the body proteins that require the amino acid cannot be produced and our health suffers. To avoid health problems it is extremely important to get the requisite amounts of the essential amino acids in our diets. 

Malnutrition is a big stressor, especially in children. As such, it is extremely important that children get adequate amounts of amino acids in their diets. Doctors and healthcare institutions generally do not inform the public the exact amounts of the essential amino acids needed in a balanced diet. It is about time that educational institutions get the exact requirements of the amino acids from the concerned authorities, so as to ensure the health of at least our children

The amino acid tyrosine is particularly important for our mental health. Adrenaline, norepinephrine and dopamine are a group of neurotransmitters called the catecholamines. The textbook Human Physiology: The Mechanism of Body Function by Vander et al (8th Edition, 2001, page 206) says, “The catecholamines are formed from the amino acid tyrosine” and that, “These neurotransmitters play essential roles in states of consciousness, mood, motivation, directed attention, movement, blood-pressure regulation, and hormone release.”

When the amino acid tyrosine gets depleted in the body, the catecholamines cannot be produced and we start developing problems in our moods, motivation, directed attention, movement/behavior – the symptoms of catecholamine deficiency. In times of chronic stress, our body releases excessive amounts of adrenaline. This results in the depletion of tyrosine and we start developing symptoms of mood and behavioral disorders, until the depleted amino acid tyrosine is restored by taking it in our diet or as a nutritional supplement. 

When tyrosine gets depleted and we start exhibiting symptoms of catecholamine deficiency, which psychologists diagnose as mental disorders and send us to the psychiatrists. And the psychiatrists do not tell us about the tyrosine deficiency or ask us to get an amino acid diagnostic test done, but instead prescribe us their psychoactive drugs, which often have dangerous side-effects – for instance, the amphetamine that they prescribe for children suffering from attention deficits, ADD/ADHD, are one of the most highly addictive substances known to man. Also, the January 13, 2012 report of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that since 2003 more overdose deaths have involved opioid analgesics (prescription narcotic drugs) than heroin and cocaine combined.

High-achievers and knowledge-workers often suffer from excessive stress, and the resulting catecholamine deficiency. As medical professionals do not tell the common man what their physiology texts say about tyrosine, stressed people are not aware that taking a tyrosine capsule can often make them fit again. So they are forced to self-medicate themselves with street drugs like cocaine and ecstasy, which are safer than the psychiatric medications. Unfortunately the Law targets, not the dangerous pharmaceutical narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances prescribed by psychiatrists and doctors, but the stressed out people, who are taking street drugs because they have been lied to by the doctors. 

It is quite unfortunate that doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists are not telling us the whole truth about Nutrition, and about stress, mental health and depression. The result of this suppression of information has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of children committing suicides and becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs, and also in dysfunctional and corrupt behavior. Don’t you think it’s about time the healthcare professionals are made accountable for the grave damage they are doing to society? Can you take up this matter with your MP, MLA, city counselor, and law enforcement agencies to correct the situation and save our children? 

If your organization – Club, Gymkhana, NGO, ALM, School, College or Educational Institution – would like a talk on this important topic, or for consultation on the way to develop emotional intelligence, please contact me on: For more information, do check the “Article” on our NGO's websites 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Rave Parties and the Anti-Narcotics Law

The US CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of January 13, 2012 reported that since 2003 more overdose deaths have involved opioid analgesics than heroin and cocaine combined. The narcotic opioid analgesic drugs, manufactured by the pharmaceutical companies, approved by the government and prescribed by registered medical practitioners, has become the number one killer in the USA. The crisis is so large that last month USA even had its first National Rx Drugs Abuse Summit. But the common man is kept in the dark about this crisis for nearly a decade. And the irony is that the law enforcement agencies are using the Anti-Narcotics Law to target drug-users but not the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers and peddlers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Medical Con-Game

The “Sleepless city faces obesity, diabetes risk” FrontPage article this Sunday warned readers that by sleeping less we face the risk of diabetes and obesity. To shirk their accountability for their inability to treat the increasing number of obesity and diabetics cases, doctors have now started blaming us for their incompetency. This blog has been written to show how doctors allow us to fall sick. After all, they can make a good livelihood when we fall sick.

'Indian women ignore ailments of the heart' was another recent headline news. The 300% increase, over the last 40 years, in women’s heart problems is due largely to the callous attitude of the medical profession.  Do read Ray Strand’s book What Your Doctor Doesn'T Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You and you will understand how high levels of homocysteine – which can easily be lowered by taking a few B vitamins – is the definite indicator of heart problems, and not cholesterol. This discovery was made 40 years ago, but the healthcare industry refused to accept it till they could no longer deny the facts in the 1990s. Now, the Howards Medical School Family Health Guide (2003; pg 655) clearly tells us that “it is prudent to take folic acid (400 micrograms) and vitamins B6 (100 milligrams) and B12 (100 micrograms) in pill form if your (homocysteine) level is high, particularly in people who have had a parent or a sibling develop coronary artery disease before age 55.” But still the doctors and the press refuse to give us this vital information that could save millions of lives.

And, instead of telling us to take daily at least 100 milligrams of vitamins B6, these doctors have fixed the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) at only 2 milligrams. Now Vitamins B1, B6 and B12 are necessary for the production of neurotransmitters – the chemicals that transmit messages from one nerve cell to another. And if we don’t get enough of these vitamins, we start suffering from nervous disorders like anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, ADD/ADHD, overeating and addictions.

These nervous disorders have also been wrongly classified as mental disorders – “mind” is not a part of the human body – and psychiatrists, who are not trained neurologists, are prescribing drugs that enter the brain. Drugs that enter the brain are so dangerous that since 2003 more people in the USA are dying every day from opioid analgesics overdoses than from the deaths due to heroin and cocaine combined. But we ordinary people are unfortunately not being informed about the dangers of prescription drugs.

In times of stress, the body’s requirement of energy and nutrients increases a lot.  Besides the amino acid nutrients needed for synthesizing proteins, the body also needs lots of Vitamin B3 – Niacin – as it is vital for producing energy from sugars. So, niacin in the body gets quickly used up. If we do not consume adequate amounts of niacin in our diet to replace the depleted niacin, we develop a niacin deficiency and our body is unable to efficiently convert sugars into energy. This, over time, leads to hypoglycemia or diabetes (type-2, or stress related diabetes).
Also when niacin deficiency exists in the body, the body converts the amino acid tryptophan into niacin, as niacin is a vital nutrient needed for many bodily processes. With the result tryptophan gets exhausted in the body.  The brain neurotransmitter serotonin helps calm our raging emotions and helps us to sleep at night. It is produced from the amino acid tryptophan, and when tryptophan gets exhausted in the body, it leads to insufficient amounts of serotonin in the brain, causing sleeplessness and depressions.

Also when the brain needs tryptophan to produce serotonin, it makes us eat sugars because eating sweets enables tryptophan in the body to enter the brain. But when the body runs out of tryptophan, we continue eating sweets and carbohydrates – junk foods – and put on weight. It is deficiency of niacin and tryptophan in the body that causes sleeplessness, obesity and diabetes. So please note that doctors are unnecessarily blaming us people for sleeping less, only because of their incompetency. It is about time that you hold doctors accountable for it, and inform everybody about it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Stress No More

Stress is a debilitating condition, and as doctors and psychiatrists have, as yet, not given us the way to effectively deal with stress, I studied their Physiology textbooks and this is what they say: When the internal stability of the body gets disturbed – which happens when nutrients get depleted or when toxins build up in the body – we get stressed and the body’s cells cannot function properly, and our health suffers. And the way to avoid stress, and to ensure our health and well-being, is to maintain the body’s internal stability by consuming adequate amounts of all the nutrients and by eliminating the built-up toxins with a healthy exercise regimen. 

But of course, if we were to ensure our health and well-being with merely proper nutrition, pharmaceuticals and the medical industry would not be able to make their trillion dollar profits. Our President, Dr Abdul Kalam warns us in his book The Family and the Nation: “Crass commercialization has taken its toll on nutrition. The mass marketing efforts by food conglomerates, whose main interest is profit, compounded by misinformation by conventional healthcare institutions and their affiliates, make it difficult to differentiate between life-giving, nutritious food and substandard devitalized food.”

The healthcare institutions have so far kept this main fact about nutrition a secret from the public: 

Proteins, the building blocks of our bodies, make up three fourth the dry weight of every cell in the body. And proteins are nothing but chains of amino acids linked together. So amino acids are the most vital nutrients that the body requires. Also, almost all the neurotransmitters, which transmit messages in the brain, are produced from amino acids. So when any of the amino acids gets depleted, not only does our health suffer, but also our brain’s cognitive and emotional responses falter, leading to all sorts of mental disorders, and dysfunctional or corrupt behaviors.
It is only because the above vital facts have been kept hidden from the public that people are not giving due importance to the amino acids in their diets, and why so many of our students are experiencing stress and becoming drug and alcohol addicts and, even committing suicides. 

Poultry farming is a profitable business. And so, there are special ISI codes for amino acid requirements in poultry feeds – different for layers and broilers. But there are no codes for amino acid requirements in human beings. It looks as though a human life is not as valuable as that of a chicken to our healthcare authorities. 

Our normal response to stress is the fight-or-flight stress response, which is subjectively felt by us as anger or fear. In order to cope with stress, besides proper nutrition, one also needs the ability to quickly get rid of any arisen anger and fear. And psychiatrists and psychologists are not showing us the way to effectively deal with our anger and fears. In helping hundreds of addicts to overcome their alcohol and drug addictions, – I have been the all-India representative of NA, a worldwide fellowship helping drug addicts – I was fortunate to have discovered a simple Jungian psychodynamic therapy that helps people to quickly get rid of the resentments and fear. The details of this method are given in my books 12 Steps in a Day and The Lost Path, and can be used by anyone to cope with the psychological effects of stress. 

Now that you know the facts, I request you to use your good offices to see that the government takes the action to remedy the situation, and holds the medical and the mental health profession accountable for the problems people are facing due to stress. You can also begin educating yourself about the amino acids with the book Amino Revolution by Robert Erdmann or the other books available on amino acids. This book tells us which amino acids can be taken to avoid stress, anxiety, depression, and to deal with overeating, addictions and other health problems. For more information on dealing with stress, do check the Articles on our NGO’s website:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Understanding Emotional Intelligence

“Emotion can be considered in terms of a relation between an individual and the environment based on the individual’s evaluation of the environment (is it pleasant or hostile, for example), disposition towards the environment (am I happy and attracted to the environment or fearful of it?), and the actual physical response to it.” – Human Physiology by Vander et al

The social scientist knows: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure. You can’t measure what you can’t define. And, you can’t define what you can’t understand.” So, in order to manage emotions and develop Emotional Intelligence, we must first understand what emotions are, and define Emotional Intelligence. Emotions are, in essence, impulses to act. The root of the word emotion is motere, the Latin verb “to move,” plus the prefix “e-” to connote “move out” or “move away.” In order to maintain a relatively stable internal environment in the body (homeostasis) for the survival and well-being of our body cells, the brain motivates us to act on our environment to fulfill our bodily needs. But in an environment that is oftentimes hostile, we have to be cautious in getting what our body needs. It is our emotions that guide us when we ‘move out’ to act on the environment to successfully achieve our homeostatic goals.

“Learning is the acquisition and storage of information as a consequence of experience” (Vander et al). Intelligence is defined as ‘the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.’ So, Emotional Intelligence can be said to be the ability to acquire knowledge about our emotions – emotional knowledge – and to apply it skillfully. But if we are to apply this knowledge, we must be aware of it. Our intellect only deals with our consciousness – conscious experiences and our conscious learning or knowledge. So, for our intellect to use emotional knowledge, it must be acquired by us at a conscious level – that is, explicitly. Hence Emotional Intelligence can be defined as the ability to explicitly acquire emotional knowledge and to apply it skillfully.

We learn from all our experiences when we interact with our environment. The things we learn from our experiences by seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting are usually learnt by us explicitly – that is, clearly, with conscious awareness. However, we also learn about the affective aspects of things and situations in the environment. We learn whether the environment is pleasant or hostile, whether we are attracted to it or fearful of it. And, we also learn by experiencing sensations in the body that arise due to the physical responses we make – such as our physical flight-fight-or-freeze responses for avoidance, and our approach responses – when interacting with the environment. However, this affective learning, which builds up our emotional knowledge, is learnt by us implicitly – that is, without our conscious awareness – as we are normally not trained to be consciously aware of our bodily sensations.

When we acquire emotional knowledge implicitly, our brain – what Freud called the ‘Unconscious’ – uses the knowledge to directs our emotional responses, impulsively. But as the implicit knowledge cannot be used by our intellect, we finds it difficult to bring intelligence or rationality to our emotions. This is why our emotional responses often create problems for us. In order to avoid such emotional problems we ought to be consciously aware of our body sensations when we acquire and store our emotional knowledge.

Freud’s theory of the Ego and the Id is the most influential theory in psychology. In brief, the theory states that each of us is born with natural drives – the Instinctive Drive (Id) – which motivate our activities and behavior. However the influence of society and our environment – the Superego – conditions our Id and we develop our Ego, which then becomes the motivating factor governing our behavior. If the conditioning is appropriate the ego remains healthy. If not, the ego starts creating problems in our emotions, behavior and relationships. Freud’s theory has remained influential for over a century because it is based on sound physiological observations, although most psychologists today are not aware of it. Freud, in his Three Essays on Sexuality (1905: 83), had said "The source of a drive is a process of excitation occuring in an organ and the immediate aim of the drive lies in the removal of this organic stimulation." And, in The Ego and the Id (1923: 364), he states unequivocally that the ego “is first and foremost a bodily ego ... ultimately derived from bodily sensations, chiefly from those springing from the surface of the body." So Freud’s theory also suggests that we deal with our ego at the level of bodily sensations. 

We, at Be Happy Foundation, have discovered a set of simple exercises to observe and learn from our body sensations – for developing Emotional Intelligence. We also offer a brief psychoanalysis method to rebalance the Id, and to get rid of anger and resentments – for overcoming negative attitudes and personality conflicts.