Monday, August 24, 2015

Maslow’s Motivation Theory and Sankhya Yoga for Addiction and Stress Management


Knowledge is power. Untreated stress hinders the process of learning and knowledge acquisition, causing loss of productivity in the workplace and psychopathologies such as addictions and anxiety in individuals. However, we can now gratify and fulfill the Needs given in Maslow’s motivation theory in order to manage/treat stress and addictions.

In The Organism (1934), Goldstein says “The organism has definite potentialities, and because it has them it has the need to actualize or realize them. The fulfillment of these needs represents the self-actualization of the organism.” And in his 1943 paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, Maslow pinpoints the specific basic needs – the Physiological Needs, the Safety Needs, which also include the Love and Belonging Needs and the Esteem Needs, and the Need for Self-actualization – that need to be fulfilled in order to achieve self-actualization.

When any of our basic needs remains unfulfilled, or gets thwarted or threatened, we get stressed and upset, and usually begin responding impulsively with anger or fear – the body’s autonomic fight-or-flight stress response. Based on this understanding of our basic needs, the book Alcoholics Anonymous had given a brief psychodynamic therapy for gratifying the Safety Needs that members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have used since 1939 to recover from their addiction maladies. This paper explains the Alcoholics Anonymous technique for gratifying our Safety Needs, and uses the physiologic principle of homeostasis to show the essential nutrients, especially amino acids and vitamins, needed to fulfill our Physiological Needs.

Maslow’s Need for Self-actualization is the need for acquiring the complete knowledge needed to fulfill all our needs. Sankhya Yoga is India’s ancient Upanishad path for acquiring the knowledge of everything – the knowledge of the Universe (Brahma). And this paper uses physiology and molecular biology to explain the Sankhya Yoga path.


  1. I have been invited to present this Paper at the 2nd International Conference on Stress Management Professionals on Nov 6-7, 2015 at the Osmania University Campus, Hyderabad. Do attend the Conference to learn more about it.

  2. Hi Rajiv! I'm a contributor to AA Agnostica, where I read your post, and to AA Beyond Belief. I'd like to talk with you. Please send me an email at:
    john [dot] lauritsen [at] verizon [dot] net