Abuse – Impact On Individuals And Society, Ayurveda Understanding

By Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

We all would have been the victims of abuse. We too would have abused someone or the other at some point of time or many times.

“Abuse is the improper usage or treatment of a thing, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as, physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, assault, violation, rape, unjust practices, crimes or other types of aggression’. (Read more)

Human nature is to remember abuse done towards him or her and forget the abuse imparted by them on someone else. It is now a social stigma and a part and parcel of our life.

Abuse is prevalent in all segments of society, with victims of every age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliations, and socio-economic class. However, the sad reality is, the abuse is more likely to turn deadly for female targets. By definition ‘Abuse is a pattern of behavior used by people to gain and maintain power and control over another and not just one incident’.

One in four women and one in seven men suffer from abuse at some point in their lives. Every year 1.3 million women become survivors of domestic violence. If we become aware of different kinds of abuse, we will be able to understand and support the victims of abuse in a better way. We will also learn what it means to abuse and get abused and develop consciousness towards not getting into abusing someone else.
Read – Counselling – Types, Benefits, Myths And Facts

Kinds of Abuse

1. Physical Abuse – includes acts of

  • Punching
  • Hitting
  • Slapping
  • Pushing
  • Biting
  • Kicking or
  • Strangulating
  • Inappropriate use of restraint / restricting someone’s movements
  • Denying food and essentials or forcible feeding
  • Isolating someone
  • Physical punishments etc

Signs of physical abuse

  • Bruises, lacerations, black eyes, broken bones
  • Cuts, wounds, punctures
  • Untreated injuries either fresh or in different stages of healing
  • Reports of victim
  • Broken materials – like eyeglasses or frames
  • Physical signs of being punished or restrained
  • Lab findings – over dose or less dose of medications etc
    Read – Depression Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Tips And Remedies

2. Sexual Abuse – Sexual abuse includes –

  • Rape / sexual assault / other forced sexual acts or
  • Withdrawing / holding back sex or
  • Using sex as a weapon to control another person
  • Inappropriate touch
  • Non-consensual sex
  • Sexual teasing / harassment
  • Forced pornography etc

Signs of sexual abuse

  • Victim’s report of assault of rape being imparted on them
  • Stained, torn or bloody under-garments
  • Unexplained bleeding from vagina or rectum
  • Bruises around genitals, breasts or both
  • Unexplained genital infections / venereal diseases

3. Financial Abuse

  • Controlling all budgets in household
  • Blocking all bank accounts and shrinking the accessibility
  • Not letting the victim to have or sustain a job
  • Not allowing a person to earn his own money
  • Theft of money or possessions
  • Fraud / scamming
  • Threatening someone in terms of property, will, inheritance, loans or financial transactions
  • Exploitation of person’s money or assets etc

4. Emotional Abuse / Psychological Abuse

  • Attempt to frighten, control or isolate another person
  • Humiliation, negating, criticizing, and name calling
  • Derogatory pet names
  • Character assassination
  • Yelling and screaming
  • Socially isolating someone
  • Preventing someone’s expression of opinion and choice
  • Not respecting one’s privacy
  • Harassment / humiliation / bullying / verbal abuse
  • Sudden emotional outbursts
  • Continuous sarcasm and ridiculing the victim’s choices and dreams
  • Insulting and belittling accomplishments to put down victims interests and opinions
  • Giving threats
  • Monitoring whereabouts and digital spying with an intention of controlling the other person
  • Jealousy
  • Not taking accountability for their own mistakes and
  • Trivializing by saying that the victim has no sense of humor and telling them that they are crazy and over sensitive
  • Cyber bullying
    Read – Sadvritta In Ayurveda – Code Of Conduct For Healthy Life

Signs of emotional / mental abuse

  • Victim’s report of being mentally or emotionally / verbally abused
  • Nervousness
  • Unusual behavior – sucking, biting and other signs of dementia
  • No communication or response, withdrawn
  • Emotionally agitated, depressed or upset
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Acting out / misbehaviour, risky behaviour
  • Alcohol / drug use or abuse
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Fear of relationships and loss of trust
  • Mood disorders / personality disorders
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
    Read – Ayurvedic Treatment For ADHD – Herbs, Therapies, Medicines, Remedies

5. Discriminatory Abuse

Any one or more of these done towards protected characteristics (under Equality Act 2010) is considered discriminatory.

  • Unequal treatment related to protected characteristic
  • Verbal abuse / derogatory remarks
  • Substandard provision of service
  • Denying basic rights to healthcare, education, criminal justice and employment
  • Harassment
  • Denying access to communication aids

Note – This act pertains to citizens of Britain but may be applicable to everyone in a sensible way. According to this act there are 9 protected characteristics under which everyone is protected. They are – age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

6. Organizational / Institutional Abuse

  • Discouraging visits / involvement of relatives and friends
  • Overcrowded establishments
  • Rigid regimes and rules
  • Insufficient staff / high turnover resulting in poor quality care
  • No respect for privacy and dignity
  • Not providing adequate food and drink
  • Not offering choice
  • Not promoting independence
  • Abusive / disrespectful attitude towards people using services
  • Not responding to the complaints
  • Interfering with other’s personal communication or correspondence
  • Not considering the cultural, ethnic or cultural needs of others
  • Lack of supervision etc

7. Modern Slavery

  • Forced labor
  • Debt bondage
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Human Trafficking

8. Domestic abuse / violence

It includes many of the above mentioned traits of abuse. It may be emotional, financial, sexual, physical or psychological abuse or mix of more than one of these.

Post traumatic disorder and its symptoms include –

  • Nightmares, flashbacks
  • Unexplained bouts of crying
  • Unknown and unexplained fears
  • Depression, stress or anxiety
  • Feelings of extreme irritation and anger
  • Guilt and shame
  • Nervousness, shaking, trembling, palpitations, chest pain, nausea
  • Extreme fatigue / insomnia / headaches / loss of memory / dizziness / fainting
  • Chronic pain
  • Avoiding people and public places

9. Neglect – This is when one has the responsibility to provide care / assistance for another individual but does not.

Signs of neglect

  • Victim’s report of being neglected / mistreated
  • Dehydration, malnutrition, untreated sores
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Health problems which are neither treated nor attended
  • Living conditions which are hazardous or unsafe
  • Living conditions which are unclean / unsanitary

Other types of abuse

Spiritual / Religious Abuse – It is a kind of abuse which includes someone using an individual’s spiritual beliefs to manipulate, control or dominate the other person.

Cultural Violence – This occurs when an individual is harmed as a result of practices that are part of their culture, tradition, religion or all.
Read – Help Your Children Deal With Their Feelings

Helping and Caring the ‘victims of abuse’

No, scar is not equal to no abuse – Abuse can be extremely dangerous and devastating immaterial of its form being physical, emotional or financial.  Not all abuses come with obvious bruises. If abuse is not physical that doesn’t mean victim has to be okay with emotional or any other form of abuse. Mental and emotional abuses come with invisible scars. Not all abusive relationships have to turn physical to be deadly.

A. Treatment for victims of abuse

Counseling – forms the key strategy and also an effective intervention to the ‘victims of any type of abuse’. The caretakers of the victims can guide the victims to the counselors. The victims themselves may volunteer to seek help with professional counselors. The victims should be given an opportunity and a suitable environment to open up and explain their problem or seek help. It cannot be done in a session or two. Many victims may take many years before they could open up and speak out about the abuse done over them and the consequences they had met. If the victims are not treated promptly, the physical or mental scars may deepen over a period of time. The patients may feel that those events are still happening with them even after many years. They would have lost trust over anyone and would be living in a shell or world of their own. Such is the impact and trauma of abuse on many people. It becomes a challenge to the medical system and even the best of professionals to break the ice and pull out the victims into a conducive environment wherein they can start living afresh. For many people the scars are for life-time. They would have compromised with themselves and everything and would have accepted that there is no way out. They have become prisoners within themselves. The role of mental therapists and professional counselors come in at this point. Repeated counseling sessions might help many people to come out of the trauma of abuse and their effects.
Read – Counsellor – Qualities, Role, Myths And Facts

Isolation of cause – This is yet another important strategy in the treatment. As long as the source of abuse is in and around the victim, no amount of help and counseling or medication will help them. They need to finds ways of keeping away from those causes or triggers. Example, breaking away from an abusive relationship will be the first hand safety plan for those who are still hanging in the relationship. The victim may either do it voluntarily or take help. This will help one to know what steps one can take to remain safe while addressing the situation. This is called safety planning. This will help you to feel empowered to protect yourself. It will also help you take the necessary steps to end the abusive relationships or detach yourself from the cause of abuse.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy – This is one of the most effective treatments for abuse. It is a form of ‘talk therapy’. It helps you deal with depression and anxiety by meddling with the body-mind link when you are in periods of stress. It is a sort of psychotherapy which teaches you how to focus on your thoughts and behaviors so that you can take control of them. It is a suitable way by which you will be able to break the connection between your bad memories of the past and the feelings and behaviors of the present and future.
Read – Faulty Thinking – Types Of Cognitive Distortions, Remedy In Ayurveda

Online Therapy – Online counseling sessions and therapy is ideal for those victims of abuse who do not want to leave the safety of their homes going to clinics and therapy centers. This will give them the advantage to speak to the therapist from the safety of their home. It will also make them feel at home and be secured. It is also easier method to take consultations and meet the experts.

Medications – Medications for the underlying conditions such as anxiety, depression etc should be considered.

Assurance and ideal conditions to live – Assurance, love, empathy and ideal conditions to live better should all be provided to the victims of abuse. This will help in quick recovery.

B. Care and Moral support to the ‘victims of abuse’ by family and friends

Ways in which you can help the ‘abused ones’

An experience of being abused and having suffered its consequences will help us to understand what it means to be abused. It also gives us a kind heart and courage to lend a helping hand to the abused ones.

If you have never experienced abuse of any kind it might be difficult to respond appropriately when someone reaches out for help. This is because you have never understood the quality and magnitude of abuse. At the same time I also wish that nobody becomes a victim of abuse. May we all create and live in an ‘abuse free society’.

By compassionately asking the right and appropriate questions and by avoiding few which shouldn’t be asked, you can definitely help the ‘abuse victims’ to navigate through their trauma and help them to heal their wounds. Your role as a ‘support provider’ be it as a friend, family member, colleague or a responsible person can make a difference in the lives of victims or abuse survivors.
Read – Benefits Of Listening Skills In Ayurveda

1. What not to say to the abused ones!

a. “Why can’t you just leave this relationship then?”

People stay in abusive relationships for many reasons. Women, children, and aged parents depend on the abuser for shelter, food and money. They also hang in for emotional reasons such as fear of shame, a desire to keep their family ties together, religious beliefs, and socio-cultural norms.  Making statements or advising like “just leave” is incredibly uncaring and harsh. If the victim is not ready and if you push for separation, then it might isolate them and put them further into lot more troubles. Living with or leaving the relationship is their decision and one should respect the same.

Your help – Instead when they ask for alternative step, help them to find a job, a place to stay, look up for phone numbers of shelter houses specifically allotted for abandoned children, women and old age people.
Read – How To Be Positive During The Time Of Illness?

b. “I have heard you say all this before, you just keep repeating yourself. Stop revisiting your past”.

People in toxic relationships are exposed to prolonged trauma. So, they need validations and support for their pains, not judgment and timelines for healing. Healing is hard and exhausting.

Your Help – Instead tell them “Thank you for believing in me and sharing your problems with me. I can understand going through all these must have been really hard”. This infuses senses of being heard.

c. “It’s probably not that bad. I have heard or seen many people living in more abusive relationship than yours. I myself have endured this in my life too”.

Let us keep in mind that the endurance level of each individual is different, the amount of sacrifices and compromises they might have done can’t be measured with a standard yard stick of endurance.

Your Help – Alternatively ask then “How do you feel when they abuse you?”.”Does this thing happen indoor or do they humiliate you outside your home too”?
Read – Message Of Love: Love Yourself

d. “He / She haven’t hit you, so it’s probably just a normal family stuff”.

Just because the abuse is not physical, it doesn’t mean that emotional or any other forms of abuse should be tolerated.

Your help – Tell them “I am concerned about you”. “Can we work on a safety plan in case?” “What do you want me to do in case of emergency?”

e. “But you just told me about the gift he/she gave, those travels and great things they did for you”.

Gifting expensive things, flowers, taking out for restaurants for a good meal are forms of conditioning. It is a tactic manipulation people use after an episode of their own abusive behavior to keep the victim hooked in the relationship and make them believe that the previous episode of abuse was ‘just by chance’ and they had no intention of hurting. This toxic cycle of abuse and gifting continues for years and decades without even the victim getting to know what’s happening in their lives. Victims are in a confused state because of this role coaster of emotions.

Your help – Ask them “Do you want me to look up for an advocate or psychologist?”
Read – Anger: Relation With Body Types, Ways To Control Anger

f. “Are you sure that’s what is happening?” “Are you sure you’re not just over sensitive or over reacting?”

Victims of abusive relationship are already in a confused and traumatized state. Many times their opinions, memories, thoughts and events occurred around them are forcibly questioned making them to doubt about other own insights.

Your help – Questions like the above mentioned ones puts them into further bruised state and it’s a double blow. Instead guide them to hear their own inner voice.

g. “Men will be men. He can’t help it. Everyone has a temper issue. By the way what did you do to provoke him? May be he just had a bad day!”

Emotional / verbal abuse in the form of yelling, sudden anger and outbursts are signs of deep insecurities, lack of empathy, self doubt and jealousy. This doesn’t give license for anyone to lash out at others. There is no love, care, or affection behind offensive words. There is only toxicity behind abuse. Habitual bad behavior should never be rationalized and never should they be justified.

Your cure – Teach the victims about the importance of setting up healthy boundaries.

h. “Relationships are hard. Nobody is perfect; you aren’t perfect either”.

People in any kind of relationship have different opinions on food, religious beliefs, ideologies, professional goals and life values. They are entitled to agree to disagree. Those who are in healthy relationships go through lots of ups and downs and walk a difficult path, but at the end they respect each other’s opinions and different perspectives. They stand with each other during phases of sacrifice and compromise

In case of abusive relationship the responsibility of all kinds is taken up by a single person and the other one stays away physically and emotionally. It’s like the whole weight lifting is done be the victim and they are at the receiving part when something goes wrong.

i. “Past is past. You need to forgive and forget”.

Those who suffer from chronic post traumatic stress disorder have long term distress, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, digestives problems, nervous breakdown, inability to concentrate and they will not be able to take care of themselves or escape from the effects of abuse. That makes it difficult for them to forget and forgive people who caused trauma. Forgive shaming or blaming for not forgetting the past might back fire and they might go back to shell never to express their pains and insecurities. Forgiving or forgetting is an individual choice and it takes lot of time to do that.

Your cure – Instead tell them “I am here for you, no matter what you decide to do”. Make them to understand the value of ‘Self Forgiveness’. That is the first step towards the long journey of healing and resilience.
Read – Hope Heals All The Wounds and Sorrows: Concept Of Ayurveda!

j. “Are you sure you tried everything to make them stop their bad behavior?”

Victims of toxic relationship would have done anything and everything to keep their relationships intact. They would have kept the house clean, prepared food, wore clothes, spoke words which pleases the abuser and they would have visited future tellers, psychic healers, religious people and places and would have even read articles ,watched videos to understand the mindset behind the abuser. In the process, they might have lost hope and money too.

Your cure – Rightfully ask them “Do you need any help?”

2. What to say to the abused ones?

Importantly you need to speak often to the victims of abuse. Don’t show too much sympathy and empathy. Many might not like to be made feel like a weak and timid person. Make sure that you are a part of their journey, with or without their knowledge. Listen to their story. Provide help or tips for rehabilitation or to break the ice only when they ask for it. Fill in energy, enthusiasm, hope, survival instinct and courage in them through your thoughts, words and deeds.
Read – Best Natural Medicine For Anxiety: Courage

It is okay to ask them the below mentioned questions.

Ask them,

“Are you okay?”,
“Is everything fine with you?”
“Do you want to speak? It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make any sense.”
“I am just a call or message away from you”.

In many cases an abused targets may not even realize that they are in an unhealthy abusive relationship as some emotional abuses are played subtly by the abuser and thus goes either unnoticed or not acknowledged. By listening with openness, you can help them to understand that no one deserves to be abused. Never focus on guidance, don’t try to fix them. Importantly tell them that being abused is not their fault and they did nothing to provoke the bad behavior in another person.

“Healing begins in that quite, nonjudgmental place of permission for grief, sadness and openness for the victim to disclose their part of painful journey”. Just give them a little space in your heart!!

Disclaimer

Please note

1. I have mentioned only few questions which should be avoided while speaking to the abused persons. The list is big and I preferred to keep it simple. One can be sensible and sensitive while speaking to the abused persons.

2. These are some of the questions / remarks which people around the victim usually ask which once again troubles and traumatizes them.

3. People in long standing abusive relationship suffer from many psychosomatic disorders. These conditions are handled better and in an efficient way by psychologists, psychiatrists or any licensed doctors who have propound expertise in handling these delicate cases in a comprehensive way.

4. Our role as friends, family members and colleagues is to support them and stand with them in their painful times.

5. Abuse of any kind is a serious threat to mankind. Please refrain from making insensitive remarks or comments.

Ayurveda Perspective

Impact of abuse on the abuser

We cannot find anything as such explained in Ayurveda which can be correlated with the concept of abuse.

In some diseases like kushta which covers wide array of skin disorders, ‘rejection, abusing or annoying the elders, teachers and Brahmans’ has been mentioned among the etiological factors. Here elders, teachers and Brahmans can be considered as victims of abuse. Since they are smooth targets and are not in a position or lack strength to rebel or counter-attack, they are likely to suffer in a silent way. They might curse the abuser. This is called as abhishapa and is one of the etiologies for many diseases. Constant and long standing curse from the victim might create negative aura around the abuser and might cause diseases like leprosy etc. The same etiologies have been mentioned for manifestation of unmada – insanity. But in both these conditions we are discussing about the abuser and the effect of victim’s curse on him or her. This is another perspective to show that silent curse might have a super power just like silent prayers and the abuser too cannot escape the consequences of bad deeds, physical and mental trauma imparted by him on the other person.

This is just an example. The explanation may be extended to victims and soft targets and silent sufferers other than elders, teachers or Brahmans and also manifestation of many disorders.
Read – Charaka Kushta Nidana: 5th chapter

Impact of abuse on the victim

1. Unmada and signs of abuse

We have seen that any form of abuse may impact on the mind, soul and senses of the victim. It may have short or long term impact and cause many psychological / mental disorders including anxiety, depression, mood disorders and many others. Ayurveda discusses these disorders under the heading of ‘Unmada – insanity, psychosis, lunacy, madness and wide array of mental disorders’ and ‘Apasmara – memory disorders, epilepsy’.

While classifying Unmada, Master Sushruta mentions ‘Manasena cha duhkhena’ i.e. ‘that caused by assault, trauma or disturbance to the mind’ as one of the 6 types of the disease. Master Charaka mentions the same in the category of ‘Agantuja Unmada’ i.e. ‘mental disorders caused due to external causes’. Mental or psychological abuse and torture may lead to conditions defined as unmada. The other forms of abuse caused by external agents and influence, including the other people may be classified in Charaka’s ‘Agantuja Unmada’.

According to Ayurveda the physical diseases may in due course of time get transformed to mental diseases. Putting it other way, physical disorders may have a mental component. They may exist together or independently. The other way is also possible. The same rule is applicable to abuse and its impact. Physical abuses may transform into mental symptoms in due course of time. Similarly the victims of mental abuse may impart physical trauma over themselves or others.

Unmada may be independent / primary or dependant / secondary. Independent mental disorders are often associated with organic damage of brain leading to imbalances in mind and thought processes. Abuse can be put under the category of unmada caused by external factors – secondary mental disorders or agantuja type of mind disorders.

Charaka tells that unmada develops on the backdrop of mind being influenced and damaged by excessive and constant fear and excitement. The commentator of Madhava Nidana also includes the factors like influence of lust, anger, greed and grief on the mind.

In the pathogenesis of unmada, master Charaka explains that the disease is caused when the doshas contaminate the weak mind and its seat (brain and heart) and also the channels related to the mind (nerves, blood vessels of brain) and causes damage of mind. This leads to many kinds of mental disorders and manifestations.
Read – Mind – Qualities, Functions, Doshas As Per Ayurveda

Common symptoms of Unmada (Cha Chi 9)

  • Diversions / perversions and abnormalities in intelligence and thought process
  • Fickleness of mind and its functions, confusion, hallucination
  • Confused gaze
  • Lack of courage
  • Irrelevant speech
  • Feeling of emptiness and loneliness

All these symptoms can be seen in victims of abuse

The mind will be deeply and immensely damaged due to one or more of the below mentioned etiological factors –

Regular and constant fear caused due to threatening by thieves, politicians, bosses and people of power or cruel animals – as in physical, sexual and mental abuse.
Loss of wealth and family (forced isolation) – as in institutional, financial, discriminatory or domestic violence.
Unable to get love and beloved ones, love failures – as in emotional abuse.
All these factors lead to manifestation of serious type of mental disorder called manasika unmada.

Symptoms and signs – Persons afflicted by this type of Unmada keeps speaking irrelevantly. Sometimes he reveals everything in his mind and sometimes not. Sometimes he sings, sometimes weeps and sometimes he sings. His activities are erratic and un-understandable.
Read – Health Benefits Of Yoga: Mind And Body

Many mind related symptoms are also found explained in unmade caused by vata, pitta, kapha, all doshas and effect of known and unknown poisons. Many of these look alike to those of abuse of various kinds. 

Bhutonmada is a kind of mental disorder caused by many unknown forces and external influences, most of which cannot be identified and tracked down. When we go through the symptoms of different kinds of Bhuta Unmada we get a gross picture of clinical features of various kinds of abuse. I am not discussing these conditions due to the vast description of these conditions in Ayurveda texts. The comparison is only for the purpose of sharing the knowledge.

The patients of unmada are often isolated and live singly in the world of their own. They are rejected by family and friends. They damage themselves and do the same to others too. This resembles the picture of neglect or self neglect, which is also a form of abuse.
Read – What Is Mind, Sense Organs? Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 8th Chapter

2. Apasmara and signs of abuse

Apasmara is a condition which is often compared to epilepsy but it is a broad umbrella under which many kinds of memory related and convulsive disorders may be included.

Pathogenesis of apasmara

The doshas aggravated and put into imbalance due to the factors like grief etc (imparted by others in this context) the channels of brain and mind gets afflicted and damaged and cause destruction of memory and thought process. The person is also seen to be doing bibhatsa chesta – awkward and scary activities.

The causes and symptoms of apasmara too resemble and match up with those of abuse.

3. Atatvabhinivesha and signs of abuse

Atatvabhinivesha is a condition in which the person is unsure of what is wrong and what is right and his activities too sync with abnormal and unusual perceptions. The effects may be damaging to self and others too. Victims of abuse might suffer from symptoms similar to this condition. The abusers too may have this condition.

The qualities of mind and abuse

Sattva is a quality of mind and is a state of balance. The other two qualities i.e. rajas and tamas are considered to be contaminants of mind. These qualities are imbalanced due to the impact of abuse. Abuse also disturbs the sattvik quality of mind. Treatment, therapies and medicines should be targeted to bring back the balance of these mind qualities and establish equilibrium. When these qualities and hence the mind are brought to a state of balance, the physical conditions caused by mental damage and abuse too get addressed.
Read – Foods That Increase Sattva, Rajas, Tamas: Srimad Bhagavat Geeta

Ayurveda Treatment principles of Abuse

Nidana Parivarjana

Isolation and separation of causative agents and etiological factors from the patient is the primary intervention for any physical or mental or psychosomatic disorders. The causes of abuse shall be isolated, be it material or environment or persons.

Mano Aushadha – Best mind medicines

The below mentioned are said to be the key principles and medicines for mind disorders including abuse –

  • Dhee – bringing the balance of mind, intellect and thought process
  • Dhairya – giving courage to the patient, counselling, compassion, empathy
  • Atmadi Vijnana – creating an awareness and importance of self, strengthening the mind and senses to bring about the balance of mind qualities

Treatment on the lines of Unmada, Apasmara and Atatvabhinivesha

As already mentioned, etiological factors, pathogenesis, signs and symptoms of abuse resemble those of unmada, apasmara or atatvabhinivesha or mixture of two or more conditions. The victims of abuse shall be treated on the lines of treating these conditions.

They include –

Shodhana – body purifying therapies including therapeutic cleansing and purgation in presence of predominant symptoms of kapha and pitta in patients of abuse. Therapeutic enema to control vata is important strategy in treating patients of abuse since vata controls all physical and mental entities and functions. Balance of vata brings the mind into control. Nasya – nasal instillation of medicaments is also the best choice since nose is considered as the door or pathways to head / brain. Physical purification also brings about mental purification as evidenced by the effects of these therapies.

Shamana – This includes administration of oral medicines which bring about the pacification of mind contaminants and establish balance of mind.

External therapies

  • Shirodhara – pouring of medicated oil / ghee / milk over the head
  • Shirovasti – oil pooling over the head
  • Shiro abhyanga – head massage with medicated fats
  • Shiro pichu – keeping swab / cloth piece dipped in medicated oil on the scalp and binding it with bandage
  • Sarvangadhara – pouring of medicated oil or milk over the entire body
  • Sarva abhyanga – massaging the entire body with medicated oil

Daiva Vyapashraya Chikitsa

Non medical measures like worshiping the Gods, performing religious rituals like fire sacrifices, enchanting hymns, oblations, charity, fasting, wearing auspicious gems and beads, tying medicinal herbs around the wrist, waist or neck etc.

Yoga and meditation

Guided Yoga and meditation works superbly in patients of abuse. This brings about balance of mind and provides recovery from symptoms.

Important Yoga poses for mind balancing in patients of abuse

  • Garudasana – eagle pose
  • Natarajasana – Lord of dances pose
  • Virabhadrasana – the warrior pose
  • Adho Mukha Vrkshasana – downward tree pose – handstand
  • Vrkshasana – the tree pose
  • Padmasana – lotus pose
  • Vajrasana – diamond pose
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana – downward facing dog pose
  • Anjaneyasana – the high lunge
  • Shavasana – the corpse pose / dead body pose
  • Chakrasana – the wheel / circle pose
  • Balasana – child’s pose
  • Uttanasana – standing forward bend pose
  • Tadasana – palm tree pose / mountain pose
  • Makarasana – the crocodile pose
  • Setubandhasana – the bridge pose
  • Pranayama
  • Viparita Karani

Related Reading
https://yogaactivist.org/about/development/thanks/141-2/6786-2/

http://justmeans.com/blogs/healing-from-domestic-abuse-with-yoga

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325041746_Yoga_as_an_adjunct_to_trauma-focused_counselling_for_survivors_of_sexual_violence_a_qualitative_study

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4215954/

Important formulations for patients of abuse

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