Fasting can be best defined as a period of abstinence from some or all kinds of food, water, and certain activities during designated periods of time. Religious fasting combines this with a spiritual cleansing as well as a physical detox. Fasting has also been the focus of multiple scientific studies as a possible non-pharmacological strategy for boosting health and lifespan. Alcohol and drug rehabilitation experts at the unitedrecoveryca.com rehab center in Laguna Hills confirm that most private addiction treatment services will provide an initial assessment during which your symptoms and signs will be analyzed and discussed.
In nonreligious texts, fasting may be traced all the way back to the “Father of Medicine” Hippocrates, who laid the groundwork for fasting in the 5th century. Hippocrates was recommending dietary abstention to individuals demonstrating multiple resistant health problems in ancient times, similarly to health gurus of the modern era.
Fasting Observed by Christians on Lent
Lent, which lasts 46 days each year, is based on the idea that Christians should emulate Jesus’ conduct while he was in the desert. Lent is also known as the “Great Fast.”
It’s a season when Christians are supposed to abandon comfort or embrace a spiritual experience. This paves way for self-examination, contrition from sin, and eventual soul rebirth. It is in preparation for a time of greater devotion to serving their Lord and others.
The time period reflects Jesus’ time while stranded in wilderness, when he fasted, prayed, and avoided Satan’s temptations before beginning his official ministry. Jesus went into the wilderness to purify his spirit for the next three years of healing, teaching, and ministering. This eventually culminated in his crucifixion by the religious authorities of the Roman Empire.
Fasting Observed by the Jewish Community on Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur fasting mainly entails abstaining from physical pleasures. In Judaism, the Yom Kippur is indeed one of the holiest days of the year. Repentance and atonement are themes surrounding this day.
Yom Kippur is marked by a day-long fasting, repentance, and earnest prayer. Most of Yom Kippur is taken up by synagogue services. As per Jewish belief, God chooses each person’s destiny on Yom Kippur. Thus the Jewish communities are expected to make apologies and beg forgiveness for all sins of the previous year. This 25-hour fast as well as special religious ceremonies are held to commemorate the holiday.
Fasting Observed by Muslims in Ramadan
Fasting is among the most significant acts of devotion in Islam. In this period, a Muslim comes close to God by abstaining from eating, drinking, and sexual acts everyday for 30 days from sunset and sunset. As a result, the integrity of one’s faith and loyalty to the Almighty should become even more apparent.
When a Muslim is willing to give up the pleasures he or she greatly wants for Allah’s service, they participate in this form of communal worship each year for one month. Every Muslim of mature age, sound of mind, healthy, and those not traveling, are required to fast throughout the Islamic month of Ramadan.
An Islamic fast entail a voluntary choice by the believer to abstain from all corporeal wants and desires throughout the day during the entire lunar month.
Can Sudden Abstinence Awaken Withdrawal Symptoms?
Sudden abstinence such as that in fasting can often be triggering for those struggling with substance addiction. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may be extremely serious or even life-threatening based on an individual’s degree of alcohol dependence. As a result, it’s critical to carefully manage sudden withdrawal experienced in fasting practices.
The safest way to detox from alcohol before oncoming religious fasting or even intermittent fasting is to do it under supervision.
Mild to moderate symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may be managed without hospital admissions, with regular daily check-ins every now and then. Individuals who have more severe withdrawal symptoms must be managed in a hospital, where their health can be thoroughly monitored.
How Religions Make Exceptions To Those Struggling With Substance Abuse
Research demonstrates that fasting exceptions are far more lax than the general public’s perception of them. Jewism, Catholicism, and Hinduism all make explicit exemptions for persons with chronic and debilitating conditions such as diabetes.
“You are expected to safeguard your health by not being rigorous with fasting,” says Rabbi Rachel Mivka, a professor of Jewish Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary. This is in reference to the instance of somebody who suffers from addiction or even a drug use disease.
“A general imperative of Jewish tradition is to prioritise health before ritual practice. If there is even a remote possibility that fasting may harm your health”—such as the potentially lethal symptoms of abrupt withdrawal from excessive use of alcohol, opiates, or, on rare occasions, benzodiazepines—”you are free from the responsibility.”
Managing Alcohol Withdrawal in Fasting Season
Several methadone clinics across the globe give opioid replacement medicine at evening hours to facilitate midday fasting, which is a harm reduction technique for navigating Muslim fasting season. Many initiatives like this are intended for Muslims who are fasting during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan. Another Kenyan program in Malindi provides a unique “moonlight methadone” directed at supplementing Muslims struggling with addiction.
Considering that Day of Kippur is a one-day fast, behavioural and cognitive approaches may be useful in determining whether or not a person is capable of fasting.
For others, the embarrassment of not partaking in religious fasting may still be a concern. A key way to minimise potential harms for individuals caught in this dilemma could be to lessen the shame surrounding drinking or using drugs on a fast day in post fasting hours. This ensures that users can detox in a medically-backed sustainable way, rather than spiralling in a relapsing-remitting state that poses a constant threat to their life.
While fasting is a community worship practice that is shared by many religions; the discussion is not complete without keeping in mind individuals at risk during these religious practices.
#1 Fasting can be dated back to the earliest of Abrahamic religions and it was also endorsed as a nonpharmacological medicinal practice by Hippocrates.
#2 Muslims, Jewish people, Catholics all celebrate fasting periods to cleanse themselves physically and spiritually to connect with God.
#3 Sudden abstinence periods are well known to precipitate severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms that might culminate in death.
#4 Religions make exceptions from fasting for those who have chronic, debilitating conditions and health risks but removing the shame surrounding skipping religious fasting can go a long way in saving lives.
#5 Alcohol withdrawal can be managed by seeking advice from physicians prior to beginning fasting when you’re struggling with substance abuse.