Dealing with Depression- The Ayurvedic way


It is not a fleeting sadness but a pervasive and relentless sense of despair. A lack of interest in life accompanied by weight loss, loss of appetite, feelings of uselessness and sleep disturbance are some of the more common symptoms. People with depression can’t just ‘snap-out of it’. There can be an array of causes – it can be due to stresses in the home or at work, or it can just come out of the blue. Sometimes family history can be a major factor.”
Professor Scott Henderson, Director of NHMRC Centre for Mental Health Research at ANU

Depression is one of the most common mental health related illness. It can cover individuals of all ages. According to WHO report, depression is the second most common cause of suffering in terms of burden of illness.

Factors causing depression:-
There are combined factors for development of depression; various genetic, biological, psycho- social factors are etiological factors leading to this mental illness.
There is genetic predisposition to depression especially when of early onset. The imbalance caused by the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain is majorly correlated with depression across all ages. But it cannot be explained yet why this prevalence has been increasing from a decade.
Hectic lifestyles, lack of personal space, increased dependency on media and technology has created communication gap between support systems, leading to social isolation and loneliness. But these are indirect causative factors of depression.

Symptoms of depression:-
1. The symptoms of depression are as follows:-
2. Depressed mood
3. Reduced self esteem
4. Pessimism
5. Guilt
6. Loss of interest
7. Loss of enjoyment
8. Suicidal thinking
9. Reduced appetite
10. Weight change
11. Disturbed sleep
12. Fatigue
13. Loss of libido
14. Bowel disturbance
15. Motor retardation

Depression may be mild, moderate or severe and episodic, recurrent or chronic. It can also be a complication of medical conditions so an associated medical condition should also be considered.

Management and prevention

For managing depression the person should be made psychologically strong firstly. Family, friends and caregivers should be alert enough for the person who is sinking in depression. They should provide moral and emotional support to the person. The depressed person should be made calm by talking to him. It is good to let the person express his feelings. Release of emotional pent can make the person relax. No judgemental comments or interrogation should be done. Genuine support and concern should be shown.

If you find any suicidal tendencies in a person all dangerous items that are potentially harmful like sharp objects, pills and poisonous materials should be kept out of reach especially in case of teenagers.

Ayurvedic therapies and treatment:
Yoga and meditation: Practicing yoga asanas can prove to be very helpful in case of depression. Yoga not only makes the body flexible it has proven to maintain hormones levels in the body. Combined with meditation it relaxes mind and body.
The detoxification therapy also known as Pradhan karma of Panchkarma. The benefit of this therapy is this, it cleanses the body internally. All the toxins are eliminated from body. Doshas get balanced, stress is reduced and body gets relaxed, slows ageing process and increases the lifespan, Increases glow and lustre of skin, boosts body immunity and body energy level, enhances strength, energy, vitality and mental clarity, reduces dependence on alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Help to implement healthy diet and lifestyle.
The detoxification includes following karmas: Vamna(emesis), Virechana (purgation), Basti (herbal enema), Nasya (nasal drops). The herbs and oils used in these karmas are given after Dosha analysis of the patient.
Shirodhara is one of the famous therapy which helps in mental and emotional relaxation. Rejuvenates body, mind. A great therapy for improving digestion, nervous system, good for skin. Very helpful in curing insomnia and diseases related to head, nose, throat, ears. In short it relaxes the body completely.
Herbal medicines:
1.Ashwagandha(Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is one of the best immunomodulater known in ayurveda. Helps in bones healing too. With these benefits it has the requisite properties to remove negative thoughts from the mind. The aphrodisiac properties of ashwagandha also help in improving the mind and removing depression.
2.Brahmi (Centella asiatica)
Brahmi is prescribed in anxiety disorders. The reason is that brahmi helps to relax the mind and bring it to a comfortable state. Brahmi is very popularly available in the form of oils. The oil has a cooling and soothing effect on the mind. Regular use of this oil can prevent the person from feeling depressed.
3.Amrita (Tinospora cordifolia)
Amrita derived from word amrit (immortal), It is a rejuvenating and immune building herb that increases strength, improves immunity and enhances cognitive functions and memory, making it ideal for the mental sluggishness that accompanies some forms of depression.
4. Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi)
Jatamansi brings a calming effect on the mind. By canalizing the energies of the mind in the right direction, jatamansi can remove the depressive thoughts.

Depression is a treatable mental illness. Never hesitate in taking professional help. We are all different and what works for us will depend on the particular nature of our illness, our personalities. Our life situation, support networks, and so much more.

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