Technology is connecting people virtually but it is widening the distance between them in real life. Fast track life, craving for success, fear of rejection and loneliness are few reasons which can give rise to depression. Depression is becoming a fast silent killer nowadays. We hear cases of suicide due to depression are increasing. People need help but they are not able to tell. Depression can lead to anxiety, insomnia, hypertension and many other things. Let us check some statistics. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is one of the leading causes of mental health and disability worldwide. The depression rate in India was about 36% for the year 2016-2017. By 2020, WHO estimated depression could be the second leading cause of morbidity worldwide.
Depression, if not treated, can pose a great danger to one’s life. People tend to indulge themselves in alcohol and drug abuse and sometimes may commit suicide. Depression in India is still not considered serious. There is not enough support from the family and friends and there is a fear of social taboo. Depression is not an infection that has specific pathophysiology but one can surely calm it down and drive away from the negative feeling. Depression in Ayurveda falls under the hut of mental health. There are many herbs that can be used as ayurvedic cure for depression and can help in slowing down depression.
Mental Health And Ayurveda
Ayurveda has many branches to treat disease. It does not target any specific organs instead it will treat the system in the body. This approach is quite evident in the choice of medication. They can be used for several other purposes also. Ayurveda sees mind and body as one. What is there in your mind is reflected through your body. Depression in Ayurveda is a lowered state of mind psychologically.
According to Ayurveda, a person should have a perfect balance between mind and body. Psychological and physical balance is a mix of five senses, body organ tissues and the energy required to function. If the energy is negative then there will be toxin accumulation while if you are in Prasanna mudra then this energy would have been positive and the toxins would have been eliminated. A holistic approach to treating mood swings, anxiety, restlessness with diet and yoga can bring good results. This will ultimately convert the tamasic state (negative state) into the sattvic state (Positive state). Let us go into detail about the ayurvedic treatment options.
Types Of Depression
Ayurveda recognises any imbalance in the body is due to an imbalance of three Dosha: Vatta, Pitta and Kapha. Accordingly, depression is also of three types.
- Vatta Type Depression: Vatta is an air sign, it is related to breathing. So any imbalance in Vatta will hamper the breathing capacity. Due to lack of oxygen transmission in the body, a person will develop lethargy and the functioning of the organs may be impaired. A person becomes lazy. This kind of depression develops with emotional abuse which leads to anxiety, fear and this leads to insomnia. The person will not have any fixed eating or sleeping schedule.
- Pitta Type Depression: Pitta, the Agni element imbalance can be due to fiery emotions and metabolism-related depression. Body metabolism will cover the whole body so any imbalance can lead to severe depression. Several experts link this kind of depression with high energy. People who are over-ambitious or overworked and who do not control their speech are at higher risk. Food habits including alcohol, or white sugar can add to the problem. A person suffers from a mental term called rage. In severe conditions, this kind of depression may take the form of violence.
- Kapha Type Depression: Many of us know Kapha type dosh is linked with people who are heavily built. So people suffering from this imbalance are likely to be lazy and sluggish in their daily life. They will tend to oversleep and have a sedentary lifestyle. Also, they will overeat in depression and develop obesity. A term called comfort eating belongs to people with Kapha imbalance.
Ayurvedic Treatment For Depression
In the initial state when the symptoms are either not visible or not severe, the treatment is simple. A normal counselling couple with herbs will help to reinvent yourself. While at the later stage, the treatment is focused on restoring the Dosha and eliminating any tamasic and ama elements. Herbs will be prescribed for mind and body purification. The counselling technique in Ayurveda is called Sattvavjaya and Daivavyapashrayaare which enhances the mental state of mind. A sattvic diet and lifestyle are also recommended.
Get an expert Ayurveda counsellor to get yourself treated for depression.
The Herbal Diet And Remedy
Ayurveda has listed several herbs which can rejuvenate your mind and body and help deal with depression. There are several active compounds that can act as antidepressants. A few of the well known ayurvedic herbs for depression management are mentioned below.
- Ashwagandha: We have heard this name so many times in ayurvedic treatment. This can also act in the treatment of depression. They act like neuroinhibitor ( same as Gamma Aminobutyric Acid-GABA), they control the overfiring of the neurons and bring the claiming effect on the body. Ashwagandha has many active compounds like lactones, saponins, alkaloids which have antidepressant, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. Due to the claiming effect, one can see a visible increase in concentration and a reduction in mood swings. Ashwagandha can be used in powdered form or in herbal liquid formulations.
- Brahmi: It directly controls the regulation of GABA and 5-Hydroxytryptophan ( serotonin regulator). It improves the mood and increases positivity. Brahmi is a small creeping herb and it helps the body in adapting to the stressful environment.
- Jatamansi: This herb is used mainly to treat sleeping disorders. It is a well-known antidepressant, stress reliever with anti fatigue property. Generally, the roots are used in ayurvedic therapy. It helps in erasing the negative by channelizing the body’s energy into the positive direction.
- Pudina: It not only freshens your breath but is a century-old cure for a sleep disorder. It is very nutritive and contains many trace minerals and loaded with Vitamin A and C. Menthol which is the main ingredient that helps to keep the mind calm and thus act as an anti-stress which helps in sleep.
- Maca : The peruvian ginseng or Maca is a rich source of nutrients. It is full of minerals and plant-based nutrients. It has certain kinds of adaptogen properties and acts as a healer. Naturally, it keeps the body energized and increases stamina.
Apart from the above-mentioned herbs, there are other several medicinal plants like shankhpushpi, Vacha, Guduchi, Bhringraj etc that can be used as ayurvedic antidepressants. Consult an expert ayurveda practitioner for the herbal remedies.
LifeStyle Management And Counselling
Apart from the medication, one can always start to change his lifestyle for prevention. Depression will slowly creep into your mind if one neglects these early signs.
- Sudden mood swings. However, in women mood swings are quite common due to pregnancy or abnormal menstrual cycle. One should check for the history in such cases.
- Sudden change in eating habits, loss of appetite or overeating can lead to weight gain or weight loss.
- The emotional state of might due to some event recently which makes you guilty.
- Negative thoughts and sudden pessimism, low self-esteem, inferiority complex.
- Lethargy, laziness, not willing to get out of bed.
- Sudden bouts of violence, getting emotional or schizophrenic.
If anyone is seeing these signs, then one must not neglect this. There are several ways by which one can delay the onset of depression or prevent it.
- Yoga and Meditation: It is documented that doing yoga and meditation improves concentration and strengthens the mind. Yoga helps in channelizing the energy in a positive direction. Yoga experts will suggest certain household techniques which are quick and can be done instantly if one is feeling stressed.
- Sleep Management: Sound sleep is important for relaxing the body. After all days the working body wants to rest and this is given by sleep. Sound sleep can be achieved by doing meditation before sleeping. Listening to soothing music or talking to someone whom you enjoy. The atmosphere should be optimal for sleep. No or less sound or minimal lighting is good for sleep.
- Stress Management: It is not always the medical counsellor who can help in reducing stress. One can talk to a small child to relieve stress. The main thing is talking to someone. Your family or friends should know about your mental condition. Talking to someone you trust releases certain hormones which will make you feel light and good.
- Avoid Tamasic Environment and Food: Few experts believe that eating tamasic food or living in a negative environment will increase the stress in life and maybe a cause of depression. Instead, eat a sattvic diet and always entertain thoughts of positivity.
- Be Active And Stop Overthinking: An active body and mind always keeps the metabolism perfect. This will help in flushing the ama element from the body. Lethargy is one of the reason, the body becomes obese and we all know the next complications. So it is advisable to be active, do light physical work. One should stop overthinking as this will increase the blood pressure, anxiety and restlessness
These are all preventive measures, which are easy to follow. However, in the severe stages, medication is always there. There are many allopathic medicines available in the market but many times they become lifetime dependency. Ayurvedic medicine for depression and insomnia can be a safer alternative. Remember a happy mind is a positive mind and a positive mind is a key to success in life.