Depression is a prevalent mental ailment in today’s world. We hear ‘I am sad’, ‘I lost’, ‘I give up’. These phrases have been encountered by everyone at least once in their lifetime. The sadness or lost feeling or illness is not exactly a clinical depression that requires medical intervention. Depression in the medical setting can be referred to as a state of dejection & despondency. It can be further explained as a serious mood disorder characterized by sadness & loss of interest persistently. Feelings, thoughts & behavior are greatly impacted. It is a devastating illness affecting 4.4 % of the global population. Women are prone to depression than men as they endure adolescence, menstrual, post-partum & perimenopausal changes. Globally depression has a negative economical impact & is the leading cause of disability. In these instances, integrated therapies & holistic approach requires greater significance. WHO classifies depression as one of the leading causes of morbidity.
In Ayurveda, there is an enormous reference of mind & its common ailments. Unlike other medical systems, it follows a holistic approach. It is considered as Manovasada in Ayurveda. Vishaada & avasada is a feeling of guilt or sadness. Health is considered as the equilibrium of body, mind, & soul. Aggravation of dosha like Vata can create vishada & is the causative factor for vishada. Depending upon the intensity of vitiated doshas depression can be classified as vatika, paithika & kaphaja. In extreme cases, all doshas are seen involved.
- Hereditary, it can run in families
- Improper dietary intake, lack of nutrient diet
- Severe mental trauma causing stress & anxiety involving loss of dear ones or financial loss
- Diseases like cancer, parkinsonism, heart attack & stroke
- Medications like antihypertensives, tranquilizers & hormonal therapies can trigger episodes of depression
- Solitary lifestyle
- Psychological disorders like panic attacks, anxiety & schizophrenia.
- Addictions like Smoking, alcohol – drug misuse
Signs & Symptoms
- Sad feeling & tendency to cry
- Bursting out with anger & irritability even over silly matters
- Lack of interest in hobbies, sex, or sport activities
- Lack of sound sleep or in some cases sleeping too much
- Tiring & exhausting easily even after short work
- Loss of appetite, food cravings, weight gain
- Physical problems like headache & backache
- Self-blame & guilty feeling
- Suicidal thoughts & death thoughts
These symptoms or clinical manifestations become more evident & impact individuals’ day to day activities, relationships & social life.
The Prana Vata, sadhaka pitta & tarpaka Kapha are directly linked to the healthy functioning of our mind. On a preventive note, it is always recommended to follow the Ayurveda daily routine, the dinacarya as well as the seasonal routine. This helps to eliminate the toxins & enhance rejuvenation of the mind & body. Choose a diet that aligns with your Prakriti that helps to bring synchronization to mind. Daily meditation, yogasanas & pranayama helps to stabilize the mind. Also, detoxification therapies, panchakarma therapies as well as rejuvenation therapies are beneficial in treating depression permanently.
Use of whole-grain foods, vegetables, whole fruits especially rich in Vitamin C, A, Beta- carotene. Amla, pomegranate, broccoli, carrot, spinach & sweet potato are recommended.
Protein-rich foods like milk
Avoid gluten, caffeine & sugar
Engage in some sort of physical activity regularly. This helps to avoid irrelevant thoughts & worries.
Treatment according to Ayurveda
Nidana parivarjana or avoid the real cause. It is essential to find the cause & act accordingly. This is the very first line of intervention
Panchakarma or detoxification therapies should be followed by shamana or palliative therapy.
Internal oil therapy or drinking medicated oil like kalyanaka ghritham for 3/5/7 days depending upon the person & disease
Purgation therapy or virechana karma with eranda taila with milk
Nasya or nasal medication with anu taila is best to clear the upper tract & provide clarity to senses
Taila Shiro vasthi or Shiro Dhara with chandanadi taila or takra Dhara is advisable depending upon the condition for 7 days
Shiro abhyanga or even whole body abhyanga is recommeneded
Shavasana, padmasamna, suryanamaskar & sarvangasana
Counseling can be done whenever needed. Mental reassurance of family & friends is inevitable. Diet & good company of virtuous crowds are extremely vital in the treatment of mental disorders.
It is very important to seek expert advice if there are suicidal thoughts or nonresponsive to therapies or has allied complications.
A cup of warm milk (add a pinch of dry ginger powder) before sleep
Head massage & foot massage with any suitable oil
Bhringa raj is a leafy vegetable that can be stir-fried with coconut
Ashwagandha or Withania root powder with warm milk