Ayurvedic Management of Depression

Among the dreadful psychological disorders, depression takes lion-share. In worldwide population 5-6% people are suffering from depression. The incidences are quite higher (10-11%) in developed countries. Interestingly, higher the status of education and profession, higher the life complications.

Among the dreadful psychological disorders, depression takes lion-share. In worldwide population 5-6% people are suffering from depression. The incidences are quite higher (10-11%) in developed countries. Interestingly, higher the status of education and profession, higher the life complications.

 ‘Mano avasada’ is the word we find in Ayurvedic literatures about depression. Ayurveda points out specific reasons for this kind of attitude. 

According to Ayurveda “stress, anxiety and depression are basically the disorders of rajas.” Rajas basically represents passion or undirected activity and is one of the three universal qualities or gunas and too much rajas shows up in the mind as attachment, craving and desire by their nature. These impulses can’t be satisfied and therefore create a negative psychological disposition. Basically, everyone has got this “ born to win” attitude. We hardly come across people who would say, “ I will accept the defeat which I may face in every step, will learn from it and improve it. This is why it is very common to find dissatisfied individuals around us. People are unhappy with the feeling that they could not achieve the educational status, monitory satisfaction, political powers. or higher recognition in the society. 

Common Causes of Depression
Genetics: It is believed that many genes may play a factor in causing depression. If we have a family history with depression, there is higher chances of experiencing it at some point in our life. 

Age: During old age, feeling of dependence, lack of body strength, nagging chronic disease, uncaring children, worries about future etc make elderly people vulnerable to  depression. 

Gender: Women are more prone to depression as compared to men because of the presence of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in them. 

Physical source: Nutritional deficiencies due to faulty and improper eating habits can lead to depression.

Psychological cause: Tension of achieving goals, disturbing behaviour of other, perceived insults, cheating & anger, will lead to depression at some point of our life. Most of the times we experience that people start comparing their life and status with others, usually the neighbours, relatives, classmates or colleagues. When they feel that they are inferior in any of the respects of one’s own thinking, they start worrying and hating those individuals or sectors or group of people. 

Environmental causes: Climatic conditions, commuting,  traffic jams & pollution are also some of the reasons of increasing depression in our society.

Sleep: Sleep and depression are inter-related. 20% of people with insomnia tend to have depression. Conversely people with depression tend to suffer from insomnia. 

Television & Internet: Watching television for long hours is a known cause of depression. Apart from keeping your body inactive, television indulgence keeps your mind dull and inactive as well. Excessive indulgence in internet and social networking.

Society: Gossiping, feeling jealous comparing your performance or status with others, failing to grab attention or not receive responses to your posting etc cause a lot of pressure and depression.

Clinical Features of Depression

Loss of interest in daily activities
Person who is suffering from depression will lose the ability to feel joy and pleasure in all activities, irrespective of its relation to former hobbies, social activities or sex.

Impulsive behaviour
Victim gets engaged in escapist behaviour such as substance abuse, reckless driving, dangerous sports etc.

Lack of concentration
Trouble in focussing, difficulty in making decisions or remembering things are the activities associated with victims of depression.

Self loathing
It includes strong feelings of guilt or harsh criticism for percieved faults and mistakes.

Strong feeling of helplessness
It is a bleak outlook that nothing will ever get better and there is no way to come out of this situation.

It is basically feeling of being violent, agitated or even short tempered and in this situation, it seems as if every thing and every one gets on your nerves.
Sleep changes. Either lack of sleep especially waking in the early morning or oversleeping is the most common symptom of depression.

Weight changes
Significant weight loss or gain of near about more than 5% body weight in a month is one of the indicators of depression.

Unexplained body aches
An increase in physical complaints like headache, backache, stomach pain etc is also on higher sides in patients with depression.

Disorders like stress, tension, depression, nervousness, anxiety, insomnia etc. can be only treated with the help of proper medication, counselling and a healthy life style. Because ultimately, a healthy body gives a healthy mind. 

Perhaps, it is even more important than medication. Because, counselling teaches the patient to make permanent positive and effective changes from the inside out, helping them to become more independent and self reliant and therefore more confident. Thus it is less likely to relapse.

Panchkarma Therapy
Purgation, shirodhara and nasal drops are necessary to balance the vitiated doshas which are related to mood and intelligence and thus help to strengthen the mind and sense organs. 

Herbs Therapy
The herbs that can strengthen the nervous system so that the body can handle added levels of tension & stress and restore normal mental conditions are:-
Ashwagandha- It strengthens the brain.

Sarpagandha- It helps to control blood pressure and induces sleep.
Jatamansi-  It gives stability to the brain functioning.
vacha. It is one of the best memory enhancer & helps to increase recall ability.
Brahmi- It enhances concentration & revitalizes brain cells and  has soothing effect on the nervous system.
Jyotishmati- It improves intelligence, mental strength and body metabolism.

Lifestyle tips for Depression

1. Wake up early in the morning: Early morning hours are dominated by Vata, which elevates the mood levels and keeps motivated and energized throughout the day.
2. Exercise: Exercise not only builds the body, it also elevates mood and self confidence. At least 10 minutes of walking, jogging & outdoor games with kids.
3. Hobbies- Hobby is a great way to divert the attention from depression and to open up the creative mind. 
4. Friend in need: There must be someone in the family or friend circle who totally understands you and motivates & chat daily  provides emotional support.