Ayurveda is a holistic modality of treatment that greatly believes in the integration between mind, body, and soul. It defines the health of a person/swasthya as homeostasis between Agni (digestive fire),tridosha(3 dosha’s), dhatu(constitutional tissues), mala(excretory wastes of the body), and a blissful state of mind, soul and senses. Ayurvedic scriptures have mentioned manasic dosha’s viz; sattva, rajas, and tamas.
Ayurvedic methods of management of mental health (manas roga) focus both on the preventive and curative aspects without producing any co-morbidities. The combination of tridosha and three Gunas constitute an individual’s “Prakriti”. The equilibrium amongst all is responsible for good mental and overall health. Depression treatment in Ayurveda gives prime importance to good mental health.
Vishada and Avasada are two conditions that are closely similar to depression in the form of mental
health. Acharya Charaka has quoted “Vishado Rogavardhananam Agryam” meaning vishada is the leading cause that worsens the condition of disease.
Causes Of Depression:
Major Life-Changing Events: Losing a job, getting divorced, breakup, etc besides good events such as a new job, marriage, and birth of a baby.
Conflicts/Disputes: Personal conflicts within the family and/or friends, traumatic experiences.
Serious Illnesses: Sometimes depression appears as a result of a major illness.
Substance Misuse: Drugs/alcohol can temporarily make you feel better but ultimately aggravate depression.
Age: Elderly people are relatively at a higher risk of depression which can be aggravated by living alone and a lack of social life.
Gender: Women are comparatively more likely to be depressed.
Death or a Loss: Sadness of losing a loved one.
Personal Problems: Social isolation.
Abuse: Physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse
Medications: Certain drugs such as isotretinoin, antiviral drugs, and corticosteroids increase the risk of the disease.
Genes: A family history of depression may increase the risk.
Symptoms Of Depression:
According to the DSM-5 having five or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks:
- Depressed mood all day.
- Feeling tired / lack energy all day.
- Feeling hopelessness or lack of motive.
- Difficulty in focusing, remembering, and remembering things.
- Difficulty in sleeping (excessive or decreased).
- No interest in routine activities and hobbies that exist earlier.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Feeling restless or slowed down in life.
- Sudden weight change ( excessive gain/loss).
- Have constant aches, pains, or digestive issues that don’t subside with treatment sometimes.
Tips To Enhance Mental Health:
- Practicing self-care with emphasis on increasing one’s “sattva” by practicing yoga, meditation, a healthy lifestyle, and eating habits.
- Maintaining balance in mind and body alongside Agni and dosha.
- Undergoing purificatory/cleansing therapies for a complete detox.
- Taking a sound sleep preferably at the same time every day.
- Eating a healthy and nutritious diet.
- Spending time to experience grounding and relaxation with nature.
- Scheduled breaks during work to practice deep breathing, resting eyes, and taking a walk around the place. Social media break at regular intervals is of great value to mental peace.
Depression Treatment in Ayurveda:
Ayurveda recommends three types of chikitsa for treating mental illnesses;
Daivavyapasraya chikitsa (spiritual therapy): It includes reciting mantras, sacred herbs, mani Dharan(wearing precious gems), home (yajna), niyama(Regulations), Upavasa (Fasting), Chanting of Mantras, Spiritual healing.
Yuktivyapasraya chikitsa (rational therapy): Use of internal medicines and purificatory therapies Viz Shodhana and Shamana.
- Internal medicines such as the brahmi vati,manas mitra vatak, and mahakalyanak ghrit.
- Nidan parivarjana
- Shiro virechan
- Shiro basti
- Shiro abhyang
- Nasya therapy
Satwavajaya chikitsa (psycho therapy): It aims at regulating thoughts and keeping the mind healthy using yoga, pranayama, dhyana, etc.
Achara Rasayana – Speaking truth, abstaining from anger, jealousy, greed, consumption of alcohol maintaining hygiene, sleeping and waking up on time, and eating a nutritious diet.