Management of Depression: An Ayurvedic Approach

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What is Depression

In today’s world, each one of us feels restless, sad, or empty at some point in our lives. Human beings are the intelligent creations of God that feel and react accordingly. We work, we earn, we laugh, we cry, and so on. But sometimes a person may feel empty, sad, and unpleasant persistently for an ample period without any reason. This state is considered depression. Depression is a mental disorder that is different from grief and mood swings

depressed man

Symptoms of depression include:

Depression includes several symptoms which vary according to severity. The symptoms vary in males, females, teens, and children.

  • Excessive crying,
  • feelings of sadness,
  • emptiness,
  • anxiousness, 
  • loss of hope and positivity,
  • easily annoyed, bothered, and angry.
  • Difficulty in memorizing, concentrating, and recalling things,
  • difficulty in falling asleep or oversleeping.

Extreme depression includes thoughts of suicide and self harm. 

What leads to Depression according to Ayurveda? 

Ayurveda recognizes depression as a mental imbalance. Depression is a state that deteriorates the quality of life of patients by affecting their physical, mental, personal, social, and spiritual well-being. According to Ayurveda, the main cause of depression is emotional imbalance. The basic cause of emotional imbalance are two:

  1. The imbalance of Tridoshas In simpler form, it’s the state when the three Doshas are not at their optimal levels.  Depression is caused by the vitiation and imbalance of the three doshas that are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The three doshas in the body work differently and their imbalance results in different diseases and symptoms. 

Here, in depression, an imbalance in Vata dosha can lead to anxiety, fear, and insomnia. An imbalance in Pitta dosha can lead to anger, irritability, and frustration whereas an imbalance in Kapha dosha can lead to heaviness, sadness, apathy, and a lethargic attitude. It may also lead to hopelessness and sadness. 

  1. Lack of awareness of one’s inner self

Management of Depression Via Ayurveda

management of depression

Depression is not an easy task to tackle. A person with depression seems low, he may not every time indulge in normal day to day activities. But Ayurveda suggests treatments for innumerable and even unnamed diseases that affect the mind and body.  

Ayurveda, prescribes internal herbal medications and supplements for treating depression. The thousands of year old medicinal system also provides rejuvenating and detoxifying therapies of panchkarma that helps in managing depression. The Panchkarma therapies like Shirodhara, abhyanga, nasya are boon in treating depression. These panchakarma therapies relax the brain by reducing the level of stress hormones and changing the ECG pattern of the brain. These panchakarma therapies improve the blood circulation of the brain as well. 

Moreover, the panchakarma therapies improve the intellect, memory and concentration too. These therapies also lead to sound sleep. 

Along with herbal medications and panchakarma therapies, yoga also helps in managing depression. Yoga relieves stress, and anxiety, balances hormones, calms the mind and soothes the soul. 

Herbs for management of depression

There are dozens of herbs that can help you to cope with depression. Some of the herbs are:

herbs for management of depression

Ashwagandha

Apart from its blood sugar regulating effect, ashwagandha also helps in inducing sleep and reducing stress. Researchers show it’s anxiolytic properties similar to the modern anti- depressant drug lorazepam. It also helps in rejuvenation, improves energy level by maintaining health of the powerhouse of the cells that is mitochondria.  

Ashwagandha is considered as rasayana and is categorized into the category medhya rasayana  and works on intellect and memory. This tremendous herb also exhibit antidepressant properties like imipramine. It acts like a mood stabilizer in depression. 

Sarpagandha

According to Ayurveda Vata dosha is responsible for all the body movements and working of the nervous system too. Therefore vitiation of the vata dosha may sometimes cause anxiety. Withania somnifera acts in pacifying vata dosha and thus reduces anxiety. It also helps in inducing sleep. 

Brahmi

Since ancient times, brahmi has been used as anti-anxiety. In studies, it proved effective in reducing anxiety and stabilizing mental health. Bacoppa monniere also acts as tranquilizer and sedative. 

Lifestyle management that can help prevent depression 

Mental ailments like depression can be prevented by following the dincharya that is mentioned in Ayurveda. Dincharya is the healthy routine that one should follow to maintain health and to keep himself free from diseases.

Apart from Dincharya, these precautionary measures should also be followed

  • Exercise regularly. This will increase the production of hormone endorphins and hence will help you in keeping your mood good. 
  • Stop drinking alcohol. These things can worsen the symptoms of depression.
  • Create a positive atmosphere around yourself by meditating, doing yoga and pranayama. 
  • Keep in mind that “early to sleep and early to rise” makes the man healthy wealthy, and wise. 
  • Don’t ponder over the thoughts. Keep yourself busy with some or the other work. You can work on your new hobbies too. 
  • Don’t keep your thoughts and emotions confined to yourself. Share them or start writing a journal. 

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