Emotional and Mental Health

Ayurvedic Approach to Manage Depression

Written by Dr. Alka and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Image: Ayurvedic Approach to Manage Depression

Whenever we hear the word depression, an image of the person comes to our mind, who is hopeless, unhappy, sad, miserable and living in a cocoon.

Depression is a very common, but severe psychological disorder affecting a significant number of people worldwide. In a few countries, people remain undiagnosed up to a large extent due to lack of awareness of psychological diseases. It is one of the most common mental disorders these days. It has many causes like genetic, biological, environmental, psychological and a combination of two or more reasons.

In ayurveda, depression is called as vishada. In ayurveda, it is believed that depression results from vitiated doshas in the brain.

Depression Types:

The three doshas get suppressed and lead to loss of desire to participate in one's life activities. The three types of depressions are vata type, pitta type, and kapha type.

Besides generalized symptoms of depression, in ayurveda, different symptoms according to different dosha depression are also described.

  • The symptoms of vata type depression are mainly irrational fears, insomnia, forgetfulness, etc. Also, other symptoms might be associated with it.
  • The symptoms of pitta type depression are mainly violent behavior, anger, and suicidal tendency.
  • The symptoms of kapha type depression are primarily apathy, lethargy, dullness, excessive sleep, etc.

Sometimes a combination of different symptoms might be present.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Depression:

Ayurveda believes in the principle of 'removing or staying away from the cause is half the treatment '. It is mentioned as nidana parivarjanam. So first of all rule out the primary cause of depression. Once the cause comes into the knowledge, try to change the thought process related to it. It will help the patient to a great extent.

As far as other treatments are concerned, it includes panchakarma therapies, other external treatments, usage of various internal medications, change of diet and lifestyle changes.

1) Panchakarma:

Panchakarma procedures are helpful in purifying the channels of the body. In panchakarma, there are therapies included like vamana (emesis therapy), virechana (purgation), basti (enema or colonic irrigation), nasya (nose cleaning) and raktamokshana (clean the blood). Anyone of them is prescribed to the patient according to the type of depression and other associated conditions.

2) External Therapies:

Other external therapies include shirodhara, shirobasti, abhyanga, etc. All these therapies use medicated herbal oils. There are a variety of medicated herbal oils in ayurveda. These external therapies are very effective in curing depression.

3) Internal Medications:

Regarding internal medicines, many herbs in various ayurvedic combinations are used. The ayurveda books have written all the properties of these drugs as to how they help in curing depression. Nowadays, various researches have also been done on the efficacy of these drugs and some drugs are proved extremely useful in the disease.

Single herbs like brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), etc., are described in the context of depression and used extensively.

Besides these single herbs, there are many other medicines like Saraswatarishta, Vachadi churnam, Panchagavya ghrita, etc.

4) Lifestyle Changes:

The medicine of choice can be according to patient’s condition. Besides the treatment other activities like yoga, exercise, pranayama, meditation, counseling, yoga nidra, and deep relaxation techniques are also advised to overcome depression. Dietary changes like the addition of some foods and neglection of some foods are also recommended. Lifestyle changes are also suggested for the overall well-being of a person.

Medicines and other modifications help to cure the problem. Along with that, the support of family, friends and will power of a patient also play a role in how much they are determined to fight against the depression.

To know more about the ayurvedic management of depression, consult an ayurveda specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ayurveda-specialist

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018



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