Ayurvedic Treatment of Depression and Anxiety
It is said that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body and vice-versa. Due to fast-paced life and many other factors, stress related diseases and health issues are on the rise posing a great threat to mental health. Many people suffer from depression and anxiety, two serious medical conditions.
What is Depression and Anxiety?
Depression and anxiety are different disorders but can occur at the same time. They may have similar symptoms and can be treated in a similar manner.
Most of us feel down at times. We also feel anxious now and then. That is normal. Depression is a mood disorder which involves a severe and persistent feeling of sadness that interferes with your daily activities and relationships.
Anxiety refers to the fear of a future situation and is associated with muscle tension and avoidance behaviour.
Depression can trigger anxiety and anxiety can make us depressed. So both are flip sides of a coin.
There is no single test that can diagnose depression or anxiety.
For diagnosis, your doctor performs a physical exam that will reveal the overall state of health.
Then a screening test is performed in which you are asked a series of questions about your mood, appetite, sleep pattern, activity level and thoughts.
The doctor also recommends a blood test to determine if any other condition may be causing your symptoms.
Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
Do you think you might be depressed or suffering from anxiety disorder? Read through these warning signs-
Decreased energy, chronic fatigue
Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, recalling
Slowed thinking, speaking and body movements
Pain, cramps or gastrointestinal problems without any clear cause
Significant weight loss or weight gain
Waking early or oversleeping
Loss of interest in daily activities, hobbies and social activities once you enjoyed
Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety and emptiness
Feelings of hopelessness and helpness
Anger, irritability, restlessness
Feelings of guilt, self-hate
Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
Feeling weak or tired
Difficulty concentrating and controlling worry or fear
Trembling or muscle twitching
Increased heart rate, rapid breathing
Increased or heavy sweating
Nervousness, restlessness, irritability
Feelings of panic or dread about a forthcoming event
Having an urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Causes of Depression and Anxiety
There are several causes for these disorders ranging from biological to circumstantial. These include:
Genetics - Depression and anxiety can run in families.
Trauma - Some events like physical, sexual or emotional abuse affect the way you respond to fear and stress.
Abnormal Brain Chemistry - Having too little of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) could contribute to depression.
Medical Conditions - Depression and anxiety may occur along with a major illness.
Drug or Alcohol Abuse
Personal history of mental illness - Social isolation due to another mental illness can be an underlying cause.
Life events - Loss of loved one, financial problems, unemployment, loneliness may lead to these disorders. Even good things in life like marriage, a new job, having a baby can lead to depression and anxiety.
Risk factors of Depression and Anxiety
Depression often begins in the teens, 20s or 30s but it can occur at any age.
Women are about twice as likely as men to be depressed.
People with low self-esteem and who are too dependent and self-critical are more at risk.
Personal turmoil or disputes with family and friends can be factors.
Treatment of Depression and Anxiety in Ayurveda
Ayurveda is one of the efficient ways, along with allopathy to deal with anxiety and depression. It sees the body and mind as reflections of each other.
According to Ayurveda, imbalance in psychic and physical energy (vata, pitta and kapha) is the root cause for depression and anxiety. The tridoshas are aggravated and the physical energy is reduced. These doshas have to be fine-tuned.
Ayurvedic treatment aims at avoiding stress and strengthening the body's adaptive power to deal with stress.
A proper counselling is the first step. Your doctor will examine your detailed history and then recommend ayurveda therapies, rejuvenation programs, diet and lifestyle modification.
Ayurveda therapies along with Yoga and Pranayama are helpful in reversing or stopping the progression of the disease.
Abhyangam - A full body massage with dosha-specific medicated herbal oils improves blood circulation and flushes out toxins. Vital pressure points are stimulated. Stress is reduced due to the resulting nervous stimulation.
Nasyam - Medicated drugs or oils are administered through nostrils. It stimulates the vital centres of the brain that regulate emotions.
Pizhichil - Medicated oil bath gives both physical and mental relaxation.
Njavarakizhi - Application of warm pouch containing cooked njavara rice in milk decoction(ksheera kashayam) helps in reducing stress.
Shirodhara - The streaming of soothing warmed medicinal oil onto your forehead induces relaxation and peace.
Thalam - Medicinal oil is applied over the head. Concentration and memory problems are effectively treated.
Along with the therapies, medicinal plants are also used for treatment. Exercise is recommended. High nutritive fibre-rich foods, salads, fruits and lentils must be included in the diet.
Treatment at Jeevess
Jeevess Manassanthi program is the stress management program adopted at Jeevess. It is an exclusive stress management program to relieve mental stress and improve mental and psychological well-being.
Ayurveda therapies that provide you relaxation and make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated are recommended for you according to your requirement.
Yoga sessions help to manage stress and concentrate on positive thoughts. It also prevents the recurrence of depression and anxiety.
You feel energized and your overall health and immunity is improved.
It might feel like a difficult phase. But if treated on time you can overcome or control many of the symptoms of stress related medical conditions.