With the stresses and strains of modern life, most people are suffering some form of tension at the mental level. This may be expressed by such emotions as depression, anxiety, irritability, insecurity or a general feeling of dissatisfaction. Ayurveda has paid serious attention to such problems and has formulated effective treatment methods. Depression is referred to as mano avasad in Ayurveda.
Genetic, environmental, cognitive and personality factors are usually blamed for causing mood disorders such as depression. Stress many times precipitates this problem. Recent studies in modern science have revealed that depression results from an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. In Ayurveda, imbalance in psychic energies (sattva, rajas, tamas) supported by imbalance of physical energies (vata, pitta, kapha) are believed to cause various mental disorders. This applies to depression as well. Lack of mental discipline, indulgence in negative thoughts and activities and negative emotions, such as hatred, anger, etc. are known to cause imbalance in psychic energies which in turn leads to diseases like depression.
Fatigue Sleep disturbances Irritability Difficulty to concentrate Feeling of worthlessness Social isolation
Depression usually indicates reduced sattvik energy and aggavation of rajasik and tamasik energies. Weakend ojas (which is the essence of all dhatus) often contributes to this problem. Prana vayu is responsible for proper functioning of the mind. Weakened ojas disturbs the prana vayu which then fails to stimulate the mind. Lack of energy, sluggish movements, slow talking, irritability, anxiety, lack of self-esteem, feeling of worthlessness and reduced sex drive generally reflect weakened ojas. On the other hand sadness, despair, and lack of interest in life indicate heightened rajasik and tamasik influences. Ayurveda advises therapies, lifestyle adjustments and herbal preparations that clear and strengthen the mind allowing us to cope with life's challenges more effectively and also bring positivity to our lives at all levels.
Quite a few patients of depression give history of bad life style, improper food habits, addictions, lack of discipline in personal life and unsocial attitude. So maintaining good life style, food habits and discipline acquire lot of significance when it comes to psychiatric disorders such as depression. Getting up early enough in morning, avoiding late nights, doing physical exercises, playing games and outdoor activities help to keep the mind in a positive state. Eating fresh foods, vegetables, seasonal fruits and avoiding alcohol, non-vegetarian and fast foods, and maintaining regular food timings is good for mental health. Ensure that you take meals in a relaxed mental state and atmosphere. Avoid hot discussions and watching during meals. Making prayers, reading spiritual texts, reading good literature, listening to thought provoking lectures, hearing mantras and music also help to improve mental strength. Yoga, Pranayama and meditation are well known for enhancing mental and spiritual strength. One must also look at their social support system and make an effort to improve social ties to enjoy a positive mental state.