Among the dreadful psychological disorders, depression takes lion-share. In worldwide population also, 5-6 % people suffer from depression. The incidence is quite higher (10-11%) in developed countries. Interestingly, higher the status of education and profession, higher the life complications. Dissatisfaction and over expectations in life and profession leads to depression.
Everyone has got this “born to win” attitude. We hardly come across people who would say, “I will accept the defeat which I may face in every step, will learn from it and improvise. Thus, I will finally win”. This is why it is very common to find dissatisfied individuals around us. People are unhappy with the feeling that they could not achieve the educational status, monitory satisfaction, political powers or higher recognition in the society.
Depression is explained as a causative factor for many diseases. A positive mindset helps you to reach pristine heights, a depressed mind welcomes many diseases, apart from that feeling of negativity.
Here are a few causes for mental depression –
TV causes depression – watching TV for long hours is a known cause of depression. Apart from keeping your body inactive, TV indulgence keeps your mind dull and inactive as well.
Drinking causes depression – Though you feel elevated and get a cloud-9 feeling, once the kick leaves you, depression attacks.
Excessive indulgence in internet and social networking – Gossiping, feeling jealous about a friend’s new car pics on facebook, comparing your performance or status with others, failing to grab attention or receive responses to your posting etc cause a lot of pressure and depression. So beware. orkut, twitter and facebook causes depression.
Sleep and depression are inter-related. 20 % of people with insomnia tend to have depression. Conversely people with depression tend to suffer from insomnia.
Genetic factor is a known cause.
Biological causes such as imbalance in neuro- transmitters (nerve – Chemical messengers) – serotonin, Acetylcholine, catecholamines etc.
Women and depression – In women, the hormones oestrogen and progesterone are also found to have a role in depression. This is also a reason why women tend to get Pre Menstrual Symptoms.
Age related depression – feeling of dependence, lack of body strength, nagging chronic diseases, uncaring children, worries about future etc makes elderly people vulnerable to depression.
Comparison with others – People often compare their life and status with others; usually their neighbours, relatives, classmates or colleagues. When they feel that they are inferior in any of the respects of one’s own thinking, he starts worrying and hating those individuals or sectors or group of people. Ultimately the jealousy they develop will burn them , each and every moment.
Causes for depression according to Ayurveda
Intake of incompatible food (Viruddhahara)
Intake of excess Kapha aggravating food (Kaphaja Ahara)
Food possessing heaviness, slowness, cooling and unctuous properties.( Guru-Manda-Sheeta-Snigdha Ahara)
Tamasika food (Food which provoke Tamas.)
Excess sleep (Nidradhikya)
Sedentary life (Akarmana)
Fear (Adhairya/ Bhaya) etc.
Click to read about depressive symptoms and when to seek medical help during depression.
Ayurvedic concept of depression:
‘Mano avasada‘ is the word we find in Ayurvedic literature about depression or inferiority. Ayurveda points out specific reasons for this kind of attitude. Even though this particular problem is not narrated under a single heading in classical literature, we come across scattered references of depression in various contexts.
Loss of concentration (Adheera drishti)
Reduced working ability (Karma hani )
Suicidal thoughts etc.
Read more –
When to seek medical advice during depression
When you can manage yourself, without seeking medical advice
Wake up early in the morning. Early morning hours are dominated by Vata, which elevates your mood levels and keeps you motivated and energised throughout the day. Learn how to wake up early
Exercise – Exercise not only builds your body, it also elevates mood and self confidence. At least 10 minutes of walking, jogging, or outdoor games with kids should be good enough.
Hobbies – Hobby is a great way to divert your attention from depression and to open up your creative mind. Learn how hobbies can cure depression
Friend in need – There must be someone in your family or friend circle who totally understands you and motivates you. Chat with him / her daily and get motivation and emotional support.
Eating Habits – Include a variety of fruits and vegetables. Avoid excess salt and spicy foods
Have more of apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, collards, peaches, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato blueberries, broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, tomato, margarine, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ.
Line of treatment
First line of treatment begins from assurance and confidence building through series of counselling and solving personal problems. This is done by talking to the patient and also helping the kin of patient to make necessary adjustments. For example, if the parents are very strict with their son, causing depression in the son, then the parents are advised to be a bit lenient.
The medicaments possessing carminative and digestive properties (Deepana and Pachana) are found to be essential to stimulate and improve body metabolism.
Cleansing Panchakarma therapies such as purgation (Virechana) and Nasal drops(Nasya) are adopted based on necessity;
Virechana treatment balances Pitta and Vata dosha, which are related to mood, intelligence etc.
Nasya treatment strengthens mind and sense organs.
Suitable medicines are administered – to correct mood, sleeping habits, to improve self confidence etc.
Herbs used in depression
Vacha-Sweet flag – Acorus calamus – Useful to improve intelligence, in cases of depression associated with aggressive behaviour (such as Manic Depressive Psychosis), irrelevant talk etc
Jyotishmati-Celastrus paniculatus – Improves intelligence, digestion strength and body metabolism
Jatamansi – Nardostachys jatamamsi – Useful in depression, psychosis and lack of sleep.
Heeng-Asafetida – useful in depression associated with gastritis symptoms, bloating, anorexia etc.
Cumin seeds, Ajamoda-Celery – Useful in depression with gastric complaints
Ashwagandha – Useful in depression associated with lack of body strength, lack of sleep, lack of energy
Pushkaramoola-Inula plant – Useful in depression associated with anxiety, breathing difficulties, etc.
Ginger, Turmeric and Nutmeg – Useful in depression with respiratory and digestive symptoms.
Jyotishmati Taila – 2-3 drops are added to milk and taken twice daily
Mamsyadi Kashaya – 30 ml twice daily in empty stomach
Anu Taila (For Nasya)
Ashwagandharishta – used in the treatment of sexual disorders, depression etc.
Hinguvachadi Choorna – also useful in Ayurvedic treatment of indigestion, bloating and abdominal pain
Pushkara moolasava – also useful in treating Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, Bronchitis etc
Brahmi Ghrita – Useful in improving intelligence, learning skills and speech.
Mahapaishachika Ghrita – useful in psychosis and depression
As the complaint ‘depression’ is troublesome to the person as well as his family, immediate attention is to be given. Proper care, consultation of psychiatrists, assurance, carrier guidelines, education towards health-life and profession will help the patient to recover from it swiftly and prevents untoward incidences like chronic depression and suicide.
Article by Dr Krishnamurthy and Dr Hebbar