Today mostly everybody knows what depression is. Over 5 crore people in India suffer from depression. Depression is mostly treated as a psychological disease, however it was recently established that it affects a person physically too. Depression is also known as “clinical depression”, “the blues” etc. Depression is usually a result of emotional, mental or physical stress. A lot of times due to our societal taboos Depression go unattended and non-medicated. People suffering from depression often complain of heavy sadness, hopelessness, anger or feeling of loss. These feelings usually last for weeks and months altogether. This could on many occasions result in disorientation, disrupted sleeping patterns, loss or gain of appetite etc. Depression in layman words is caused when the brain’s feel good hormone also known as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine get imbalanced due to some external triggers.
Causes Of Depression
Nobody knows the real cause of depression; there are some factors which might trigger depression:
- Genetics: Sometimes a person who has had a family history of depression may have increased chances of getting depression.
- Abuse: a history of sexual or physical abuse can cause vulnerability and thus causing depression
- Substance Abuse: Since substance abuse like alcohol, drugs etc affect the chemical balance of the body; it is one of the leading causes of depression.
- Illnesses: people who fall sick often or are suffering from chronic illnesses may be prone to depression.
- Other personal problems: any dispute with loved ones, family etc may cause chronic sadness in people. Death of any important person in life or loss of someone may cause depression too.
- Medication: some medications for example barbiturates, benzodiazepines etc have been linked to depression
- Sleep and Unhealthy Lifestyles: Loss of sleep or insomnia has often been causes of depression. Eating too much or too less can also sometimes cause depression.
Symptoms Of Depression
No two people have the same symptoms of depression. What you might be suffering may not be what another person will be suffering. However here are some symptoms that might help you understand if what you have is depression or not:
- Fatigue/ tiredness
- Loss of energy or not being able to do regular day-to-day work.
- Helplessness/ dissatisfaction/ low self-esteem
- Physical pains like headache, stomach ache, etc
- Sleeping disorders like insomnia or over-sleeping
- Unusual appetite which includes overeating or under-eating
- Withdrawal from society
- Suicidal tendencies
- Irritability, anxiety, agitation and anger
BIOLOGICAL BODY AND DEPRESSION: Researchers have found that a person’s brain who is suffering from depression and a person who is not suffering depression are very different. A depressed person’s hippo campus known for storing memories is smaller and a small hippo campus results in less serotonin (happy hormone) receptors.
TYPES OF DEPRESSION
- Major Depression: this depression usually lasts for some days or weeks and is what usually known as Clinical Depression.
- Dysthymia: this depression usually lasts for less than two years.
- Seasonal Affect Disorder: this depression is caused due to some seasons.
- Pre Menstrual Syndrome: This kind of depression usually happens to women who are going to enter their period cycle.
In Ayurveda it is believed that the leading cause of mental disorders such as depression is the imbalance between the physical and psychic energies; the psychic energies being sattva (clarity), rajas (activity), and tamas (ignorance)and physical energies being vata, pitta, kapha. It is also believed that a weakened ojas(essences of all dhatus) is also a cause of depression. A weakened ojas also alters the proper functioning of the brain which is controlled by Prana Vayu.
These are the herbs which help you control and cure depression:
- Ashwagandha– It strengthens the brain. This herb has the properties to remove negative thoughts.
- Sarpagandha. -Helps to control blood pressure and induce sleep.
- Jatamansi-gives stability to the brain functioning. It also has calming effect on the mind.
- Vacha– Memory enhancer; helps to increase recall a memory.
- Brahmi-In Ayurveda it is called medyarasayana which increases concentration, revitalises brain cells and it sooths the nervous system. It is usually prescribed before a yogic session to bring the mind in a comfortable state.
The following Ayurvedic Medicines are available for curing depression
- Dabur Ashwagandharishta: this medicine is a unique combination of Ashwagandha, Mushali, Manjishtha, Haritaki and Nisha herbs. It helps treat depression & anxiety, improves memory, helps in calming nerves and strengthens digestive system.
Dosage: 15-30 m diluted with water and to be taken post meals or as suggested by the Vaidya.
- Kapiva Brahmi Capsules: This contains Brahmi which increases concentration, revitalises brain cells and it sooths the nervous system.
Dosage: Consume two capsules at a time twice a day as a healthy addition
- Kapiva Ashwagnadha+ Destress Capsules: This contains Ashwagandha and Brahmi and both these herbs have been used for treating mental disorders and brain related problems.
Dosage: 1 capsule twice a day
Health Tips for Depression
- Practice meditation: to cure your depression you need to start controlling your mind first. So meditation everyday will help you relieve stress and relax.
- Early to bed: Ayurveda believes that 10 pm is the last time you should be awake till.
- Early to rise: you should wake up with the sun, i.e. 6 am should be your waking hour.
- Walking: the old-school early morning walks, under the sun and breathing deeply help beating the depression faster.
- Routine bowel movements: Constipation can really affect your mood, so be sure that you relieve yourself each and every morning.
- Healthy eating: for a healthy mind you need a healthy body and a healthy body comes with eating a well-balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
- Moderate exercises: practice yoga, it is specifically designed for both body and mind.
- Drink water: water helps gets rid of toxins, so an average female should consume 2 and half litres of water and an average male should consume 3 liters of water.
Vaidya Karanvir Singh is the younger Vaidya in Chandigarh Ayurved & Panchakarma Centre. He is the fourth generation in his family who is practicing as a general consultant in Ayurved & Panchakarma treatment at Chandigarh. In his practice, he had treated more than 1000 plus patients worldwide.