In today’s fast-paced world on instant gratification and unlimited access to a huge variety of products and experiences, suffering from depression has become something rather taboo, and is often considered as an excuse for not conforming to the norms of society or is seen as a form of laziness. How often sufferers of depression are told to “just get over it” or “shake it off” and “get on with it”.
A Definition of Depression
Depression can be defined as a low state of mood coupled with a reluctance to take part in any form of activity or engage in any activity. It often can affect a person’s way of thinking, their normal behavioural tendencies, their sense of well being, feelings and general emotional state.
Being in a frame of mood and mind that is considered depressed is a perfectly normal temporary reaction to some type of occurrence that has taken place in a person’s life; such as the loss of a loved one or some other form of emotional upheaval. It can also be caused as a side effect to a particular drug or medical treatment and is symptomatic of some physical or physiological condition such as dysthymia or major depressive disorder. In other words, there are a wide variety of potential causes for depression.
Depression as a Medical Condition.
Depression is a common illness worldwide (ranked as number one out of the top ten mental disorders worldwide by the WHO), with no divisions made according to age, gender, race or external influencing factors. It is basically a condition that can affect anyone at any time in their life. Most people are prone to pay little attention to analysing the possible cause of their depression and often just seek out medical advice for it. Depression is medically categorized as a brain disorder, affecting a person’s mood, and so interferes with their daily life, creating the feeling of being unhappy, awkward and miserable.
Causes of Depression
Some of the causes of depression remain unknown, however, it has been established that depression can be linked to genetics, biological factors environmental influences and psychological factors. This is not to say that these are the exclusive causes of depression, and it has been documented to affect people without relating to any of these factors. In fact, depression has also been linked to substance abuse, sleep disorders and stressful life events
Treating Depression With Ayurveda
In the Ayurvedic sciences, depression is known as Vishada or Avasada and is a condition brought about by the aggravation of one’s physiological imbalances. As an illness, depression infiltrates the system of the body, and when this occurs it affects the way in which a person feels about things and situations. It also changes and affects the way a person thinks and how their brain responds. In the Ayurvedic school of thought, it is classed as a mental disease that’s linked to a bodily process. Ayurveda believes that depression results from vitiated or impaired doshas in the brain, as the prana vayu, trapaka kapha and sadhaka pitta, all of which suppress Ojus, which bring about a loss of desire to actively take part in one’s life’s activities. All three of the doshas may bring about a state of depression if left unbalanced.
The Different Types of Doshic Depressions
Some of the symptoms of Vata-Type depression can be Anxiety, Phobias, Insomnia, Paranoia and Forgetfulness. For Pitta-Type depression, symptoms can include Anger and Irritability, Suicidal intentions, a Violent mindset and self-destructive behaviour. When dealing with Kapha-type depressions one can expect; Apathy, Lethargy and periods of Excessive sleep.
Ayurveda believes that removing or staying away from the cause of the depression makes up half of the treatment, so analysing and discovering the main cause behind the depression is the main line of treatment, this is done in conjunction with correcting the doshic imbalance, counselling, actively changing the thought process and strengthening the Ojus.
Overall, the Ayurvedic treatment for depression will be comprised of Panchakarma, Internal Natural Medications, External Therapies Physical Activities which will be certain yoga asanas, Dietary advice and Lifestyle changes specific to the individual’s constitution, the nature of the depression, the surrounding social environment and the patient’s nature of work.