Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent sadness and loss of interest in daily activities. Depression significantly affects the quality of life to the extent that it becomes difficult to carry out the day-to-day activities. It might lead to hopelessness and the feeling that life is not worth living.
It is important to understand depression and refrain from stigmatizing it. Like any other ailment, depression can be treated, however, might require long-term treatment. If you know a depressed person, listen to them, understand them without any judgments and be with them. The words, “I understand you”, sometimes, can go a long way.
The underlying cause of depression is unknown. However, certain factors are involved:
1. Biological Changes: Some physical changes in the brain can lead to depression
2. Changes in neurotransmitter level: Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that are thought to play a role in depression. Changes in the level of neurotransmitters and their interactions with neurocircuits play a significant role in depression.
3. Hormones: Hormonal changes can also lead to depression.
4. Genetics: People with a family history of depression are more prone to be depressed.
The signs and symptoms include:
1. Feeling of hopelessness or emptiness
2. Loss of interest in day-to-day activities
3. Sleep disorders: either insomnia or sleeping too much
4. Irritability or frustration
5. Fatigue and lack of energy
6. Reduced appetite and weight loss, or cravings for food and weight gain
7. Difficulty in thinking and concentrating
8. Slowed movement and speech
Depressed people experience sadness and hopelessness, and feel miserable without actually understanding why.
Depression is more common in the following cases:
1. More women are diagnosed with depression than men. However, it might also be due to the fact that more women seek medical advice compared to men.
2. People suffering from traumatic and stressful events
3. Abuse of recreational drugs is strongly linked with depression
4. People with a family history of depression are more likely to suffer from depression
8. Certain medications like corticosteroids, high blood pressure medicines or sleeping pills.
In Ayurveda, depression can be correlated with Mano Avasada. It is mentioned in the classic in various scattered references.
Nidana (Etiology or basic causes):
The etiological factors responsible for depression are:
1. Consumption of incompatible food
2. Consuming heavy, cooling and unctuous food
3. Food that promote Tamas (making the mind dull and lethargic)
4. Excess sleep
5. Sedentary lifestyle
6. Fear and grief
According to Ayurveda, the cardinal features of depression are due to the vitiation of Vata Dosha. The manas or mind is controlled by Prana Vata, one of the five types of Vata. It has the property of budhidharana (retaining intellect) and manodharana (control of mind). Along with these, sadhaka pitta (sub-dosha of Pitta) and Vyana vata (responsible for circulating nutrients throughout the body), located in hridaya (heart), the seat of mind, which is responsible for emotions are also vitiated. The vitiation of all these Doshas ultimately leads to depression. The two manasika doshas (attributes of the psyche) are Rajas (attributes activity) and tamas (attributes inactivity). These doshas when aggravated affect the mind and create a lot of disturbances. Depression occurs when Tamas dominates over Rajas, which leads to inactivity, ignorance, and apathy.
The line of treatment for depression involves:
1. Counseling the patient and building their confidence
2. Medicines with carminative and digestive properties to improve the metabolism of the body
3. Virechana (purgation) and Nasya (Nasal drops) are administered to balance the vitiated Doshas.
4. Medicines to improve mood, sleeping habits etc.
AyurVAID can help every patient suffering from various thyroid dysfunctions and structural abnormalities by customized medical management.
AyurVAID mainly focus on root cause management with Classical Panchakarma treatments. The Dosha predominance is considered before making the customized treatment plan. The outcome is tracked periodically based on which the follow-up plans are made. Diet, medication and lifestyle modification are recommended for sustained normal functioning of the Thyroid gland.
The AyurVAID protocol is based on the simple premise that the Physician must diagnose and treat only based on sufficient evidence. This evidence should be ‘patient or rogi based’ in addition to being ‘disease or roga based’ in accordance with the fundamental principles of Ayurveda.