According to Ayurveda mental health is a complex topic to understand and really grasp and identify the pathways. The treatment is not as straightforward as a cold, cough or migraine. Having said that if you really dive deep not everything is physical or physiological.
The social aspect to mental health issues; lots of stigma attached to it. This can also present additional challenges.
Stress manifests in two categories; Psychic and Somatic. For example a 'fear induced diahorea' The mind body relationship scientifically has enough data to show that our guys health can cause lots of mental health issues, even neurological diseases such as parkinson's and dementia and alzheimer's. There is a link between body and mind is apparent.
There is a direct connection between the panache mahabhutas (air, ether, fire, water and earth. When someone is exposed to stress, where physical, mental or verbal (as classified in Ayurveda).
If the individual is high in sativa (peace and tranquitly) they will probably not have must manifestation or response to the stressors. If someone has a weak mind, they can be impacted and effected, having much response to different stress.
A rajistic response is air and fire aggravation according to Ayurveda. The stress will travel through 16 channels and cause anxiety and other expressions. Rajas can also cause aggravation.
When Ojas (the essence of all of 7 chats, source of vilify and energy and clarity and motivation) is depleted it can also cause anxiety.
With Depression the image below portrays the activity in a depressed awake person vs not depressed.
There could be a range of symptoms including, difficulty eating, lack or loss of appetite etc. There is Vata aggravation present as well as Kapha. There can be suicidal tendency as well, as well as chronic fatigue and difficulty sleeping. There are lots more symptoms. There can even be thoughts of worthlessness and extreme guilt.
In Ayurveda we can manage this mental health issue. We should be very careful with meditation and utilise pranayama preferably. Certain herbs can help with depression;
Vacha (given in small quantities), vidanga, varana, chitraka, katurohini, turmeric, guggulu, jyotishmati, kapikacchu, kushtha, hingu and sarshapa. (All of these are hot, penetrating, sharp, totally anti-kapha) In depression you need something that can break through the stagnation and inertia with anxiety its the exact opposite. Generatiing energy and creating clarity. Dosages are extremely importantly in Ayurveda. *Important to nite that dacha is banned in the USA, there is an FDA issue with the product.
Formulations like, purana ghritam (old ghee), panchagvya (milk, yoghurt, ghee, cows urine and liquid cow dung), vachadi choornam, Mahapaishachika ghritam and gugguluvachadi ghritam.
Ghee that is 10 years or older is called purana ghritam, it can help with depression. It'll be reddish in colour, it is extremely powerful on its impact on the mind. It's so strong it can activate those pathways to drive the energy out of depression.
Teekshna nasya (sniffing on black pepper is clearing to the mind), Udvartanam (rubbing of powders, kapha pacifying), Dhoompana (inhale fumigation from medicated herbs). And bbviously Pranayama that is stimulating.
These differ from Lithium treatment for mental health issues like bi-polar, depression etc. But we much ask ourselves, how long can we give a chemical. It will have a different effect on the body and will have serious side effects. So in retrospect, using Ayurveda can help, and sometimes an integrative approach will work.
Conquering the mind with Sattvavjaya, behaviour therapy. It can range from mild, medium to intense. Holding hands can help the client. Cutting some sensory inputs can work a great deal. Cutting toxic relationships and removing certain stimulus can be a god's send. Meditation also falls under Sattvajaya. Another way is Herbs and formulas, Bodywork Procedures (head oiling) and Retreats and Getaways. These are ways to help deal with bombardment of stimulus and sensory inputs. Forrest bathing is gaining momentum in popularity. On it's own can be extremely therapeutic.
Read next Article on Anxiety.