Treatment of depression by western psychiatry has several shortcomings viewed from the eastern point of view. Most medications for major depression have strong side effects. No effective treatment exists for people who are just feeling temporarily low. There are no ways to prevent depression from the allopathy point of view. About half of the people treated for depression experience a recurrence or relapse.
In contrast, ayurvedic methods of treating depression are gentle, natural, and effective. They contribute to a long-lasting state of balance that reduce the tendency toward recurrences. It offers a more complete understanding of the nature and causes of depression. Ayurveda offers a more effective treatment of depression without negative side effects and the real possibility of prevention. It promotes higher levels of psychological health. Ayurvedic methods not only increase the balance in the body, they also progressively raise the overall level of inner contentment. This is a natural antidote to depression.
Western antidepressant medications typically require a minimum of three weeks to take effect. Ayurvedic treatments, though gentler, begin to produce results more quickly, within a few days or even a few hours. The two treatments are compatible. (If you use the herbal treatments prescribed in Ayurveda, make sure that there is no interaction with the antidepressants and check with your doctor before taking any herbs if you are taking prescription medications.) Ayurvedic treatments, if used complementarily, may help you to reduce your antidepressant dosage ultimately. Do this only with the approval of your doctor after reviewing all facts.
Causes of Depression From Ayurvedic Perspective
From the standpoint of Ayurveda there are two main causes of depression.
From the Ayurvedic point of view, most depression is a kapha imbalance that is the culmination of vata and then pitta going out of balance. Initially the brain's electrochemistry has an erratic overreaction (vata imbalance), which triggers a loss of enzymatic activity in the metabolism (pitta imbalance). Kapha responds by trying to glue everything down, bringing about heaviness, darkness, and stagnation that the mind-body interprets as the negative message of hopelessness and depression. In other words, because of specific etiological factors, vata from the colon, pitta from the intestine, or kapha from the stomach enters the general circulation and lodges in the nervous system, interferes with normal functioning of the mind and nervous system, and causes depression.
Sometimes depression is a pitta disorder. Allergies and the breakdown in metabolic processes they lead to can also disturb brain chemistry. This can cause dramatic mood swings, with depression as one of the consequences. Vata imbalance also can cause depression.
Ayurvedic Body-Type Treatments for Depression
The treatment is based on the mind-body constitution of the person and which dosha is in imbalance.
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