What is clinical Depression?
A constant sense of hopelessness and despair is a sign you may have major depression, also known as clinical depression.
With major depression, it may be difficult to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy friends and activities. Some people have clinical depression only once in their life, while others have it several times in a lifetime.
Major depression seems to occur from one generation to the next in some families, but may affect people with no family history of the illness.
What Makes Major or Clinical Depression Different Than Sadness?
Most people feel sad or low at some point in their lives. But clinical depression is marked by a depressed mood most of the day, particularly in the morning, and a loss of interest in normal activities and relationships — symptoms that are present every day for at least 2 weeks. In addition, according to the DSM-5 — a manual used to diagnose mental health conditions — you may have other symptoms with major depression.
Those symptoms might include:
- Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
- Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day (called anhedonia, this symptom can be indicated by reports from significant others)
- Restlessness or feeling slowed down
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
- Significant weight loss or gain (a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month)
What is depression according to Ayurveda?
yaddhi tat sparśavijñānaṃ dhāri tattatra saṃśritam||6||
tat parasyaujasaḥ sthānaṃ tatra caitanyasaṅgrahaḥ|
hṛdayaṃ mahadarthaśca tasmāduktaṃ cikitsakaiḥ ||7||
– Charaka Samhita
The heart is indispensable for all the normal mental and physical activities. In the heart, resides Para Ojas – the superior Ojas, which controls the mind. This is why, the physicians have designated the heart as ‘Hridaya’, ‘Mahat’ and ‘Artha’
When this ojas gets low in the body, depression symptoms gets high. In simple words, ojas is the will to live life and when the desire of living is exhausted it’s called as depression.
Tips for Preservation of Ojas
tanmahat tā mahāmūlāstaccojaḥ parirakṣatā|
parihāryā viśeṣeṇa manaso duḥkhahetavaḥ||13||
hṛdyaṃ yat syādyadaujasyaṃ srotasāṃ yat prasādanam|
tattat sevyaṃ prayatnena praśamo jñānameva ca||14||
– Charaka Samhita
Those who want to preserve Ojas and maintain the heart and the vessels in good condition, should avoid such factors that lead to unhappiness (worries, stress).
Diets and medicine which are conducive to the heart (Hrudya) should be taken.
The herbs that maintain good health of Srotas (body channels) should be taken.
How can Ayurveda help to fight clinical depression?
Shirodhara is a purifying and rejuvenating therapy designed to eliminate toxins and mental exhaustion as well as relieve stress and any ill effects on the central nervous system. Shirodhara is a unique form of ancient therapy of pouring oil on the forehead from a specific height and for a specific period continuously and rhythmically allowing the oil to run through the scalp and into the hair. This is a subtype of Murdha taila which means keeping the medicated oil on the head region.
For better results, shirodhara should be done with gayatri mantra music, which has tremendous results and gives complete relaxation.
ॐ भूर्भुवः॒ स्वः ।
भ॒र्गो॑ दे॒वस्य॑ धीमहि ।
धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त् ॥
Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ
bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
dhíyo yó naḥ pracodáyāt
1 spoon warm cow ghee intake improves your ojas status, so indirectly it will decrease symptoms of clinical depression. A specific diet should be followed with this, so it’s best to consult your Ayurvedic professional for this treatment.
Get Ayurveda Massage (Abhyanga)
The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age
– Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89
Benefits of Abhyanga
- Nourishes the entire body
- Decreases the effects of aging
- Imparts muscle tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body
- Most importantly it increases circulation and that directly affects depression
““`Next: How to help someone with depression