Stop these anti-depressants….instead….imbibe in a natural escape mode to deal with…
…..STRESS and DEPRESSION
Depression is rapidly increasing in the developed and developing countries. Unfortunately, as per WHO studies, India ranks the top as the most depressed country in the world. World Health Organization assumes that depression will be the second leading cause of disability by 2020. The study states that 36 per cent of Indians suffer from Major Depressive Episode (MDE) while 9 per cent have an extensive period of depression in their lifetime.
If these statistics are to be believed, we need to understand that it is high time we become more aware, vigilant and watchful.
Report of journal PLoS Medicine
As per the latest data published in the journal ‘PLoS(Public Library of Science)Medicine’, a thorough probe conducted on the impact of new generation anti-depressants the difference in improvement between patients taking placebos and patients taking anti-depressants is not very great. Lead author prof Irving Kirsch from university of Hull UK said ‘There seems little reason to prescribe anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, until alternative treatments have failed to provide a benefit’. It further assesed that fluoxetine(prozac), the world’s most commonly popped anti-depressant, taken by 40million people worldwide, does not actually help improve your mood.
Dealing with stress
The benign cases of stress/depression should not be taken as a disease or physical illness but should be considered a disease at psychological level. Prescriptions for sleeping pills or tranquilizers may not solve the problem all the time. On the contrary, it may produce rebound insomnia and debilitating side-effects. Worst still, these drugs are addictive.
The process of stress/depression…..
When feeling sad and low in spirits become long lasting and develop into much more than normal grief, it affects the mental & physical health as well as lifestyle of the person. One begins to feel a sense of isolation, frustration and helplessness. If not taken care of, it leads to depression/stress. Mental stress and depression have become part and parcel of urban lifestyle today. The very competitiveness at every level as well as the rushed schedule imposes an extra burden on the brain cells. When the rising demands of work pressure are not accepted well but are taken as threat, it creates negative stress. Repeated or prolonged negative stress triggers complex psychological changes in the body leading to exhaustion of mental, physical and emotional energies which results in decreased immunity and a hastened ageing process. Stress causes excessive wear and tear on the nervous system.
Symptoms of stress
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Unclear thinking
- Feeling anxious all the time
- Worrying about little things
- Imagining the worst
- Fluctuating mind
- Fast heartbeat
- Stomach pain
Symptoms of depression
- Feeling deeply sad & hopeless
- Loss of interest & enjoyment in life
- Feeling of guilt and worthlessness
- Sleeping disorders
- Major appetite & weight changes
- Tiredness, loss of energy
- Feeling restless, irritable, agitated
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Aches & pains without any debility in the body
Know the ayurvedic aspect…
As per Ayurveda, stress/depression is caused by an imbalance of ‘kapha’ and ‘vata’ doshas. ‘Kapha’ type is less serious in nature and is more likely to occur in winter months due to climate and inactivity. ‘Vata’ type is quite serious and is due to imbalance due to lifestyle can lead to anxiety and overactive mind.
STRESS could be mental stress (due to overuse or misuse of mind), emotional stress (any situation that might hurt the heart like loss of a relative) or physical stress (due to overuse or misuse of the body). Every manifestation of stress and depression requires different solutions and therapies. Ayurveda aims at targeting the causative factors so as to bring in that area into balance.
Role of herbs:
Selection of herbs is always individualized for the patient. Some herbs are adaptogenic which means they have the capacity to adapt to the requirements of the body. They work by regulating the endocrine and the nervous system, thus increasing body’s metabolic activity during stress. Hepatic herbs support the detoxification process of liver so they act as immunity boosters. Rejuvenating herbs have restorative properties. These are required to fight out exhaustion and protect the body from depletion of energy. The herbs with mild sedative properties give rest to mind, induce restful sleep and are good for cardiovascular system.
It should be noted that herbs can rarely replace modern drugs in cases of major depressive illness. They can be used as adjuvant to the appropriate medicines.
- Do one thing at a time.
- Learn to recognize the things which are worth worrying and the ones that are not.
- Plan the things ahead of time.
- Identify the causative factor.
- Take time off from pressure and duties to do something totally for yourself.
- Keep in touch with your friends for that extra support you may need.
- Try to write down your feelings in a diary.
- Learn to say ‘NO’ to jobs that put you under too much pressure.
- Exercise is a good way of relieving stress. A short walk may suffice.
- Deep breathing exercises in between your work schedule helps.
- Yoga, meditation and herbal massage help reduce/prevent stress.
Some useful herbs
- Centella asiatica(mandukparni)
- Bacopa monnieri(brahmi)
- Convulvulis pluricaulis(shankhapushpi)
- Celestrus paniculatus(jyotishmati)
- Benincasa hispida(kushmanda)
- Acorus calamus(vacha)
- Withania somnifera(ashwagandha)
- Nardostachys jatamansi(jatamansi)
- Ocimum sanctum(tulsi)
- Tinospora cardifolia(guduchi)
- Valeriana wallichii(tagara)
- Terminalia arjuna(arjun)
For further info on herbs see ‘More on Stress’.
Gist: It is high time we start taking charge of our life and imbibe in a natural escape mode to combat stress instead of randomly popping in anti-depressant pills.