Anxiety (Chittodvega) is a mental disorder (manasa vikara) described in one of the main ayurvedic text books (Acharya Charaka). It is a psychological and physiological state with cognitive, somatic, emotional and behavioural components. Anxiety is produced by the contamination of rajas (activity) and tamas (darkness or destruction). Rajas and Tamas are qualities of mind. Anxiety is considered a minor mental disorder compared to major mental conditions like schizophrenia. Anxiety is common in the elderly as in the young, although how and when it appears is distinctly different in older adults.
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety
- Palpitation (increased heart rate)
- Breathlessness and nervousness
- Chest pain
- Trembling (shaking or quivering)
- Dizziness and fainting
- Insomnia (sleeplessness)
- Anorexia (lack of appetite for food)
- Parasthesia (abnormal sensation) and weakness
Causes of Anxiety
- Genetics and hereditary- anxiety neurosis tends to run in families.
- Hormonal or biochemical imbalance- imbalance of serotonin and dopamine.
- Personality type- more common in people who have low self-esteem and poor coping skills.
- Social factors- affecting those who have been or are exposed to abuse, violence and poverty.
- Medical causes- endocrine and cardio pulmonary disorders
- Drugs and other substances- amphetamines, tranquillisers and steroids etc.
Ayurvedic management of Anxiety
- Abyanga ( Body massage)
- Snehapanam (Internal oleation)
- Sirodhara (Pouring warm oil in the forehead)
- Siroabhyangam (Head massage)
- Takradhara (Medicated yoghurt application pouring over the forehead)
- Aswagandha (Withania)
- Guduchi (Tinosporia)
- Brahmi (Bacopa)
Do’s and Don’ts
- Avoid stressful conditions.
- Avoid heavy meals at bed time.
- Avoid consumption of coffee, tea, soft drinks, alcohol and smoking.
- Practice light physical activities, yoga and meditation.
- Read and listen to music.
- Visit religious places for peace and sanctuary.
Prevention of Mental disorders
Ayurveda has recognised the the inseparable and interdependent relationship of mind and body in human beings. Ayurveda aims to preserve and promote heath, and prevent and cure diseases through positive physical and mental health.
Ayurveda prescribes that one should not allow oneself to become a victim of impulses like greed, grief, fear, anger, jealousy, impudence, and vanity. It declares that one who speaks truth, refrains from over indulgence in alcohol and meat, hurts no-one, avoids overstrain, is fairly spoken, always compassionate, and given to wholesome eating, will enjoy the benefits of sound mental health. According to Acharya Vagbhata, the one who reflects once a day and serves their fellow beings and surroundings from dawn to dark, will remain free from grief and worry, and enjoy perennial happiness.
(Note: This information is for general knowledge only. Please contact us to plan your personalised treatments if you are suffering from anxiety.)