Modern lifestyles and trends have created modern problems. While mental health is not a new attribute of health, attention has only been focused on mind issues in the past few decades. The topic of mental health remains taboo in most Indian households. This is extremely worrying when we consider the statistics of mental diseases prevalent in India. It is said that one in every five Indians will suffer from depression at some point in their life. This roughly translates to around 200 million people, a whopping number.
Like any other disease, depression needs to be looked out for, diagnosed, and treated. But firstly, we need to understand what is depression? Depression is a mood disorder. It is characterized by a consistent feeling of sadness and lack of interest in activities that the person previously enjoyed. Common symptoms of depression are as follows:
- Sustained sadness continuing over time
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Difficulty in concentrating or focusing on a particular task
- Anger, irritability, and helplessness
- Sleep troubles. Person may sleep a lot well into the day, or have trouble sleeping at all. (Too little or too much sleep)
- Feeling drained of energy
- Anxiety and restlessness may be associated with depression
- Isolation and suicidal thoughts.
Untreated and unmanaged depression can cause lasting complications at multiple levels. Some of the complications and consequences of depression are:
- A lack of interest in daily activities and life in general means that productivity, as well as life satisfaction, suffer drastically.
- Relationships are adversely affected when a person suffers from depression. Family members and friends may be unable to understand the problems and symptoms that a depressed person goes through. This may put undue strain on the bonds as loved ones find it hard to communicate with the person.
- Performance at work and school is affected negatively.
- Persistent suicidal thoughts may make a person attempt to end their life through various means. They may either succeed or end up with damage to their well-being and that of others.
- Drugs or alcohol abuse is often attempted by depressed people.
- Person may also have employment problems as the symptoms hinder one from keeping and performing at a job.
- In severe cases, mania or psychotic episodes may also be seen.
From the above it is evident that depression affects a person?s life not only mentally, but it causes physical, emotional and social symptoms also. Economic problems may also arise for a person who is chronically depressed. Hence, depression is a multifaceted and multifactorial disorder.
What Causes Depression?
A single causative factor for depression cannot always be found. More often than not, the causes are multiple and in combination they lead to a persistent state of sadness. These factors may be genetic. Mood disorders and mental illnesses quite often have a strong genetic component. Biochemical factors also play a role as the release and regulation of certain neurotransmitters is affected. The causes may also be hormonal ? this is evident as women going through the menopausal phase of life often do present with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Post-partum depression is also an important aspect to be studied. Depression may also be seasonal ? symptoms are commonly worse in winter months and on rainy, gloomy days. The symptoms are seen to improve in sunny, bright weather. One must also not overlook the situational or traumatic causes of depression. Sometimes heavy grief or extremely traumatic life events dispose an individual to develop depression.
Certain factors, while not being directly causative, pre-dispose an individual to perhaps develop depression later in life. Few of these are:
- Being a woman, women are seen to be diagnosed with depression more often than men, although this may be due to lesser number of men seeking medical care for depressive symptoms.
- People having low self-esteem and lack of confidence in general
- People who have blood relatives with positive history of depression
- People who have been diagnosed with other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder or generalized anxiety disorder
- People who are chronic abusers of drugs or alcohol
- People with terminal or chronic illnesses
- People who have taken certain medications for an exceedingly long time, like sleeping pills
- Members of LGBTQ+ community
Homeopathy and Depression
Homeopathy is uniquely suited to treat mental illnesses because it lays a great emphasis on mental symptoms in general. The concept of homeopathic treatment varies from that of allopathy in the belief that the individual is one, and all symptoms that an individual suffers from need to be investigated as a whole. This is done by grading mental, physical, and particular symptoms in order of importance, and mental symptoms are given the most attention.
Homeopathy believes that disease originates from the mind. The discomforts suffered by our physical body are a projection of an unhealthy, unwell mind. Accordingly, homeopathic physicians enquire about the mental symptoms of their patient in detail. The patient thus gets a chance to talk at length about their worries, fears, and insecurities, which is a cathartic process for them. Homeopathic medicines have a unique hold on mental symptoms and hence there is a wide arsenal of homeopathic remedies for depression. This way an exact remedy for the patient matching their symptom complex can be prescribed and cure is easier and more complete.
Schwabe India manufactures homeopathic medicine for depression. These medicines have been proven to be beneficial not only in managing depressive symptoms but also help an individual to develop better self-esteem and tackle their emotional symptoms in a healthy and healing way.
Ginseng 1x by Schwabe India is a homeopathic formulation of the healing root of Ginseng. It is a homeopathic medicine for anxiety, depression, and stress related complaints. Regular use of this remedy especially during stressful phases of life helps a person to cope in a better and healthier manner. Ginseng 1x helps a person cope with stress, fatigue, cold, hunger, etc. It is therefore a medicine not only for mental but for physical stress as well.
In addition to its stress related efficiency, the medicine also helps to improve immunity, restore vitality, and work as a restorative after exhausting, chronic diseases. One to two tablets are taken twice or thrice daily, as per the direction of the physician. Contra-indications and side effects have not been reported.
Another homeopathic formulation by Schwabe India that has shown great promise in treating stress and depressive problems is Alpha-TS. It is prepared from the plant Passiflora, or Passionflower. This medicine normalizes and regulates the physiological processes of the body. This helps in reducing stress to a great extent. It controls depression and helps a person to conquer their melancholic feelings. It has a calming, sedative effect without the dependency-inducing action of regular sedatives.
This is a liquid medicine of which twenty to thirty drops are taken thrice a day as per the doctor?s advice. Caution must be exercised while prescribing this remedy to children, pregnant, and lactating women as the medicine contains alcohol. Side effects have not been noted.
It is important to understand that managing illnesses as complex as depression and anxiety needs a lot more than medicinal intervention. Support, counseling, and lifestyle modification are as much a part of the healing process as medical aid. With a comprehensive management strategy conditions like depression can be well-treated and a healthy lifestyle can be enjoyed.