In Ayurveda, anxiety is referred to as “Chittodvega” or “Chittavikara.” While specific shlokas (verses) mentioning anxiety may not be available in classical Ayurvedic texts, Ayurveda provides a comprehensive understanding of its causes, types, symptoms, and treatment approaches. Let’s explore these aspects based on Ayurvedic principles:
1. Nidana (Causes) of Chittodvega:
Ayurveda identifies various factors that can contribute to the manifestation of anxiety. These include:
- Adhyatmika Hetu (Internal Factors): Internal factors include imbalances in the doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), disturbances in the mind (Manas), and psychological factors like fear, stress, grief, or trauma.
- Adhibhautika Hetu (External factors): External factors include environmental stressors, such as excessive noise, extreme temperatures, or uncomfortable living conditions.
- Adhidaivika Hetu (Supernatural Factors): Supernatural factors include influences beyond human control, such as planetary effects or negative energies.
2. Types of Chittodvega:
Ayurveda recognizes different types of anxiety based on predominant doshic imbalances and symptoms. These include:
- Vataja Chittodvega: Anxiety associated with Vata dosha imbalance. It is characterized by symptoms like fearfulness, restlessness, racing thoughts, and insomnia.
- Pittaja Chittodvega: Anxiety associated with Pitta dosha imbalance. It manifests as irritability, anger, agitation, and a feeling of being overwhelmed.
- Kaphaja Chittodvega: Anxiety associated with Kapha dosha imbalance. It presents as excessive worry, lethargy, heaviness in the mind, and a tendency to dwell on negative thoughts.
3. Poorvaroopa and Roopa of Chittodvega:
Poorvaroopa refers to the premonitory symptoms that precede the manifestation of anxiety. Roopa refers to the actual symptoms of anxiety. While specific shlokas on Poorvaroopa and Roopa of anxiety may not be available, general signs associated with Chittodvega include restlessness, palpitations, sweating, trembling, difficulty concentrating, and feelings of impending doom.
4. Lakshana (Symptoms) of Chittodvega:
Classical Ayurvedic texts do not mention specific shlokas regarding the symptoms of anxiety. However, anxiety is generally characterized by psychological and physical manifestations, such as excessive worry, fearfulness, panic attacks, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal disturbances, and sleep disturbances.
5. Samprapti (Pathogenesis) of Chittodvega:
The exact samprapti or pathogenesis of anxiety is not explicitly described in classical Ayurvedic texts. However, Ayurveda considers the involvement of disturbed doshas, aggravated agni (digestive fire), impaired ojas (vital energy), and disturbed mind (Manas) as contributing factors in the manifestation of anxiety disorders.
6. Chikitsa Sutra (Treatment Principles) for Chittodvega:
Ayurvedic treatment of Chittodvega involves a comprehensive approach to restore balance in the doshas, strengthen the mind, and promote overall well-being. The treatment principles for anxiety include:
- Sattvavajaya Chikitsa: Psychotherapeutic approaches focusing on calming the mind, promoting positive thoughts, and cultivating emotional balance.
- Medhya Rasayana: The use of rejuvenating herbs and formulations that support mental clarity, cognitive function, and emotional stability. Examples include Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).
- Nidra Vihara: Regulating sleep patterns, practicing relaxation techniques, and adopting a balanced daily routine.
7. Suggestive Shodhana Chikitsa:
Shodhana Chikitsa, or purification therapies, are often employed in Ayurveda for various conditions. While there may not be specific shlokas regarding Shodhana Chikitsa for anxiety, certain detoxification therapies like Panchakarma, including Virechana (therapeutic purgation) and Basti (medicated enema), may be recommended in some cases to balance the doshas and promote overall well-being.
8. Ayurvedic Medicines and Formulations:
Classical Ayurvedic texts mention numerous medicinal herbs and formulations that are believed to support mental health and address anxiety-related symptoms. Some commonly used herbs include Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). These herbs are often used individually or in combination to formulate Ayurvedic medicines, such as Saraswatarishta, Brahmi Vati, and Ashwagandharishta.
It’s important to note that Ayurvedic treatment should be personalized, and consulting with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner is recommended to receive an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plan for anxiety or any other health condition.