Ayurvedic Approach to Treating PTSD

Firstly, What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder abbreviated as PTSD is the reflex action of mind against traumas in a person’s life. The trauma may be physical or sexual abuse, accidents, natural or manmade catastrophes, war combats, terrorism, loss of a loved one, or any other incident that had deeply affected the person’s psychology. It is common in people who have underwent any such disturbing incidents, but it is often confused with other mental ailments like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, etc.

Women are twice likely than men to develop PTSD, and children do too. Though a person may recover from PTSD at one point, he may continue to suffer from depression and anxiety for months, and sometimes even years.

Characteristic Symptoms of PTSD

Here is a list of common symptoms of PTSD that will help you figure out if a person is suffering from PTSD:

It is not necessary that the symptoms start showing up right after the incident. It may take months or even years after the traumatic incident.

There are three major symptoms:

  • Recurring memories of the incident that affected you, like flashbacks or over voices, nightmares and reliving the incident through these type of physical or emotional reactions.
  • Emotional numbness and avoiding talking about the incident or anything or anyone related to it.
  • Feeling on edge, jumpy, easily scared or angered, difficulty in sleeping and concentrating.

You may be down on yourself. You shall feel:

  • Persistently negative moods
  • Hopeless, depressed,
  • Self-destructive like drink too much alcohol or drive too fast
  • Detached from people and social interactions
  • easily startled or frightened, or you might always be on guard for danger
  • Have trouble sleeping due to fear of nightmares that make you relive the memory.

Ayurvedic View of PTSD

Ayurveda embraces a holistic approach in the treatment of PTSD, focussing on various aspects of health through a customized plan according to individual needs. The genesis of Manovikara (afflictions of mind) and its manifestation in each individual is unique. To restore the lost clarity of mental channels, Ayurveda offers a wide array of therapeutic measures which include herbal formulations, Panchakarma, nutrition, Yoga, exercise, and daily routine which improve overall health along with catering to the spiritual well-being of the individual.

What does Ayurveda Suggest?

Ayurveda suggests diet, Yoga, and lifestyle adaptations- way of living to counter PTSD.

Yoga and breathing techniques like Pranayama are receiving global recognition in the field of Psychotherapy for their ability to support individuals dealing with the unresolved trauma, which can manifest as PTSD.

Nutrition plays an important role not only in physical conditions but also in psychological wellness. PTSD and other mental health disorders have been linked to unhealthy dietary habits. Manovikaras arising due to fear and grief result in Vata Pradhana Tridosha Dushti, the vitiation of Tridoshas and Vata Dosha especially

Vata Dosha in its balanced state leads to happiness, creativity and positive mental capacities. However, when imbalanced, it leads to grief, fear, feeling anxious, and inhibits Agni or digestive fire. Ayurveda believes that like increases like, and thus diet and lifestyle which calms Vata along with proper use of body and herbal will result in an improved state of mind.

Here are certain modifications in contributing to a healthy diet and lifestyle by Ayurveda that help PTSD patients:

  1. Prefer a mild and balanced diet.
  2. Avoid eating when you are stressed and consume food in a peaceful, calm atmosphere with all your attention only towards food.
  3. Avoid raw, uncooked food like salads as it vitiates vata.
  4. Consume spices like garlic, cloves, cumin, black pepper, and oils like ghee, sesame oil to prepare your food.
  5. Light exercise and gentle, calming, and slow-paced Yoga postures which don’t aggravate vata like Paschimottasana (seated forward bend pose), Ardha matsyendrasana (half spinal twist pose) help in calming and relaxing the senses.
  6. Practice Pranayama (breath control), and deep relaxation methods like Shavasana (corpse pose) and meditation, which help to clear the channels of mind, and restore the energy channels of the mind.
  7. Maintain a proper daily routine or dinacharya which helps in balancing vata.
  8. Maintain a proper sleeping pattern.

Ayurvedic therapies that can help manage PTSD

Ayurveda has a plethora of procedures that help in soothing and calming your senses and provide complete relaxation of the mind and body which can be of immense use in PTSD.

Shirodhara

Dripping of medicated oil or buttermilk over the forehead in a slow, steady stream – Shirodhara calms the senses and supports normal functioning of mind and body and gives you a sense of tranquillity.

Abhyanga

Abhyanga, or daily massage, is highly useful in imbalances of Vata and is included in Dinacharya (daily regimen) in Ayurveda as it ensures optimal strength to senses and rejuvenation.

References : Link1 

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