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Summary: This blog aims to inform its readers about mental health, four psychological conditions, and how yoga helps in healing depression and mental health problems.

Owing to the stressful life that people live, mental health problems are on the rise. From a teenager to a young adult to a senior citizen, no one is left untouched from the menace of mental health problems. Existing in diverse forms and ranging in severity, health problems related to brain negatively impacts an individual on a holistic level.

The term psychological disorder, mental disorder or psychiatric disorder is used to refer negative brain patterns affecting multiple areas of a person’s life. The condition may be acute or chronic (long-lasting and severe). In every form, mental health problems have the ability to affect your daily functioning, cognitive behavior, mood and feelings.

What Causes Mental Disorder?

  • Traumatic Experiences
  • Perennial Body-Mind Stress
  • A feeling of loneliness and isolation
  • Bullying
  • Physical and Mental Violence
  • Having a serious medical condition like cancer
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
  • Chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Injuries in head

In addition to the deadly depression, we will discuss the four other mental conditions that debilitating and health-wrecking.

1. Anxiety Disorder: Patients suffering from anxiety disorder mostly respond to situations with fear or dread, as well as with physical signs of panic, breathlessness and sweating. Anxiety disorder is a broader term consisting of generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and specific phobias. Symptoms of anxiety disorder include:

  • Excessive fear, restlessness and nervousness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Trembling of the hands and feet
  • Sweating
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Facing difficulty in sleeping

2. Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is commonly known as the manic-depressive state. In this medical condition, the patient experiences unusual shifts in mood, energy levels and ability to perform daily tasks. Bipolar disorder is of four types, changes in mood and behavior pattern are common in all four of them. Mood levels range from elated to sad and depressive states. The person may experience less severe manic episodes known as a hypomanic episode.

3. Eating Disorders: Eating disorder is a type of psychological disease involving extreme emotions, attitudes and behaviors relating to food and weight. An eating disorder patient has abnormal and disturbed eating patterns. Types of Eating Disorder:

  • Anorexia Nervosa: In this condition, people have an extreme fear of gaining weight and become dangerously thin by not consuming meals in the right proportion.
  • Bulimia Nervosa: It is an eating disorder that involves bingeing on food items, followed by purging.
  • Binge Eating: Binge eating refers to compulsive overeating. Individuals in an attempt to avoid stressful situations, tend to overeat.

4. Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD occurs after a person has undergone a traumatic experience like sexual or physical assault, the death of a loved one, or any other uneventful happening. People with PTSD have lasting and frightening thoughts of the event and often become emotionally numb.

5. Depression: Last but not least is depression. Depression is a psychological disorder which is accompanied by feelings of helplessness, sadness, feeling low and to the extent, suicidal feelings. Depression affects your mood, thinking, how you perform your day-to-day activities and more. Symptoms of Depression:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Persistent anxious mood
  • Irritation and pessimism
  • Low energy levels
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Changes in appetite/weight
  • Suicidal thoughts and more

Treatment for Depression and Other Four Mental Conditions:

Physical movements of the body help relieve depression. Yoga is the natural science incorporating physical and spiritual elements that are effective in healing chronic depression and other mental health conditions. Learn how in the following points:

  1. Increases Dopamine and Endorphins: It has been noted that the practice of diverse yoga styles such as Hatha yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Bikram yoga helps heal depression and anxiety by boosting dopamine levels in the brain. These yoga forms contain various postures that involve the movement of the body with breathing exercises. The maneuvering releases tension from the body and increases the dopamine and endorphins in the mind. Endorphins are good chemicals that diminish pain. And, dopamine controls the brain’s pleasure centers. An increase in dopamine levels leads to better emotional responses.
  2. Enhances Serotonin Production: The practice of yoga postures naturally contribute to the production of serotonin. According to the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, higher serotonin levels in the brain helps fight depression. The serotonin impacts every part of the body, from organs to emotions. Medically, it is considered a natural mood stabilizer. Enhanced serotonin production positively helps in sleeping, eating and digestion that are often hampered with mental disorders.
  3. Relax and Feel Secure: Yoga, a healing practice that helps practitioners recover from PTSD and physical and emotional illness. The practice of yoga asanas and yoga breathing techniques fosters body-mind relaxation that further assist in reducing anxiety. A study reported that yoga practices improve heart-rate variability, a key indicator of the renewed ability of a person to calm himself. As the PTSD patient delves in the practice of breathing and relaxation techniques, he learns to let go of the past experiences, to live in the present moment, to calm the mind and to become aware of his own strengths that allows him to recover and move in the direction of bright future.
  4. Become a Mindful Eater: All the three elements of yoga: Asanas, Pranayama and Meditation contribute towards the reduction of cortisol hormone– the stress hormone that fosters a feeling of binge eating. Additionally, the science of yoga promotes awareness and the mind-body connection. With heightened consciousness and connectedness, you learn about your hunger and fullness cues, emotional patterns and more. This is how you become a mindful eater, eating when it is necessary and not when you want.
  5. Improves GABA Levels: The yoga practices improve GABA receptors in the brain. Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a chemical in the brain that controls activities of the nerves. Patients of anxiety disorder and depression have low GABA levels, which can be naturally increased through the art of yoga. Additionally, the yoga practices assist in the release of negative emotions and foster harmony both at physical and mental level thus making the person feel positive and at ease.

In the yoga practices bring your attention to the physical and mental state and let the healing and positive process begin.

About The Author

Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He provides Yoga Teacher Training Nepal. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas.