Types of mental illness

★Mental illnesses are of different types and degrees of severity. Some of the major types are depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, personality disorders, trauma and eating disorders.

★The most common mental illnesses are anxiety and depressive disorders. While everyone experiences strong feelings of tension, anxiety or sadness at times. a mental illness is present when these feelings become so disturbing and overwhelming that people have great difficulty coping with day-to-day activities such as work, enjoying leisure time and maintaining relationships.

★At their most extreme, people with a depressive disorder may not be able to get out of bed or care for themselves physically. People with certain types of anxiety disorder may not be able to leave the house or may have compulsive rituals to help them alleviate their fears.

★Less common are mental illnesses that may involve psychosis. These include schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder. People experiencing an acute episode of psychosis lose touch with reality and perceive their world differently from what is considered normal. Their ability to make sense of thoughts, feelings and the world around them is seriously affected.

★A psychotic episode may involve delusions, such as false beliefs of persecution, guilt or grandeur. It may involve hallucinations, where the person sees, hears, smells or tastes things that are not there.

★Psychotic episodes can be threatening and confusing to other people. Such behaviour is difficult to understand for people who are not familiar with it.

Ayurvedic View

★ Manasa Vyadhi (Mental disorders) Described in Ayuveda Manasavikara (neurosis),Abhyasuya (jealousy), bhaya (fear), chittodvega (anxiety), dainya (meanness of inferiority complex), harsa (exhilaration), kama(desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), mada (arrogance), mana (pride), moha (confusion), soka (grief), visada (anguish) and irshya (envy), asabda sravana (auditory hallucinations) tama (withdrawal), atipralepa (prating), aswapna (insomnia), anavasthitacittatwa atrpti (discontentedness), tandra (stupor), atinidra (excessive sleep), bhrama (confusion),Unmade (psychosis),Apasmara (epilepsy), apatantraka (hysteria), atatwabhinivesa (obsessive syndrome), madatyaya (alcoholic psychosis), sanyasa (coma),Kamajwara (fever caused by passion), krodhaja jwara (fever caused by anger), bhayaja atisara(diarohoea caused by fear),sokaja atisara (diarohoea caused by grief).

MANASAVIKARA CIKITSA ( Treatment of mental disorders)

★Ayurveda recommends three types of chikitsa daivavyapasraya chikitsa (divine or spiritiual/therapy), yuktivyapasraya chikitsa (logical therapy) and satwavajaya chikitsa (psycho therapy) for treating mental illnesses as well.

Daivavyapasraya chikitsa

★1. Daivavyapasraya chikitsa: This refers to measure like mantra (incantation), Ausadhi (wearing scared herbs), mani (wearing precious gems), mangala (propitiatory rites), bali (oblations), homa (sacrifice), upahara (offerings), niyama (vows), prauascitta (ceremonial penitence), upavasa (fasts), swastyayana (prostrations), pranipata (surrender), gamana (pilgrimage), etc. These measures are recommended in mental disorders caused by agantu(extraneous) factors and administered judiciously after considering the nature, faith, religiosity, culture and educational level, of the patient. These may be useful in all types of manasavikara, i.e. both psychosis and neurosis.

Yuktivyapasraya chikitsa

★2. Yuktivyapasraya chikitsa: This refers to the use of ahara (diet) and oushadha (drugs). Under ahara, it is interesting to note that different food articles like ksira (milk), ghrta (ghee), draksa (grapes), panasa (jack fruit), Brahmi (Centella asiatica- plant), mahishamamsa (buffalo meat), sarpamamsa (snake meat), kurmamamsa (tortoise meat), vastuka (goose foot), kakamaci (solanum nigirum), barhimamsa (cuckoo meat),mahakusmanda( ash gourd), kapittha (wood apple), matulunga and others are recommended as bebeficial in various mental disorders. Recently according to an Ayurvedic physician cuckoo meat is found to be useful in cartain mental disorders. Thus, these and other descriptions available in the classics on ahara particularly in relation to mental disorders are worthy of scientific study. Under drug therapy, it is said that, in all types of mental diseases where vata, pitta and kapha are deranged, dosha shodhana or srota suddhi (elimination of dosha or shodhana or srota suddhi (elimination of dosha or cleansing, the cells) has to be done by adopting various sodhana (purificatory measures). When the cleaning is properly done, samanausadha (palliatives) and rasayana (tonics) are given in order to bring back the deranged manas to normalcy. The following are some of the Ausadha (medicines), rasayana (tonics) and upakrama (treatment processes) that are being used in the Unit in treating various mental disorders.


1. Brahmi ghrita

2. Kalyanakaghrta

3. Pancagavya ghrta

4. Sarasvatarista

5. Asvagandharista

6. Sarasvata curna

7. Smritisagara rasa

8. Caturmukha rasa

9. Manasamitra vataka

10. Brahmyadiyoga

11. Ksirabala taila

12. Dhanvantara taila

13. Asanabilvadi taila

14. Brahmi

15. Tagara

16. Vaca

17. Sarpagandha

18. Jatamamsi

19. Bala


1. Aswagandha,2. Kusmandarasayana,3. Cyavanaprasa,4. Brahmi Rasayana, 5. Asvagandhavaleha,6. Satavari leha

Treatment processes:

1. Virecana (purgation)

2. Basti (enema)

3. Nasya (nasal instillation)

4. Abhyanga (aneling)

5. Takradhara/Ksiradhara/tailadhara, Kasayadhara (streaming of medicated buttermilk/milk/oil/decoction on the forehead of the patient)

6. Mastishka (application of medicated wet cakes on the head)

7. Sirolepa (application of medicated wet cakes on the vertex)

Satvavajaya chikitsa

★3. Satvavajaya chikitsa: The aim of this therapy is to restrain mind from desire for unwholesome objects. This permits considering, occupational, behavioural and like therapies as well, since the ultimate aim of them also would be to restrain mind from unwholesome objects.Speaking on the role of the therapist, it is stated that, the therapist should be ‘suhrt’ implaying that he should be compassionate to the patient and involve himself in solving the problems of the patient.

This clearly indicates the importance of the therapist if the therapy administered has to be beneficial to the patient. The best approach to achieve the goal of satwajaya ckitsa as mentioned earlier, is through jnanam (knowledge), vijnanam (analytical thinking), dhairya, (courage), smrti (memory), and Samadhi (concentration) according to Caraka. Mental disorders causes by kama (excessive desire), Soka (grief), bhaya (fear), krodha (anger), harsa (delight), irsya (jealousy), moha (agreed) should be countered by inducing the opposites passion in order to neutralize the causative ones.

The above two approaches can be said to be more useful in manasaroga caused on account of certain external psychological reasons which refer to certain manasavikara (kevala manasavikara) related to neurotic conditions.

Apart from these, measures like calming the patient with assurances and words of eligious and moral import, shocking him by announcing the lose of some thing he holds dear or showing him some wonderment, threatening him by physical torture have been mentioned . These are more useful in nanatmaja and manosariradhisthita manasa vikara or certain psychotic conditions. The underlying principle is to create fear of physical torment which the patient may not like to bear and fear of death, which is the strongest of all fears, in order to provide insight to the patient to regain mental equipoise. These are more applicable in excitatory conditions where disciplining that patient becomes unavoidable.

Needless to add that these measures were told centuries ago considering the conditions that prevailed in that society. We may modify them suitably and perhaps find their underlying principles useful even today.

HEALTH ARTICLES by Dr. Padarabind Patra


These Health Articles are only to improve your knowledge / awareness regarding Health & Ayurveda.

But it is always advisable to consult an Ayurvedic Doctor before taking any of the Ayurvedic Medications. Thank you


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