Psycho-oncology is a developing branch of psychiatry as psychological interventions are said to provide good sort of relief as well as delay in the recurrence of cancer and is the psychological, social, behavioural and ethical aspect of cancer.
Cancer is the most feared of all diseases. It is often the first disease people think they have when they experience pain or feel lump in their bodies and the last they want to talk about.
The prevalence of cancer is so high in the Indian population and almost 70-90 per lakh of individuals. It is a miserable condition to the individual as far as his physical, mental as well as social health is concerned, but the extent varies as per the individual, as well as the type of cancer itself affects all the enthusiasm, hope as well as happiness in the life. Psycho-oncology is an extensive approach which tends to manage the emotional, social, and spiritual distress which often accompanies cancer.
Brahmi also known as Bacopamonnieri, has been used for centuries in Ayurveda.It improves brain function, improve neuron communication, and protect brain cells from harmful chemicals that are responsible for neurological diseases linked to cognition and memory. Brahmi has also shown the ability to help regulate the body’s response to both acute and chronic stress and may act as a potent adaptogen.
Rigorous efforts from clinicians and researchers are the need of the hour to throw light on the scope of psychological approach in cancer. Ayurveda unwraps wide possibility for stress management with its several techniques, where several curative as well as preventive measures are explained for the unassailability of mind. There are a lot of drugs and treatment modalities explained which are psychotropic and simultaneously having immunomodulatory properties, of ultimate benefit in the management of psychological affections of cancer. In the following study it is explained that how brahmi can help us in Psycho-oncology.
The cancer is an illness, which is associated with severe emotional disturbances and distress. Psycho oncology with impact of cancer on psychological functioning and also the role that psychological and behavioural variables take part in cancer risk and survival. Sadness and grief are key reactions to a cancer diagnosis. Such a person faces many stressful issues such as changes in body image and self-alterations in day to day living, mind trouble in sleeping, loss of appetite, anxiety or worry about the
future and also the ultimate fear of death apart from the, economical and legal concerns.
A key clinical challenge for the oncologist is in differentiating the expected and transient distress associated with cancer from the excessive, disabling distress that requires psychiatric interventions. Psychological interventions enhance the role of recovery of cancer patients. Patients with cancer experiences distress that require evaluation and treatment, and the most common psychiatric conditions are depression, anxiety disorders and adjustment disorders.
HOW DOES PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS AFFECT PEOPLE WHO HAVE CANCER?
People who have cancer may find the physical, emotional, and social effects of the disease to be stressful. Those who attempt to manage their stress with risky behaviours such as smoking or drinking alcohol or who become more sedentary may have a poorer quality of life after cancer treatment. In contrast, people who are able to use effective coping strategies to deal with stress, such as relaxation and stress management, have been shown to have lower levels of depression, anxiety, and symptoms related to the cancer and its treatment.
Evidence from experimental studies does suggest that psychological stress can affect a tumor’s ability to grow and spread. For example, some studies have shown that when mice bearing human tumours were kept confined or isolated from other mice—conditions that increase stress—their tumours were more likely to grow and spread (metastasize). In one set of experiments, tumours transplanted into the mammary fat pads of mice had much higher rates of spread to the lungs and lymph nodes if the mice were chronically stressed than if the mice were not stressed. Studies in mice and in human cancer cells grown in the laboratory have found that the stress hormone norepinephrine, part of the body’s fight-or-flight response system, may promote angiogenesis and metastasis.
BODY AND MIND RELATION IN DISEASED CONDITION:
Both mind and body are explained as the substratum of thedisease and they are inseparably related. Ayurveda have explained the mind and its affection in many of the diseases affecting the mind as well as the body. The management of these conditions opens wide scope for handling stress and associative problems. Body is being explained as a psychosomatic entity and many curative as well as preventive measures are mentioned for a sound mind. Apart from shararika (somatic) and manasika (psychic) diseases, there is another classification- shariramanasikavyadhiie. Those presenting with physical problems associated with psychological factors such as shoka, krodhaetc. eg: shokajasosha, bhayajaatisara etc.
In Ashtangahridayait is highlighted that an extraordinary physician, is the person capable of pacifying the conditions affecting the mind such as raaga, dwesha, krodha etc.Chakrapaani has classified diseases based on either body or mind is the most affected and states that both are influenced in any disease in a simultaneous manner. The taptaaajyaghatanyaya is an amazing concept of body and mind relation where Ayurveda stresses importance of mental health and the relation between physical illness and psychological ones. The pain/sorrow affecting either the body or mind affects the other because of the integral relationship between the two, similar to the heat of ghee spreading into the pot in which it is kept or vice versa. In cancer, the disease affecting the body rapidly influences the mind, associated with emotional disturbances and distress. The increased distress in cancer worsens the physical strength and hence worsening the condition, leads to an awful prognosis. Mental agonies come under the context of “manovikaara‟ as per Ayurveda. The derangement of doshas of the mind – therajas and tamas, leads to different types of conditions affectingmind such as cittodvega, vishada etc.The derangement of doshas of the body-Vata, Pitta and Kapha have to be rectified before the management of doshas of the mind. Vishaada or episodes of grief is considered to be crucial aggravating factor for all diseases, regardless of those of the body or mind. Mental afflictions such as kopa, shoka etc. leads to depletion of ojus or alteration in the immunal statuswhich is the primary evidence of association between the disorders affecting the mind and immunal status, which later led to the development of psycho-neuro-immunology. Many of the psychiatric patients attending the OPD are observed to have a depleted level of Ojus on primary inference.
HOW CAN BRAMHI HELP?
Brahmi also known asBacopamonnieri,has been used for centuries in Ayurveda traditional medicine.
Bacopa contains containsanthraquinones, phytosterol, and terpenoids, as well as numerous biologically active compounds, such as alkaloids (brahmine and herpestine), bacopasaponins, flavonoids (glucuronyl-7-apigenin, glucuronyl-7-luteolin, luteolin-7-glucoside, and luteolin), and saponins (bacogenins, bacosides, and bacopasides). These powerful compounds are responsible for it’s many pharmacological and therapeutic benefits.
Bacopa is commonly known as a “nootropic”. It has been shown to help repair neurons that have become damaged, improve brain function, improve neuron communication, and protect brain cells from harmful chemicals that are responsible for neurological diseases linked to cognition and memory. Bacopa has also shown the ability to help regulate the body’s response to both acute and chronic stress and may act as a potent adaptogen.
BACOPA MONNIERI AND MENTAL HEALTH
Bacopa may increase the effects of key neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, acetylcholine, noradrenaline, and dopamine, which can help to achieve a sense of calm and maintain mood equilibrium. An imbalance (often too little) of these key neurotransmitters is believed to play a significant role in many mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Bacopa can make an excellent, natural anti-depressant and mood booster that lacks the horrible side effects of some pharmaceutical drugs.
ACCORDING TO AYURVEDA:
PRABHAVA ON DOSHA TRIDOSHAGHNA
According to Ayurveda it nourishes mastishka and majjavahasrotasa and gives stability to mind. bacopa pacify vata, pitta, and kapha. It is also beneficial for the lymph, blood, nervous tissue, and urinary tract, as well as the circulatory, digestive, and nervous systems. In addition,bacopa resonates with all of the tissues in the body as well as the channels of elimination.bacopais considered to be tridoshic (balancing to vata, pitta, and kapha). Bacopa is likely more suited for overall strengthening, and energy promotion. it is purifying and rejuvenating, it is said to support longevity. In addition to the benefits described brahmi is very supportive of the joints—clearing toxins while promoting comfort and freedom of movement.
BRAHMI FOR THE MIND
Brahmi is known to rejuvenate the mind, enhance memory, improve concentration, and to directly influence the quality of consciousness. It is considered satvic herb (promoting subtle awareness). In fact, it is often used to support meditation as it increase the clarity and subtlety of mind. Bacopawork very directly to improve the quality of sadhaka pitta (which is closely related to the intellect and intelligence) and, as tonics for the mind, it is indicated in a broad range of mental imbalances—both behavioral and developmental. Further, because Ayurveda illuminates an intimate connection between the heart and the mind, it is significant that brahmi is known as heart tonic.
BRAHMI FOR THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
Bacopa is renowned for its effects on the nervous system. Itenhance and tonify majjadhatu (the nervous tissue) and help to relax tension in the body. It is calming and stimulating, improving daytime alertness and focus while reducing stress throughout the system and improving the quality of sleep at night. On a more specific level, bacopa is known to reduce muscular tension and prevent constipation caused by stress.
In addition to using brahmi in internal medication we can do shirodhara karma in cancer patients with brahmitaila. shirodhara massage is a classic Ayurvedic therapy, which includes pouring of warm herbal oil on the forehead in a continuous stream. Pouring of warm oils used stimulates and sooth the hypothalamus, thereby regulating the functions of pituitary gland and inducing sleep. Shirodhara stimulates Marma’s or Vital Points in the head and improves circulation. The warm oils used for Shirodhara also cause vasodilatation of all the channels and thereby improve the blood circulation of brain. Shirodhara also reduces the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and nor adrenaline and thus relaxes mind.
Ayurveda stands for a holistic mode of healthy living and also an absolute management of the disease. Its basement is on a psychosomatic axis for health. This science strictly recommends good mental health in the maintenance of good physical health and vice versa. Today the modern science in the field of psycho – neuro – immunology is proving the relation between one’s mental health and immunity; while Ayurvedic science has already established this relationship a bit earlier. Ayurvedic science is also participating in improving the quality of life of cancer patients nowadays.
According to the benefits mentioned in Ayurveda we can say that brahmi is very useful in psycho oncology to reduce patients psychological problems as well as it is also helpful in treating cancer.
Further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of different psychological and psychopharmacological interventions in psycho-oncology. Such Studies are the need of the hour from the Ayurvedic point of view with appropriate methodologies of research and the whole medical world isexpecting much from the Ayurveda in psycho oncology.
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