Unmada in Ayurveda

By Conner Severson, AP Student

An example of Majja Dhatu Imbalance- Unmada

Unmada is a big topic. Science still doesn't fully understand the inner workings of many mental illnesses.

In Mental illness, western medicines allow the person to live out a heavily pharmaceutically altered life. It is hard for such people to relapse, so they cant get off their medicine. Statistically, 1 out of 10 patients commit suicide) :

Unmada in Ayurveda includes.

Delusions –false ideas--individuals may believe that someone is spying on him or her, or that they are someone famous (or a religious figure).
Hallucinations –seeing, feeling, tasting, hearing or smelling something that doesn’t really exist. The most common experience is hearing imaginary voices that give commands or comments to the individual.
Disordered thinking and speech –moving from one topic to another, in a nonsensical fashion. Individuals may also make up their own words or sounds, rhyme in a way that doesn't make sense, or repeat words and ideas.
Disorganized behavior –this can range from having problems with routine behaviors like hygiene or chosing appropriate clothing for the weather, to unprovoked outbursts, to impulsive and uninhibited actions. A person may also have movements that seem anxious, agitated, tense or constant without any apparent reason.

Other symptoms include

Social withdrawal
Extreme apathy (lack of interest or enthusiasm)
Lack of drive or initiative
Emotional flatness

As usual, those who understand even an inkling of Ayurvedic theory/philosophy can see that Unmada (Hallucinations or Delusions)is not a simple mental illness, but an elemental (akasha) imbalance: a Vataja condition affecting Majja Dhatu and that Vata has also entered most if not all other Dhatus as well.

In my opinion Hallucinations could be categorized at Vata pushing Pitta into Alochaka/Ocular tissue and creating perhaps a very detailed and not seldom terrifying experience for the person. Vata imbalance in majja is indicated by twitching, walking differently, and using strange jumpy gestures.

It is seen that the person does not shift personality, but rather becomes HYPER stressed. They percieve their unmada as being VERY real. A person with an Unmada issue maybe eating breakfast at a cafe, and have a vision of bees and spiders jumping and flying everywhere.

Vata is pushing out of the subconscious and blending into present physical reality to understand the underlying mechanisms of trauma of such persons.

PAST LIFE issues are a huge part of Unmada along with spiritual possession.

Hetus include brain trauma, genetics, drug abuse, socio-economic factors all come into play.

There are three types of Unmada

Vata Unmada : (vayu)
Texts give examples of a Vata unmada as someone who is very thin, lameting, s houts, laughs, smiles, dances, or sings and talks to themselves. May immitate others, and sputum comes outof their mouth. They may also posture. Swami Sada Shiv Tirtha notes, “Vayu insanity is also caused by fasting or an excessive intake of dry or cold foods. This affects the heart and mind with worry, passion, and anger which results in distortion of memory and perceptions.” Swami Sada Shiv Tirtha, (1998).

Frawley states that when high vata, as excess ether, makes us ungrounded, spaced-out and unrealistic. We may have various wrong imaginations, hallucinations or delusions, like hearing voices. High vata in the mind manifests as fear, alienation, anxiety and possible nervous breakdown. There is insomnia, tremors, palpitations, unrest and rapid shifts of mood. Insanity of the manic depressive type or schizophrenia is an extreme vata imbalance”. Frawley, (1996).

Pitta Unmada

Choler gives rise to threatening behavior, fury, and charging at people with fists stones,
and the like. The patient craves coolness shade, and water. He goes naked, and has a
yellow color. He sees thing which are not there, such as ire, flames, stars, and lamps.
Pitta insanity results from indigestion, excess of hot, pungent, sour, or burning foods and
liquids, excesses pitta afflict the heart of the person lacking self-control. Wajastic (1988).
Frawley notes that the “fire and heat of pitta cause the mind to be narrowed and contentious, fighting either with others or with themselves. High pitta in the mind causes agitation, irritation, anger, and possible violence. The overheated body and mind seek release in venting the build-up tension. Pitta types can become domineering, authoritarian or fanatic. When disturbed they many have paranoid delusions, delusion of grandeur or can become psychotic.” Frawley, (1996).

kapha Unmada:

Phlegm causes the patient to lose any desire for food. It causes vomiting, and a reduction
in motivation, appetite, and conversation. It causes a lust for women. It causes the patient
to enjoy solitude. He dribbles mucus and snot, and is very frightening. He hates being
clean. He sleeps, and has puffy face. This insanity is stronger at night, and just after
eating. This is caused by the overeating and excessive use of oily foods. This is
aggravated kapha afflicts the heart, troubling the mind and memory. Wajastic, (1988)

Frawley stated that kapha type evolves attachment and lack of motivation lading to depression, sorrow, and clinging. The mind may be incapable of abstract, objective or impersonal thinking. There is lack of drive and motivation along with passivity and dependency”. Frawley (1996).