Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 289-291

Anxiety disorders in ancient Indian literature

1 Department of Psychiatry, Hospital for Mental Health, Vikas Gruh Road, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Albany Medical College, New York, USA
3 Department of Psychiatry, B.J Medical College, Ahmedabad, India

Correspondence Address:
Hitesh C Sheth
Hospital for Mental Health, Vikas Gruh Road, Jamnagar, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.71009

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In western literature, the oldest description of symptoms of PTSD, an anxiety group of disorder, is seen in Homer's Iliad written around 720 BC. According to Shay, Achilles was suffering from symptoms of PTSD. However, in the Indian literature it was mentioned around 5000 BC. The description of a PTSD-like syndrome is seen in the Ramayana, although it was not described as PTSD or by any other similar name. Ravana's brother Marrich was having symptoms of PTSD after he was grievously hurt by Lord Rama's arrow and was almost dead. This traumatic event threatened his physical integrity. He developed all the symptoms of PTSD, like hyper-arousal, re-experiencing the events and avoidance. He also gave up his natural work of harassing the monk and got engaged in meditation and austerities. His symptoms lasted for many years till Lord Rama killed him, while he was masquerading as a golden deer to deceive Sita. In another ancient epic Shrimad Bhagavatam, Maharshi Ved Vyasa described the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The demon King Kansha developed GAD-like symptoms, when Lord Krishna killed all his demons and threatened to kill him. He developed symptoms of GAD, like excessive worry about the attack from his arch foe Krishna, difficulty in concentration and difficulty in falling asleep. Like Marrich, the symptoms of Kansha also lasted until Lord Krishna killed him.



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