How does fasting throughout the holy month have an effect on your psychological well being?

A person checks a standard Ramadan lantern, known as “fanous,” at a store stall forward of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt, on April 8, 2021. (Reuters)

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Throughout the holy month of Ramadan, hundreds of thousands of Muslims world wide quick from daybreak till sundown as an act of devotion and non secular reflection.

Whereas the advantages of fasting for bodily well being are properly documented, the consequences of this observe may also be advantageous to Muslims’ psychological well being, consultants within the United Arab Emirates have stated.

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Fasting can assist nervousness, melancholy

Dr Nada Omer Mohamed Elbashir, a marketing consultant psychiatrist at Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi, stated there’s rising confidence right this moment concerning the optimistic results of fasting on psychological well being.

“People that quick have skilled enhancements of their signs of melancholy, nervousness and even stress,” she advised Al Arabiya English. “In addition they reported decreased fatigue inside the second week of fasting. This could possibly be attributed to inducing ketone metabolism and its anti-inflammatory results that contribute to decrease stress ranges.’

“Neurotransmitters are important chemical elements of the mind. They ship alerts that not solely impacts how we perform, communicate, and assume but additionally how we really feel. Many research have proven that fasting can enhance the extent of serotonin within the blood, a neurotransmitter that has been strongly linked to melancholy and nervousness as soon as it’s depleted. Dopamine, one other neurotransmitter that has been strongly linked to melancholy and psychosis, appears unchanged by fasting. Nonetheless, additional research are going down sooner or later that may maybe show in any other case.”

A lady prays throughout the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in Amman September 24, 2006.

Nonetheless, the physician stated is necessary to notice that fasting throughout Ramadan is just not really helpful for people who’re in danger for medical issues or those that have pre-existing psychological well being circumstances. For individuals who are fasting, it’s important to observe bodily and psychological well being intently and search skilled assist if essential.

Those that want medicine to keep up their psychological well being also needs to seek the advice of a doctor earlier than the holy month.

“Treatment consumption and timings are important, particularly when therapeutic ranges within the blood are desired,” she stated. Folks with bipolar dysfunction and schizophrenia must be maintained with their medicines as really helpful.”

“Many individuals battle with adjusting their medicines throughout the daytime in Ramadan. It is strongly recommended that the medicine is taken in full prescribed dosage if fasting is chosen, however timings will be adjusted to Iftar or Suhoor. Nonetheless, it’s strongly suggested to take your specialist’s opinion about medicines should you select to quick and alter the time.”

A discount in stress

Dr Farinaz Aghajan Nashtaei, a specialist psychiatrist at Worldwide Trendy Hospital Dubai, advised Al Arabiya English that a number of research have proven that fasting can have optimistic results on psychological well being, reminiscent of lowering stress, nervousness, and depressive signs.

“For instance, one research discovered that fasting throughout Ramadan led to vital reductions in stress and nervousness ranges amongst contributors. One other research discovered that fasting can improve neuroplasticity, which can contribute to the discount of depressive signs.”

Residents benefit from the dawn after beginning their quick throughout the holy month of Ramadan at Ramlet al-Baida seaside on Tarout Island, Saudi Arabia, April 23, 2021. (Reuters)

Along with these psychological well being advantages, fasting has been proven to enhance cognitive perform and forestall age-related cognitive decline, stated Dr Nashtaei, stating that analysis has additionally demonstrated that fasting can sluggish neurodegeneration and improve useful restoration after a stroke.

“These results are regarded as mediated by numerous psych neuroendocrine mechanisms, reminiscent of elevated ranges of plasma ghrelin and serotonin, which may enhance temper and cognitive perform.”

Nonetheless, fasting throughout Ramadan can even have unfavorable results on psychological well being, stated the physician.

Dehydration and fatigue could cause irritability, temper swings, and difficulties in focus. As well as, adjustments in sleep patterns and weight loss plan can result in nervousness, melancholy, and stress. Some people may additionally expertise a way of isolation and loneliness because of altered social interactions throughout the month.

Follow self-care

Dr Nashtaei means that people who plan to quick throughout Ramadan ought to take measures to guard their psychological well being.

Sufficient hydration and diet throughout non-fasting hours can assist stop bodily signs that will affect psychological well being. Moreover, participating in bodily exercise and sustaining social connections can assist scale back emotions of isolation and melancholy.

“To take care of good bodily and psychological well being throughout Ramadan, it’s important to observe self-care,” she stated.

“This contains consuming a balanced and nutritious diet throughout non-fasting hours, staying hydrated, getting sufficient relaxation, participating in common bodily exercise, and practising rest strategies to handle stress.”

“It is usually essential for people with pre-existing psychological well being circumstances or power sicknesses to seek the advice of with their healthcare suppliers earlier than making any adjustments to their medicine or therapy plans.”

A conventional crescent moon decorates a avenue in entrance of the Future Museum in Dubai on April 2, 2022, throughout the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AFP)

“With correct care and a spotlight to 1’s bodily and psychological well being wants, Ramadan could be a significant and rewarding expertise that promotes each non secular and bodily well-being. By prioritizing self-care throughout Ramadan, people can be sure that they’re taking good care of themselves whereas participating on this necessary spiritual observe.”

Dr Sushil Garg, Marketing consultant Neurologist, NMC Royal Hospital, advised Al Arabiya English that throughout the holy month of Ramadan, those that are fasting will bear adjustments of their consuming habits, sleep patterns and day by day routine, which may have an effect on their bodily and psychological well being.

He stated, by taking acceptable measures to care for his or her bodily and emotional well-being, people can be sure that they’ve a wholesome and spiritually fulfilling Ramadan expertise.

Dr Bobby Child Panikulam, a specialist neurologist at Abu Dhabi’s LLH Hospital, advised Al Arabiya English that the holy month of Ramadan carries immense significance as it’s a interval of psychological, bodily, non secular cleansing, and rejuvenation.

“However there are specific precautions that sufferers with power sicknesses should take to fight neurological issues like complications, migraine, and seizures,” he cautioned.

“Some psychological well being points might worsen throughout Ramadan because of dehydration, altered sleep-wake cycle, caffeine withdrawal and low blood glucose ranges that happen throughout fasting hours.”

“Sufferers with power neurological issues reminiscent of a number of sclerosis and stroke who’re fasting must intently monitor for any new signs and search medical consideration urgently if signs do happen. Throughout Ramadan, migraine sufferers ought to keep away from migraine-triggering elements like brilliant lighting, loud sounds, and bodily and psychological stress. Additionally, scale back caffeine consumption and keep away from extreme smoking throughout and after Iftar.”

The physician suggested hydrating properly from Iftar to Suhoor and consuming a well-balanced, nutritious diet that’s low in sodium and doesn’t embrace processed or fried meals.

“Goal for a number of meals at intervals to enhance the signs and enhance the vitality ranges wanted throughout fasting hours.,” he stated.

“Attempt to relaxation for a few hours earlier than breaking quick. Neurology sufferers should additionally be sure to get loads of sleep. Adhering to meditation and prayers throughout Ramadan can assist you keep calm and grounded, enabling you to deal with stress and unfavorable feelings.”

Learn extra:

Get Ramadan-ready with these wholesome pre-fasting habits, meals suggestions from UAE consultants

Ramadan 2023: Lowered working hours anticipated for UAE workers

Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr 2023: Anticipated dates, public holidays in UAE, Saudi Arabia

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