Ramadan 2023: How does fasting through the holy month have an effect on your psychological well being?

Throughout the holy month of Ramadan, tens of millions of Muslims all over the world 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 results of this observe will also be advantageous to Muslims’ psychological well being, specialists within the United Arab Emirates have mentioned.

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Fasting may also help nervousness, melancholy

Dr Nada Omer Mohamed Elbashir, a marketing consultant psychiatrist at Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi, mentioned there’s rising confidence at the moment in regards to the constructive results of fasting on psychological well being.

“People that quick have skilled enhancements of their signs of melancholy, nervousness and even stress,” she instructed Al Arabiya English. “Additionally they reported decreased fatigue throughout 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 indicators that not solely impacts how we perform, communicate, and assume but additionally how we really feel. Many research have proven that fasting can improve 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. Nevertheless, additional research are going down sooner or later that may maybe show in any other case.”

A girl prays during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in Amman September 24, 2006.

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

Nevertheless, the physician mentioned is vital to notice that fasting throughout Ramadan just isn’t really useful 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 obligatory.

Those that want medicine to take care of their psychological well being must also 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 mentioned. Folks with bipolar dysfunction and schizophrenia must be maintained with their medicines as really useful.”

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

A discount in stress

Dr Farinaz Aghajan Nashtaei, a specialist psychiatrist at Worldwide Fashionable Hospital Dubai, instructed Al Arabiya English that a number of research have proven that fasting can have constructive results on psychological well being, resembling decreasing stress, nervousness, and depressive signs.

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

Residents enjoy the sunrise after starting their fast during the holy month of Ramadan at Ramlet al-Baida beach on Tarout Island, Saudi Arabia, April 23, 2021. (Reuters)

Residents benefit from the dawn after beginning their quick through the holy month of Ramadan at Ramlet al-Baida seashore 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 stop age-related cognitive decline, mentioned Dr Nashtaei, mentioning that analysis has additionally demonstrated that fasting can sluggish neurodegeneration and improve useful restoration after a stroke.

“These results are considered mediated by numerous psych neuroendocrine mechanisms, resembling elevated ranges of plasma ghrelin and serotonin, which might enhance temper and cognitive perform.”

Nevertheless, fasting throughout Ramadan can even have destructive results on psychological well being, mentioned the physician.

Dehydration and fatigue may cause irritability, temper swings, and difficulties in focus. As well as, adjustments in sleep patterns and eating regimen can result in nervousness, melancholy, and stress. Some people can also expertise a way of isolation and loneliness because of altered social interactions through 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.

Satisfactory hydration and diet throughout non-fasting hours may also help stop bodily signs that will affect psychological well being. Moreover, partaking in bodily exercise and sustaining social connections may also help cut 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 mentioned.

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

“Additionally it is 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 traditional crescent moon decorates a street in front of the Future Museum in Dubai on April 2, 2022, during the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AFP)

A conventional crescent moon decorates a road in entrance of the Future Museum in Dubai on April 2, 2022, through 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 is usually a significant and rewarding expertise that promotes each non secular and bodily well-being. By prioritizing self-care throughout Ramadan, people can be certain that they’re caring for themselves whereas partaking on this vital spiritual observe.”

Dr Sushil Garg, Guide Neurologist, NMC Royal Hospital, instructed Al Arabiya English that through the holy month of Ramadan, those that are fasting will bear adjustments of their consuming habits, sleep patterns and every day routine, which might have an effect on their bodily and psychological well being.

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

Dr Bobby Child Panikulam, a specialist neurologist at Abu Dhabi’s LLH Hospital, instructed 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 could 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 resembling a number of sclerosis and stroke who’re fasting have to 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 vivid lighting, loud sounds, and bodily and psychological stress. Additionally, cut 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 embody processed or fried meals.

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

“Attempt to relaxation for a few hours earlier than breaking quick. Neurology sufferers should additionally ensure to get loads of sleep. Adhering to meditation and prayers throughout Ramadan may also help you keep calm and grounded, enabling you to deal with stress and destructive feelings.”

Learn extra:

Get Ramadan-ready with these wholesome pre-fasting habits, meals ideas from UAE specialists

Ramadan 2023: Diminished working hours anticipated for UAE workers

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

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