Mental illness-a serious issue

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#1 Dec 2nd, 2013, 00:49
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The number of mentally ill people is on the increase in India , as is in other countries. A survey conducted in 2001 pointed out the number of mentally ill people in need of treatment was 5.7% and now it is almost 9% in India. A large majority of these are in need of long term treatment and psycho social rehabilitation. But the facilities available are so inadequate that only a small fraction gets the benefit. The number of psychiatrists and hospitals is not enough to attend to the needs of large number of patients.There are only 46 mental hospitals and only a little more than 20,000 beds.There are only 2 or 3 psychiatrists for a million people where as it is 50-150 in many other developed countries. Thus this is a very serious problem. Unlike other disabled persons a mental patient can be brought back to normal life and to family and society with proper treatment and care.Treatment has to go hand in hand with psychosocial rehabilitation and in this area we are far behind. The voluntary organizations working in this field are so few compared to the need. This is an area where voluntary organizations have to take the initiative as in our country the government alone will not be able to handle this issue. It will be a good idea if all of us can get involved in such activities and support. I shall be really grateful if persons working in this field are willing to give their feed back.
#2 Dec 2nd, 2013, 01:43
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I guess I read somewhere that around 15% of people(not just in India) have some kind of mental/psychosocial illness/issues and this is increasing.
#3 Dec 2nd, 2013, 10:36
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if you can redefine what a 'mental illness' is, you can increase the numbers.

For example, look at ADHD statistics in america.
#4 Dec 2nd, 2013, 10:41
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I guess I read somewhere that around 15% of people(not just in India) have some kind of mental/psychosocial illness/issues and this is increasing.
Yes, what you read is true. But many of the cases go unnoticed as long as the family or others do not notice it and the person is 'almost' leading a normal life without disturbing others.As nobody has the time to observe closely and if his/her activities are going on well- means at home or place of work- the problem may escape detection. But when it increases to a worse level,that is his out put at work goes below average or he is always irritable and angry and tense and depressed frequently then only it is noticed. In the first stage if he is aware of his problem it can be managed before the condition deteriorates. But usually the patient is aware of his problem only in cases of depression and in some cases the person may voluntarily consult a doctor. But in cases of illnesses like schizophrenia, the patient is not aware of his disease as all his delusions and hallucinations are real to him.That is the greatest problem of mental diseases i.e a patient being completely unaware of his illness even when others are and so the patient refusing treatment and medications. As a person working with a voluntary organisation for the rehab. of mentally ill persons I can say that this is a challenge we face most of the time and is a very difficult problem.
#5 Dec 2nd, 2013, 10:46
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are there any side-effects of the medicines you give to the people you take care of, narayanvee?
#6 Dec 2nd, 2013, 15:15
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Originally Posted by adam00121 View Post if you can redefine what a 'mental illness' is, you can increase the numbers.

For example, look at ADHD statistics in america.
Long before anybody had even thought of the complaint called ADHD, I learnt the statistics one in five for men and one in three for women.

Whilst severe depression is utterly debilitating and life destroying, mild depression (yes, I do mean something amiss with the brain chemistry, and not being pissed off at life events) could perhaps be called the common cold of the brain/mind. How common is it? How far do you have to look, perhaps even not further than self, to find someone who does/did suffer? Through this simple example, people can understand that mental illness is very, very common, can, often be treated simply and easily and should not be the basis of any kind of stigma.
#7 Dec 2nd, 2013, 15:41
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and everyone here can perform their daily ablutions in private---not diminishing the importance of the OP's post, if everyone in India could go in private, then we could evaluate a new set of statistics.
#8 Dec 2nd, 2013, 17:24
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Long before anybody had even thought of the complaint called ADHD, I learnt the statistics one in five for men and one in three for women.

Whilst severe depression is utterly debilitating and life destroying, mild depression (yes, I do mean something amiss with the brain chemistry, and not being pissed off at life events) could perhaps be called the common cold of the brain/mind. How common is it? How far do you have to look, perhaps even not further than self, to find someone who does/did suffer? Through this simple example, people can understand that mental illness is very, very common, can, often be treated simply and easily and should not be the basis of any kind of stigma.
Unfortunately there is a stigma, and it affects not only them but also their brothers and sisters. For example when looking for a marriage alliance they say be careful that persons Uncle/aunt/ etc went to see that doctor, it might run in the family.
Lord, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those people I had to kill because they pissed me off.
#9 Dec 3rd, 2013, 14:51
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While I agree that in countries like the US, certain conditions are over-diagnosed (eg depression and ADHD), I agree with the original poster that more psychiatric care is needed in India.

I have been closely involved with a friend or colleague who had a psychotic break, and nobody here thought of taking the person to a doctor except me. Everyone thought that an exorcism would be the right thing to do. Luckily I was able to get a doctor to help (actually much easier than in the US) and we got the person on medication that calmed them down. It took several years to get the proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder and to get the maintenance meds figured out, but now the person is doing well with those.

Yes, adam, of course most medicines have certain side effects, varying in different cases. In the case of this person I know, to have stayed on with untreated bipolar disorder and thus having occasional psychotic breaks would have been totally unacceptable and would have led to lifelong disability and disturbance, inability to hold a job, and periodic disturbing and shameful events for the family. However with the maintenance medication, this person can hold down a job, the psychotic episodes come on gradually enough to manage before they get out of control, and the side effects so far have not been anything too bad. Frankly the unmedicated life would have been hardly worth living, and the medicated life is a good life in this case. Of course different patients are different -- and bipolar disorder is one of the best understood and best controlled disorders, whereas some of the other mental conditions are not so easily managed.

However, in this case, and I think many, this patient is able to live a normal productive and fulfilling life on medication, whereas without it they would not be able to, and would be causing problems for their family as well.

There is no full psychiatrist in Ladakh (not even one) but there is one physician who has taken a short training in psychiatry, and his kind attitude and attention to the patients seems to make up for any shortage in his training. Thank you to Dr Iqbal in Ladakh!
#10 Dec 3rd, 2013, 15:23
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Originally Posted by adam00121 View Post if you can redefine what a 'mental illness' is, you can increase the numbers.
For example, look at ADHD statistics in america.
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam00121 View Post are there any side-effects of the medicines you give to the people you take care of, narayanvee?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Long before anybody had even thought of the complaint called ADHD, I learnt the statistics one in five for men and one in three for women.
Whilst severe depression is utterly debilitating and life destroying, mild depression (yes, I do mean something amiss with the brain chemistry, and not being pissed off at life events) could perhaps be called the common cold of the brain/mind. How common is it? How far do you have to look, perhaps even not further than self, to find someone who does/did suffer? Through this simple example, people can understand that mental illness is very, very common, can, often be treated simply and easily and should not be the basis of any kind of stigma.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNLORD View Post Unfortunately there is a stigma, and it affects not only them but also their brothers and sisters. For example when looking for a marriage alliance they say be careful that persons Uncle/aunt/ etc went to see that doctor, it might run in the family.
Really I did not think of ADHD which is more of a neurological problem than mental and it affects children usually. So what I meant was mental illness affecting adults mainly disabling them in leading a normal life. The illness I refer is more serious than just simple and temporary depression affecting many people at some point in their life and out of which they recover easily some times even without treatment.

The other class of illnesses such as bi-polar depression or schizophrenia may lead continuous treatment or even hospitalization as suicidal tendency is very common in such cases. Few of these cases may be almost impossible even to manage with treatment though most of them can be managed with proper treatment and care though a complete cure is not possible always. But we have to note that even diabetes and hypertension are not curable but manageable.

The social stigma is a very great problem attached to mental illness Once a mental patient, even if he recovers, is looked upon even by his family as a dangerous person- let alone the society at large.So the option is to cover up the disease and treatment though this attitude is not there in the other incurable diseases. I know many ill persons who are leading a very normal life with treatment and usually nobody wants to be seen undergoing treatment. The role of psychosocial rehab. pro-grammes are as important as medicine here.

Yes, adam00121; the question of side effects of these drugs are always a haunting issue as there can be serious problems. In modern medicine, I am sure that every body knows that even simple drug such as paracetamol can have serious side effects, though here it can be more.The drugs which affects the functioning of the brain cannot be with out side effects and so it is a tight rope walk weighing the problems of the side effects against that of the disease. Really we opt for the lesser evil and that is the only choice.

This has been a little too long and so more if necessary in my next post.
#11 Dec 3rd, 2013, 21:21
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The flat below me had its windows progressively boarded up. Eventually they were all boarded up. The guy who lived there smashed them. I think he probably did the same thing to his girl friend.

This was mental illness at the dangerous end of the scale. One day I found this guy in my kitchen. He started to shout at me that I had taken his woman (who I don't think I'd even spoken to). This was scary stuff. Anyway, soon he got up and left without hurting me or anything else in the flat. The downstairs noises of destruction continued for a while. Eventually I learned he had been "taken away." Police, the mythical men in white coats, whatever, I don't know.

Maybe six months later, I saw this guy in the neigbourhood and thought, "Oh shit." When he turned and walked towards me, I thought."OH SHIT!"

But he just said a few words: "I've been away. I was ill. I'm better now. I'm sorry for all the trouble I caused." And he walked off.
#12 Dec 3rd, 2013, 22:37
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#12
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Originally Posted by NonIndianResident View Post While I agree that in countries like the US, certain conditions are over-diagnosed (eg depression and ADHD), I agree with the original poster that more psychiatric care is needed in India............
training. Thank you to Dr Iqbal in Ladakh!
Sorry that while I was replying earlier I did not see your post and am really happy to hear what you did. Thank you very much and I am also glad to hear about Dr.Iqbal.

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Nick-H The flat below me had its windows progressively boarded up. Eventually they were all boarded up. .............................. ..But he just said a few words: "I've been away. I was ill. I'm better now. I'm sorry for all the trouble I caused." And he walked off.
A really good incident to hear and I feel so glad and do hope that he will be OK. That is why we have to resort to medication as early as possible and help and support people with such problems. They can be brought back to family and society- as productive members of the society. A little caring, sharing and love can do wonders in their recovery.
#13 Dec 3rd, 2013, 23:23
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This was back in 1970-something. I had no personal connection with the guy and never saw him again. However, it is one of the stories in my life that I will never forget: at heart, I think he must have been a decent person.

Another friend of mine was hospitalised for a while (voluntarily) and on medication for a long time thereafter. He was not able to keep his job, but, as his health became manageable and, later, improved, he moved back into the music field that he had originally trained for.
#14 Dec 4th, 2013, 10:26
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thank you narayanvee, for taking the time to answer my questions. I think this problems is being looked at by you as either a caregiver or as a person affected by it (in terms of family or someone close to you).

Personal experiences (though not the first person), one in the past, and one currently ongoing. both have made life hell for the immediate family of the person with the problem. There is a common thread in both situations, and is orthogonally related to one of the points you have talked about.

There are other sides to this problem, and those are what i have a problem with. Doctors and Medical manufacturer collusion is what i have a problem with. Prescribing needless drugs, and with debilitating side-effects, sometimes worse than the disease itself, just to 'earn' a few shekels, are the cause for my concern.
#15 Dec 4th, 2013, 14:00
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#15
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post This was back in 1970-something. .........I think he must have been a decent person.
Another friend of mine , he moved back into the music field that he had originally trained for.
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam00121 View Post ........ I think this problems is being looked at by you as either a caregiver or as a person affected by it (in terms of family or someone close to you).
Personal experiences (though not the first person),..... orthogonally related to one of the points you have talked about.

There are other sides to this problem, and those are what i have a problem with. Doctors and Medical manufacturer collusion ........ cause for my concern.
Hallo Nick-H and adam00121 Thank you both for your feed backs. In the case referred by Nick-H , I am certain that the guy was a decent one as he was willing to come to you and apologise and thank you. It is not very common for such persons to come back to apologise as it is something they don't want to remember and so I am certain of what I have said. Glad to hear the other story also. As an office bearer of a charitable organisation working for the rehabilitation of mental patients and also as a man involved in this work otherwise also on a larger scale, I have met so many persons with problems and it is not always one apologises for something he has done as an ill person. Once when I went to meet a newly admitted person, on my asking how he was he addressed me as son of a bitch and told me to shut up and go; but he improved and later he was very friendly with me but he did not speak a word about our first meeting as it was something he did not want to remember.

Glad to hear the second story also which is really encouraging. Music therapy is being experimented with in psychiatric cases and music as we all agree can be a soothing balm for them.

I hope I have already answered part of the question by adam000121 -I am only happy to discuss anything concerning the issue of mental illness as I am aware of the suffering of so many and I feel so happy to help anybody with a problem of this kind. I am equally worried about the collusion of hospitals and doctors with medical companies which is rather common in India. The unethical practice of hospitals charging exorbitantly for cheaper drugs available outside is also common and shocking and in this the role of doctors also is dubious. But all these happen here and organising movements against such activities is the only solution even if it will not solve all the problems. Unethical practices by hospitals with the support of doctors is a worrying issue.
Last edited by narayanvee; Dec 4th, 2013 at 20:44..
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