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‘Today’s youth IS facing more depression than elders’

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

As much as our physical health is important, our mental health is also equally, if not more important for our well-being. But mental health is often ignored by most people. Along with relation between physical and mental health, we discuss other issues of mental health like inheritance of mental diseases, dealing with stress and impact of positivity, as Vrushali Purandare talks to Dr. Neelanjna Mathur, eminent psychiatrist, counsellor and hypnotherapist with M.G.M. Medical College at Kalamboli and various other medical institutions

l What exactly is psychology?
The definition of psychology is that it is the study of the mind and behaviour. Research is carried out in psychology to look for and to understand, explain the thought, emotion, and behavioral patterns of one person. Applications of psychology include mental health treatment, performance enhancement, self-help and many other areas affecting health and our day-to-day life.

l Can we say that stress is the root cause of all the problems of mental health?
Stress is man’s most dangerous enemy in mental health. It causes headaches, back problems, divorce,  personal problems and gives birth to all sorts of problem. Worst is  that stress can even be fatal. We are always told that to protect ourselves from stress, we must relax. But in today’s day-to-day life, we are unable to look after ourselves. And that's the reason why we tend to develop various kinds of illnesses and

l With the rising number of cases of children suicide, what kind of stress, do you think, leads to such a tendency?
In India, most of us live in a nuclear family where parents are working. In such cases, children are given complete freedom and are granted almost every thing, whatever they need. Parents pamper their kids to such an extent that makes grows them weak to face the reality of the life because of which they are unable to cope with rejection. This leads to suicidal tendencies in children nowadays.

l What are the kinds of depression faced by today's generation?
Nowadays, youth are facing more depression than the older ones and there are different kinds of stress and problems that lead to depression. It ranges from their personal life to their social life, even smaller issues have a long-lasting impact on our youth leading to depression. The symptoms of depression are feeling of sadness, loneliness or unhappiness because of angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters. It can also lead to loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex. Also causing sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much, tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks are done by taking extra effort.

Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased craving for food leads to weight gain in some people. Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still are all the symptoms of depression. Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that you were not responsible for are all the signs causing stress. When one has trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things are also signs. Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide is the aftermath of the accumulating stress. Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches are also caused. If you see or witness all these signs in your loved ones, then better consult a doctor because they can go on to develop suicidal tendencies.   

l Do you think that disturbance in mental health can lead to consuming drugs?
Young people are increasingly falling prey to drugs and the drug culture, that too in  their very young days – and in a more intense way nowadays. Youngsters between the age group of 15 and 25 years  mostly begin to experiment with drugs with their new age social groups, new-age music and their sexuality. The most popular drugs among youths are marijuana, ecstasy and other club drugs. Legal highs and synthetic research chemicals have also becoming more popular with this easily influenced and high-risk group.

l Where do you think all these factors of mental behaviour patterns lead our youth?
Young adults with such disturbed mental behaviour often begin to explore the world of drugs and alcohol. They see this as a way to fit in with other people, develop their social circle and to even experience for themselves about the drug culture. This experimentation can be harmless, however it can also lead to danger of impeding brain development, unwanted pregnancy among females, social anxieties and other health problems that can all turn out to have a disastrous effect on the mental and physical health of a human being. Additionally, the risk of developing serious-substance addiction can lead to long term health problems and sexual dysfunction. To come out of this problem, one requires a loving and helping hand along with counseling. Proper diet should not be ignored. They should be made aware of about how addiction can have serious effects on mental and physical health.

l What do you think is the right way to manage and treat people with such complicated mental health issues?
Every patient whom I meet or treat is special to me as I have done enough of research work on patients and their tendency as well as their behavioural pattern. I have also seen patients with cerebral palsy, mentally challenged and those categorised under 'special child'. Treatment for such people include counselling and for some who can mange to do, drawing, crafts and other activities, they are trained in a way to make them more involved and active in their work. These things make sure that they can do their work on their own without anyone's help.

l As a psychologist and counsellor, what would be you advice to the youth?
I like the saying that goes “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Feeling of satisfaction in any work we do, brings happiness. However, mainly our youth should avoid drugs and just follow the simplicity of life. Take life in a positive way.

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