Depression, anxiety common in urban areas


KARACHI: Renowned Psychiatrist and Head of Psychiatry Department, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Prof Dr M Iqbal Afridi on Wednesday said the cases of psychological or behavioural disorders have gone up sharply in South Asian region including Pakistan owning to socioeconomic changes in past few years.

Prof Afridi said mental health is as an important as physical health for an overall well-being of individuals, societies and countries. He said various mental diseases had gone up sharply in our region due to manmade and natural disasters, and hype of print and electronic media. He said depression, anxiety, somatoform, use of drugs and schizophrenia are the major mental diseases in our society.

He said depression is the most common disease in Pakistan and approximately 34 percent population of the country is living with this disease. He said big number of patients with depression symptoms visit the Psychiatry Department on OPD days in his hospital. He said only one percent population is suffering from schizophrenia, a common genetic psychological disorder.

He said cases of somatoform disorders are also on the rise and this disease is linked to stress. He said people with somatoform disorder may face stomach, joints problems and others issues.

Dr Afridi said a significant number of people between 15 to 65 year age-group consume tobacco products in the country out of which 3.4 percent are youngsters. He explained that use of alcohol was common in high-income group, while cigarette, betel nut, betel leaf and other tobacco products are generally used by low-income group. He said psychological disorders or mental diseases are more common in urban parts of country as compared to rural areas.

He said mental disorders are common but treatable. He said people should maintain a balance in life, and give proper attention to sleep, work, pray, exercise and diet. He said at collective level we should focus in improving interpersonal relationship and communication to get rid from various psychological disorders.

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