Psychiatry News and Blog

Treatment For Mental Illness

In India only one in 20 people get treated for mood disorders, anxiety and addictions as was published in a study of almost 25 000 by the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. This study tracked the wide spread and treatment of anxiety, substance abuse and also mood disorders in 24,371 people who were aged above 18 years across 11 sites in India. This study was completed by mental experts who are from some of the major hospitals in India that include A11MS Delhi, PGIMER Chandigarh, AFMS Pune, JIPMER Puducherry, and NIMHANS and Bengaluru, amongst many others.

This study showed that although 5.52% of the persons who were surveyed that had common mental disorders; 3.41% had anxiety disorders; 1.44% had mood disorders and the remaining 1.18% had substance disorders. The study further showed that only 5.09% of the surveyed people had actually been treated for either anxiety disorders, mood disorders and or substance abuse. Dr Rajesh Sagar, who is a professor at the department of psychiatry, AIMS said that they always knew of the existence of an enormous treatment gap in so far as it related to mental illness. This study, however, proved that the gap was even bigger that they had expected as they found out that only 5 out of 100 people who are diagnosed with common mental illness actually receive treatment.

According to the survey women tend to have a relatively higher wider spread of anxiety and mood disorders as compared to men. It further showed that women are two times more likely than men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders and they are 1.6 times more likely to have mood disorders. However, according to the survey substance abuse is more common amongst males than is women. Dr Sagar, continued to say that more females were affected with mental disorders but more men sought out treatment. The reasons according to him being that women’s health concerns were not as prioritised as men’s health were.

Another contributing factor to the under treatment of mental disorders is the fact that India does not have enough psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, that are both trained to diagnose and prescribe medication. In total India has about 0.3% psychiatrists who have been trained against the 1% that is actually required and they have 0.7% clinical psychologists against a need for at least 1%. He concluded by indicating that these results were obtained using the most systematically conducted survey on mental disorders, however there was a likelihood that the numbers are much higher.

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