Posts Tagged ‘ depression ’

World Suicide Prevention Day

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide.

It is not a mental illness in itself, but a serious potential consequence of treatable mental disorders that includes major depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

The World Suicide Prevention Day is observed every year to raise awareness regarding the precautions that can be taken to prevent these tragedies. “Working Together To Prevent Suicide”, the theme of  World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 educates everyone that each one of us has an important role to play to help prevent suicides across the world and save more lives.

Suicide warning signs
If you know someone showing any suicidal signs, reach out to them. Suicidal warning signs should be taken very seriously. Early detection of warning signs can lead to professional help and mental health treatment and can even save a life. Here are the most common potential warning signs for suicide:

  • Feeling a deep sense of hopelessness about the future
  • Changes in personality and/or appearance
  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
  • Having extreme mood swings
  • Changing the normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
  • Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly.
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities the person previously enjoyed

Who is at risk?
Suicide rates are highest in teens, young adults, and the elderly. There are certain situations, conditions, and other factors that put some people at a greater risk of becoming suicidal. Here are a few of them:

  • Having a untreated mental illness, particularly depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder
  • Having a substance use disorder
  • Sudden stressful or traumatic situations, like the loss of a loved one
  • Loss of job or financial crisis
  • Being seriously ill, living with a chronic or terminal illness
  • Relationship problems
  • Having experienced childhood trauma and abuse

Timely counselling can prevent suicides
In many cases, suicide can be prevented. Research suggests that the best way to prevent suicide is to know the risk factors, be alert to the signs of depression and other mental disorders, notice any signs of suicidal behaviour and take action before the person can attempt suicide.

If someone you know is exhibiting warning signs for suicide, don’t be afraid to ask if he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide. In some cases, the person just needs to know that someone cares and is looking for the chance to talk about his or her feelings. You can then encourage the person to seek professional help.

Suicide statistics
As per World Health Organisation (WHO) 8 lakh people across the globe end their life by committing suicide every year. One of three among them is an Indian. As per reports, India reported about 381 suicides daily for the year of 2019, marking an increase of nearly 3.4% suicide deaths as compared to 2018. In the year 2019, 139,123 suicides were reported, as compared to 2018, which saw 134,516 suicides and 2017 which recorded 1,29,887 fatalities.

Suicide does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, gender, age, or socioeconomic status may feel suicidal at any point in their lives. Even someone who seems to be happy or to “have it all” can be vulnerable to suicide. If you or a loved one needs help, feel free to consult our highly trained counsellors for professional help at our Department of Psychiatry.

Stress And The Lockdown – The Warning Signs

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

There is the ACTUAL CONTAGION, the actual disease of the pandemic itself. And then there is the SYMBOLIC CONTAGION characterized by a blitz of misinformation, uncertainty, doubts, fear and panic, where coping mechanisms become overwhelmed. Where thoughts/emotions/behaviors become uncontrolled and the mindset switches from “Living”to “Survival”.

Faced with sudden social isolation or quarantine, individuals may react with fear and anxiety, which can then give way to depression and despair, or anger and acting out. A person may be faced with the realization that their plans for their immediate future have suddenly to be changed. They may have to be taken to an unfamiliar setting and separated from their families. They could be anxious about their own health, concerned that they could fall ill at any given time. Their anxiety may likely be worsened if they feel they are unable to conduct their routine affairs or to provide for their dependents. Similarly, from the other side of the social isolation barrier, families and loved ones of those who are in quarantine and isolation may also be very concerned both in terms of their health and capability to provide for dependents in the absence of the isolated person(s). This coupled with loneliness,boredom,anger and frustration can be an explosive combination! This may give rise to symptoms of traumatic stress resulting in Adjustment Disorders, Depression, Phobic Disorders, Panic or Generalized Anxiety Disorders, Acute or Posttraumatic stress disorders.

How to recognize early warning signs of an emotional disorder –

  • unusual decrease in energy and activity level or listlessness
  • unusual restlessness and excessive worrying;
  • having trouble relaxing or sleeping;
  • severe anxiety or panic attacks
  • change in eating patterns;
  • easily startled and feeling as-if “on the edge” daily for most of the day;
  • constant complaining or blaming others without any reason with increased irritability and anger outbursts;
  • crying frequently;
  • recurrent unexplained headaches and other bodily pains,
  • increased use of alcohol, nicotine or other drugs;
  • excessive introversion or rebellious behaviors in children
  • some signs of anxiety in children may include bedwetting, thumb sucking, worsening of tics and hyperactivity

Tips to handle stress during period of social distancing:

1. BE REGULAR – Develop a daily routine

2. EAT small, regular, well-balanced meals. Avoid over-eating or fasting for long periods.

3. SLEEP – Get plenty of sleep, at least 8 hours per day

4. AVOID excessive use of nervous system stimulants like caffeine. Strictly avoid nicotine, alcohol and other addictive drugs which can lead to symptoms of withdrawal or unpleasant cravings.

5. WORK – Schedule a regular work pattern for office (if working from home)

6. SCHEDULE HOUSEHOLD TASKS – This can be shared with other family members too, if possible. This can lead to increased family bonding. But then the work needs to be done as fun activity or shared activity, rather than a burdensome task!

7. EXERCISE – Have a daily indoor exercise schedule, e.g. like skipping and on-the-spot jogging, sit-ups and push-ups. Even dance is good form of exercise. Yogic exercises are one of the best forms of indoor exercises. You may involve other family members too in your exercise routines. This too can lead to increased family bonding.

8. UNWIND – Do something fun after your daily tasksare over. Read your favorite book, listen to music or play your favorite indoor game. Practice deep breathing, stretching and relaxation exercises. For those having a tub at home, have a warm relaxing bath with aromatic essential oils.

9. DEVELOP A HOBBY – Learn something new – a language or a musical instrument or even how to type fast and accurately on a computer keyboard using both hands!

10. CONNECT WITH OTHERS – Share something positive or humor (jokes, poetry, funny stories, etc.) with your friends and family. Try to avoid sharing negative views and news. Social and news media are already filled that! If necessary, only occasionally you may share only the confirmed news and facts. Show empathy towards those who may be affected.

11. BE POSITIVE – Repeatedly remind yourself of the important and positive things in your life. Keep a diary of your thoughts. Write three good things that have happened to you during the day before you go to bed. Take this as an opportunity to try and help others. Do as much charity as possible in this hour of need.

12. POSITIVE SELF TALK– Tell yourself, “It is normal for people to experience stress and feel a bit anxious or low in this period of lockdown and social distancing. All have to go through with it. I am not alone. This too shall pass.”

13. SHUN NEGATIVITY – Don’t play the blame game. Don’t entertain the victim’s role in your mind. Take charge of your thoughts and emotions. If unable to do so, seek help from your nearest mental health professional.

14. OBEY THE LAW – Last but not the least, Social distancing means social physical distancing, not emotional distancing. People can remain in touch emotionally by means of telecommunication methods in the form of video calling, conference calling and online social media.

-This blog is written by Dr. Shaunak Ajinkya, Consultant, Psychiatrist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Read his entire profile at: https://www.kokilabenhospital.com/professionals/shaunakajinkya.html