Every 4th Guwahatian suffers the risk of mental illness in lifetime
It took entire nation by storm when leading Bollywood actress, Deepika Padukone, broke all stigmas and expressed to the world how she felt empty and directionless during her battle with depression. Later she founded “Live Love Laugh Foundation,” a common platform for masses to connect with professionals in order to get comprehensive knowledge and timely treatment.
The Indian government estimates that 6% - 7% of the population lives with major to minor mental health concerns. That’s approximately 70 million Indians and this number is increasing every year. Despite the large number of people who require mental health attention, India has only 3,500 trained psychiatrists and even fewer psychologists. What’s worse is that stigma and discrimination faced by these people and their families prevent them from seeking guidance. Hence it is a wake-up call to the majority as untreated depression can lead to serious complications that can put one’s life at risk with increasing number of suicides among youths. Fortunately, most people can be effectively treated.
There are several mental disorders like panic attack, anxiety, stress, eating disorder, clinical depression, schizophrenia and dementia to name a few. So, how is our own Guwahati faring in battling these mental problems? Are we still lagging behind without advanced techniques and treatments compared to other cities?
Dr. Shayamanta Das, MBBS,MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Gauhati Medical Collge Hospital gave a deep insight regarding the mental wellness scenario in our city. He shared, “Every fourth individual has the risk of suffering from mental illness in a lifetime. The fact that majority of the mental illnesses have their first manifestation before one reaches adulthood is becoming increasingly clear. Unfortunately, this population, i.e. children and adolescents come across various ‘gatekeepers’ in their way to proper management in the form of parents, teachers, and paediatricians. By talking about diagnoses, psychiatrists may draw criticism and ask for trouble because of allegation of ‘medicalizing’ a child’s problems. In Guwahati, a few years back we interviewed 680 participants from six schools in a study of cross-sectional exploratory research design with the use of questionnaire. 151 (22.2%) subjects have ever had alcoholic beverages like beer, wine or liquor. 7% of alcohol users had been absent from school, 5% had done poorly in school, 4% had family problems, and 3% had been arrested because they used alcohol. 3% had driven under the influence of alcohol and 13% had been passengers in a vehicle in which the driver was under the influence of alcohol; 2% had been drunk and 29% had been drunk at a party. 80.1% of alcohol users had not been ever asked about their age while obtaining alcohol. 21.2% had successfully faked their age to obtain alcohol. 13.2% had obtained alcohol by misrepresenting their age. Bar/restaurant (52.98%) was the primary source from where people under the age of 18 obtain alcohol, followed by friends/relatives (32.45%), liquor store (24.50%), parents’ cabinet (5.30%), and others (1.32%).”
Dr Gaurav Deka is a Clinical Psychotherapist specializing in Transpersonal Regression, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) & Inner Child Therapy and also a writer. Recently he conducted regression sessions in Guwahati and shared overwhelming response from the residents here.
According to Dr Gaurav, “The whole Idea of therapy is to make one feel empowered. Emotional well being is much vital over mental and both are two separate aspects though considered same by the majority. In India, provisions are comparatively less for medical set up and therapy techniques. In India, doctors are treated like Gods but in West, clients are Gods. Counselling in Guwahati is scattered. Solution based work is need of the hour.”
He mentions Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBIT) technique which is medically approved and aims to teach people that it is possible to have control over their thoughts, feelings and behaviour. It is effective for the treatment of a variety of conditions including – Phobias, Addictions, Schizophrenia, Depression. There is another technique, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), which is a form of counselling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine which helps remove negative emotions, reduce food cravings, eliminate pain and implement positive goals.
The technique of regression is going back in time be past or same life itself to locate the point of trauma. Medical science believes in going back to subconscious memory connecting to collective pool of consciousness. As a doctor and studying regression therapy, Dr Gaurav himself underwent several sessions of regressions. He studied regression therapy at the world renowned Tasso International. He added, “What exactly our ancestors spoke about reincarnation Eastern European countries, Netherlands, Germany put into practice using specialized tools and advanced technology.”
In Guwahati, he started sessions two months ago. The response has been good. But the major loophole in Guwahati is that practitioners don’t give much time to clients. So focussed and solution based work is not happening yet in the city. He wants people to have faith in therapy and encourage the same. There is a skewed understanding of philosophy. Intelligent perspective over advice oriented is very much required in Guwahati.
“Meeting Dr.Gaurav was a boon to me. He introduced me to effective techniques which have helped me to understand my core issues. Now I am able to cognitively inculcate and work continuously towards my emotional well-being. By using, Emotional Freedom Technique, I was able to overcome my depressive phases very easily,” said Pooja Kotoky who works in the development sector.