Saturday, 29 December 2012

You ought to take mental illness seriously

Acting in time may save your family from serious trouble
Ninad’s parents were very happy that Ninad was an independent child. The only son of working parents, Ninad used to be on his own during the day with an old grandmother at home. He was in the 11th Std and in college – the best college for science. He was a good boy, polite, obedient, a good student and a confident young lad. He was friendly and had an excellent relationship with his parents.
 However, lately, Ninad used to be quiet at home and not his usual self. He used to spend a lot of time in his room with his door shut according to his grandmother. His parents thought it was natural for a teenager, given the weird ways of this age. So the issue became a non-issue as soon as it had cropped up.Six months later, Ninad had to be admitted for de-addiction – he had become a drug addict.
This story is shocking, yet quite common. With working parents and the freedom and exposure children get, one never knows when even the so-called good kids give in to temptations and then succumb to them.
Could Ninad’s parents have stopped this? Can Ninad be helped?
The answer to both these question is a YES. Ninad’s parents could have stopped this much before, had they paid more attention to the change in his behavior – of locking himself in his room even when he was alone in the house, with only an old grandmother for company. Drug addicts or newcomers to the drug world usually hide behind closed doors to take a shot. After repeated indulgence, their behavior starts changing – they start becoming irritable, lost in their own world and start hiding – something. Like Ninad, there are many people, who are victims of substance abuse – drugs, alcohol and smoking. Like Ninad, there are many others, from our families, our near and dear ones who may be suffering from some other mental disorders. It could be anything - like depression, schizophrenia and anxiety and stress disorders. Initially though, most of these may sound harmless, but if not noticed and reported may balloon into disasters beyond our help.
Unfortunately, even if you may have noticed a change in behavior, you may choose to do nothing about it, just wishing it to go away. The bitter truth is that most people cannot accept mental illness amongst their kith and kin. They fear social stigma, after they have sought the help of a psychiatrist.  It is true that even in the modern age, the mentally ill are looked down upon by society as a nuisance and a disgrace to the family, community and therefore the larger society.
But what is more important to you, needs to be decided.
Is ‘what your neighbors say’ more important or ‘is your close one’s mental health’ more important to you?
If you don’t try and arrest the mental illness at an early stage, it can develop into something that may cause serious trouble to the one suffering from it and to his close ones.
We agree that you may not be able to ‘diagnose’ like a doctor and sometimes recognizing symptoms may be difficult or may result in a false alarm. If it is the latter, we will be only too happy, but if it is a positive diagnosis and the person is indeed suffering, you should be taking the first step to treat him and turn him around into a normal, fine person that he is.
What is crucial is to be alert so you can pinpoint a noticeable change in behavior. The next thing is to accept it and report it immediately to a psychiatrist. The mentally ill, just like the physically ill are in dire need of the right treatment at the right time and care from their family.
With the right help, the mentally ill can be turned into the mentally well.
We regularly have seminars on various mental illnesses to make you aware of things, of illnesses, their symptoms and how the mentally ill can be helped. The first one in the series will be on Anxiety and Depression. If you are interested in attending this seminar, do write to us at with the subject line as ‘Seminar on Anxiety and Depression’.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Aversion Therapy

Aversion Therapy
Aversion Therapy is a behavioral therapy. It is one of the group therapies that attempt to change undesirable/destructive behavior. These undesirable behaviors come about because we associate them with pleasure, the brain learns that, let's say substance abuse makes the person feel relaxed and lowers our stress levels.
Aversion therapy is a form of treatment that utilizes behavioral principles to eliminate unwanted behavior. In this unwanted method, the unwanted stimulus is repeatedly paired with discomfort. The goal of the conditioning process is to make the individual associate the stimulus with unpleasant or uncomfortable sensation.
During aversion therapy, the client may be asked to think of or engage in the behavior they enjoy while at the same time being exposed to something unpleasant feelings. Once the unpleasant feelings become associated with the behavior, the hope is that the unwanted behavior or action will begin to decrease in frequency or stop entirely.

Meaning of Aversion Therapy
Aversion Therapy is a form of psychiatric treatment in which the patient is exposed to a stimulus while simultaneously being subjected to some form of discomfort. This conditioning is intended to cause the patient to associate the stimulus with unpleasant sensation, and to then stop certain behavior.

As with other therapies, aversion therapy is a treatment grounded in learning theory-one of its basic principles being that all behavior is learned and that undesirable behavior can be unlearned under the right circumstances the goal of aversion therapy is to reduce or eliminate undesirable behavior. Treatment focuses on changing a specific behavior itself. The behaviors that have been treated include such addictions as alcohol abuse, drug abuse, smoking and pathological gambling, sexual deviations, etc.

Different Methods 

  • Chemical and Pharmacological stimulants
  • Electric Shock Method
  • Insight-oriented approaches( Verbal Aversion Therapy)

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


Art therapy is a powerful tool that helps one to get in touch with feelings through the creative process. By providing a visual explanation as to what is going on inside the mind. Art therapy makes the unconscious conscious. The art process taps into the rich inner resources of material where the experienced art therapist can help, guide and assist in understanding and healing.

Art therapy is used to help patients overcome emotional conflicts and become more self-aware. To do this, the art therapist will guide patients in the use of certain art materials, such as pastels or crayons, to express himself/herself. Clay, paper or finger painting can also be used, depending on the issue being addressed. These specifically selected materials can be used to express what is in the patient's mind before they are able to put it into words.(Sometimes art is an easier form of expression for patients than verbalizing their pain.)

Art therapy can provide a positive feeling of expression within patients as well as allow a physical release of creative energy as work is being created. Creative expressions improve self-esteem, self-awareness, and personal growth, and also provide a sense of mastery. It can also be less threatening than traditional forms of therapy, which go deep through the layers of consciousness to find new meanings, that would not ordinarily surface.

If a specific topic is not immediately apparent, the therapist might suggest a topic for expression, such as one's family or a vivid childhood memory. There is a misconception that one needs to be artistic to do art therapy. You absolutely do not need to be an artist. The emphasis is on the process, not on the product. 

Thursday, 23 August 2012



Small groups facilitated with all types of reinforcement and support from professionals to create rhythm in the day-to-day activities of clients. The professionals interact with all the clients and establish an empathetic relationship with them. Professionals facilitate variety of group-oriented activities with an intention to improve the social skills of the group members. The main focus is to enhance self confidence, self esteem, cooperation, adjustment, pattern of communication and helping the group members to accept criticism, to give criticism, to promote a healthy lifestyle among the members, to build capacity to share their views in the group, leadership quality and to become aware of one's own problems. The social workers act as a catalyst to improve or restructure the maladaptive pattern of the clients during the group sessions. The group interventions can be broadly classified as follows-


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Psychiatric Rehabilitation

The growing recognition that a large proportion of persons having schizophrenia and mood disorders experience long term disability with persisting symptoms or a relapsing course of illness episodes has given birth to the field of psychiatric rehabilitation.A chronic mental illness is an illness where the illness has got a long prognosis course.The incidence rate of major mental disorder in the world is 35 people out of 1 lakh, which needs rehabilitation.Out of this, 80% of the problems can be dealt with effectively.So psychiatric rehabilitation is a process, which helps the individual to find an alternative for hospitalization.
Psychiatric rehabilitation emphasizes continuous and indefinite treatment of life long disorders. It also emphasizes the maintenance of symptom control, prevention,reduction or relapses and optimization of performance by the chronically ill patients in social, vocational, educational and familial roles with the least amount of support necessary. Rehabilitation is a helping process wherein the client is motivated, facilitated and encouraged to develop his lost skills and develop his/her residual skills so as to become a functional member of the society. Rehabilitation plan is different for each individual for each individual depending on his type of illness, duration, socio-cultural factors, severity, family background, etc.Team work is one of the important factors in the process of rehabilitation. Team cooperation and coordination is very essential for the success of the rehabilitation programme.

Goals and Objectives

  1. To help them to involve actively in the treatment decisions.
  2. To achieve the highest feasible quality of life in the community.
  3. Maximize the residual capacity of the patients

Types of Rehabilitation

Hospital based:- For the patients who are left alone by the family and people who belonged to the low strata of society or people in rural ares, there were no rehabilitation facilities.
 Long Term Hospitals:- The patient who cannot restore completely for long time through medication.
Quarter Way Homes:-Residual facilities available inside the hospital only. Here patients may not need acute medical cure but cannot be discharged because of the clinical conditions. The patients are kept only for a short time.
Community Based:-
Hostels:-Meant for a group of long-term patients, who do not require long-term hospital care but they cannot work in an unstructured environment.
Foster Care Homes:-For mental patients,who cannot be sent back home.
Non-Governmental Charitable Agencies:-This is the modified version of mental hospitals. The organization takes mentally ill patients and allow them to live in an institutional setup.
Short Stay Wards:-It is like the casualty in medical hospitals. They live like a family for a maximum period of one week.