By Gitanjali Chandrasekharan, Mumbai Mirror | Jun 17, 2015, 12.00 AM IST
We've failed the world happiness test. Mental health experts from four metros pin point the cardinal angst in our society.
In the last two decades, there has been nuclearisation of families which has led to the disintegration of our traditional support systems," says Dr Samir Parikh, psychiatrist and director of mental health at Fortis Healthcare. This lack of support, he feels, has led to a rise in stress and mental health issues.
The recently released World Happiness Report ranked India 117th among a list of 158 - behind turbulent nations like Bangladesh (109), Palestine (108) and, even Pakistan (81). Switzerland topped the charts. The report included six variables: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and freedom from corruption.
Mirror spoke to psychiatrists from across the country on what ails India.
MUMBAI COST OF REAL ESTATE
Dr Harish Shetty
Social psychiatrist, L H Hiranandani Hospital
While there is a sense of alienation across metros, what is specific to Mumbai is the lack of emotional contact time, along with increased travelling hours and job insecurity. I find that a lot of my patients don't have time to spend with their loved ones, which means that the stress of the day piles up with no support system to deal with it.
Additionally, the opening of the Indian market 25 years ago has caused certain problems. Before that, EMIs were rarely heard of, the cost of living was lower, too. Life was not as complicated. Apartments cost lakhs not crores. Being able to afford a house is a great contributor to emotional well-being and a sense of security.
Many of the suicides we see are now are triggered by financial troubles.
PUNE RESTLESS YOUNG AND GERIATRIC DESPAIR
Dr Rohan Jahagirdar
Pune has a large chunk of its population in the 18-35 age group. Among the first category, I see severe depression arising from peer pressure, stress from relationships and substance abuse.
I find that people in this group lack a purpose. They have achieved a lot in a short time and don't know what to do next.
Divorce rate is also high, which contributes to depression and anxiety issues.
Then, there's the geriatric group, which suffers the empty nest syndrome. Most old couples who live in Pune are wealthy, having spent their life earning for their families. Their children have settled abroad, because they find better opportunities there. The parents despair because there's no body to take care of them. They feel 'all that we have done for years is worthless'. All they really want is some company, which they don't have.
BANGALORE INSOMNIA, BURNOUT
Dr Roshan Jain,
Consultant psychiatrist Apollo Hospital
Bangalore is a city under construction and that's how it's going to remain for the next decade or so because there's no planned development on the anvil. From a city that was once known as the retirement destination, it has become a destination for chaos, which is also played out on our congested roads.
While the original residents of the city are unhappy over the way the city has shaped up, the migrants, most of them in the IT sector, have issues of their own.
Compared to five years ago, I see a lot of patients who are from the IT industry. They are not referred by other doctors. They just walk in to seek help.
Most of them are overwhelmed by job pressure and the daily commute. Their odd shift hours, which require them to work at night, has led to burn out. They seek tobacco, alcohol or drugs to cope with this stress. What's common to all of them is their inability to sleep properly. It's difficult to advise them to take to yoga or a fitness routine to because they don't have any time for themselves. A couple of drinks after work is their only form of relaxation.
The IT industry and its pressures are killing this generation. I believe our country is going to pay a huge price for 'success'.
AHMEDABAD TRAFFIC INDUCED STRESS, HYPOCHONDRIA
Dr Hansal Bhachech
Head of Department of Psychiatry, HCG Group Of Hospitals
Stress related issues are on the rise. In the last few months, the number of road projects have risen, causing diversions and increasing travel time. This has led to road rage and accidents.
Another problem plaguing the 20-40 age group is hypochondria. In their eagerness to create awareness about diseases, a lot of hospitals and medical professionals are discussing about various ailments in the media — whether it's newspapers or radio. Constantly bombarded with this information, the young fear for their health, especially cardiac issues.
Another problem among young women is mood disorder caused by lifestyle diseases like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I have seen a lot of women come with depression and further investigations have revealed that they have PCOS, which causes mood fluctuations. In men, sexual disorders such as premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and loss of libido are prime causes for stress, and ironically, its products too.