KARACHI – Head of Psychiatry Department, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), Prof Dr. M. Iqbal Afridi said psychological or behavioral disorders have gone up sharply in South Asian region including Pakistan, owing to geographical changes and its effects over the past few years.
Prof Afridi said; Mental health is as important as physical health, to the overall well-being of individuals, societies and countries. He said various mental diseases had gone up sharply in our part of region due to man-made disasters, natural disasters, and influence of the print and electronic media. He said; Depression, anxiety, somatoform; use of drugs and schizophrenia are the major mental diseases which are common in our society.
He said; depression is the most common disease in Pakistan and approximately 34 percent population of the country are living with this disease. He said big number of patients with depression symptoms visit the Psychiatry Department during OPDs days in the hospital. He said; Only one percent population is suffering from schizophrenia, a common genetic psychological disorder.
He said cases of somatoform disorders are also in the rise and this disease links with stress. He said people with somatoform disorder may face; stomach problems, joints problems and others issues.
Dr. Afridi said a significant number of people between 15 to 65 year age-group consume tobacco products in the country, out of which 3.4 percent are youngsters. He explained that use of alcohol was common in the high-income group, while cigarette, betel nut, betel leaf and other tobacco products are generally used by low-income group of people. He said psychological disorders or mental diseases are more common in urban parts of country as compared to rural areas.
He said; mental disorders are common but treatable and we should maintain a balance in life, with a good ratio between, sleep, work, pray, exercise and diet. He said on a collective level, we should focus on improving interpersonal relationships and communication to get rid of various psychological disorders.