Attitude means a lot

Mental illness has been stigmatized for a long time, and the people suffering from mental illness were usually kept at home, hidden away from society. Those who display aggressive or odd behavior were treated by faith healers or were either chained or sent to mental asylums. The stigma was due to the common perception that mental illness was due to some kind of personal weaknesses. So while treatment was sought for physical illness, generally rejected and that remained the reason for not seeking treatment. Also people did not visit a psychiatrist as they believed that psychiatric treatment was only needed for madness and anyone who visits a psychiatrist would be labeled as mad. Though the situation is gradually changing and people are beginning to understand that psychiatric illnesses too have biological basis and can be treated like any other health disorder. Unfortunately, a large section of our society still does not seek treatment for mental illness. They usually attribute such disorders to possession by jinn, evil eye or evil influence, and seek help from various sources such as pirs and other faith healers. When medical treatment is sought, it is usually from general physicians who are not trained to deal with that and treat such illness usually give symptomatic treatment The result is that patients are treated for problems that do not exist and the actual problem remains unresolved which may even worsen with the passage of time.

Taking an example of two common disorders-depression and schizophrenia, we can see that these disorders are neglected in the early stages though they are treatable if timely treatment is sought. Both these disorders are treatable especially in the early stages but unfortunately, rather then seeking medical treatment and referring the patient to a psychiatrist most people attribute the condition to supernatural influence and the patient is taken to pirs and complete quack posing as experts in this mysterious field, who prescribe amulets and holly water with no improvement in the condition the patient is stigmatized and labeled as crazy. In certain cases it is thought that marriage would help the patient, but it is almost always adds to the misery. The reasons for such an attitude are low literacy, lack of proper understanding of mental illness, a sense of dishonor attached and the high cost of treatment while non-availability of psychiatrist at primary level is also an important factor. There is a sharp rise in the cases of mental illnesses such as depression as experts believed that increasing poverty and violence are creating a lot of social problems and affecting the mental health of the people.

By Shamim bokhari (204/10)


One Response to “Attitude means a lot”

  1. Blackjack says:

    Oh my goodness! an incredible article dude. Thank you Nevertheless I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting identical rss problem? Anybody who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

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