The writer was wondering how many of us know the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Not many probably. Well, a psychiatrist is an expert in psychological illnesses; who holds an M.B.B.S degree in psychology along with getting trained in the field at least for a year.
On the other hand, a psychologist is not related to medication at all. Instead of holding a degree in medicines; psychologists do masters in psychology. They do not prescribe medicines; but help to diagnose and treat the patient. They measure the intelligence and personality of the patient through various tests. For instance, they do psycho-therapies and counselling for the patient.
There are different sections of psychology like Child Psychology, Geriatric Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Addiction and more. Pakistan is well equipped in the field of Child Psychology; while it is still working in Forensic Psychology and Addiction-ology.
The Global Institute of Health defines health as:
‘Health is not the absence of a disease. It is but a feeling of being physically, mentally and socially satisfied and progressive.’
This definition, however, is considered to be incomplete and and ambiguous medically. Later, the World Federation for Mental Health said that:
‘A mentally healthy person is aware of his own talents as well as his defects. He knows how to enhance or decrease them. He should be able to solve his daily issues. He should do some positive work; so that he is useful to the society in some way.’
If someone lacks even in any 1 of these 4 criteria; then according to the federation he is not mentally healthy. A survey performed in the United Kingdom recently; states that:
‘Only 13% of the total is living its life completely.’
So, how do we find out if someone really has any mental issue or not. Well, it’s tough indeed but not impossible. Right! You just have to note certain symptoms down; like fear, sleeplessness, sadness, irregular eating, stressing oneself without any reason and the list goes on.
In Pakistan, mental diseases like anxiety, depression, complications due to drug abuse and the Somato Form Disorder are extremely common. A person suffering from anxiety or phobia fears many things, assumes a lot or gets panicky soon. If someone is suffering from the Somato Form Disorder; then his body shows a couple of physical symptoms that are mental diseases in actual. For example, his patient might go to his doctor to get his liver or another organ examined; while he does not know that in real he is feeling sad or agitated. So, his liver does not need any treatment; but his mind might be waiting for the same.
The state of someone suffering from this particular ailment is similar to someone who is about to be shot dead any instant. In such a situation his heart starts beating loudly; also his liver starts producing more acids. Hence, the patient is not able to express his own stress. He would never be able to say why he is sad. Not only that, but according to an estimate; 25% people all over the world- 1 out of every 4 is either anxious or depressed. 34% Pakistanis are suffering either from anxiety or depression. 1% Pakistanis are Schizophrenic.
A Schizophrenic cannot think, act or understand properly. His thoughts, emotions and reactions begin to change. He hears voices that no one else does; or sees things that do not exist. He hallucinates and what not. A bipolar has a split personality. He is extremely happy at times; yet uncontrollably sad at others. A patient of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has painful thoughts۔
He cannot help repeating an action again and again. Mania is a disease characterized by extremism in moods; or making huge yet impossible plans. Depressive disorder is characterized by hopelessness, sadness and disinterest in daily activities for more than 2 weeks sometimes. Both men and women can be equally depressed. Unjust behaviours by fathers or husband can be a cause of depression in women.
Agitation, mood swings, stress, sleeplessness and memory issues are a part of depression. Women can be depressed due to menopause; or post giving birth. Anxiety is about fear, agitation and unreal threats. 2.5- 3% Pakistanis are mentally unstable.
Mostly women don’t know how to be careful during pregnancy; it might affect the mental abilities of the unborn child. Expecting mothers might take certain medicines unknowingly; that hinder the mental growth of their child who has yet to see the world. As a mentally normal child grows his parents might implant some sort of in his mind unintentionally.
Strict teachers make education a curse for children too. An ideal child is nothing less than a robot in Pakistan. If a kid asks a lot of questions during his growth years; he must be answered truthfully. Asking unusual questions is important for mental growth.
Outdoor activities for children are decreasing these days as well. Bullying creates mental issues in children. Mental retardation disorder, autism, hyper kinetic disorder and phobias are common among the toddlers.
Schizophrenia and Bipolarity are due to genes; while anxiety depression and Somatic form disorder can be 40% because of family history. The symptoms of the disease, the family history, Psychometric tests Rating scales and the DSM 5 – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Mental Disorders Fifth Edition are used for disease detection.
If we focus on the ABC-AFFECT BEHAVIOUR COGNITION of the patient; most of the mental diseases can be treated. The belief that mental issues cannot be treated is false. The patient just needs to continue his treatment; the detection should be correct. Schizophrenia can be cured 30% through regular medication; while some diseases can be 100% through them. We need to be as gentle as possible towards such patients.
Medicines are necessary for SCHIZOPHRENIA, BIPOLARITY, DIMENTIA, ORGANIC PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDER and OCD; counselling and talking is enough for all others. Patients do not get addicted to medicines; they can live normal lives post treatment.
Suicide is the worst form of mental health. It can be due to poor grades in exams, failed marriages, break ups, money related or family issues, stress and more. Impulsive people tend to be more suicidal. In 70% of these cases the disease is difficult to detect despite treatment.
A patient of Hysteria or Conversion Disorder does strange acts unconsciously; but they can be counselled towards a normal routine.
Such people can lead successful lives. Like, John Nash won the Nobel prize despite Schizophrenia. Late Abdul Sattar Edhi was a patient of depression.
Such patients should fight mental illnesses, be positive, eat healthy, not smoke, take care of their physical health, stay away drugs or addiction, exercise regularly, walk daily for 30 minutes at least be in contact with the doctor and not use medicines without prescription.
Writer: Summaya Ali