Mental ailments soar among Jharkhand women

By Nityanand Shukla, IANS,

Ranchi : Cases of depression, amnesia and schizophrenia being reported in Jharkhand has significantly increased since 2000, particularly among women, say psychiatrists.

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One of the reasons may be because the stigma attached to psychological ailments is gradually eroding and more patients are willing to seek treatment.

But it is also true that more and more women are finding it difficult to balance work and home lives, and there was an increasing trend of drug and alcohol abuse among them, psychiatrists say.

The official data of the Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry and Applied Science (RINPAS) reveals that in 2008-09 the number of patients treated was around 52,000. In contrast, this number was just 16,175 in 2001-02. In 2007-08 and 2006-07 the number of patients treated in RINPAS was 48,515 and 39,769 respectively.

Experts say that earlier mental patients were stigmatised by their family and society. Now that they are treated just like other patients, more of them are willing to consult doctors.

The doctors also say that poor people, farmers and daily wage earners are coming for treatment. Alcohol and unemployment are prominent reasons for psychological ailments.

Amul Ranjan, head of the psychiatry department of RINPAS, says: “The psychological problem is rising in an alarming way among women. The intake of alcohol and drugs along with failure leads to a rising number of psychological patients.”

He was concerned by the rise in the number of women patients.

RINPAS data shows a fourfold rise in women patients this decade. In 2001-2002 the number of women patients it treated was 4,144; it rose to 15,100 in 2008-09.

During the same period the number of male patients increased three times.

Explaining why it was getting more patients, RINPAS director K.K. Nag said: “RINPAS has succeeded in winning the faith of the people by providing good treatment and creating awareness by organising camps in villages.”

(Nityanand Shukla can be contacted at [email protected])