Young adults in city battle anxieties

They are mainly stressed out by academics and relationships. Today is World Mental Health Day

In Bengaluru, many young students study inordinately long hours.

Addictions, depression and anxiety disorders top the list of mental health problems young people face in the city, according to medical practitioners.

Dr Raghu K, consultant psychiatrist with BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, says, “Anxiety disorders are the most predominant among youngsters.”

Many show signs of mild to moderate depression and a tendency to self-harm, he observes.

“The percentage of youngsters attempting suicide has increased over the years. About 15 per cent of patients who have depression attempt suicide, so it is important to deal with depression,” he says.

A bulk of suicidal attempts occur in early age, from 16 to 22 years. They are triggered by anxiety and relationship problems, especially since young adults don’t have the maturity to handle many situations.

“Maturity depends on what they have imbibed from their parents, and their school and college ecosystem,” he says.

Many young adults try to run away from home or from life. Young girls overdose on medicines or cut themselves while young males tend to hang themselves or cut themselves, says Dr Raghu.

Anxiety disorders and depression often lead to alcohol and drug-related problems.

“Other countries have strict laws to curb alcohol sale to underage customers, but that is not the case here,” he says. 

Dr Naveen Jayaram, consultant psychiatrist with Sakra World Hospital, says the most common mental ailments among youngsters are behavioural addictions, suicidal tendencies and depression. 

“Among 19 to 25-year olds, 15 to 20 per cent are diagnosed with depression, and 70 to 80 per cent of them have suicidal tendencies. Addiction to technology or the Internet is creating many problems,” says Dr Naveen.   

In Bengaluru, many young students talk about studying for 12 hours to achieve goals. When they are not able to enjoy what they are doing, their mental health and confidence suffer, he notes.

Dr K N Karthik, consultant psychiatrist with Sagar Hospitals, says stigma is still attached to those visiting mental health clinics. 

“Parents withhold medical history, even in cases where the child suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Sometimes, they consult umpteen doctors and just want counselling rather than medicines,” he says.

Heed these alarm bells

A drastic change in the child’s behaviour: for example, an nextrovert suddenly becomes withdrawn, or an introvert suddenly becomes outgoing and argues with parents. If such changes happen over six months or a year, the child is evolving but if it happens quickly, in weeks, it calls for examination.

A child who fares well in studies starts missing classes and performing poorly.

If a child appears drowsy, dazed or comes home with red eyes and laughs and cries for no reason, seek medical help.

Treatment options

Medicines for 6 to 12 months.

Counselling to allow patients to open up over time.

Physical activity like swimming, cycling, walking.

Employment to keep the mind engaged.

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Young adults in city battle anxieties

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