Professor and Chairman department of Psychiatry, Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) and secretary-general Pakistan Psychiatric Society Moin Ahmed Ansari said around 154 million people suffering from depression in different parts of the world, among them 25 million people are in grip of schizophrenia — impairment in the perception of reality.
Talking to media here on Tuesday, Moin Ansari said that mental illnesses were common in countries of all economic status and people with those disorders were often subjected to social isolation, poor quality of life and increased death rates involving suicides.
Moin said that the exact causes of schizophrenia were unknown but research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make a person more likely to develop the condition.
He said that drugs don’t directly cause schizophrenia, but studies have shown drug misuse increases the risk of developing schizophrenia or a similar illness.
Certain drugs, particularly cannabis, cocaine, LSD or amphetamines may trigger symptoms of schizophrenia in people who were susceptible, Moin informed.
He said that using amphetamines or cocaine can lead to psychosis and could cause a relapse in people recovering from an earlier episode.
Moin said that schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects thinking, emotions and behavior. Signs and symptoms are usually variable and include changes in perception, emotion, thinking and behavior.
The effect of illness is severe and is usually long-lasting, he added.
He said that there were many factors contributory to high rates of mental health problems in Pakistan.
The inter-family marriages, high rates of birth injuries, economic decline, growing unemployment and rapidly changing cultural and social values are some of the causes, he added.
Untreated disorders bring about unhealthy behavior, non-diminished immune functioning, and the psychiatric informed.
He said that due to lack of awareness, people with psychological and emotional problems often visit faith healers, spiritual leaders, homeopathic doctors, magicians and hakims only to be abused by them.
There are limited number of mental health professionals in the country, he said.
Moin underlined the need for improving psychiatric education at undergraduate and postgraduate level, adding the foreign experts participating in educational research workshop recommended that one third of final year MBBS should be utilised for studying psychiatry.
He also suggested that steps should be taken to remove the stigma attached to mental health problems and their treatment.
AFP. ‘Around 25 m people suffering from Schizophrenia worldwide’. The News, April 11, 2017.