Special Feature

Number of psychiatric patients on the rise: Study

03 Sep,2016


Special Report:

The number of psychiatric patients among adult people is on the rise in the country, creating a new social problem, says a new study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

The survey's preliminary findings show that about 31 percent adult people suffer from mental illness in one way or the other, which is almost double than the results by its previous survey conducted in 2005.    

The NIMH carried out the pilot survey in both urban and rural areas – Tejgaon of the capital and Sonargaon of Narayanganj – covering 5,500 samples to identify the nature of mental illness.

"This is not a national survey...but its findings, which are yet to be released, give an indication that mental disorders among adult people is increasing," researcher and assistant professor of the NIMH Dr Md Zillur Rahman Khan told UNB. 

Citing the study findings, he said most of the psychiatric patients -- about 12 percent -- suffer from mental depression in both rural and urban areas. 

Mental disorders constitute a major public health problem globally with higher burden in low- and middle-income countries like Bangladesh.

The national survey on mental health in 2005 revealed that about 18 percent of the country's total pollution suffered from mental illness. Of them, about 8.4 percent faced anxiety disorder while 4.6 percent depressive disorder, 1.1 percent psychosis and 0.6 percent drug addiction. And the prevalence of mental disorders was higher in women than men.

NIMH director Prof Dr MA Hamid said a countrywide survey should be conducted to identify the national scenario of mental illness as the new study reveals the increased number of patients with mental illness in the study areas.

Mental disorders contribute to 13 percent of the global burden of disease measured as disability adjusted life years. Mental disorders have a serious negative effect on survival, and when is shown with chronic diseases as co-morbid condition, serious mental disorders may reduce the life expectancy by about 20 years, according to experts.

Eminent psychiatrist Prof Mohit Kamal said children's addiction to facebook, games and other online activities makes them mentally sick. "Every day, many mothers bring their children to him and notice that their children do not concentrate on study," he added.

Prof Kamal, head of the psychotherapy at the NIMH, said many teenage girls show anxiety to their parents when they try to keep them free from so-called western culture. And the teenage girls fall mentally sick due to cultural differences, he added.  

A 2007 rural community-based study showed an overall prevalence of psychiatric disorders as 16.5 percent; notably, half of them had depressive disorders (8 percent) and five percent had anxiety disorders.

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