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‘Mental trauma takes years to heal’

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, May 03, 2013
First Published: 07:44 IST(3/5/2013) | Last Updated: 07:46 IST(3/5/2013)

The mental trauma acid attack victims face takes years to heal, say city psychiatrists.


Dr Harish Shetty, a leading psychiatrist who has treated several victims, said they remain scarred for several years after the attack despite physical recuperation. Victims also often complain of post-traumatic stress disorders, insomnia, depression, restlessness, fear and suicidal tendencies.

“If psychological therapy is given to a victim for a long time immediately after the attack, the chances of a victim recovering mentally are better,” he added.

Dayal Mirchandani, a counsellor, said despite plastic surgeries and medication, victims are often left with permanent deformities that act as constant reminders of the incident.

“The intent of the accused in such cases is usually not to kill, but to leave the victim with a scar that would remind her of the incident. And that is exactly the purpose that it serves. The victim loses her self-esteem and it becomes difficult for her to face the world,” said Mirchandani.

Another issue, said Dr Yusuf Macheswala, leading psychiatrist, is that there is little awareness about mental health issues in India as compared to abroad, especially in the rural areas.

“I believe the victims should muster the courage and motivate themselves. With support from their family and professional counselling, the road to mental recovery can be smoother,” said Dr Macheswala.

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