Loneliness, say mental health experts, is a bigger stressor than work or domestic stress simply because it offers the afflicted with no outlet. It drives the depressed further into themselves, as it happened with the Behl sisters.
With no family or friends to help them cope with the loss of their parents and dog led the two — Anuradha, 41, and Sonali, 31 — to shut out the world and starve themselves for months, in one case with fatal results. “It is a clear case of acute depression with psychosis, where a person loses touch with reality and lives in a closed room with no interaction with the rest of the world,” said Dr Shailaja Pokhriyal, clinical psychologist, BL Kapur Memorial Hospital.
Depression is a term used to describe a wide range of symptoms that often include feeling low, loss of interest in things, guilt, low self-worth, disturbed sleep, changes in appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.
Since everyone goes through highs and lows, drugs and treatment should be sought if these problems become chronic (lasts for more than 6-8 weeks), recurrent (bouts of depression occur 3-4 times a year) or the mood interfere with your ability to function normally for more than a few weeks.
“The shift from joint to nuclear family has left many people with no one to share their feelings with. It is a typically urban phenomenon,” said Dr Rajesh Sagar, assistant professor of psychiatry at the AIIMS.
Urban lifestyle is also pushing up the antidepressants market rapidly.