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Detect depression, prevent suicide

india Updated: Sep 03, 2006 00:09 IST

DELAYED DETECTION of depression among patients is the cause for 15 per cent of all suicides by patients of psychotic disorder in India. These are actually avoidable deaths.

This is because general physicians, who are at the base of the healthcare system, are not qualified to detect psychotic disorders. Number of those who attempt suicide but are saved is much more!

Experts gathered at the two-day national mid-term CME of the Indian Psychiatry Society that began on Saturday at KGMU’s Scientific Convention Centre, were of the view that absence of psychiatry as a subject in MBBS was the root cause of deaths of patients suffering with chronic illness combined with psychotic disorders.

They said delay in detection allows the disease to grow which brings suicidal tendency in them. Early detection could avoid this.

“Nearly 25 per cent of the patients coming to the general physicians have psychotic disorder but they are not treated for it. By the time the physician gets to know about the psychotic disorder the patient develops more than just one mental problem,” said Dr TSS Rao.

He was delivering lecture on Convulsive Disorder And Somatoform Disorder at the technical session on ‘undergraduate psychiatry: current scenario and future directions.’

He said vague pain, depression and hallucination are commonly associated with such patients but instead of treating psychiatric disorders patient shifts to other doctors.

‘The key to a speedy recovery from any disease or disorder is early detection but psychotic disorders are bound to get a delayed detection and at times these symptoms reach the state of madness,’ said Dr PK Dalal.

Dr P Kulhara, speaking on relativity of Depression And Suicide, said the old concept of only the elderly committing suicide has undergone a change and there is no age bar today. Children right from the age of 15 to elderly persons of 80 all are becoming cases of suicide.

“Worst is the condition in villages or at Tehsil level where the poor health care system does not even have doctors to understand the psychotic disorders,” Dr Kulhara said.

Experts gathered at the CME stressed the need to include psychiatry as a full term subject in MBBS. They said most of the general practitioners are MBBS and if they are taught about detection of psychotic disorders, related deaths could be checked.

‘Psychiatry has a small place of three or four question in the entire paper of Medicine. But this much knowledge about psychiatry is not enough for controlling related deaths thus psychiatry should be a complete subject,’ Dr Kulhara said. On the second day of the programme on Sunday discussions would be held on the psychiatric problems of peoplw with chronic illness.