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'Sensex crash triggering suicidal tendencies'

The downswing in the Sensex has heightened anxiety level among several investors.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 11:51 IST

The sudden stock market crash has triggered severe depression among a number of investors and some have even developed suicidal tendencies, according to a noted psyschiatrist in Ahmedabad.

"The downswing in the Sensex has heightened anxiety level among several investors and many of them are coming to me in acute panic state as they want to end their lives," Dr Hansel Bachech noted psychiatrist and Member Mental Health Authority, Gujarat.

Usually the symptoms that they exhibit are dryness of the mouth, severe palpitation, breathlessness, uneasy feeling in the stomach, insomnia and acute fear.

"One patient who landed in my hospital complaining of chest pain was a medical doctor who had made huge investments in the stock market when stock prices were soaring.

"His cardiogram was found to be normal and he was diagnosed with acute anxiety. The severe market crash had shattered him completely as he had lost nearly Rs 14 lakhs in the stock market," Bachech added.

He said a senior bank officer had also visited the hospital in an acute panic state after he lost nearly Rs five lakh and was unable to overcome the depression.

The psychatrist said most people who regretted having invested in the stock market were below 40 years of age. The problems were more for those who had borrowed money to invest in the hope of making a huge profit when the sensex was heading north.

But the worst affected were those who had used credit cards for investing in the stock market. Dissapointment at the loss of money coupled with the constant fear of high interest that they would have to shelve out to credit card companies were taking a heavy toll on them, the doctor said.

Though none of the patients have so far committed suicide, the tendencies that they have been exhibiting was certainly alarming, Bachech added.

With more women taking a keen intrest in the share market that was once considered to be a male domain of men there have been cases of severe guilt among those who have singed their hands in the market.

"A women who had made heavy losses in the stock market came to me sobbing uncontrollably saying she was unable to tell her husband the amount of loss that she has made.

"Most investors who have been approaching me are below 40 and are mostly short term investors who were lured by the bull market hoping to make a quick profit," Bachech said.

The worst moment was when the Sensex had dipped below 800 points when several people exhibited panic state and were seen approaching pyschiatarists for counselling.

About the treatment part, Bachech said "We counsel them and then give them anti depressants and anxiolytics to calm them.

"We also advise them never to enter into stock market with borrowed money or if they are hyper sensitive to volatilty," he added.
 
According to Bachech, psychological problems being seen during this market downslide is worse than what it was during the Harshad Mehta scam and Ketan Parekh scam.

"This is because a very large number of people have now started investing in stock markets because the technology of online trading has made the help of stock -brokers redundant, he explains.

Unlike previously, now one can buy or sell stock at the flick of a mouse and almost everybody has started joining the stock market bandwagaon without realising the inherent risk.

Hence we advise that only people who have tolerance to withstand its volatality should enter teh stock markets or it could be detrimental to their health, Bachech said.