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Children new prey of mental illness: psychiatrists

punjab Updated: Oct 11, 2013 19:33 IST
Mehakdeep Grewal

It's not about toys, chocolates and having fun with friends on playground, but fast-paced, competitive life and peer pressure have badly affected childhood. Recent data revealed by Rajindra Medical College and Hospital, on the eve of World Mental Health Day, show that new victims of psychiatric disorders are children between six to ten years of age.

Psychiatrists blame peer pressure on young minds as the main cause for the rising ratio.

In the past seven years, mental illness among children, belonging to the age group of 6-10, has risen almost five times, the data says.

Sources said in 2005, only 131 patients of mental illness belonging to the age group of 6-10 were reported, but in 2012 over 600 children became victims of growing mental disorders.

Head of psychiatric department at Government Rajindra Hospital, Dr BS Sidhu said, “Five years ago we never had children as patients of mental illness. But now due to mounting peer pressure at school and home, children are fast becoming patients of mental disorders.”

Doctors said hysteria was the most prominent mental disorder among children. According to medical science, hysteria arises from intense anxiety and it is characterised by not having the control over acts and emotions.

Sidhu added that with life becoming competitive, people had become more ambitious. “People, nowadays, hardly spent time with children, rather press them to do best in everything. This creates problem in the psyche of children,” Sidhu said.

He added that, “There are more cases than what we have on records. Urban parents fear social stigma, hence they do not seek medical care for their children suffering from mental disorders.”
The ratio of male and female children, having mental illness is2:1, though doctors say depression is more prevalent in girls than boys.

Sidhu said, “Due to gender discrimination between in families, majority of male children get medical care while girls remain deprived of treatment.”

“Every parent wants their child to be an all-rounder. But they should remember that in this rat race, children often fall prey to mental illness,” he said.

The number of total mental disorder cases reported in 2012 at Rajindra Medical Hospital, were 12,596, doctors said one of the major reasons of mental disorders among adults was growing drug menace in the state.