‘Majority of bipolar disorder cases remain untreated in India’

Published on May 16, 2022 01:37 AM IST
About 1 in 150 persons in India suffer from bipolar disorder but 70% of them remain untreated, he said
CME being held at a city hotel in Prayagraj on Sunday. (ht photo)
CME being held at a city hotel in Prayagraj on Sunday. (ht photo)
By, Prayagraj

Senior consultant psychiatrist from Kolkata Dr Bhaskar Mukherjee on Sunday said that bipolar disorder is long term illness, consisting of recurrent episodes of either depression or mania.

About 1 in 150 persons in India suffer from bipolar disorder but 70% of them remain untreated, he said. He was delivering a talk on “cerebral correlates of bipolar disorder with specific importance to mitochondrial pathways” during the first midterm continuing medical education (CME) programme organised by the psychiatry department of Moti Lal Nehru Medical College (MLNMC), Prayagraj and Prayagraj Psychiatrists on behalf of the Indian Psychiatric Society Uttar Pradesh in Prayagraj. The theme of the CME was “Bipolar Disorder: Recent Updates”.

Dr Mukherjee said that in bipolar disorder, episodes of depression are characterised by low mood, decreased energy, loss of interest, thoughts or acts of self-harm or suicide, sleep problems, poor appetite, negative thoughts about self and life and guilt whereas episodes of mania are characterised by elevated mood, excessive talkativeness, boasting, increased aggression, risk taking behaviour, excessive spending of money, excessive grooming, increased energy level, over optimistic attitude and decrease need of sleep.

The CME was inaugurated by chief guest justice Ajit Kumar of Allahabad High Court of judicature. Professor Sangita Srivastava, vice-chancellor, Allahabad University, the guest of honour said that there are many areas where a lot of work needs to be done still.

Giving example of Kleptomania, she said that it is a very ordinary disease in which the person has the urge to steal things. “In marriages, shops and even at home people steal things and there is a need to be very careful in these places,” she said.

She said that it is possible to treat kleptomania. Similarly, bipolar disorder, dementia, depression, ADHD and Alzheimer’s are all diseases in which the prospects of better treatment are now available.

Some of the distinguished and internationally acclaimed experts from across the country who attended the CME included Dr Chittaranjan Andrade, professor of Psychopharmacology at NIMHANS, Banglore, Dr Bhaskar Mukherjee (Kolkata), prof Indira Sharma, (ex-HoD, Psychiatry at BHU), prof Prabhat Sitholey, former HoD of psychiatry, KGMU, prof SC Tiwari, ex-HoD of geriatric psychiatry, KGMU, prof PK Dalal ex-HoD of psychiatry, KGMU among many others.

Experts stressed on the need to make people aware of the fact that mental disorders can affect anyone, irrespective of age, gender, residence and living standards.

They said that mental disorders are also known to be associated with a wide range of social and societal problems if the illness remains unrecognised or inappropriately managed.

“In India 1 in 7 people suffer from mental disorders and 1 in 120 persons suffer from severe mental disorders. Three out of four persons with a severe mental disorder experience significant disability in work, social and family life, shared Dr VK Singh, organising chairman, CME.

Experts said number of psychiatrists in India remains low. Except for Kerala, all other states have less than 1 psychiatrist per 1 lakh population while the desirable number is above 3 psychiatrists per 1 lakh population. Apart from the scarcity of psychiatrists, the number of beds for psychiatric patients, psychiatric nurses, psychiatric social workers and clinical psychologist is also less than required, said Dr Anurag Varma, organising secretary, CME.

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