Yikes! 1 in 7 Indians suffer from mental disorders, according to The Lancet

Updated on:24 December 2019, 15:17pm IST
Now that mental disorders are on the rise, it's time to understand the subtlety of mental health issues and address them in an apt manner.
mental disorder meaninig
You can’t avoid stress. But you can ensure that you deal with it better. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Mental disorders like depression and anxiety affect functioning and quality of life. Mental health is often considered routinely different than physical health. People suffering from mental health issues prefer not to be open about their illness because there is disparity and unequal treatment of mental and physical illness.

About one in seven persons in India suffered from mental disorders of varying severity in 2017, with depression and anxiety disorders being the most common mental disorders affecting 45.7 million and 44.9 million people each in the country–noted the findings of a first comprehensive study done by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on disease burden due to mental disorders in India.

The research has shown that there is a significant increase in the incidence of mental health disorders in India over the years. The ICMR findings have clearly noted that approximate 197 million persons, roughly one in seven Indians, suffered from any kind of mental disorders of the year 2017. These include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, idiopathic developmental intellectual disability, conduct disorders, and autism.

“We found that depression is highest in older adults which has significant implications for the ageing population of India. Depression contributed 33.8% of all mental disorder, followed by anxiety disorders (19%), idiopathic developmental intellectual disability (10.8%), and schizophrenia (9.8%),” Prof Balram Bhargav, Director General, ICMR informed ANI.

As depression is associated with suicide deaths in India it is our big concern to tackle it and with this association, we found out that it is slightly stronger in females than in males, (Prof) Bhargava added.

depression symptoms
Depression contributes to almost 34% of all mental health disorders in India. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The study is now published in the latest issue of The Lancet Psychiatry journal under the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative of ICMR and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

Also read: Anxiety got you down? We got 10 mental health experts to suggest how you can tame that beast

“The prevalence of mental disorders has doubled between 1990 and 2017. To understand the burden of mental health, we have studied all available data sources from India to bring in this state-specific scientific paper on mental health problems in India,” Prof Lalit Dandona, Director of the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative told ANI.

Among the mental disorders that during childhood and adolescence, the prevalence for idiopathic developmental intellectual disability was 4.5 per cent, conduct disorder 0.80 per cent, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder 0.42 per cent, and autism spectrum disorders 0.35 per cent, findings noted.

Dr Rajesh Sagar, lead author of the story and Professor of psychiatric at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said: “Mental illnesses is rising in India at a tremendous rate. It is the need of the hour to upgrade mental health services, create awareness, remove social stigma and generate access to treatment.”

“Parents and children should be educated. In the study, we have noted that the prevalence of childhood and adolescent mental disorders was higher in the less developed northern states, and that of the mental disorders during adulthood higher in the more developed southern states,” he said.

Priyanka Sharma Priyanka Sharma

Priyanka Sharma is a journalist with Asian News International (ANI).