Making a breakthrough

by Bambang Raman Syah , at 12.33 , have 0 komentar
Making a breakthrough - While treatment of mental illness has progressed in leaps and bounds, a lot more needs to be done
The history of mental illnesses falls nothing short of horror. The early man believed in a magico-religious basis for mental illness, crediting it to demonic possessions, the wrath of god and sorcery, thereby responding with equally baseless and sometimes radical methods of treatment. Eventually, as biomedical advances were made, these practices were abandoned, giving way to medical management.

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Treatment of mental health illness is complex and therefore treatment strategies should be tailor-made, based on a detailed and intuitive assessment of the patient. Current treatment modalities used are divided in to two types – somatic and psychotherapeutic.The former employs the use of drugs and brain stimulation technology, while the latter involves talk therapy (psychotherapy), behaviour therapy and hypnotherapy. Let’s understand some parts about the latter for now.

Psychotherapy: Commonly known as talk therapy, it develops an emotional awareness and insight within the patient. A licensed psychotherapist effectively creates a relationship of trust and support in an environment of empathy and acceptance, which is conducive to the patient. This may also be possible with other situations such as group therapy, family therapy or couple therapy.

Cognitive behavioural therapy: The person is encouraged to identify distortions in their thought processes and understand how they lead to problems in their lives. Subsequently, they learn to think in different ways about their experiences, such that there is improvement in their behaviour and emotions. These include methods such as relaxation training and exposure therapy for phobias.

Despite advances in the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses, disorders of the mind are still attached to stigma. People tend to portray it as shameful, with those inflicted forced to deny and conceal it, while others oblige themselves to ignore or abuse it.

One such story is that of Kailash (name changed). He was brought by his mother on the pretext of treatment for back pain. She was quick to request a psychological evaluation. He believed he was a reincarnation of lord Shiva and claimed to be able to read the minds of people. His father, having suddenly passed away, the responsibility of the family fell upon him. Once well-to-do, the family was now pushed to the edge of desperation and poverty. This pushed him to regular use of marijuana, which probably facilitated the rapid progression of a pre-existing mental illness. Kailash was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was subjected to a combination of medical treatment, psychotherapy and occupational therapy. Within three months, his life turned around for the better, securing him a position with a management firm.

Another story is that of Maya (name changed). The only daughter of a wealthy businessman, she had a life of privilege that some of us can only dream of. Her Class XII board exams were a tribulation for her. Though she did it all – the late-night studying, the early-morning revisions, meal skipping and heaps of notes – she barely scraped through. This put her in a state of depression. Her parents thought it was a passing phase,until one afternoon, her mother found her unconscious beside an empty bottle of her father’s sleeping pills. She survived the attempt and underwent several sessions of psychotherapy assisted by medication. Now, a year later, she has had two art exhibitions, a scholarship to a fine arts college and is also engaged.

Though these stories seem heartening, yet, they are a rarity in our country. A study by the Government of India has shown that about 260 million Indians suffer from some form of mental illness, making that approximately one in every five Indians. A report by WHO suggests that India might be the most depressed country in the world.
Bambang Raman Syah
Making a breakthrough - written by Bambang Raman Syah , published at 12.33, categorized as health . And have 0 komentar
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