‘Youth today battling mood swings, depression’

Updated - October 09, 2015 08:09 am IST

Published - October 09, 2015 12:00 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Symptoms of depression, mood swings, anxiety, thoughts of self-harm, suicide and substance abuse are among the mental health issues youngsters battle today, says a survey titled ‘Emotional health and Psychological well-being’.

Conducted by psychiatrists and psychologists at the Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences (CIMBS) recently, the survey released on Thursday included over 500 college students between 18 to 25 years across Delhi. The motive was to screen and identify common psychological health issues amongst college going students.

The survey noted that alarmingly, 64.6 per cent of the students screened reported experiencing symptoms of depression and mood swings. Of these, 44 per cent reported long-term and recurrent disturbances in their mood. Of the students who reported of experiencing mood disturbances, nearly 70 per cent were women.

Over half of the students also reported experiencing anxiety symptoms.

Of these, anxiety symptoms were on-going for a chronic period of time in 47 per cent students. Here again, it was women (74 per cent) who experienced more anxiety symptoms.

“An individual with depression may experience sadness, which is out of proportion and across most situations, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, feeling tired easily, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, difficulty in concentration, decreased libido, hopelessness, helplessness, excessive guilt and thoughts about ending their life,’’ said Dr. Sunil Mittal, senior psychiatrist and chairperson at CIMBS.

Substance abuse, with alcohol and tobacco, was reported in 20 per cent of the students.

What worried the doctors most was that from all the students screened, 17.8 per cent reported having thoughts of self-harm and suicide.

“Out of these, an alarming 80 per cent reported having thoughts about harming themselves or ending their lives at some point in the past also. A total of 23.4 per cent students reported having impulsive and high-risk behaviours,” the study noted.

As many as five per cent students reported symptoms suggestive of major psychotic disorders, which warrant further evaluation.

“Certain major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, typically have their onset in late adolescent and early youth. However, the symptoms sometimes get overlooked either due to lack of awareness or inability to understand the nature of symptoms. It is important to generate awareness about psychiatric disorders to promote early identification and timely help,” noted Dr. Sameer Kalani, consultant psychiatrist at CIMBS.

Over half of the 500 students covered reported experiencing anxiety symptoms.

Of these, anxiety symptoms were on-going for a chronic period of time in

47 per cent students

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