Pioneer Health

Mind it

Mind it

With the rising cases of depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, mental health has become a major concern. Muskaan Jain reports

Mental health is neglected the world. This is leading to anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), eating disorders and dementia. Nearly one million globally people commit suicide each year. Four of the six leading causes of disability are due to neuropsychiatric disorders (depression, alcohol-use disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). Also, one in four families have at least one member with a mental disorder globally. 

According to WHO report 2017, 7.5 per cent of Indians and 40 per cent people globally suffer from major or minor mental disorders or behavioural disorder that requires expert intervention. Here are the three most prevalent mental disorders that are on a rise amongst Indians which can be easily diagnosed and can be prevented or treatment by changing one’s lifestyle

Clinical Depression

It is characterised by a person feeling low and keeping a low profile for minimum two weeks.  The treatment of depression, which combines medication and psychotherapy, depends upon how mild or severe case is. Around 4.5 per cent of Indians suffer from depression which is the biggest reason for 40-50 per cent of the suicides in India.


According to Anna Chandy, chairperson, The Live Love Laugh Foundation, the cause of depression may be a result of a traumatic brain injury in the past, physical injuries or diseases, hormonal changes, drug or alcohol addiction or stressful life. Chandy tells you how over the years the number has only risen. “This could be caused due to a heightened awareness about depression or due to more individuals having been diagnosed with depression,” Chandy says.

Agrees Dr Vihaan Sanyal, mental health specialist from Mumbai. “Depression is also caused by certain medication and some anti-anxiety medicines or hypertension. Relationship issues, breakups, failed marriages, death of a loved one and career problems are one of the major reasons of causing depression,” Sanyal says.


If not treated, people suffering from depression tend to withdraw, are not able to sleep and are prone to heart diseases. They may also become suicidal. Some of the common symptoms that can help in self-diagnosis include losing interest in things one liked doing, change in the sleeping habits, overthinking and negative thoughts.

“One can also feel hopeless, guilt-ridden, have chronic fatigue, difficulty in concentration, sudden weight gain or loss and frequent self-criticism. In severe cases, one can also feel the urge to harm oneself. If any of these symptoms continue for more than two weeks, one should consult a doctor,” Chandy advises.

Lifestyle change

Depression can be prevented to a certain extent by keeping a healthy lifestyle. “Go for morning or evening walks, exercise and gyming, do breathing exercises and reducing stress,” Dr Sanyal says.

Talking about what not to eat during depression, Chandy says:  “Apart from alcohol, smoking and any kind of drug, one should avoid heavy intake of red or processed meat, refined grains, sweets and high fat dairy products should be avoided as they are heavy to digest and not good for the brains too.

Adding to the list, Dr Sanyal recommends: “Eat fruits and vegetable and follow a proper sleeping pattern. Avoid caffeine as it is a stimulant. Avoid listening to sad songs and movies.”


This condition has two phases — maniac, where a person is high on energy, motivation and impulsive, and  depression, where a person feels low. “A person starts new projects and plans in the manic phase but doesn’t complete it. Nearly 15 to 20 lakh people in India suffer from bipolar disorder and go unreported,” Dr Sanyal says.


It is mainly caused by genetic, biological traits which include chemical imbalance in brain, environmental factors and hormonal factors. It may be even caused by a traumatic event or stressful situation that a person is not able to handle.


It shows different symptoms in either phases. Symptoms in manic phase include being impulsive, feeling that nothing could go wrong, euphoria, risky behaviour and racing thoughts. They can make decisions that they may regret later. While in depressive phase, they feel sad, anxious, fatigue and all the symptoms of severe depression disorder. If the phases stay for one or more week and the mood is always erratic, one should consult an expert.


Bipolar disorder can’t be prevented but can be treated by long-term medication which may continue for the lifetime. Its treatment also includes psycho-therapy and yoga.

Lifestyle change

Being aware of the changes in your mood, not being alone, having support from friends and family and doing group activities are some lifestyle changes that can help a person who has the disorder.

Keep a balance, drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet. Stay away from caffeine and other sugary items which act as stimulants and affect the mood.



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