A new study published in The Lancet has found that the prevalence of major depressive and anxiety disorders has increased significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Globally, the burden of these disorders was increased by 28% and 26%, respectively. The study noted that in India, a 35% increase was observed in both depressive and anxiety disorders. It also highlighted that women and youth were the most affected, and areas with high COVID-19 infection rates had higher cases and reduced mobility due to stringent lockdowns.
The first such global estimate on mental health, was studied using a disease modeling meta-analysis tool. This is a systematic literature review that looked at data sources from over 204 countries published between January 1, 2020 and January 29, 2021.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), major depressive disorder includes symptoms such as depressed mood, lack of interest and pleasure, and decreased energy. Depending on the number and severity of symptoms, a depressive episode can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. WHO defines anxiety disorders as a group of mental disorders characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Includes post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD).
Had the COVID pandemic not hit the world, there would have been 193 million cases of major depressive disorder (2,471 cases per lakh population) and 298 million cases (3825 cases per lakh) of anxiety disorders globally in 2020, the study authors estimated. But the pandemic caused these numbers to reach 246 million cases (3,153 cases per lakh) and 374 million cases (4,802 cases per lakh) respectively, which means there are about 53 million additional cases of major depressive disorder and 76 million additional cases in the world. Seen. Cases of anxiety disorders.
In India, in the absence of an epidemic, there were 2,577 cases of major depressive disorder per lakh population and 3,013 cases of anxiety disorders per lakh population. However, due to the pandemic, the prevalence of major depressive disorder increased to 3,478 cases per lakh and anxiety disorder to 4,063 cases per lakh population.
Mumbai-based psychiatrist Dr Kercy Chavda said, “Covid-19 brought mental health issues to the fore.” “Since people were suddenly stuck at home, many symptoms were found which otherwise would have gone undiagnosed. We saw an increase in OCD as well as aggression. There were many cases of abuse of children, abuse of spouses and even abuse of senior citizens living at home.”
According to Chavda, the easing of teleconsultation rules by the government was a positive development as it allowed many people to reach out for help through virtual consultations.
Kolkata-based psychiatrist Dr Gautam Saha, who is the president of the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS), said the initial few months were due to uncertainty and limited knowledge about Covid-19, loss of jobs and salary cuts, loneliness and disconnected financial resources. Due to the crisis lockdown, there was an explosion of mental health issues all over. “A survey conducted by IPS showed that around 10% of the population had depression and 38% had anxiety disorders and a large number of people were going through moderate to severe stress during the first wave,” Saha said. “Promoting mental well-being, targeting factors contributing to poor mental health that have been made worse by the pandemic, and improving treatment for those who develop mental disorders should be central to efforts to improve support services, Lead author Dr. Queensland Center for Mental Health Research, School of Public Health, University of Queensland, Australia said.