50% Adults in Kashmir Under Mental Stress: Study

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JAMMU:  A major chunk of Kashmir’s population is suffering from depression, according to a recent survey.
The survey, conducted by Medecins Sans Frontieres or MSF, says one out of every two adults is mentally disturbed in the Kashmir valley which has been in the midst of a violent conflict for more than two decades.
43-year-old Ashiq Hussain frequently undergoes medical check-ups at a government medical health centre in Srinagar. Growing up during peak terrorism days in the nineties in Kashmir has taken a heavy toll on his mental health, triggering depression. He says his condition worsened during the 2014 floods which destroyed his house. He is worried about the upbringing of his two teenaged children – factors that have made him scared and delusional.
“I feel very worried, I feel like I will die now, my heart starts sinking, my pulse rate increases,” said Mr Hussain.
But he is not alone. Hundreds of stress disorder cases come to Kashmir hospitals daily.
The research, done in collaboration with the Department of Psychology, Kashmir University, and the Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience and released last month, reveals that one in every five adults in Kashmir is living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The study says that nearly 1.8 million adults equalling 45 per cent of adult population suffers from mental distress in Kashmir valley and a majority of people have experienced or witnessed conflict-related trauma.
Doctors say conflict in the region is the main cause for depression cases in Kashmir – economic and social have worsened the crisis.
The depression is more prevalent among young men who are showing symptoms of headache, loss of memory and the desire to be left alone.
“We have found out multiple factors associated with it – one of them is definitely traumatic life events there is no doubt about it and the other factors breaking social network and economic reasons”, said Psychiatrist Arshid Hussain.

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