Killing oneís own Itís the mind on edge

Psychiatrists say Tuesday's case where a man battered his 58-year-old father to death at their Krishna Nagar home, caring little even for his mother's intervention, should be taken as a wake-up call. Frequent misbehaviour, physical abuse, tendency to inflict injuries on oneself and substance abuse must not be tolerated and one should contact a psychiatrist or the family physician to explore possibilities of an underlying mental illness or behavioral disorder, which are treatable, they said.

"Violence against family members, including parents is increasing. We get two to three such cases every day. Most often, it is triggered by an untreated mental illness or stress which manifests in aggression against close members of the family," said Dr Nimesh Desai, director, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS). He said fall in family values has added to the problem.

Dr Jitendra Nagpal, another psychiatrist, said, "Mental illness and issues related to it need to be taken seriously. One must consult a doctor if a person is facing relationship woes or work-related stress, a common problem particularly in big cities, which is causing depression or aggression. Mental disorders are a growing health concern which affect more than 7% of the total population in the country. Such disorders are present in many more people in the form of sub-clinical emotional and behavioral health issues which can manifest as aggressive behaviour if ignored for too long," Nagpal said. He said the stigma attached to mental illness must be done away with.

Dr Nand Kumar, additional professor of psychiatry at All India Institute of Medical Sciences ( AIIMS), said treatment is available for most mental health issues. "Many people cannot control their impulses. It is a kind of mental disorder and is treated with mood stabilizers. We give anti-psychotic drugs to patients, who complain about abnormal belief, for instance, someone who thinks his father doesn't love him as much as he loves his other children," he said.

He said that in children deviant behaviour, frustration and depression have been observed. "With proper counselling it can be treated. But if ignored, it can turn into a major health issue," Kumar said.

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