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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nimhans skeptical about WHO study

WHO says Indians depressed,asks Nimhans

Docs Of Top Mental Health Body Sceptical

Jayashree Nandi TNN

Bangalore: A World Health Organisation study may claim that India has the highest number of depressed people but the countrys leading mental health institution the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) has debunked the theory.
The WHO-sponsored study concluded that while around 9% of people in India reported having an extended period of depression within their lifetime,nearly 36% suffered from what is called Major Depressive Episode (MDE).
But Dr S K Chaturvedi,professor and head of the department of psychiatry,Nimhans,told TOI: I think the figures in the study are highly inflated.If the criteria they are going by is based on the western populations,then its not suitable for India.In practice,we see few cases of MDE because the Indian families make for a very strong social support system.
He said: According to the study,then one-third of the country is depressed.I dont see so many sad people in India.In fact,Indians are more happy-go-lucky, he said.
Dr Chaturvedi said that most of the time these disorders can be treated without medication.Somatised depression (physically manifests as lower backache,headache or fatigue) is common in India.Dr Chaturvedi said that he would be sending a comment to the authors of the WHO report.
Dr B N Gangadhar,programme director,Advanced Centre for Yoga,Nimhans and professor of psychiatry,said,I dont know if the figures are so high.Then the amount of drugs sold for depression should have as been as high as other countries.Severe forms of depression in India are very uncommon.We see more of moderate to mild depression.We are seeing very good results with yoga and counselling among the depressed.Medicines are not prescribed unless it is a very severe form of depression, he said.
The health ministry recently sought details of the WHO-sponsored World Mental Health Survey Initiative.When the Times of India contacted the WHO office in Delhi,a representative said that the data is being revisited and reanalyzed.WHO will present their response to the health ministry soon.

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