There are 50 million people in Pakistan who suffer from a mental illness. These include roughly 15 to 35 million adults and 20 million children. The situation is so dire that there are only 400 trained psychiatrists in the country which means that the doctor to patient ratio, in this case, is 1 to 0.5 million.
Mental illnesses are largely considered a taboo in the Pakistani society. These diseases are shunned by the public which is why patients tend to not come forth. The only way to curb the situation is by increasing the amount of empathy among people for mental illnesses so that people suffering from these diseases do not feel completely isolated and alone.
Here are some of the most common signs of a mental illness. If you spot any of these in a friend or relative, talk to them about it and make them visit a psychiatrist.
In Adults, Young Adults, and Adolescents
Signs of a mental illness vary from person to person and also depend on the type of mental illness. However, here is a list of symptoms that are prevalent among adults, young adults, and adolescents.
- Mood swings
- Anger issues
- Delusions or strange thoughts
- Dramatic changes in sleeping patterns
- Sudden shifts between loss of appetite or over eating
- Confused thinking
- Prolonged feelings of sadness
- Extreme anxieties and worries
- Withdrawal from society
- Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
- Attempted suicide or suicidal thoughts
- Substance abuse
In Children and Pre-Adolescents
Due to lack of awareness, it is not common knowledge that young children could also suffer from a mental illness. Here are some of the warning signs of mental illnesses in young children and adolescents.
- Drastic changes in eating habits
- Dramatic shifts in sleeping patterns
- Excessive complaints of physical ailments
- Changes in ability to manage responsibilities – at home and/or at school
- Rebellious nature
- Anger management issues
- Mood swings
- Negative thoughts
- Consistently low performance at school despite effort
- Excessive worrying, anxiety, and fear
- Hyperactivity in young kids
- Persistent nightmares