In this essay we will discuss about the prevalence of mental disorders in India.
a) Average prevalence of severe mental disorders is at least 18-20/1000 population; about 3-5 times that number suffers from other forms of distressing and socio-economically incapacitating emotional disorder. (The average prevalence of severe mental disorder is 2 percent).
b) 15-20% who visit general health services (such as a Medical OPD or a Private practitioner or a primary health centre) have emotional problems appearing as physical symptoms.
c) Average number of new cases of serious mental disorder (incidence) is an about 35 per lac population.
d) About 1-2% children suffer from learning and behaviour problems. Mental retardation is estimated at 0.5-1.0% of all children.
e) Among elderly (above 60 years of age) prevalence rate of mental morbidity is about 80-90/ 1000 population of aged (i.e., about 4 million severely mentally ill). This is in comparison to U.K. where the rate is as high as 260-265/1000.
Geriatric depression is most frequent with a pre valance rate of 60/1000. Drug abuse surveys have reported the prevalence rate ranging from about 2-40% (Alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and opium are common).
f) The common psychiatric illnesses encountered in a General Hospital Psychiatric Clinic are:
i. Neuroses (Depressive neurosis followed by anxiety neurosis),
ii. Psychosomatic disorder (e.g., Peptic ulcer, Hypertensions, Tension Headaches etc.),
iii. Functional Psychoses (MDP depression, mania and schizophrenia) and Organic Psychoses (Usually delirium).
The other disorders e.g., Adjustment disorder, Psychosexual disorders are also not uncommon.
g) In a Child Guidance Clinic, the common mental illnesses include mental retardation, emotional and behaviour (conduct) problems, enuresis, hyperkinetic sydrome etc., in a Geriatric Clinic the common disorders are depression, dementia, paranoid disorders etc.
h) In psychosexual clinics in India, the common problems encountered include ‘Dhat syndrome’, Premature ejaculation, Erectile impotence include Opiate dependence. Alcohol dependence, Polydrug abuse, Cannabis dependence etc.
In India, we have about 3,000 qualified psychiatrists, 700-800 psychologists, 300- 400 psychiatric social workers and 600-700 psychiatric nurses.