Saturday December 7, 2019

One in Five People in Conflict-Affected Areas Live with Mental Health Condition

That is three times more than the general population worldwide

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Conflicted, Mental Health, Condition
A patient looks from behind bars at a psychiatric hospital during a ceremony marking the World Mental Health Day in Sanaa, Yemen October 10, 2019. VOA

To mark World Mental Health Day, the International Committee of the Red Cross is calling for greater psycho-social support for millions of people caught in violence and armed conflict.

A survey finds more than one in five people in conflict-affected areas live with a mental health condition ranging from depression and anxiety to post-traumatic stress.  That is three times more than the general population worldwide.

Despite the growing problem, the International Committee of the Red Cross says mental health conditions among people subjected to war and violence are generally overlooked. It warns the hidden wounds will have long-term, even life-threatening impacts, if left untreated.

Ida Andersen is ICRC lead psychologist for Africa. She works with people in crisis in countries such as Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Burundi and South Sudan.  She says people exposed to extreme violence often have sleep disorders, including insomnia or nightmares. Some suffer from schizophrenia, become overly aggressive or have suicidal tendencies.

Conflicted, Mental Health, Condition
A survey finds more than one in five people in conflict-affected areas live with a mental health condition ranging from depression and anxiety to post-traumatic stress. Pixabay

She tells VOA on Skype from Nairobi that mental health needs for victims of war are as important as water, food and shelter. She says therapeutic help must be part of an integrated response.

“Mental health and psycho-social needs need to be considered along with other needs and the response to them should occur simultaneously…It is about providing what is needed as soon as it is needed,” said Andersen.

Andersen says talking about problems is what works best with adults in distress. Drawing, however, works best with children.

“We carry out these mental health and psycho-social interventions where we use drawings as a way of allowing the child to express him- or herself,” said Andersen. “These children have often times experienced terrible violence and they barely have the vocabulary to talk about it and through the drawings, they are able to express a lot of things.”

Also Read- More than 2.2 Billion People Globally Suffer from Preventable Vision Problems

The Red Cross is calling for increased recognition of the mental health consequences of humanitarian crises. It says investing in mental health and psycho-social support saves lives. Such investment also reaps economic benefits in post-conflict environments. It notes every dollar invested in treatment for depression can lead to a $5 return in better health. (VOA)

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One-Third Patients Diagnosed with Lung Cancer Have Depression

One-third of lung cancer patients have depression says study

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Studies have found that About one-third of patients newly diagnosed with the most common form of lung cancer show signs of depression. Lifetime Stock

About one-third of patients newly diagnosed with the most common form of lung cancer have moderate to severe symptoms of depression, a new study suggests.

For many of these patients — particularly those with severe symptoms — depression occurs in a toxic blend of high levels of anxiety, traumatic stress, impaired day-to-day functioning and significant pain and other physical symptoms, findings published in the journal Lung Cancer showed.

“The results suggest doctors need to screen lung cancer patients for depression and then act to refer patients for care,” said study lead author Barbara Andersen from the Ohio State University in the US.

“Some oncologists may have a mindset that ‘of course, you’re depressed, you have lung cancer.’ This may show an under-appreciation of the breadth of depressive symptoms and other difficulties which accompany it,” Andersen said.

Depression
In such patients, depression occurs in a toxic blend of high levels of anxiety and traumatic stress. Lifetime Stock

Patients with moderate or severe depressive symptoms are more likely to have lower quality of life and worse disease outcomes compared to those also diagnosed with lung cancer but with mild or no depressive symptoms.

According to the researchers, data came from 186 patients at one cancer hospital who had been recently diagnosed with advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer, which accounts for 85 per cent of all lung cancer cases.

Patients completed a telephone survey measuring psychological and physical symptoms, stress and day-to-day functioning.

Results showed that eight per cent of the patients scored at the severe depressive symptom level and 28 per cent had moderate depressive symptoms.

Nearly all (93 per cent) of the patients with severe depression said the depressive symptoms made it difficult to do their work, take care of things at home and get along with other people.

Compared to other cancer patients, those with high levels of depressive symptoms were much more likely to report severe physical symptoms, including 73 per cent who said they experienced ‘quite a bit’ or ‘very much’ pain.

Depression in patients
Patients with moderate or severe level of depression are more likely to have lower quality of life. Lifetime Stock

Every one of the patients with severe depressive symptoms said they had severe or moderate issues functioning with their usual activities such as work, study, housework and family or leisure activities.

In general, those with moderate depressive symptoms saw negative effects that were somewhat less — but still significant — than those with severe symptoms, the study found.

But there were two striking differences between the groups.

One was in the severity of generalised anxiety disorder (or GAD) symptoms, the most common anxiety disorder.

About 11 per cent of those with moderate depressive symptoms had moderate to severe GAD, compared to 73 per cent of patients with severe depressive symptoms.

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Second, many fewer of the patients with moderate depressive symptoms had impairments in self care (eight per cent versus 33 per cent in those with severe depressive symptoms), mobility (33 per cent versus 73 per cent) and usual activities (38 per cent versus 100 per cent). (IANS)