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April 2, 2019

‘Severe mood swings with euphoria followed by depression indicative of psychiatric illness’


April 2, 2019

Severe mood swings that include euphoria followed by depression that last for more than a week is an indication of bipolar effective disorder, which is a serious psychiatric illness as patients suffering from this disorder may harm others as well as themselves, eminent psychiatrists and health experts said on Saturday.

“Every persons feels mood swings but if these mood swings are severe in a person, who remains euphoric, talkative and over joyous for more than a week, followed by a depressive mood in which he remains dejected, drained of energy and shows no interest in daily life, this person is likely to be affected by bipolar effective disorder,” said Prof Dr Iqbal Afridi, head of the psychiatry department of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) while addressing an awareness session.

The session on bipolar effective disorder had been organised by the department of psychiatry, JPMC, and the Pakistan Psychiatric Society to mark World Bipolar Effective Disorder Day, which was addressed by eminent psychiatrists, neuroscientists, physicians, educationists and nutritionists as well as by former health officials who highlighted the importance of the psychiatric illness, its early diagnosis and treatment.

Five experts from the department of psychiatry spoke about the bipolar effective disorder in Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi and Pashto languages while Prof Iqbal Afridi briefed the session about it in both Urdu and English languages, and all these videos were posted on social media to create awareness in the rural areas of the country.

Prof Afridi said several important personalities in the history of mankind, including Alexander the Great, as well as some important world leaders in the present time were affected with the bipolar effective disorder but people with this illness could live a normal and healthy life with medication, counseling, support from the family and friends and by living a healthy life.

“Causes of bipolar effective disorder are either genetic or environmental, but this illness mostly runs in the family. Research is underway to find out other causes of this disease, but mostly it is a genetic disorder,” Prof Afridi said, adding that once a person was diagnosed with this psychiatric illness, they were given anti-psychotic drugs and mood stabilizers.

He maintained that this was a lifelong condition, but with the help of proper treatment, support from the family and friends and by living a healthy life, people with this illness could live a normal life and become quite productive members of society.

“People with these and other types of illness should adopt a healthy lifestyle, eat balanced diet, sleep and rise early, exercise regularly and spend time on worship or meditation, which would help them in overcoming their health condition.”

Chairman Sindh Mental Health Authority Dr Karim Khawaja said bipolar disorder is a treatable condition in which a person feels episodes of euphoria and depression, which affects his or her daily life, saying such people should be immediately taken to psychiatrists who can treat such patients and help them in living a normal life.

“But, unfortunately, there is an extreme lack of awareness about psychiatric illnesses in Pakistan, especially in the rural areas of the country, while we are also having an extreme shortage of psychiatrists,” he deplored and lauded Prof Afridi for regularly holding awareness sessions which, he said, would benefit a large section of the society.

Former Sindh health secretary and provincial minister Dr Shafqat Abbasi spoke on the importance of having trained and qualified psychiatrists in the country, saying at the moment quacks were treating patients with psychiatric illness. He urged people to take patients with mental disorders to experts so that they could be treated.

He said efforts should be made to increase the number of trained and qualified psychiatrists in the country and praised Dr Iqbal Afridi and his team for providing psychiatry services to a large section of society who were visiting his department from across Pakistan.

Nutritionist Fayza Khan spoke on the importance of a healthy diet to keep people mentally and physically healthy and said a healthy and balanced diet started when a baby was dependent on its mother, adding that in addition to medication, patients needed healthy food to recover from physical and mental illnesses.

The seminar was also addressed eminent neuroscientist Dr Muhammad Mushtaq, Dr Salman Otho, Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi and Dr Ali Imran, who spoke on different aspects of the bipolar effective disorder, its prevalence in society and its management with psychiatric and psychological help.

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