Prescriptions for depression, anxiety among young adults on the rise

Immaturity in terms of brain development to handle these stress factors adequately, and absence of family and support systems has aggravated the problems, she adds.

Published: 18th April 2022 06:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2022 06:34 AM   |  A+A-

Mental Health, Anxiety, Depression

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Express News Service

BENGALURU: A recent study in England has found an increase in prescriptions for depression. Closer home, anecdotal evidence in Karnataka has revealed that prescriptions for anti-depressants in teenagers have gone up drastically. Research by the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, was published in the Britain Journal of General Practice.

Doctors and mental health experts in Karnataka say the number of adolescents and young adults aged between 10 and 24 coming to them with anxiety and depression has doubled, and use of drugs to combat these conditions has also gone up.

Dr Mahesh Gowda, Psychiatrist and Director, Spandana Healthcare, says, “There has been a two-fold increase in adolescents and young adults needing prescriptions for depression and anxiety. Post-Covid psychological presentations have increased tremendously, and many want quick relief and early recovery. Prescription medicines, if clients present medical indications, are important to ensure they recover faster. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) are commonly prescribed and removed once they feel better.”

Explaining that the incidence of mental disorders among this age group in India has gone up from 7% to 14% post Covid, Dr Preethi Galgali, Consultant, Paediatrician and Adolescent Health Specialist, Nimhans, says this increase is due to various stressors they face. Immaturity in terms of brain development to handle these stress factors adequately, and absence of family and support systems has aggravated the problems, she adds.

“Along with socio-economic reasons and academic pressure, Covid itself causes brain inflammation and decrease in neurotransmitters like Serotonin, which help stabilise the mood. There are many adolescents trying to cope with Long Covid syndrome... for instance, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, sleep issues etc. Also, unhealthy dietary habits during the pandemic has led to obesity and resulted in body image issues and depression,” Dr Preeti explains.

She says that several have returned to school and college and found a major change in peer equations due to lack of social interactions during the pandemic. However, not everyone is put on medication. Dr Raghu J, HoD and Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease Specialist, Sakra World Hospital, says treatment includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (or ‘Talk Therapy’) and when that doesn’t work, SSRI such as Fluoxetine or Escitalopram are introduced for teenage anxiety-related conditions.

Explaining that it’s sometimes important to prescribe these medicines if there are medical indications which otherwise can lead to severe depression and also suicide, Dr Pallavi Joshi, Consultant, Psychiatrist, Manipal Hospitals says generally, anti-depressants and mood stabilisers help them sleep, and sometimes medicines are needed to disengage them from addictions. However, doctors warn that medicines should not be bought over the counter and also not prescribed unnecessarily without proper evaluation.


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