One Third Of Health Problems Linked To Stress, Anxiety: Experts

One third of health problems linked to stress, anxiety: Experts

One third of the problems presented by patients to doctors are directly or indirectly related to stress and anxiety, said family medicine experts during an awareness session organised by Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU), here on Wednesday

KARACHI, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 9th Oct, 2019 ) :One third of the problems presented by patients to doctors are directly or indirectly related to stress and anxiety, said family medicine experts during an awareness session organised by Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU), here on Wednesday.

The event was organised by JSMU's Institute of Family Medicine and Continued Medical education department to underscore the role of family medicine practitioners in managing mental health issues.

The head of JSMU-Institute of Family Medicine, Professor Marie Andrades, in her introductory remarks pushed for adopting a holistic approach towards the well-being of individuals for achieving health for large populations.

She quoted World Health Organisation (WHO) data which shows that Pakistan has only 0.19 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people, among the lowest in the world.

Speaking on the state of mental health in Pakistan, Dr.

Tabinda Ashfaq, Associate Professor Family Medicine at JSMU, said that the number of psychiatrists in Pakistan was significantly low as compared to the rising incidence of mental health issues in the country.

Family physicians are the first point of contact for majority of the patients and the former are managing mental health diseases more frequently because of being accessible to patients, she said.

Dr. Fauzia Akhtar, Assistant Professor Family Medicine JSMU said that it is important for people to know the symptoms and also to know when and where to seek help.

Describing symptoms, she said stress can manifest as headache, anxiety, muscle pain, lack of motivation, upset stomach, sadness, drug or alcohol abuse, fatigue, restlessness, feeling of being overwhelmed and sleep problems.

Dr.

Badar Sabir Ali, consultant Family Medicine and Psychotherapist, highlighted the importance of practicing mindfulness which can increase the ability to relax, produce a greater enthusiasm for life and improve self-esteem.

Professor Riaz Qureshi of Aga Khan University said that stress can worsen common health problems like headaches, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart issues, skin problems, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.

He explained the technique of hypnotherapy as one of the tools used by doctors for reducing stress and anxiety among patients and taught self-relaxation techniques to the audience.

Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Lubna Ansari-Baig said that rising rates of suicide in Pakistan painted an alarming picture of the mental health in society.

She said that globally one person commits suicide every 40 seconds, and for each adult who kills himself, an estimated 20 others are attempting suicide at the same time.

In Pakistan too, she said, 5,500 people killed themselves in 2016 whereas this figure was even higher in 2012 when 13,000 people were lost to suicide.

"The situation demands that all healthcare providers must be attentive towards signs of mental health issues in their patients," said Dr. Lubna.

The Vice Chancellor JSMU, Professor S.M. Tariq Rafi, pointed out that the rising incidence of mental health cases and their impact on other conditions is compounding the challenges faced by the country's healthcare sector.

In-charge Continuing Medical Education department at JSMU, Dr Rahat Naz mentioned that World Mental Health Day was being observed in 150 countries since 1992 and had been initiated by World Federation for Mental Health to draw attention towardsmental health issues.

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