Hospital Overview

Mental Health and Neuro Psychiatry

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

[WHO, 1948]

Neuro Foundation has been committed to providing state of art and specialized care in the areas of mental health, neurological and neurosurgical problems.

One of the ESSENTIAL wings of this brain sciences hospital in providing patients care is the Department of psychiatry.

Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders. These include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities.

WHO estimated that globally over 450 million people suffer from mental disorders? Currently mental and behavioral disorders account for about 12 percent of the global burden of diseases. This is likely to increase to 15 percent by 2020.

Stigma related to mental disorders, lack of awareness in common people, delayed treatment seeking behavior, lack of low cost diagnostic test and lack of easily available treatment are the main hurdles in combating the problem of mental health in India. In addition factors pertaining to traditional medicine and beliefs in supernatural powers in community delays diagnosis and treatment.

1. Mental health gets a low priority all over the world but much more so in developing countries.

2. In India, modern psychiatric facilities are available only in the cities. Mental hospitals are becoming modernized but the backbone of psychiatry is the psychiatric department in the General Hospital where treatment is out-patient and family based except short admissions for crisis intervention.

3. Psychotropic drugs are preferred both by psychiatrists and patients, next being electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other physical treatments followed by psychotherapies.

4. In view of paucity of facilities, 80% of the population has to depend on indigenous treatments consisting of Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine, religious treatments consisting of prayers, fasting, etc. and various witchcraft and magical rituals.

A clear distinction is often made between ‘mind’ and ‘body’. But when considering mental health and physical health, the two should not be thought of as separate.

Poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems. Similarly, poor mental health can negatively impact on physical health, leading to an increased risk of some conditions.

There is an increasing call on healthcare professionals to consider psychological wellbeing when treating the physical symptoms of a condition and vice versa.

There are various ways in which poor mental health has been shown to be detrimental to physical health.

Depression has been linked to:

  • 67% increased risk of death from heart disease.
  • 50% increased risk of death from cancer.

While schizophrenia is associated with:

  • double the risk of death from heart disease
  • Three times the risk of death from respiratory disease.
  • The lifestyle factors can influence the state of both your physical and mental health.
  • Exercise
  • Physical activity in any form is a great way to keep you physically healthy as well as improving your mental wellbeing. Research shows that doing exercise influences the release and uptake of feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the brain. Even a short burst of 10 minutes brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood. Physical activity means any movement of your body that uses your muscles and expends energy. From tending your garden to running a marathon, even gentle forms of exercise can significantly improve your quality of life.

Diet

Good nutrition is a crucial factor in influencing the way we feel. A healthy balanced diet is one that includes healthy amounts of proteins, essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. The food we eat can influence the development, management and prevention of numerous mental health conditions including depression and Alzheimer’s.

Smoking

Smoking has a negative impact on both mental and physical health. Many people with mental health problems believe that smoking relieves their symptoms, but these effects are only short-term.

People with depression are twice as likely to smoke as other people.

People with schizophrenia are three times as likely to smoke as other people.

Nicotine in cigarettes interferes with the chemicals in our brains. Dopamine is a chemical which influences positive feelings, and is often found to be lower in people with depression. Nicotine temporarily increases the levels of dopamine, but also switches off the brain's natural mechanism for making the chemical. In the long term, this can make a person feel as though they need more and more nicotine in order to repeat this positive sensation.

Mental and physical health is interrelated and interdependent. As the saying goes “A sound mind in a sound body”. Mental and physical health is two sides of a coin.

Mental Health a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

Mental health professionals

Why illnesses occur?

Biological

Mental illnesses have been linked to abnormal functioning of nerve cell circuits or pathways that connect particular brain regions. Nerve cells within these brain circuits communicate through chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Diagram of a chemical synapse between two neurons, Most antidepressants influence the overall balance of three neurotransmitters: serotonin, nor epinephrine, and dopamine. Some antidepressants act on neurotransmitter receptors

Genetics (heredity)

Mental illnesses sometimes run in families, suggesting that people who have a family member with a mental illness may be somewhat more likely to develop one themselves, Susceptibility is passed on in families through genes; Experts believe many mental illnesses are linked to abnormalities in many genes rather than just one or a few and that how these genes interact with the environment is unique for every person (even identical twins). That is why a person inherits a susceptibility to a mental illness and doesn't necessarily develop the illness. Mental illness itself occurs from the interaction of multiple genes and other factors -- such as stress, abuse, or a traumatic event -- which can influence, or trigger, an illness in a person who has an inherited susceptibility to it.

Infections

Certain infections have been linked to brain damage and the development of mental illness or the worsening of its symptoms. For example, a condition known as pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder (PANDA) associated with the Streptococcus bacteria has been linked to the development of obsessive and other mental illnesses in children.

Brain defects or injury

Defects in or injury to certain areas of the brain have also been linked to some mental illnesses.

Prenatal damage

Some evidence suggests that a disruption of early fetal brain development or trauma that occurs at the time of birth -- for example, loss of oxygen to the brain -- may be a factor in the development of certain conditions, such as autism.

Substance abuse

Long-term substance abuse, in particular, has been linked to anxiety, depression, and paranoia.

Other factors

Poor nutrition and exposure to toxins, such as lead, may play a role in the development of mental illnesses.

Psychological

Psychological factors that may contribute to mental illness include:

  • Severe psychologicaltrauma suffered as a child, such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
  • An important earlyloss, such as the loss of a parent
  • Neglect
  • Poor ability to relateto others

Sociocultural

Certain stressors can trigger an illness in a person who is susceptible to mental illness. These stressors include:

  • Death or divorce
  • A dysfunctional familylife
  • Feelings ofinadequacy, low self-esteem, anxiety,anger, or loneliness
  • Changing jobs orschools
  • Social or culturalexpectations (For example, a society that associates beauty withthinness can be a factor in the development of eatingdisorders.)
  • Substance abuse by theperson or the person's parents