Social problems linked to mental illness in Pakistan

04/01/04

Risk factors, prevalence, and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders in Pakistan: systematic review BMJ Volume 328, pp 794-7

In Pakistan, relationship problems and financial difficulties are linked to anxiety and depression, whereas supportive family and friends may protect against the development of these disorders, finds researchers in this week's BMJ.

These disorders are an emerging public health threat in low income countries.

Researchers analysed 20 studies conducted in Pakistan that focused on anxiety and depressive disorders in adults.

Relationship problems, financial difficulties, and low education level were all linked to these disorders, whereas supportive family and friends were not. The overall prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders was 34%, but this figure may not apply to the whole population.

Pakistan's population has been exposed to sociopolitical instability, economic uncertainty, violence, and conflict for at least the past three decades. These are risk factors for psychiatric disorders and may help explain the findings of this review, say the authors.

The time is right for Pakistan to build on this research effort and develop a national strategy to tackle mental illness, they conclude.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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