Border tension leads to steep rise in trauma patients

Nagender Jamwal

It has been more than a month since various parts of Jammu borders have been under constant ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops. The border residents who may or may not be part of the ceasefire violations are now reporting stress-related disorders.
Doctors at the Government Psychiatric Hospital say that since the ceasefire violation started on Jammu borders, many people, mostly youngsters and children, have been coming to them in a distressed state.
While talking to Newspoint, Dr Manu Arora, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry department said, “There is around 20-25 percent rise in the number of patients. On daily basis, around 5 to 6 patients from border areas come with cases of anxiety, insecurity, depression and confused personalities, even the people, who were otherwise completely normal, have developed symptoms of depression.”
The sudden ceasefire violation has impacted their psyche. In the last few days, doctors have observed many cases where people have developed a fear psychosis because of the communication breakdown, Dr Manu said and added that patients complain of chest pain, anxiety and some have even developed suicidal tendencies. “We find out that there is some sort of tension since they have become disconnected from their near ones,” Dr said.
In many cases, he said young patients at the age group of 20 to 40 years are exhibiting these problems because they are genuinely suffering from “withdrawal symptoms”. He doesn’t find anything unusual in this sudden anxiety among youngsters.
Not only has this, even the school goers between the age group of 10 to 15years come with distressed, anxiety and depression. There will be an increase in stress-related issues among them.
Normally the patients are very less in hospitals but after ceasefire violations, when people are forced to evacuate their houses then the case of mentally disturbed are one out of every two adults. A majority of people had experienced or witnessed conflict-related trauma.
Psychiatrists and psychologists in Jammu are aware of this distressing rise in post-traumatic stress, but are helpless to stem it.
“A majority of people have experienced or witnessed natural disasters and conflict-related trauma (94 percent and 93 percent respectively). More than 70 percent of adults have experienced or witnessed the sudden or violent death of someone they knew,” the doctors said.
With the severe shelling and firing by Pakistani troops on civilian areas, the border villagers are feeling frustrated at being out from their places, cut off from what is happening to their own houses. This adds misery to the trauma, because people don’t know what the situation is in villages, where their friends and relatives stay.
There is dire need to acknowledge that mental health issues have unseen scars and vast damages. How to deal with these mental and psychological wounds? How to heal the intense, agonizing damage that they cause? its tuff state for them but not impossible, they will be alright with the time. These patients need mass counseling to deal with their deep trauma and misery. A psychosocial support system needs to be created so that the inner frustrations and grievances of people find a vent, doctors said.
The current conflict will aggravate depression, anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms within these populations.

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