‘Sharp rise in depression cases’

Fast-paced lives, work pressure and the rat race to get to the top is making Mumbaikars a clinically depressed lot, say psychiatrists.

"Mumbai is a challenging city. You need to struggle to make a space for yourself and you need to be above average. Those who are not mentally strong enough are pushed over the edge. The challenge is more when you are in the limelight and have a family name to live up to," says celebrity psychiatrist Dr Anjali Chhabria.

Counsellors and psychiatrists are seeing an upswing in the number of people diagnosed with clinical depression, many of them even unaware of their condition. "Mumbaikars may have big cars, but they have no space to drive. There may be a train every minute but it is always too crowded to get into. There is barely any time to breathe, and this slowly but surely starts getting to a person," says city psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty.

In the face of such a demanding lifestyle, family, friends and social life acts as an important cushion, say doctors. "People seem more withdrawn and less social when they are depressed. Eating and sleeping patterns change and they start talking about morbid things like death and the worthlessness of life," says Dr Sharita Shah, consultant woman and child psychiatrist at Bombay Hospital. "People need to talk about their problems and issues. Bottling up feelings may drive them to extremes like substance abuse and even suicide," Shah said.

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