Mobile addiction related mental illnesses on steady rise: Dr. R.K. LeninIMPHAL | Aug 11
As per the National Mental Illness Survey 2015-2016, Manipur has recorded a high prevalence rate of mental illnesses; and mental health problems related to smart phone addiction are becoming another cause of burden for the State.
In an interaction with the IFP, professor and head, department of Psychiatry, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Dr. R.K. Lenin Singh said that it is very rare to find children or youths who are not lured by the fascination of smartphones in this virtual world of today. “But do the usage of smartphone really makes the person smart is rather questionable?” he said.
He also stated that mobile addiction is commonly viewed as a source of threat to public health as it can create joint, neck and back pain, stress, anxiety, and impaired vision amongst others. Such problem arises when one uses mobile phones or devices for more than six hours which is beyond the permissible limit of one hour.
Amongst this problem, mental illness due to mobile addiction is now becoming a new health issue in the State. “This new trend of mental health problem will provide lot of setbacks in the society as the State has already recorded a high prevalence rate of mental illnesses,” he stressed.
He also stated that according to the National Mental Illness Survey 2015-2016, jointly conducted by National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru and RIMS, Imphal, the State had recorded a 19.9 percent of people suffering from mental illnesses, which is more than that of National level with 13.9 percent. The treatment gap of the state is 86 percent despite the fact that all kind of mental illness is treatable, he said.
Mentioning the steady increase of mental health issue due to the excessive usage of mobile phones, he also mentioned that the negativeimpact of too much access to smartphones is confirmed by daily OPD records of the department of Psychiatry, RIMS. “It shows that around 4-6 patients come to the hospital for mobile addiction related mental illness out of average of 150-160 patients per day, and most of them are youngsters,” he pointed.
Dr. R.K. Lenin further stated that behavioural changes along with reduced academic performance, appetite loss, insomnia and gradually stress and anxiety are some of the symptoms of mobile addiction. These are some of the common features of mental disorder as per the definition of World Health Organisation. If intervention is not made at the right time, the problem will become more severe and intense, and can even lead to deaths from suicide with such cases having been already witnessed earlier.
While pointing out the reason of addiction, he said that smart phone provides many entertaining items which include gaming, chatting, watching videos etc. Therefore, most of mobile phone addicted youngsters cannot change their attitude towards smart phone all of sudden. To counter this situation, parents should play the role model and regulate the usage of mobile phones in a disciplinary way, he said.
“Children are just like a mirror, so parents should not use smart phone excessively in front of the children,” he stated while adding an appeal to parents to supervise their wards from time, and for children to enjoy the beauty of technology with moderation.
As we all know that apart from the common causes of mental illness, the State has additional contributing factors that include socio-political instability, low income and high rate of drug abuse. This is the reason why the State has a high rate of mental health issues. “So what will be the condition, if steady increase of mobile addictions becomes another major cause of the rise in mental disorders?” he queried.
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