NEW DELHI – A two-fold rise in mental health issues among adolescents compared to pre-pandemic times are being reported in a private hospital in Delhi.
Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals said that the number of OPD consultations for young adults has doubled for anxiety, depression, gaming addiction and inability to concentrate and focus on studies.
The doctors there said that being restricted to homes, increased screen time, absence of physical activities and sedentary lifestyle are triggering the enormous rise in cases of anxiety and depression among teenagers.
According to the doctors, the Covid pandemic, associated mandatory protocols, and restricted life of adolescents within the four walls of their homes, remote learning, the increased use of the internet, are some of the reasons. The sudden change in lifestyle amid the pandemic is making them more agitated while instilling a feeling of helplessness among the adolescents, they said.
“Pandemic has created a major shift in which the students have to stay indoors and study from their homes in the absence of physical classes. All this has got a major change in the lifestyle of young adults who are both school and college-going students and impacted their mental health.
With an absence of a structured routine, the students are having erratic sleeping patterns and unregulated access to social media. This is further deviating their attention from their studies and symptoms such as irritability, uneven sleep problems, appetite problems, weight gain, etc. are becoming more common in them,” Dr Sandeep Vohra, senior consultant at Mental Health & Psychiatry depart of the hospital, said.
The doctors suggested that behavioural changes noted among teenagers are majorly associated with a lack of physical activities.
“Physical activities and exercise stimulate the release of brain chemicals like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin that play a vital role in regulating an individual’s mood. The release of these chemicals is essential to maintain a good appetite and proper sleeping pattern. Therefore, till the time students remain indoors with an absence of physical activities and exercise regime, such behavioural changes are evident,” Vohra said.
The doctors advised that mental health issues must be addressed at the earliest. “If the parents or the teachers think the problems cannot be addressed at their level, they should refer their children for emotional wellness evaluation or intervention, if required by mental health professionals,” Vohra added.
A recent study, published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatric’s, has also shown that an alarming percentage of children and adolescents are experiencing a global-wide mental crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The study revealed that depression and anxiety symptoms have doubled in children and adolescents when compared to pre-pandemic times.
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