Unrest trauma on rise in Bahrain
Manama, March 16, 2014
An increasing number of Bahrainis and expatriates are still seeking help for anxiety - three years after unrest erupted in the country, according to a senior consultant psychiatrist.
Anger, fear and a "chronic bitterness" are some of the emotions Dr Mona El Ghezery encounters the most during her sessions, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
In her 10 years of practising medicine in Bahrain, she said she has witnessed a marked increase in the number of people suffering from anxiety disorders since 2011.
Dr El Ghezery works at the American Mission Hospital satellite site in Saar and operates her own private clinic.
"Definitely anxiety disorders have increased in the last couple of years," she told the GDN.
"I don't want to go political but I think mostly what people are concerned about is really the instability and the safety.
"I have a lot of patients now who develop phobias from going out.
"They are worried to go to certain places and some people who have relatives that died, they will go in to grief."
Psychiatric Hospital acting chairman Dr Hameed Abdulla said the number of people diagnosed with anxiety was "normally" expected.
He said the total number of home visits undertaken by the adult psychiatric team had actually dropped from 4,020 in 2010 to 3,029 in 2012.
Between 2005 and 2009 the number of visits carried out by the team was regularly above 4,400.
However, Dr El Ghezery disagreed with Dr Abdulla's assessment, saying that many would rather seek help from private clinics than go to the Psychiatric Hospital.
"We see all kinds of cases in private psychiatry, not just the people suffering from poor mental health but the social cases as well," she explained.
"And unfortunately the stigma associated with psychiatric problems is still here in this country, it's less than it was when I first came here 10 years ago, but people don't want to be seen to be going to a psychiatrist and they fear they might be recognised at the Psychiatric Hospital."
Meanwhile, Dr Abdulla said psychiatric services offered in Bahrain were on par with those in Australia or the UK.
"There are some differences - for example social workers in the UK have more power to act whereas here they do not have so much power, but from a medical point of view there is no difference," he added.
"Bahrain as a society has become more psychiatric care-orientated. There is not the stigma attached to mental illness that there was 10 or 20 years ago.
"People don't have a problem coming to the hospital and we see all kinds of psychiatric illness - anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and bipolar."
A recent upsurge in violence has seen explosions rock the village of East Eker last Tuesday and Daih on March 3, when a homemade bomb killed three policemen in the deadliest attack on security forces since the unrest.
According to the World Health Organisation Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) report on Bahrain in 2010, the number of patients in the psychiatric hospital was 107 per 100,000.
Approximately 40 per cent of these patients suffered from schizophrenia, schizotypal and delusional disorders while 20 per cent each either had mood disorders or mental and behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use. No new WHO-AIMS report has been prepared for Bahrain since 2010. - TradeArabia News Service