Mental health experts have observed an overall 20% rise in anti-depressant intake among people since the second COVID-19 wave devastated the country.
Data shows that the sale of antidepressants in April 2019 amounted to about Rs 189.3 crores. In June, it dropped to Rs 172.1 crores and increased further in July 2020 with Rs 196.9 crores.
In October 2020, it further rose to Rs 210.7 crore and reached its peak in April 2021 at a record of Rs 217.9 Cr.
The sale and consumption of antidepressants, also called neuro-cognitive enhancers, has increased by 20 per cent, observes Dr Rajiv Mehta, vice-chairperson, Institute of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Sir Gangaram Hospital.
“When life was easier, our brain’s chemical used to control the life circumstances. However with the present situation our emotions, cognitions are excessively used that produces the deficiency and that deficiency needs to be completed from the outside,” Dr Mehta said.
“To protect us, to increase our tolerability or to correct us, some people need to use anti-depressants or neuro-cognitive enhancers,” the expert added
When asked which age group is in need of neuro-cognitive enhancers, the doctor stated, “Each and every age group is coming, be it 10 years or 75 years. Stress is different but the disease is the same.”
There is a need to understand the basic mechanism of what the disease is and how each thing is chemically governed becomes very pivotal.
Low levels of serotonin in the brain is likely to cause depression whereas high levels of serotonin in the brain are linked with elevated mood.
Dr Mehta explains, “Serotonin team deficiency produces a disorder which is called depression or anxiety. So with prescribed pills, we are completing the deficiency from outside which is called anti-depressants seeing the disease.”
It is also denoted as serotonin deficiency or serotonin supplements or neuro-supplements.
“We sense five senses on the skin because there are neurotransmitters for each. Likewise, there are different neurotransmitters or chemicals for behaviour and the related thoughts and emotions,” he added.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers used by the nervous system that regulate countless functions and processes in your body, from sleep to metabolism.
During the second wave, India witnessed an unprecedented upsurge in the COVID-19 death toll. The intensity of the sense of a permanent loss varied following one or multiple deaths in families.
The wave peaked on May 6 when over 4.14 lakh fresh cases were reported. The highest deaths, meanwhile, were reported on May 23, when 4,454 lives were claimed by the virus.
The massive surge in cases inundated the country’s healthcare infrastructure and several parts of the country faced severe oxygen shortages.
The country is now seeing a decline in fresh COVID-19 cases. According to the Union health ministry, India reports 60,753 new cases and 1,647 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total cases has reached 2,98,23,546, including 3,85,137 deaths. (Agency inputs)