Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Shocking Crime and #Antisocial Personality Disorder

We often read about shocking crimes committed in the heat of the moment,and fail to find a logical explanation for them.It is psychology which then comes up with plausible answers to such questions.This fact was revealed explicitly to me when Jay came over to me for counseling a few years back.

He was a robust 35yrs old young man at that time.He required no prodding to come out with all the details of his life till date.He had studied only up to 8th class and he began to earn at the age of 14yrs.He had been driving a taxi since the last 20yrs.Very matter of factly,he stated that his mother did not care at all for him.The only person who loved him had been his father who had expired six years ago.He had two brothers but they lived separately because he went out of control whenever he was angry.

He had gotten married to Ena 3yrs ago but she left him after one and a half years.He loved her profusely.Now he wanted me to mediate between them.If she did not return he would first kill her and then himself.Two weeks prior to this he had purposely shoved his taxi down into a valley.It turned turtle five times and landed upside down but nobody was hurt.All this,to get Ena back.

He gave me her number and I promised to find out what she wanted.Her mother came on the line when I rang her up.She told me that Jay was addicted to opium and smack and in no way would she send her daughter back.

So I called him and gave him the update.I tried to reason out with him,to show him how he was destroying himself and finding no joy in life too.On top of that he was wrecking his health and there was still time to turn back.

He listened quietly and merely said that yes I was right.I was not surprised that he did not turn up for the next appointment.I rang him up after a few weeks to find out how he was doing.He merely said he was OK and that was the end of the story.

His was a typical case of Antisocial Personality Disorder - impulsiveness,violence,breaking laws,destroying property,scarce concern for others' rights and emotions,manipulation--it was all there.It is possible that his disorder was the result of genes or early life experiences.He deserved sympathetic,supportive treatment.

In such cases the family also has the responsibility of keeping a watchful eye on the sufferer and making sure that s/he does not get into trouble especially if s/he is a minor.

I wonder how he is,and whether or not he has transformed himself;though the chances appear bleak.The prognosis of this condition is not encouraging,however,they may mellow down with age.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

#Relationships and #Mentaldisorders

We live in paradoxical times.Life is easy,convenient and comfortable as never before,but the mind is at unrest as it never was.Innumerable appliances,apps and devices make the mandatory functions a breeze,yet a large segment finds itself overworked and overstressed.Leisure hours have dwindled and psychological problems have multiplied.We the urban educated,have countless facebook friends,but how many with whom we can discuss a personal problem?

All this raises a pertinent question-has life become easy or more complex than before?Easy as far as the physical aspect is concerned but complex because of the way it compromises our mental health and equanimity.The stressors are aplenty-waiting at every turn to pounce at the vulnerable.Maintaining our cool under the circumstances has become a challenge.

A study by WHO informs us that there has been a rise of 18% in cases of depression in the last decade.We generally brush off such reports believing we could never succumb to stress,but this is far from true.A major upheaval could rattle anyone.After that whether he keels over or manages to find his feet again depends mainly upon two factors-his own resilience and his support systems.I have already written in length about resilience in this post so I will not go into it again.

When resilience happens to be insufficient,it is our support systems which enable us to keep our heads above water.They boost our morale when we most need it,and motivate us to not give up hope and find a way out of our problems.Sadly,such support is not easily available today.That is why loneliness and incidents of mental disorders are increasing.

A potent prophylaxis against mental disorders is what we all need,and this we can easily possess by building a web of secure,positive relationships;not merely as a crutch for  the critical moments,but as an important,happy feature of our lives.

Stable,positive relationships extend support and infuse joy in our lives.They offer respite from hectic schedules and taxing times.Chatting with friends and family-really,not virtually-enables us to forget our worries and recharge our batteries.We come to know of the problems which others face,and realize that we are not the sole sufferers on this planet.We see how others cope with their problems and learn new skills to meet life's challenges.

Those who are bereft of strong relationships generally keep their angst bottled inside and this can cause psychological problems.Isolation brews melancholy.It spurs feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.It can deepen into depression if it continues for long.Incidentally,even #toxicrelationships can precipitate mental disorders.In fact it is better to have no relationship at all,rather than a toxic one.

Studies have shown that those who are socially connected live longer,healthier lives.They enjoy better physical and mental health.Just think,if you go on a binge,stuff unhealthy food,go overboard with alcohol or smoking,who cautions you?Who urges to seek medical aid if you feel weak and exhausted?Your friends or relatives of course.But only those who care for you and for whom you have shown your commitment.

We get only that much as we put in.Relationships demand loyalty,devotion and mutual give and take.If we extend a helping hand to someone in a soup,that person is sure to remember it and reciprocate.This is how support systems take shape.It is like investing in our happiness and wellbeing.That is why it is important,and even therapeutic, to connect with the people around us.

You can start right now by calling someone who has not been seen since long,smiling at the person you next meet,fixing up a fun-time with your cronies (how many do you have?),calling friends over for a meal,and wishing them on their birthdays and anniversaries.

It is our relationships which make life worth living.What we often do not realize is,that they could also act as a barrier against mental disorders.