27 November, 2020

Dying Everyday

Fear, anger are normal victim reactions. It's mass depression that's scaring workers.

Dying Everyday
For the lakhs of people who faced the shock and horror of the earthquake and tsunami, but survived, the hard times may only be beginning. Catastrophes always strain one’s capacity to absorb shock, and a disaster of this stupendous scale can bring about unimaginable and lasting psychological trauma.

It’s normal to be terrified by such events. But for many, the reactions are far worse. Says Amit Sen, psychiatrist at Delhi’s Sitaram Bhartia hospital, "Shock, panic, bafflement are the first outcomes. Then either numbness or agitation takes over, followed by post-traumatic stress symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, maybe blocking out the incident, insomnia, and finally depression."

The latter symptoms can last for years, and it’s easy to see why they can utterly destroy a person’s life, damaging self-esteem, creating behavioural problems and compromising effectiveness at work. Vijay Chandra, WHO’s Southeast Asia regional advisor for mental health, explains: "If untreated, people perform at a lower level, while their society tends to become less...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Sugata Srinivasaraju

Latest Magazine

December 07, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section