Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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   2015| July  | Volume 57 | Issue 6  
    Online since July 27, 2015

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Social and legal aspects of marriage in women with mental illness in India
Indira Sharma, CB Tripathi, Abhishek Pathak
July 2015, 57(6):324-332
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161499  PMID:26330650
The institution of marriage in Hindus is regulated by the prevailing social norms and the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA), 1955. Married women with mental illness are heavily discriminated. This paper examines the social and legal aspects of Hindu marriage in women with mental illness. The HMA, 1955 lays down the conditions for a Hindu marriage and also provides matrimonial reliefs: Nullity of marriage, restitution of conjugal rights, judicial separation and divorce. The application of the provisions of HMA in the setting mental illness is difficult and challenging. There is a wide gap between the legislative provisions of HMA, and societal value systems and attitudes towards marriage in Indian society. Societal norms are powerful and often override the legal provisions. The disparities are most glaring in the setting of mental illness in women. This is a reflection of social stigma for mental illness and patriarchal attitude towards women. Concerted efforts are needed to bridge the gap between the legislative provisions of HMA and societal value systems and attitudes toward marriage. Awareness programs regarding the nature and types of mental illness, advances in treatment and information about good outcome of severe mental illness will be helpful. Improvement in moral and religious values will overcome to some extent the negative attitudes and patriarchal mind set toward married women with mental illness.
  11,426 378 -
Postpartum psychiatric disorders: Early diagnosis and management
Shashi Rai, Abhishek Pathak, Indira Sharma
July 2015, 57(6):216-221
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161481  PMID:26330638
Postpartum period is demanding period characterized by overwhelming biological, physical, social, and emotional changes. It requires significant personal and interpersonal adaptation, especially in case of primigravida. Pregnant women and their families have lots of aspirations from the postpartum period, which is colored by the joyful arrival of a new baby. Unfortunately, women in the postpartum period can be vulnerable to a range of psychiatric disorders like postpartum blues, depression, and psychosis. Perinatal mental illness is largely under-diagnosed and can have far reaching ramifications for both the mother and the infant. Early screening, diagnosis, and management are very important and must be considered as mandatory part of postpartum care.
  7,577 1,009 -
Postmenopausal syndrome
Pronob K Dalal, Manu Agarwal
July 2015, 57(6):222-232
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161483  PMID:26330639
Menopause is one of the most significant events in a woman's life and brings in a number of physiological changes that affect the life of a woman permanently. There have been a lot of speculations about the symptoms that appear before, during and after the onset of menopause. These symptoms constitute the postmenopausal syndrome; they are impairing to a great extent to the woman and management of these symptoms has become an important field of research lately. This chapter attempts to understand these symptoms, the underlying pathophysiology and the management options available.
  6,318 777 -
Female sexuality
TS Sathyanarana Rao, Anil Kumar M Nagaraj
July 2015, 57(6):296-302
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161496  PMID:26330647
Sex is a motive force bringing a man and a woman into intimate contact. Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy, and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, practices, roles and relationships. Though generally, women are sexually active during adolescence, they reach their peak orgasmic frequency in their 30 s, and have a constant level of sexual capacity up to the age of 55 with little evidence that aging affects it in later life. Desire, arousal, and orgasm are the three principle stages of the sexual response cycle. Each stage is associated with unique physiological changes. Females are commonly affected by various disorders in relation to this sexual response cycle. The prevalence is generally as high as 35-40%. There are a wide range of etiological factors like age, relationship with a partner, psychiatric and medical disorders, psychotropic and other medication. Counseling to overcome stigma and enhance awareness on sexuality is an essential step in management. There are several effective psychological and pharmacological therapeutic approaches to treat female sexual disorders. This article is a review of female sexuality.
  6,439 527 -
Eating disorders in women
Pratap Sharan, A Shyam Sundar
July 2015, 57(6):286-295
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161493  PMID:26330646
Eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa have been classically described in young females in Western population. Recent research shows that they are also seen in developing countries including India. The classification of eating disorders has been expanded to include recently described conditions like binge eating disorder. Eating disorders have a multifactorial etiology. Genetic factor appear to play a major role. Recent advances in neurobiology have improved our understanding of these conditions and may possibly help us develop more effective treatments in future. Premorbid personality appears to play an important role, with differential predisposition for individual disorders. The role of cultural factors in the etiology of these conditions is debated. Culture may have a pathoplastic effect leading to non-conforming presentations like the non fat-phobic form of anorexia nervosa, which are commonly reported in developing countries. With rapid cultural transformation, the classical forms of these conditions are being described throughout the world. Diagnostic criteria have been modified to accommodate for these myriad presentations. Treatment of eating disorders can be quite challenging, given the dearth of established treatments and poor motivation/ insight in these conditions. Nutritional rehabilitation and psychotherapy remains the mainstay of treatment, while pharmacotherapy may be helpful in specific situations.
  6,382 523 -
Women Mental Health: Reflections from India
Vidyadhar Watve, NN Raju
July 2015, 57(6):197-198
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161476  PMID:26330633
  1,858 4,179 -
Suicide in women
Lakshmi Vijayakumar
July 2015, 57(6):233-238
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161484  PMID:26330640
Suicide is a global public health problem. Asia accounts for 60% of the world's suicides, so at least 60 million people are affected by suicide or attempted suicide in Asia each year. The burden of female suicidal behavior, in terms of total burden of morbidity and mortality combined, is more in women than in men. Women's greater vulnerability to suicidal behavior is likely to be due to gender related vulnerability to psychopathology and to psychosocial stressors. Suicide prevention programmes should incorporate woman specific strategies. More research on suicidal behavior in women particularly in developing countries is needed.
  5,359 597 -
Women and mental health in India: An overview
Savita Malhotra, Ruchita Shah
July 2015, 57(6):205-211
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161479  PMID:26330636
Gender is a critical determinant of mental health and mental illness. The patterns of psychological distress and psychiatric disorder among women are different from those seen among men. Women have a higher mean level of internalizing disorders while men show a higher mean level of externalizing disorders. Gender differences occur particularly in the rates of common mental disorders wherein women predominate. Differences between genders have been reported in the age of onset of symptoms, clinical features, frequency of psychotic symptoms, course, social adjustment, and long-term outcome of severe mental disorders. Women who abuse alcohol or drugs are more likely to attribute their drinking to a traumatic event or a stressor and are more likely to have been sexually or physically abused than other women. Girls from nuclear families and women married at a very young age are at a higher risk for attempted suicide and self-harm. Social factors and gender specific factors determine the prevalence and course of mental disorders in female sufferers. Low attendance in hospital settings is partly explained by the lack of availability of resources for women. Around two-thirds of married women in India were victims of domestic violence. Concerted efforts at social, political, economic, and legal levels can bring change in the lives of Indian women and contribute to the improvement of the mental health of these women.
  5,092 784 -
Marriage, mental illness and law
Indira Sharma, Karri Rama Reddy, Rabindra Mukund Kamath
July 2015, 57(6):339-344
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161502  PMID:26330652
The Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954 and the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA), 1955 have put restrictions on the marriage of persons with mental illness, which are proving to be detrimental to patients and their families. There is an urgent need to address this problem. The deficiencies in the existing legislation have been projected and constructive suggestions have been put forward.
  5,121 366 -
Women mental health in India
Indira Sharma, Abhishek Pathak
July 2015, 57(6):201-204
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161478  PMID:26330635
  2,763 2,071 -
Bipolar disorder in women
Sonia Parial
July 2015, 57(6):252-263
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161488  PMID:26330643
Bipolar affective disorder in women is a challenging disorder to treat. It is unique in its presentation in women and characterized by later age of onset, seasonality, atypical presentation, and a higher degree of mixed episodes. Medical and psychiatric co-morbidity adversely affects recovery from the bipolar disorder (BD) more often in women. Co-morbidity, particularly thyroid disease, migraine, obesity, and anxiety disorders occur more frequently in women while substance use disorders are more common in men. Treatment of women during pregnancy and lactation is challenging. Pregnancy neither protects nor exacerbates BD, and many women require continuation of medication during the pregnancy. The postpartum period is a time of high risk for onset and recurrence of BD in women. Prophylaxis with mood stabilizers might be needed. Individualized risk/benefits assessments of pregnant and postpartum women with BD are required to promote the health of the women and to avoid or limit exposure of the fetus or infant to potential adverse effects of medication.
  4,454 348 -
Substance use in women: Current status and future directions
Rakesh Lal, Koushik Sinha Deb, Swati Kedia
July 2015, 57(6):275-285
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161491  PMID:26330645
Alcohol and substance use, until recently, were believed to be a predominantly male phenomenon. Only in the last few decades, attention has shifted to female drug use and its repercussions in women. As the numbers of female drug users continue to rise, studies attempt to understand gender-specific etiological factors, phenomenology, course and outcome, and issues related to treatment with the aim to develop more effective treatment programs. Research has primarily focused on alcohol and tobacco in women, and most of the literature is from the Western countries with data from developing countries like India being sparse. This review highlights the issues pertinent to alcohol and substance use in women with a special focus to the situation in India.
  4,020 519 -
The Indian "girl" psychology: A perspective
G Prasad Rao, KL Vidya, V Sriramya
July 2015, 57(6):212-215
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161480  PMID:26330637
India has one of the fastest growing youth populations in the world. Girls below 19 years of age comprise one-quarter of India's rapidly growing population. In spite of India's reputation for respecting women, to an extent to treat her as a goddess, the moment a baby is born, the first thing comes to mind is "boy or girl?" as the differences are beyond just being biological. This article examines the significance of various psychological constructs and psychosocial issues that are important in the life of a "girl" baby born in our country.
  3,782 466 -
Antidepressants, anxiolytics, and hypnotics in pregnancy and lactation
Daya Ram, S Gandotra
July 2015, 57(6):354-371
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161504  PMID:26330654
Aims: Untreated perinatal depression and anxiety disorders are known to have significant negative impact on both maternal and fetal health. Dilemmas still remain regarding the use and safety of psychotropics in pregnant and lactating women suffering from perinatal depression and anxiety disorders. The aim of the current paper was to review the existing evidence base on the exposure and consequences of antidepressants, anxiolytics, and hypnotics in women during pregnancy and lactation and to make recommendations for clinical decision making in management of these cases. Materials and Methods: We undertook a bibliographic search of Medline/PubMed (1972 through 2014), Science Direct (1972 through 2014), Archives of Indian Journal of Psychiatry databases was done. References of retrieved articles, reference books, and dedicated websites were also checked. Results and Conclusions: The existing evidence base is extensive in studying multiple outcomes of the antidepressant or anxiolytic exposure in neonates, and some of the findings appear conflicting. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most researched antidepressants in pregnancy and lactation. The available literature is criticized mostly on the lack of rigorous well designed controlled studies as well as lacunae in the methodologies, interpretation of statistical information, knowledge transfer, and translation of information. Research in this area in the Indian context is strikingly scarce. Appropriate risk-benefit analysis of untreated mental illness versus medication exposure, tailor-made to each patient's past response and preference within in the context of the available evidence should guide clinical decision making.
  3,769 401 -
Women and schizophrenia
R Thara, Shantha Kamath
July 2015, 57(6):246-251
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161487  PMID:26330642
Women's mental health is closely linked to their status in society. This paper outlines the clinical features of women with schizophrenia and highlights the interpersonal and social ramifications on their lives. There is no significant gender difference in the incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia. There is no clear trend in mortality, although suicides seem to be more in women with schizophrenia. In India, women face a lot of problems, especially in relation to marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. Most studies have shown better premorbid functioning, and social adjustment for women compared with men. There is a great need to plan for gender-sensitive mental health services targeting the special needs of these women. Women caregivers also deserve due attention.
  3,724 405 -
Depression in women in Indian context
Neena Bohra, Shruti Srivastava, MS Bhatia
July 2015, 57(6):239-245
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161485  PMID:26330641
The estimate of the global burden of disease predicts that depression will be the second-leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020. Depression is widely prevalent in women in all age groups especially in India where 1.2 billion population lives. In the current scenario of underdiagnosed, untreated cases of females suffering from depression, the hurdles faced by Indian women include inadequate number of mental health professionals, lack of awareness, stigma, disadvantaged position of women, multiple roles, increased levels of stress, and domestic violence. The literature search included an electronic database, published materials, and standard textbooks. The authors have provided a brief overview of different types of depression in females. Epidemiology, etiology, clinical presentation, and management linked to the reproductive cycle of women have been covered. Awareness through public education, early detection, organized national mental health programs, comprehensive management, with judicious utilization of the limited resources would tackle the rising number of cases of female depression, in a cost effective manner, thereby preventing suicide.
  3,613 481 -
Mood stabilizers in pregnancy and lactation
Sandeep Grover, Ajit Avasthi
July 2015, 57(6):308-323
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161498  PMID:26330649
Management of bipolar during pregnancy and postpartum is very challenging. The treating clinicians have to take into account various factors like current mental state, longitudinal history of the patient, past history of relapse while off medication, response to medication, time of pregnancy at which patient presents to the clinician, etc. The choice of drug should depend on the balance between safety and efficacy profile. Whenever patient is on psychotropic medication, close and intensive monitoring should be done. Among the various mood stabilizers, use of lithium during the second and third trimester appears to be safe. Use of valproate during first trimester is associated with major malformation and long-term sequalae in the form of developmental delay, lower intelligence quotient, and higher risk of development of autism spectrum disorder. Similarly use of carbamazepine in first trimester is associated with higher risk of major congenital malformation and its use in first trimester is contraindicated. Data for lamotrigine (LTG) appears to be more favorable than other antiepileptics. During lactation, use of valproate and LTG is reported to be safe. Use of typical and/atypical antipsychotic is a good option during pregnancy in women with bipolar disorder.
  3,531 475 -
Violence against women
Neena Bohra, Indira Sharma, Shruti Srivastava, MS Bhatia, Uday Chaudhuri, Sonia Parial, Avdesh Sharma, Dinesh Kataria
July 2015, 57(6):333-338
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161500  PMID:26330651
Violence against women (VAW) is a major public health problem in the country. The problem is grossly under-reported. A number of factors have been blamed for crimes against women. An inefficient law enforcing machinery has often been targeted for the increasing number of cases being reported. There is little recognition that psychiatric morbidity can perpetuate such crimes. Of late, there appears to a continuous increase in the number of crimes committed against women; especially the very serious ones like gang rapes. The latter have shaken the very conscience of people. Even harsher legislation does not seem to have made any effect. One wonders how this could be possible in a society heading toward high education, economic and technological development. Media has played a pivotal role by highlighting the problem to the masses. The need for the hour is for mental health professionals to take the challenge and present a comprehensive proposal for definite action to prevent all forms of VAW.
  3,509 345 -
Antipsychotics in pregnancy and lactation
Girish N Babu, Geetha Desai, Prabha S Chandra
July 2015, 57(6):303-307
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161497  PMID:26330648
Research on psychotropic medications during pregnancy and lactation is limited as often involves complex ethical issues. Information on safety of psychotropic drugs during these critical phases is either inconclusive or undetermined. Many women with severe mental illness have unplanned pregnancies and require antipsychotic medication during pregnancy and lactation. Multiple issues have to be considered while choosing safe treatments for pregnant and lactating women and the best approach is to individualize the treatment. Medication should be guided primarily by its safety data and by the psychiatric history of the patient. Important issues to be kept in mind include pre-pregnancy counseling for all women, including planning pregnancies; folate supplementation, discussion with patient and family regarding options, and active liaison with obstetricians, ultrasonologists and pediatricians. Whenever possible, non-pharmacological approaches should be used in addition.
  3,240 506 -
Women and mental health: Bridging the gap
TS Sathyanarayana Rao, Abhinav Tandon
July 2015, 57(6):199-200
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161477  PMID:26330634
  1,715 2,013 -
Rehabilitation of mentally ill women
Rajni Chatterjee, Uzma Hashim
July 2015, 57(6):345-353
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161503  PMID:26330653
Women, the fair sex, are principal providers of care and support to families. But, they are considered to be the weaker sex and one of the most powerless and marginalized sections of our society. The provision of Rehabilitation for mentally ill women has been, and still is, one of the major challenges for mental health systems reform in the last decades, for various reasons. The present paper discusses the global and Indian scenario of rehabilitation of mentally ill women and goes on to detail the contribution of the state and voluntary agencies in this regard. It explores the need of recovery, multilayered strategy of Rehabilitation services and the availability of present services. The stigma attached and legal defects which interfere in good quality of life for the mentally ill women are reviewed. Strategies for changes in future are recommended.
  2,855 280 -
Management of bipolar disorders in women by nonpharmacological methods
Sujit Kumar Naik
July 2015, 57(6):264-274
DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.161490  PMID:26330644
Several reasons justify the need for nonpharmacological interventions for bipolar disorder (BD) in women. This review focuses on psychosocial therapies for BDs in women. The research evidence for a wide range of psychosocial interventions for the management of BDs in women has been presented. All the interventions have some common components like targeting disease management, information regarding illness, and coping skills. There also are distinctive features like cognitive restructuring and self-rated mood charts in cognitive behavior therapy, regulation of sleep/wake cycles and daily routines in interpersonal sleep regulation therapy, and communication skill training in family treatments. Many psychosocial interventions hold promise as adjunctive therapies for bipolar patients. In India, there is a considerable dearth of literature in this area due lack of skilled staff for psychosocial interventions. Future trials need to: Clarify which populations are most likely to benefit from which strategies; identify putative mechanisms of action; systematically evaluate costs, benefits, and generalizability of effects, and record adverse effects.
  2,690 269 -