Frequently Asked Questions

My kid is addicted to video games.What should I do?

The word “addiction” gets used a lot to describe a certain kind of focused attention on media and technology.Kids, however, might display what looks to be addictive behavior when they’re only super engaged in creating something or getting to the next level in a game.

But if you have real concerns about your kid’s behavior and notice mood changes, falling grades, mounting bills, or a lack of human interaction, you may want to talk with your pediatrician about the possibility of game addiction or the idea that another issue, such as depression, might be causing these problems.

Consider how much time you spend looking at screens, too. Make sure you’re setting a good example at home by moderating your own technology use. And it’s always a good idea to invite your child to do something together in the real world.

How do psychiatrists work and what should I ask them?

Many psychiatrists work as part of a team, but they can also work alone in private practice. They work in hospitals, clinics, outpatient facilities, community teams and sometimes in large private organizations.

Ask them about the things on your mind. If you’ve received a diagnosis, get information about what it means. Ask about your treatment, medication, in fact, anything relating to your situation and recovery. 

How can I tell if I’m addicted?

 If you’re asking this question about addiction, it may be because you can see that your use of a substance or a compulsive behavior is disrupting your life. An addiction, though, isn’t the same as using a lot of drugs or alcohol or frequently indulging in an activity like sex, shopping or gambling. If you’re truly heading towards an addiction, you won’t be able to stay away from the drug or the activity or cut back, as much as you want to. You’ll experience cravings and will continue to use the substance or repeat the behavior, no matter who or what it hurts: your relationships, your career, your finances, your health. Addicts often miss important family, social and work/academic obligations and forego hobbies and other activities in order to use. The addiction becomes their single focus, crowding out the rest of life. If something interferes with your ability to use, you’ll experience psychological withdrawal symptoms, which vary depending on the addiction; these can include feeling angry, upset or anxious. For substance users, physical withdrawal symptoms can include vomiting, headaches, muscle aches, fevers, chills and/or seizures.

Why can’t my loved one quit using drugs or alcohol on their own?

Addiction is a trap that it is very hard to escape from on one’s own. A person gets locked into addiction through a combination of three factors: Guilt, depression, and cravings. These factors, unrelieved, create enormous pressure that can drive a person back into drug or alcohol use when they try to quit unless they get help.

What are drug dependency statistics in India?

At present, it is estimated that around 7.21 crore people are affected due to drugs.Nearly 75% of Indian homes house at least one drug user—usually a parent, and often the father. Experts tell us that children as young as 13 and 14 regularly experiment with intoxicants.

What are some of the signs & symptoms of depression?

A person is diagnosed with major depression when he or she experiences at least five of the symptoms listed below for two consecutive weeks. At least one of the five symptoms must be either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.

Symptoms include:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in activities most of the day, nearly every day
  • Changes in appetite that result in weight losses or gains unrelated to dieting
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness
  • Inappropriate guilt
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or attempts at suicide

Why is depression more prevalent in women than in men?

Depression is twice as common among women as among men. About 20 percent of women will experience at least one episode of depression across their lifetime. Scientists are examining many potential causes for and contributing factors to women’s increased risk for depression. Biological, life cycle, hormonal and psychosocial factors unique to women may be linked to women’s higher depression rates. Researchers have shown, for example, that hormones affect brain chemistry, impacting emotions and mood.

Before adolescence, girls and boys experience depression at about the same frequency. By adolescence, however, girls become more likely to experience depression than boys. Research points to several possible reasons for this imbalance. The biological and hormonal changes that occur during puberty likely contribute to the sharp increase in rates of depression among adolescent girls. In addition, research has suggested that girls are more likely than boys to continue feeling bad after experiencing difficult situations or events, suggesting they are more prone to depression.

Is it true that you can be addicted to more than one substance/behavior at a time?

Yes, and in fact this is common. Those who have an addiction are also likely to have what is called “co-occurring disorders,” such as a mental health issue(s) like depression or anxiety. And it is common for people to have more than one substance or process/behaviour addiction. Research clearly links substance use to problems with gambling, video gaming, disordered eating, Internet use and compulsive sexual behaviour. Not every addict has multiple addictions or another psychological problem, but in general, there is a lot of overlap between these issues.

I think I might have a gambling problem. What should I do?

There are many different types of help available from self-help groups to professional treatment. We have created a personal action plan for recovery for those people who would prefer the self-help approach. We have also developed guidelines for choosing treatment options for those people who prefer professional assistance. The most important thing to do is take some action, rather than just wondering about it. Although thinking about a problem usually precedes doing something about it, the bottom line is that action is what creates the desired change.

How is PTSD treated?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur when someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic experience. The symptoms can be avoidant (e.g., causing the person to want to avoid anything that triggers memories of the event), aggressive, or negative in nature, and intrusive on the person’s ability to function in day-to-day life. Treatment may vary based on the symptoms experienced, however, they often include some combination of medication and psychotherapy.