Stories about treatment

How the misinterpreted youth of Pakistan are fading away into oblivion

Addiction is a mental disease that is defined by science as the formulation of dependency on a substance or activity. It can manifest itself into any human being, driving them towards disengagement from reality and secluding them into an abyss of excessive compulsive behaviour. Addiction can either be chemical or non-chemical. Chemical addiction may include almost anything from the consumption of caffeine by means of morning and evening tea/coffee, to injectable fluids such as heroine, morphine, methamphetamine and other psychotropic drugs. Non-chemical addiction, on the other hand, is referred to behavioural addictions such as gambling, risk-taking, watching television, playing games, excessive shopping and even love. These examples do not even begin to compartmentalise ...

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In Pakistan, mental illness is diagnosed by a legal expert not a doctor

Every psych unit in the world teems with patients who confess a desire to do the morally unthinkable, or legally dubious. What separates them from the garden-variety criminal is their lack of control over their own thoughts and behaviours. Imdad Ali, a 50-year-old citizen convicted of murdering a cleric many years ago, is a known schizophrenic. His condition has been verified by a government psychiatrist, Dr Tahir Feroze, among others – who, reportedly, has also demanded pardon for Mr Ali on medical grounds. Schizophrenia is a condition characterised by hallucinations, illogical thoughts, and bizarre or even aggressive behaviour. The sub-type of ‘paranoid ...

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Why should a woman be shamed for being on her period?

I’ve been watching a recent debate unfold: students at a local university in Pakistan stuck sanitary napkins on the university walls with poignant quotes. As a woman, I admired the bravado of these students. Mainly because ever since we were kids, we’re told that since we are the ‘weaker/fairer’ sex, we shouldn’t: “Wear too much make-up”, “Wear a dupatta this way” “Wear such high heels”, “Don’t talk so loudly’, Oh yeah, and, “When on your period, channel your inner Jane Bond.” Maybe the men don’t get the whole psyche that’s inbuilt women from the age their periods start. The society has some sort of a state of ...

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Fatal amoebas: Up your nose and into your brain

Just reading the title makes one assume that this is a story out of some cheap sci-fi movie: a unicellular organism killing mankind, one brain at a time. When, in reality, this amoeba does exist and it’s called Naegleria Fowleri. This organism is thermophilic and lives in fresh water like lakes, ponds as well as polluted water systems such as sewage and dirty canals. All the amoeba needs is a passage to enter the brain, and that usually happens when people swim in such waters, when the possibility of water entering the nose is high. Since the nose is the quickest ...

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Two decades of battling breast cancer

The early 1990s at Franklin Township Public Library, New Jersey – two wonderful mothers separately take their children out for a day of fun and learning, with books. Fully engrossed in story time, one toddler looks up from the reading to meet a stranger’s eyes. It was another child his age, with short black hair and the undeniable look of a similar, intelligent mischievousness. That’s when it began. Our mothers soon became fast friends, and we spent most of early childhood in each other’s company. These were the modest beginnings of my lifelong (best) friendship with AR*. Little did we understand the depth of ...

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Busting myths on World Mental Health Day 2014

Every year on October 10th, people all over the world commemorate World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of mental illnesses and to support efforts for their treatments. Psychiatry, the branch of medicine which deals with mental illness, hasn’t developed much in Pakistan; the treatment and support for people suffering from mental health issues are almost non-existent. Since there are various myths about mental illnesses that cause major road blocks in their treatments, I will take this opportunity to debunk some of those myths. Psychiatric illnesses are the result of some evil activity It is a common phenomenon to pass moral judgments about psychiatric ...

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Did Haider do justice to Shakespeare’s Hamlet?

William Shakespeare, in one way or another, is an inspiration for every writer. In Bollywood, there is only one director, Vishal Bhardwaj, who has always done justice to Shakespeare’s plots and has done exceptionally well in entertaining the audience. Omkara and Maqbool are good examples of this. This time again, Bhardwaj, along with Basharat Peer (a Kashmiri journalist), has penned down an adaptation of Shakespeare’s most ambitious play, Hamlet. After R… Rajkumar and Phata Poster Nikla Hero (the masala entertainers), Shahid Kapoor was offered perhaps the most complicated role of his acting career; a role that needed thorough understanding of the character, ...

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Stop criticising the Ice Bucket Challenge!

My advice, to those criticising the Ice Bucket Challenge for being a waste of water, is stop! Stop criticising long enough to understand the rare disease community and their struggles. The kind of awareness ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), has gotten over the past few weeks is the kind of well-deserved attention, I as someone who saw those closest to me suffer with a disease nobody knew off, could diagnose or had even heard off, wish and hope one day all rare diseases receive. People from all over the world have taken part in the campaign that has spread like wild fire. Celebrities ...

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In 2014, slavery still exists…

Children are beautiful, innocent, simple and sweet. Therefore, they are loved, cajoled, pampered and spoiled. They get special treatment, selected food, quality education, prompt healthcare and extra attention. But this is not true for every child. Not every child is considered beautiful, simple and pure. Some children are born to live as children while others are born to live as slaves. These slave children are neglected and forgotten. They are beaten day in and day out, humiliated and assaulted. They are the waiters, the maids and the mechanics. They are the ones you take one glance at and then look away, because they look ...

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She took my advice to get her husband treated so why do I feel guilty?

I was rewarding myself with a fat free yogurt in the gym cafeteria when someone called out my name. I turned to find an old neighbour from yester years standing behind me. The last time we had met was in Islamabad, 14 years ago. After the preliminaries, I had to remark on how well she looked. Smiling, she replied, “Yes, I am happy and life is good.” She looked fit and confident; a 360 degrees change from the miserable girl I remembered. Genuinely pleased for her, I said, “Seems like your husband finally turned over a new leaf.” Although it was a personal ...

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