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Mental health issues in Kashmir higher than global average

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The Kashmir Valley grapples with a higher prevalence of mental health issues compared to the global average, a situation attributed to various factors including conflict, climatic conditions, and economic challenges, according to the doctors who spoke to the news agency—KNO.

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Despite these challenges, approximately 85 percent of the population maintains a healthy lifestyle, said Dr Mansoor Ahmad, Head of Psychiatry at GMC Anantnag.

He emphasised the moral responsibility of the community in recognising the signs of mental distress, particularly suicidal thoughts, and extending positive support networks. He also highlighted the alarming rise in drug abuse, especially among the youth, urging immediate action to prevent the ruinous impact on lives and careers.

“Drug abuse is becoming a serious issue of social concern during current times,” Dr Mansoor said, adding, “The menace is ruining the lives and careers of our youth and it is high time to act now.”

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Dr Zoya Mir, a renowned clinical psychologist, shed light on the pressing mental health concerns among adolescents and young adults in the region. She said the COVID-19 pandemic worsened existing psychological issues, leading to problems like academic decline, social isolation, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

“Other than the COVID-19 lockdown, financial stressors, family disputes, and academic pressure are among the factors that contribute to mental health issues in Kashmir,” she said.

She stressed the importance of recognising mental health issues as legitimate health concerns and called for timely interventions and appropriate treatments.

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To address these challenges, Dr Zoya suggested engaging in physical activities to boost mood, seeking help from mental health professionals when needed, and avoiding negative coping mechanisms such as smoking and self-harm. She also emphasized the significance of setting emotional and occupational boundaries to prevent overwhelming oneself with work or emotional burdens.

Dr Javaid Ahmad, a psychiatrist at District Hospital Shopian, highlighted the prevalence of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders, during these challenging times. He stressed the need for joint efforts to combat the stigma associated with mental disorders, enhance awareness, and encourage timely treatment-seeking behaviour.

“Mental health illnesses are provocative factors responsible for multiple social and behavioural problems including development of suicidal thoughts, while drug addiction is one of the major concerning social menaces that need an effective redressal,” he said.

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The doctors underscored the importance of creating supportive living conditions and environments that facilitate healthy lifestyles. They identified early childhood interventions, including preschool psychosocial activities and nutritional support, as essential strategies to promote child development and build a foundation for a healthy community.

The mental health experts stressed the need for strengthening mental health treatment at the primary healthcare level, along with easily accessible diagnostic tests and affordable treatments. They called for a compassionate approach towards individuals struggling with drug addiction, urging comprehensive steps for redressal.

There is a need to adopt a soft and caring approach towards drug addicts, understand their concerns, elucidate the reasons and accordingly take comprehensive steps for redressal, they said.

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The doctors also acknowledged the impact of rural-to-urban migration, urbanisation stressors, and climate change-related displacements on mental health. They identified the economic and social vulnerabilities as factors that could heighten the risk of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse among communities.

“To address these multifaceted challenges, a collective and compassionate approach is imperative. By fostering awareness, reducing stigma, enhancing mental health infrastructure, and providing support networks, the Kashmir Valley can pave the way towards a healthier, mentally resilient society,” said a psychologist.

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Medical Science

Record 23.7 cm long appendix removed from female patient in Anantnag

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Doctors at Al-hayat Hospital in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district have registered a record by removing the longest appendix ever in the country.

A team of doctors headed by Dr Azad Hussain recently operated a 20-year-old female patient and removed 23.7 centimetres (9 inches) long appendix from her body.

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Dr Azad told Asian News Hub (ANH), that the patient was operated through laparoscopic procedure and was discharged from the hospital in good condition, health.

He said, that the specimen is designated to be preserved at the GMC Pathology museum, serving as an educational resource for future learning endeavors.

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The average length of the appendix is 4.5 cm in neonates and 9.5 cm in adults, but this may vary between 2 cm to 20 cm. The longest appendix reported in the literature measured 26 cm removed from 72 year old during an autopsy in Croatia in 2006 (Guinness World Records).

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Medical Science

DH Shopian performs first advanced laparoscopic procedure

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A first of its kind, Laparoscopic, Trans-abdominal Preperitoneal (TAPP) Meshplasty for inguinal indirect hernia was today performed at District Hospital, Shopian.

The procedure was done by a team consisting of Consultant Surgeons, Dr.Mohamad Shafi, Dr. Taj-din assisted by OT technicians. The Anaesthesia team consisted of Dr. Atif, Dr. Irfan and D. Shabir.

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Based on clinical examination and relevant investigations, TAPP was planned and successfully done and the patient was discharged on the 2nd post operative day, informed the MS DH.

All logistic support was provided by MS District Hospital Shopian, Dr Rubeena Maqbool.

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The procedure including medicine was done free of cost under the scheme of AB- PMJAY.

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Ilizarov technique at B&J hospital Srinagar transformes lives

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Ilizarov, a Russian technique established at bone and joint hospital by Dr Altaf Ahmad Kawoosa Head of Department, is proving to be a boon for orthopaedic patients as this technique has been transforming lives of people having no hopes of successful treatment.

Several patients who spoke to news agency—KNO said that they came raw and hopeless from Delhi, Chandigarh and other areas but at B&J hospital Srinagar, they were treated successfully.

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Feroz Ahmad (name changed) one of such patients from Pampore area of Pulwama told that he had fractured his leg in his childhood but after years long treatment locally and even outside J&K for treatment worsened condition and remained disabled for nearly 25 years.

“I was hopeless as I wasn’t able to walk for a long time and after that one of our relatives told me to visit B&J hospital Srinagar,” he said, adding, Dr Altaf at first sight advised me to be patient and that I would be fine very soon.

Feroz said he was unable to even walk or stand well but with Dr Altaf’s treatment, he is 95 percent fit and has been doing all the work now like normal people do.

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Dr Altaf treated me for around 17 consecutive months at the hospital and finally my treatment was successful.

Mashooq Ahmad (name changed) another patient from DH Pora Kulgam told that he had fractured his leg during childhood and due to infection, one bone was removed from the leg.

“Due to removing one bone, my affected leg was at least 9 inch shorter than the other and I even went to Delhi for treatment for around two years but there was no improvement,” he said.

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“I wasn’t able to walk without support and then suddenly there was pain in my other leg and I went to B&J hospital for treatment,” he said.

“Dr Altaf’s sight fell on me and he came to me and enquired all about my leg that was around 1 feet shorter than other leg but I tried to neglect him as I was hopeless as even I didn’t see any improvement when I was treated at AIIMS,” he said.

“Dr Altaf at first sight told me that he will lengthen my short leg and treat other associated deformities. I hadn’t even thought in my dream that I could walk without support,” he said.

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“He treated me for around two years and my leg is now only one inch shorter now and I have been doing all the work without any support and all credit goes to Dr Altaf,” he said.

Parents of other patients from the Pahalgam area said their child had feet backwards and were successfully treated at B&J hospital at Srinagar by Dr Altaf Kawoosa.

They said that one of his feet is 100 percent fit while the other has already recovered 80 percent and it is expected that his feet will also become fit in the coming months.

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Other patients also said that they came raw from other states after year long treatments but were treated successfully through Ilizarov technique at Bone and Joint hospital by Dr Altaf. More than 1300 patients with such severe deformities due to fractures, non unions. Congenital anomalies like difficult club feet and neglected congenital dislocations, cerebral palsy and poliomyelitis have been successfully dealt with at bone and Joint surgery Hospital.

Notably, Ilizarov technique is a surgery involving an orthopedic external fixator applied to the limb to reconstruct, reshape or lengthen bones (usually of the limb).

External fixation is a surgical treatment where wires are passed through an incision into the affected bone and attached to a stabilizing frame encircling the affected limb.

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Ilizarov surgery involves the use of a special device called an ‘Ilizarov apparatus or Ilizarov fixator’. It is recommended in difficult cases that are not amenable to conventional reconstruction techniques.

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