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New Types of Mental Disorders at “Dangerous Levels”

Posted February. 15, 2004 23:30,   

한국어

The numbers of patients suffering from depression, and children with mal-adaptations to society are increasing. Our company analyzed psychiatric outpatients at Shinchon Severance Hospital from 1996 until 2003. The number of psychiatric patients increased from 5,342 to 29,764, up by more than five times. The number of children patients showed a particular increase from 367 to 5,245, up by 14 times.

The largest number of patients was suffering from depression. The number of patients who were suffering from depression was 29 percent of all the psychiatric patients in 1996, but the percentage increased to 44 percent in 2003. Schizophrenia, the biggest cause of psychiatric patients in 1996 has experienced a decrease since 2002.

The seriousness of depression has been forecast many times before. The Korea Depression and Manic Depression Research Society implemented a survey last October to 1,000 married women in their 20s through 60s and found out that 45 percent of them were suffering from depressive moods with more than minor symptoms.

Children experienced a drastic increase in cases of Social Function Performance Disorder. The children with this disorder experience difficulties in making friends with their peers. The family’s having only one or two children also contributes to this side effect. Only 11 children suffered from this in 1996, but the number grew to 1,120 in 2003, more than 100 times the previous figure. The disorder was not on the top-five list of children’s psychiatric patients diseases in 1996 but jumped up to second place in 2003.

In addition, the line distinguishing normal from abnormal personalities has been obscured. The person who says something like, “I have wiretapping equipment in my year” is definitely suffering from a mental disorder. It could be schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, or personality disorder.

However, if one says, “Somebody is whispering about me,” then the situation is a little more complicated. Is this a case of mental disorders?

Society has become more complicated than ever with all the concurrent issues and problems, and the lines distinguishing mental disorders from normal conditions have become ambiguous.

Professor Yoo In-gyun at the Seoul National University Hospital said, “The number of Impulse Control Disorder and Personality Disorder cases are rapidly increasing.” He added, “With the social focus on immediate pleasures, the new kinds of mental disorders, which had never been categorized as disorders, are threatening individuals as well as the society itself.”

People do not count addictions as disorders, such as addiction to shopping, addiction to gambling, addiction to games, and addiction to sex. However, these are types of Impulse Control Diseases are highly likely to develop into more serious mental disorders.

Professor Yoo added, “With an x-ray of the frontal lobe of the brain, one can see that the emotional control nerves are seriously destroyed. If this is not promptly taken care of, it can be dangerous.”

Early detection is important. Professor Min Sung-gil of Yonsei University’s Severance Hospital said. “When verifying genetic traits that induce mental disorders, the patient’s physical characteristics, behavioral characteristics, personality, personal relations, and family ties should be comprehensively considered.”

Professor Min also added, “The social prejudice that labels patients with mental disorders as “lunatics” should be removed so that individuals can easily reveal their disorders.” Even family members try very hard to hide disorders of another member in the family.

Early patients of mental disorder show different symptoms, but usually show early signs. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to catch those early symptoms. Familial help is in great need at this part.

When a child is extremely sensitive, fights frequently, is violent, is easily scared, or experiences difficulty in making friends, the possibility of mental disorders significantly grows.



corekim@donga.com