The health crisis of working millennials everyone is ignoring in India

New Delhi : Workaholics love their jobs, without a question. They will sacrifice their marriages, relationships, social lives, and health to excel in their careers. Workaholics’ career choices can be based on multiple factors. The struggling artist chooses to sacrifice a meal or two because of his passion for music. Others want the prestige that comes with a job title. While income is one of the most common reasons for most of us, what do you do when your dream career is making you sick? An unexpected demographic is seeking dual diagnosis treatment.

Millions of workers from India’s millennial generation are under pressure. Workers between the ages of 18 and 34 are expected to provide a minimum of 53 hours per week for employers. In a Manpower survey, India was cited as being optimistic on job security and confident in their abilities. However, India’s 53-hour work week is sure to raise some eyebrows.  The reasons behind the long hours are uncertain. The pressure to maintain a good work ethic and praise could certainly be responsible for stress.  The stress from keeping up with society’s expectations contributes to the decline in mental health and use of unhealthy substances for some workers. Being overworked, worried, depressed, and anxious often lead people to resort to extreme measures to cope better with their reality. Dual diagnosis treatment refers to the comorbidity of two diseases that must be treated simultaneously.

The hidden world of brain nootropics, caffeine, and drugs has led many of its users down dangerous paths. The idea of a substance that’s able to increase productivity is seen as positive.  The term ‘rat race’ has taken on a different meaning. The constant changing of goal posts is moving tech professionals to engage in unhealthy habits to keep up with their peers. And with globalisation, the competitive market has raised the stakes even higher for our society. The high amount of unhealthy substances used in professional circles such as the tech industry is apparent, but still clandestine.

Mental health is often seen as a taboo subject. Even in the 21st century, mental health conditions such as severe anxiety or depression are seen as weaknesses and character flaws. Cultural beliefs may hinder those coping with undiagnosed mental illnesses. Personal healing is sought through spiritual practices and mentors. Medical scientists confirm that mental health requires a professional assessment and treatment. People don’t seek professional help for fear of ridicule and discrimination. Stereotypes such as the idea that depression stems from laziness is especially harmful in our workaholic society. The pushback from erroneously held beliefs about mental illness often leaves these members of our society to cope alone. It is a crisis that is growing silently.

Researchers and the Indian medical community are now coming to the forefront to address this concern. Dr Vikram Patel is an acclaimed psychiatrist who was listed among TIME’s most influential people in 2015 for his work in the field of mental health. He offers what he calls a mental first-aid kit for those under pressure from work and family relations:

  • Share your feelings and problems with family and friends. This can help reduce the sense of loneliness when in distress.
  • Participate in sports, exercise, school activities, or hobbies. Staying busy helps one focus on positive activities rather than negative feelings or behaviours.
  • Try relaxation and meditation exercises, such as those used in some yoga techniques.
  • Do not resort to substances like tobacco or alcohol to help feel better; they may help in the short term but will cause long-term damage.
  • Try to understand why you are feeling low; is there a problem you need to address but have been avoiding? Are you misinterpreting a situation and reading it in a negative way?


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