Psychiatrists in Demand Amid Lay-offs

ABU DHABI - Psychologists and psychiatrists in the UAE have reported an increase in the number of patients suffering from depression and anxiety and couples in family disputes following the global recession and slew of job losses.

By Anwar Ahmad

Published: Mon 23 Feb 2009, 2:58 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:33 AM

Psychiatrists suggest that those affected be given support and that a congenial environment to express their feelings and socialise would help them overcome the gloom.

This reporter met with some people suffering from depression after they lost their jobs and some who are 
working but their businesses are badly hit due to the market slump and 
are unable to repay bank loans in time. Psychiatrists give counselling to those who go through panic attacks and 
acute depression.

Speaking to Khaleej Times regarding the mental stress caused by the 
downturn, Dr Yousuf El Tijani, consultant psychiatrist at Al Noor Hospital 
in the capital, said, “The sudden 
collapse of economy has severely 
affected the health of people. I have had a number of people who lost their jobs and suffered from acute tension as their plans, which were dependent on their salaries, went awry.”

A large number of people are struggling to repay bank loans, pay school fees of their children and meet marriage expenses, Dr El Tijani said. They, especially those who have lost jobs, develop phobias and experience sleeplessness and panic which lead to acute depression. El Tijani said such people should seek counselling services.

Dr Padma Raju, psychiatrist at the New Medical Centre, said, “The number of patients who turn up for consultation these days has gone up by 50 per cent. I have noticed a spurt in family disputes, as the husband who might have invested somewhere but lost the money all of a sudden due to the current situation, leading to blame game between the couples and break-ups.

“Or, some, who have to repay loans, have their expected income dipping due to the sudden slump in the market. Financial stress leads to emotional stress which starts affecting their psychology and body,” Dr Raju said.

“Most of my patients complain about anxiety, sleeplessness, stress, worries and fears. People who are going 
through tough situations should understand the circumstances and adjust their lives accordingly, instead of plunging into depression that will affect other family members too.”

Dr Raju said people should bear in mind that the current situation would improve. Dr Murlidharan K.K., psychiatrist at Al Ahlia Hospital in the capital and who has been practising in the UAE for 18 years, said, “The real estate boom brought people here on salaries which were never expected before. They planned their lifestyles accordingly: owned bigger cars and bigger flats and took loans from banks for investments. The sudden economic collapse threw all their calculations out of the window, resulting in extraordinary strain to manage liabilities. This has led to different psychological problems.

“The problem is not only with those who have lost their jobs but also with those who are still working as they are undergoing a tremendous feeling of insecurity.”

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