Sleep Well to Behave Better, Say Psychiatrists
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09 December 2010
By Nitasha Natu
Ever–increasing fights, whether they are over finding a toehold in the train or searching for a parking spot in the spacestarved city, are leading to more and more cases of rage. Following Tuesday’s incident in which a teenager flung a five–year–old girl from a moving train after a minor dispute with her father, psychiatrists say citizens need to keep a check on stress levels and lead a healthier lifestyle.
"The tribe of people who are too impatient, irritable or intolerant, is on the rise. There are various factors, social, economic and biological, responsible for this. The most important factor is lack of sufficient sleep," says psychiatrist Dr Yusuf Matcheswala, who is attached with Masina Hospital in Byculla.
"Positive chemicals like serotonin are created while a person sleeps. These make a person act better and emote better. But in stressful situations, serotonin levels in the body decrease while dopamine (harmful chemicals) levels surge," he says.
Dr Matcheswala adds yoga, meditation and a proper diet are remedies, but youngsters are not too keen on taking it up. "Alcohol and drugs only add fuel to the fire. There’s no fear of punishment anymore," he adds.
Last month, a Kandivli businessman stabbed two men from his neighbourhood after they protested against his speeding on a bike. In May, a mid–level executive of a private bank assaulted a Raj Bhavan doctor following an altercation on overtaking.
"Travel takes up a large part of a Mumbaikar’s day. So it’s necessary to interact with co–travellers, whether in a bus or a train," says psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty. "I would advise people to smile and chat while travelling. Even while riding a bike or a car, if you wave at another motorist, it dissolves anger."
Another factor contributing to rage is the rising cost of living. "Increasing food prices hurt people the most. There’s also a spate of illnesses in the city all around the year. Besides, it’s easy to direct anger towards a vulnerable person. For instance in Tuesday’s case of rail rage, the accused chose to fling the little girl out instead of harming her father with whom he had a fight," adds Dr Shetty.
Dr Shubhangi Parkar, who heads the psychiatry department at KEM hospital, says personality disorder problems, including uncontrollable aggression, are on the rise.
"With children, it’s a different issue altogether. Being aggressive or reacting with rage is normal for them, but limits should be fixed otherwise it could end up in a huge conduct problem," she says.