Issue of September 29, 2019
Mt. Province
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Doctor says prolonged use of gadgets affects mental health
by Jessa Mardy P. Samidan / PIO

Prolonged use of cellphones, laptops, and computers changes the structure of the brain and affects mental health specifically increasing impulsivity, according to a psychiatrist of the Baguio General Hospital.

An impulsive behavior causes frustration when needs or wants are unmet, which leads to depression which is the most common reason of suicide according to Dr. Lowell A. Rebucal, Medical Specialist III of the BGH Department of Psychiatry.

While the World Health Organization said mental health may be caused by biological and physical factors as well as psychological and socio-cultural factors, mental illnesses could be prevented by maintaining good physical health and doing worthwhile activities such as gardening.

Prolonged use of gadgets leads to a sedentary lifestyle and lessens the amount of time for physical activity, Rebucal said.

At the BGHMC, at least 15 cases of suicide attempts are admitted monthly. This was the average data of suicide cases for 2019.

Most of these cases are self-inflicted injuries “seen as the only means to escape pain and sufferings” according to Rebucal.

Self-inflicted injuries range from overdose of medicines, ingestion of poisonous chemicals, self-cutting, self-hanging and jumping from high places.

He said most of those who commit suicide are aged 16 to 25 years old or young adults and late teens.

Rebucal said a ratio of three females is to one male attempt suicide but the latter use more lethal means.

The low frustration tolerance of this generation’s young adolescents and early adults is a medical concern said Rebucal since frustrations often leads to anger causing depression.

Depression is considered the most common manifestation of suicidal thoughts including social withdrawal.

Rebucal said there is a need to strengthen stress coping mechanisms, support system, advocacy on destigmatization and encourage help-seeking behavior.

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