U.S. drone strikes, fighting between Pakistani Taliban and the army, mass displacement, chronic unemployment and disillusionment are all causing mental suffering on an unprecedented scale in northwest Pakistan, say psychiatrists.
…”Depression is really high in Waziristan,” said doctor Muktar ul-Haq, head of the psychiatry department at the government-run Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, the largest city in the northwest.
“There is uncertainty generally in Pakistan but particularly in this area. They are always apprehensive about the drones, about their lives,” he said.
While drone attacks do bring patients “episodically” for treatment, he says, residents in Waziristan complain of living in constant fear of drones that patrol in the skies above and the buzzing sound they say they emit.
“The sound alone gives us psychological grief,” said Kaleemullah Mehsud, a man in his 30s from Waziristan, who spoke to AFP in Peshawar.
…There is a growing demand for locally made tranquilizers and anti-depressants – cheap copies of expensive drugs manufactured in the West.