Sempre più palestinesi ‘gravemente depressi’.

More Palestinians ‘severely depressed’
Saturday, September 30, 2006

GAZA CITY: The number of "severely depressed" Palestinians has increased by 21 percent in 2006 to 77 percent, a survey by a West Bank research company showed Friday. The survey, conducted by Near East Consulting company, questioned residents of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem on their general state of being.
At least 83 percent of Palestinians living in extreme poverty suffer from severe depression, the survey showed.
After Hamas took power in March, the West imposed its aid embargo to pressure the group to "recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by the interim peace deals."
In Gaza, civil servants have accumulated an average personal bank debt of $2,000, according to the Portland Trust, a UK-based business development foundation.
Only 13 percent of respondents in the Occupied Palestinian Territories said they were "very content," down by 12 percent from 2005.
Of the 827 Gazans undergoing therapy for psychological stress due to the conflict, 342 are younger than 16 years old, according to Dr Mouawiya Hassanein of the Health Ministry.
"They are suffering symptoms such as uncontrolled urination, irritability, depression and insomnia," he said, adding that 72 pregnant women in the sample had miscarried after witnessing Israeli military action.
Dr. Adel Oda, assistant director of the Gaza Psychiatric Hospital, said deteriorating living conditions in Gaza meant residents suffered extremely high stress levels.
"The terrible economic situation is stressful. You also have a feeling of confinement in Gaza because you can’t get out – the border with Egypt is rarely open and all the others are closed. You hear the Israeli aircraft in the sky. You feel anger," Oda said.
"Where does that anger go? To your muscles, heart, stomach and brain," he added.
"I have seen some simply fall down and become unable to get up when they hear another bomb. Some have convergent hysteria – they suffer temporary blindness or cannot speak."
He said many residents were ashamed to seek professional help but instead sought spiritual help or relied on family.
Oda said he used relaxation techniques to try to calm traumatized people and said group therapy was also a good way to get support from others who have had similar experiences.
"Demand for sleeping pills and ear plugs had gone up by 50 percent as Gazans attempted to live with constant Israeli military activity," said Dr. Hazem Aboud of the Berlin Pharmacy International in Gaza City. – IRIN


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