New Delhi: Ever since the pandemic hit India over five months back, followed by an unprecedented lockdown, stress levels have been on the rise with 43 percent Indians suffering from depression, according to a new study.

Conducted by GOQii, a smart-tech-enabled preventive healthcare platform, the study surveyed over 10,000 Indians to understand how they have been coping with the new normal.

According to the study, 26 percent of respondents were suffering from mild depression, 11 percent were feeling moderately depressed, and six percent were facing severe symptoms of depression.

"The last five months have been unexpected. The situation has taken a major toll on the mental health of citizens. With the series of lockdowns, anxiety, job cuts, health scares, and the overall volatile environment, stress levels are at an all-time high.

"Copious amounts of stress can lead to depression. With the current lockdown and lifestyles drastically changing, we have seen that 43 percent of Indians are currently plagued with depression and are learning to cope with it," the study said.

To monitor the severity of depression in the respondents, the study relied on a self-administered Patient Health Questionnaire or PHQ-9 (a form of primary care evaluation of mental disorders).

It took into account nine aspects of an individual's daily routine, including interest levels in activities, appetite, sleep cycles, ability to concentrate, and energy levels.

"Our study indicates that an increasing number of people across the country are dealing with mental health issues triggered by the spread of the coronavirus and the consequent lockdown.

"The mounting uncertainty is the basis of the high-stress index which can be controlled with a balanced diet, changes in lifestyle and appropriate sleep patterns," said Vishal Gondal, Founder, and CEO, GOQii.

Those feeling depressed complained of having little interest or pleasure in doing things, feeling hopeless, dealing with erratic sleep cycles, poor eating habits, low levels of energy, low self-esteem, having trouble concentrating, being restless, and having thoughts of self-harm.

"More than 59 percent of the population said they had little pleasure in doing things these days, out of which 38 percent have this feeling on a few days and 9 percent feel so more than half of the days. Nearly 12 percent felt this way almost every day in these times, the study said.

It pointed out that more than 57 percent of the respondents complained of feeling tired or having little energy through "at least some days in the last few weeks".

"At least more than 15 percent have this feeling more than half of the days. This leads to some people sleeping too much while some others have trouble sleeping.

"With the change in lifestyle, approximately half of the population is having trouble with their sleep," the study said.

"At least 7 percent of the population goes through this nearly every day while 33 percent experience it on a few days," it added.

Feeling hopeless, on the other hand, was not so common among the respondents. Only 10 percent of them said they felt "down and depressed" more than half of the days or nearly every day.

The study suggested that adding exercise to one's daily routine could help improve their mental health.

"Exercising can lead to endorphins (the happy hormone) which can help with depression. The more depressed you are, the more likely you are to not workout.

"But, it is important to cajole yourself into doing more things that make you feel happier," it said.

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Bengaluru: A special court here has granted the Enforcement Directorate five days custody of Kannada film actresses Ragini Dwivedi and Sanjjanaa Galrani and three others, who were arrested in a drugs case.

Dwivedi, Sanjjanaa, Rahul Thonse, party organiser Viren Khanna and B K Ravishankar, whose custody ED has sought, are accused of not only consuming drugs but also supplying them in parties through the drug peddlers.

In its submission to the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Special Court, the ED said the preliminary inquiry of the money laundering investigation revealed a huge amount of proceeds of crime in money laundering activities.

"If such proceeds of crime involved in money laundering are not attached or confiscated immediately, the objects of the Act shall be defeated," the ED said in its submission.

The ED said to unearth or trace the properties, which are acquired by the accused "by way of extortion, killing, dealing of drugs etc, recording written statements from the accused person is essential to know the details of properties purchased and investments made out of the proceeds of crime."

Meanwhile, a Nigerian drug peddler Ossy, who was reportedly supplying drugs to bigwigs involved in the drugs case, has been arrested, a Central crime branch official said.

According to police, he is allegedly an associate of Simon, another Nigerian drug peddler already arrested.

Police seized some synthetic drugs from his possession, the police said.

The police have arrested 15 people in connection with the case while many others are at large.