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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 54-59

An analysis of paramilitary referrals to psychiatric services at a tertiary care center

1 Department of Psychiatry, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Smt. S. K. Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Rohit Verma
2nd Floor, House No. 52, Block No. 2, Old Rajendra Nagar, New Delhi 110 0060
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-6748.123622

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Background: There is a dearth of specialized mental health services for Indian paramilitary service personnel. Those requiring psychiatric evaluation are referred to government psychiatric services often with minimal information. Hence, major diagnostic and decision making relies on the psychiatrist's clinical evaluation and judgment. The aim of the present study was to quantitatively evaluate the paramilitary referrals to psychiatric services at a tertiary care referral center. Materials and Methods: A retrospective chart analysis of all consecutive referrals by various Indian paramilitary services to a tertiary care hospital (2008-2010) was carried out. Results: Among the sample of 18 referrals, all were males (mean age: 37 years ± standard deviation (SD) =7.79). Various reasons for referral included: Evaluation of fitness for duty (83.3%), fitness to handle firearms (16.7%), and for disability certification (5.6%). There were no informants at all in 22.2%, and family members were available in only 11.1%. Hence, most referrals were admitted to the psychiatry ward for observation for various lengths of time. The mean duration of assessment (outpatient and inpatient) was 17.89 days (SD = 20.74) and final reported diagnoses were schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder in 16.7, 11.1, and 11.1%, respectively. There was concurrent history of alcohol and nicotine dependence (40%). A large group (40%) was diagnosed not to suffer from a major mental illness, while a firm and final diagnosis could not be arrived at in 16.7% subjects. Only one subject was given the fitness to handle firearms, fitness for duty was refused in three (16.7%) subjects, and one subject was referred to neurology after being diagnosed as a case of seizure disorder. Conclusion: There is an urgent need for intensive training both to paramilitary physicians as well as to general hospital psychiatrists regarding proper assessment of paramilitary personnel, as there are frequent chances of the cases being undiagnosed or improperly diagnosed.

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