Russians on the brink of a nervous breakdown rush on antidepressants

Soaring sales of antidepressants and consultations with psychologists… After months of military offensive in Ukraine, anxiety is at its highest among many Russians, caught up in a conflict they had tried to ignore. In addition to the shock caused by the mobilization, the stalemate in the conflict and increasingly alarmist statements from Moscow, raising the nuclear threat, are also stressing the Russians.

At the end of September, after the announcement of the mobilization, 70% of Russians said they were “anxious”, a record rate never recorded by the FOM polling institute, favorable to the Kremlin. A month later, the Levada Center, an independent institute, reported that nearly nine out of ten Russians said they were “worried” about the situation around Ukraine.

And the latest statements from the Kremlin are not likely to appease the population. In this climate, spending on antidepressants jumped 70%, and 56% for painkillers, in the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period in 2021, according to the authorities. The online psychological consultation service YouTalk has seen “the number of requests increase by 40% since the mobilization”, indicates its co-founder, psychologist Anna Krymskaïa, with “a 50% increase in the number of people complaining of depression”.

57% of Russians say they are “for talks with kyiv”

Thus, a famous antidepressant, Zoloft, has already disappeared from pharmacies, and the Russians “rushed to stock up on other drugs still available, and they did well”, explains Oleg Levine, a renowned Moscow neurologist. “For or against the operation (in Ukraine), everyone is worried about the future,” summarizes the neurologist, who has seen the number of patients taking antidepressants increase by a quarter since February.

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At the end of October, 57% of Russians said they were “for talks with kyiv”, nine points more than the previous month, according to the Levada Center. And as the conflict drags on, psychologists are already worried about its long-term fallout. Amina Nazaralieva, psychologist-sexologist at the private clinic Mental Health in Moscow, already fears the return of the reservists, some of whom will suffer “inevitably from post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism”. And to conclude: “The whole country will be traumatized for a long time. »

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