Viragaya the Inimitable Psychological Novel

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge MD –

Viragaya novel is a turning point in Sinhala literature. Literary genius Martin Wicramasinghe vibrantly portrays Aravinda s character in Viragaya digging in to the inner psyche. Therefore Viragaya can be considered as one of the first and best psychological novels in Sinhala literature. Aravinda was a virtuous character trapped in biological instincts and cultural pressure. The complexity of Aravinda s character reveals the inner world of a man who was brought up according to the Buddhist village traditions and how he struggles to fulfill his hidden desires leading to a dramatic transformation.

According to the mundane eye Aravinda was a failure. His ambition to become a doctor and apparent haematophobia and aversion to dissect dead bodies prevented him from pursuing his goal. The untimely death of his father and subsequent financial problems forced him to engage in a petty job and to lead an insignificant life. When his girlfriend Sara offered her love and gave her consent to live with him Aravinda faces a moral dilemma. His Indecisiveness jeopardized the relationship and he becomes lonely for the rest of his life. Read More

King Seethawaka Rajasinghe the Monarch who suffered fromPTSD

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge –

According to the Western chronological records the first patients of PTSD were recorded in 1666. These records were based on Samuel Pepy’s diary which describes the bizarre behavior pattern of the survivors of the Great Fire of London. Samuel Pepy vividly portrayed the nightmares, intrusions and flashbacks experienced by these survivors. In 1876 American Civil War doctor Mandez Da Costa published a paper diagnosing Civil War veterans with PTSD like symptoms which he called Irritable Heart. During the World War 1 military psychologist explained a combat related stress feature called Shell Shock. In 1980 the word PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) was delineated by the American Psychiatric Association after series of research work with the Vietnam veterans.

Although the Western World recorded PTSD in 1666 the King Seethawaka Rajasinghe the 16th century monarch of Sri Lanka believed to be suffered from combat related PTSD. King Seethawaka Rajasinghe (born in 1580 AD) was a great warrior who came to the battle field at the age of 16. He fought against the Portuguese invaders and witnessed many deaths and destructions. He was a fearless fighter who used effectual war tactics and overpowered the fully equipped and fully trained Portuguese war machine. Following the long years of combat he was exhausted and definitely suffered from battle fatigue.
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Depression in Children

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge –

Depression is a mood disorder which can affect adults as well as children. In general terms depression is an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, sadness and lack of self-worth. It is more than a sad feeling. Depression is common among adults. Unlike adults childhood depression is difficult to distinguish. They often express their feelings through behavior. Depression affects child’s overall energy, mood, expressions of emotion and behavior.

According to the British experts at least two per cent of children under 12 struggle with significant depression, and by teenage years this has risen to five per cent. Following the geopolitical and economic conditions in Sri Lanka a significant number of children are affected by childhood depression. Most of these cases are undiagnosed and not receiving adequate treatment.
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Conduct Disorder in Children

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge

Children with conduct disorder repeatedly violate the personal or property rights of others and age-appropriate social standards and rules. Conduct disorder has a multifactorial etiology that includes biological, psychosocial and familial factors. Associated features of conduct disorder include an inability to appreciate the importance of others’ welfare and little guilt or remorse about harming others. The etiology of conduct disorder involves an interaction of genetic/constitutional, familial and social factors.

Children with Conduct Disorder often view the world as a hostile and threatening place and they have difficulty maintaining friendships. They often have low self-esteem and low frustration tolerance. Peers and family members become negative and irritated with their misbehavior which leads to a vicious cycle. The literature abounds with studies indicating the comorbid relationships between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Learning Difficulties, Mood Disorders, Depressive symptoms, Anxiety Disorders and Communication Disorders.

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Schizophrenia From a Pychological Point of View

Written and Compiled by Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge

There is always this element of concealed accusation in neurosis, the patient feeling as though he were deprived of his right-that is, of the center of attention – and wanting to fix the responsibility and blame upon someone.

-Alfred Adler

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that distorts the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality and relates to others. Schizophrenia has an altered perception of reality. Research suggests that schizophrenia may be a developmental disorder resulting from alterations in the usual maturing process of the nervous system. Around 1 in 100 people will develop schizophrenia during their lifetime, and this figure is the same all over the world.
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Psychological Reflections of Vincent Van Gogh’s Art

I know for sure that I have an instinct for colour, and that it will come to me more and more, that painting is in the very marrow of my bones.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge

Vincent William van Gough a famous Dutch artist whose work often associated with Post-Impressionism and later transformed in to Expressionism. Vincent Van Gogh, was one of the most important predecessors of modern painting. He was an outstanding mostly self taught artist who used color for its “symbolic and expressive values” rather than to reproduce light and literal surroundings. Vincent van Gogh’s artistic work deeply analyses his unconscious mind. The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud viewed art as a privileged form of neurosis where the analyst-critic explores the artwork in order to understand and unearth the vicissitudes of the creator’s psychological motivations. In this context van Gough’s art represent a profound psychological sketch.

Vincent van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853 in Netherlands. Since his childhood Van Gogh had an immense passion for art. Van Gogh’s emotional state highly affected his artistic work. Van Gogh’s most famous works include: Starry Night, Cafe Terrace at Night, Terrasse, Houses At Auvers, Restaurant De La Sirene At Asnieres, Sunflowers, Irises, and several self-portraits, amongst others. Most of his best-known work was created in the last two years of his life.
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Thor Heyerdahl and the Kon-Tiki Expedition

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge

Thor Heyerdahl – a world renowned Norwegian explorer best known for his famous voyage Kon-Tiki expedition practically showed that ancient people could have crossed much greater distances through ocean for trade and cultural exchange. He was convinced that the ocean was only a barrier to man as long as our ancestors were strictly pedestrians, but it became a conveyor for cultural contact and the growth of diversified civilizations from the moment the first sea-going watercraft was invented. Heyerdahl once stated that “man hoisted sail before he saddled a horse. He poled and paddled among rivers and navigated open seas before he traveled on wheels along roads.

Thor Heyerdahl was born in 1914 in Norway. As a young boy he was interested in biology and had a dream to become an explorer and travel to exotic countries far away. During 1937 – 1938 Thor Heyerdahl received a zoological grant to research animal life on the Marquesas Islands. This journey had a great influence on his life. His interest soon turned as to how these Islands and Polynesia in general, had become populated. He was highly interested in marine migration and studied the cultural diffusion which occurred through ancient sea roots.
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Arthur C. Clarke

Clarke was born in Minehead, Somerset, England. As a boy, he enjoyed stargazing and reading old American science fiction pulp magazines (many of which made their way to the UK in ships with sailors who read them to pass the time). After secondary school and studying at Huish’s Grammar School, Taunton, he was unable to afford a university education and got a job as an auditor in the pensions section of the Board of Education.

During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Air Force as a radar specialist and was involved in the early warning radar defence system which contributed to the RAF’s success during the Battle of Britain. Clarke actually spent most of his service time working on Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) radar, as documented in his semi-autobiographical novel Glide Path. Although GCA did not see much practical use in the war, after several more years of development it was vital to the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949. He was demobilised with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. After the war, he earned a first-class degree in mathematics and physics at King’s College London.
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The Psychopathology of the LTTE suicide bombers

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D.

There’s a hole in the world tonight.
There’s a Cloud of fear and sorrow.
There’s a hole in the world tonight.
Don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.


The LTTE suicide killing is one of the most bizarre forms of political action adopted by its authority via glorification of death and violence. For the LTTE this action is not cleanly a military tactic or reprisal. It is a mass ritual as well as an action beyond death. The LTTE suicide carders better known as Black Tigers (or in Tamil: Karum Puligal ) are psychologically motivated to kill and get killed.

The selection of a member for a suicide mission is a complex process. They are handled and trained by experienced personnel. There are number of issues that have to be taken in to consideration before the selection. The selected member’s loyalty to the organization, psychological makeup, group identity, suicidal ideation etc needs to be analyzed. Then the human bombs under go institutionalized indoctrination and systematic injection of odium with adoration of death as well as scrupulous physical training. The intense indoctrination leads to blind obedience. Although the human bomb is aware of his/her impending death they are psychologically and physically geared up to full fill the task. After vigorous psychological an physical training the suicide bombers have last supper with the LTTE chief Prabhakaran before setting out on the mission.
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