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JUTH records rise in psychiatric cases among young Nigerians

16 April 2014, 20:52

Jos - The Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) has reported a rise in psychiatric cases among young people in the last four years.

Its consultant psychiatrist, said in Jos on Tuesday that most of the cases were traceable to societal abuse suffered by the youth.

"In the last four years, the number of mental cases we have received has risen by more than 30 per cent,’’ Agbir declared, adding that most of the patients were young women.

"Many of the patients have exhibited signs of being victims of various forms of societal abuse, while others, especially the young men, appear hit by unemployment, despondence and growing hopelessness,’’ he said.

"Among the young women, the major factors responsible for their instability are related to traumatic experiences after witnessing the physical attacks on close relations.

"Some women have also suffered domestic violence, sexual assault, betrayal and increase in societal abuse, especially rape cases.

"Another factor responsible for the rise is the pains during child birth, a situation that usually leads to an increase in the secretion of a particular hormone which makes the woman more prone to depression,” he explained.

According to the psychiatrist, another factor responsible for the rise in mental disorders among young men is the sharp rise in the consumption of substances and abuse of alcohol and hard drugs.

He identified some of the mental disorders to include depression, schizophrenia, perceptual abnormalities and addiction to substances that causes disorders.

Agbir explained that the patients were exhibiting symptoms such as perpetual sadness, the feeling of hopelessness, restlessness, irritability, aggression, false beliefs, hallucination and withdrawal from people.

The expert, however, lamented that the negative attitude of the society had tended to worsen the mental disorders as the patients were reluctant to seek medical help due to fear of being stigmatised.

“The negative attitude of the society, especially from the patients’ close relations, usually heighten the spate of psychological attacks; in some cases, that could lead to suicide,” he said.

He appealed to the government at all levels to organise campaigns that would sensitise the public on the causes and factors leading to mental disorders, pointing out that such was necessary to ensure more prompt attention.


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