Six out of 10 Nigerian women suffer from mental illnesses, while four out of 10 men also suffer from the same illnesses, a consultant psychiatrist, Dr Auwal Sani Salihu has said.
Addressing journalists after a workshop on mental illnesses organised by the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Kware Sokoto state in Kaduna on Tuesday, Dr Auwal said mental illnesses range from mild, moderate to severe mental cases.
According to the Aminu Kano University and Bayero University Kano lecturer, the major cause of mental illnesses in Nigeria was drugs abuse, common with youth and women, adding that mental illnesses and substance abuse affect mental health.
He said there are over 300 diagnosable mental illnesses, some mild, some moderate and others severe.
“Majority of mental illnesses are the mild and moderate which constitute about 80% while the severe cases make up the remaining 20%. The signs and symptoms of the severe ones include; hearing things other people don’t hear, seeing things other people don’t see, when the person is fully awake. Having abnormal believe; like some people are persecuting the person without any evidence, aggression, restlessness, poor sleep, talking alone and laughing alone.
“We are all vulnerable to mental illnesses. One out of five individuals suffers from mental illnesses. Males and females, young and old, all societies all cultures have mental illnesses. While for those with mild to moderate; depression, anxiety, persistent doubtfulness, pains, sleep problems, sexual problems, forgetfulness, conduct problems.
“Causes of mental illnesses are multiple which include: genetic, environmental, trauma, infections, drugs, parenting style, stress. Overall mental illnesses are viewed as brain disorders due to scientific evidences confirming that,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, a psychiatric, Dr. Muktar Gandanji said mental illnesses are treatable. He called for preventive measures and promotion of mental health hygiene, identification and treatment of mental illnesses, rehabilitation and drug abuse prevention and treatment of those with it.
“Stigma, which involve stereotyping and discriminating against those with mental illnesses, their relatives and even those treating them can hinder seeking help, treatment and rehabilitation,” he said