Psychiatrist says Nigerians are prone to mental illnesses given security challenges

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A Psychiatrist, Dr. Gbenga Okulate, says the present security challenges facing the nation has grave consequences on the mental health of some Nigerians.

Okulate, who is also a consultant, said this in Lagos on Wednesday, June 3, at an Ordinary General Meeting of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Neuro-Psychiatry Hospital, Yaba chapter.

The theme of the meeting is: "Security Challenges and the Impact on Nigerian Families.’’

"Following kidnappings, armed robberies, violence, gang activities, violent attacks on people, we see all sorts of things.

"We see lots of people who thereafter begin to have difficulty sleeping, difficulty with coping with day to day activities, and they are said to have what we call stress reaction.

"If these go on for some time, then people begin to have depression, anxiety disorders, and ultimately, we do diagnose post-traumatic stress reactions in many of these persons.

"Unfortunately, a lot of people in an attempt to cope with the challenges they have gone through, security wise, then they begin to use a lot of alcohol and drugs.

"We are likely to find lots of young persons who are using serious illicit drugs, these which themselves have serious complications, and these are some of the issues we have to deal with after major security challenge.

"These are consequences of the effects of trauma of violence, war, combat, kidnappings on people’s mental health.

"However, in spite of that, what we are saying is that we must put in place some serious policies that will address these issues.’’

Also speaking, the President of the association, Dr. Jeje Oyetayo, said that the theme of the event was timely in view of the country’s security challenges.

Oyetayo said that psychiatric hospitals had been experiencing the influx of patients with mental disorder due to the security challenges.

"People who are predisposed to mental illness were most at risk of aggravated mental illnesses when they are faced with some of the security challenges,’’ he said.

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