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Catholic doctors raise alarm on dangers of Internet, drug addiction


A consultant psychiatrist at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Dr. Nok Obayi, has identified Internet addition, drug addiction pornography, alcohol addiction, cigarette smoking and gaming, as some of the causes of mental illness in society.

Obayi, said consumption of such drugs as Indian hemp, tramadol, and other such related drugs could also cause mental illness. Presenting a paper titled “Addictions and mental illness – an overview, at a symposium organised by the Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Enugu State chapter inside the main hall of St. Mulumba’s Catholic Church, New Haven Enugu yesterday, the medical legend warned Nigerians against both drug addiction and internet addiction, pointing out that the consequences of involvement in the bad habits could have long psychological effect. He continued: “if you watch anyone involved in internet or drug addiction closely, you will notice that his behaviour is changing and it is not normal, and that is a strong signal of mental illness”.


On the way forward, Dr. Nok Obayi, advised those affected to change their life style, carryout periodic physical exercise, and avoid stress and consumption of illicit drugs as India hemp, adding, “depression is a major cause of suicide, any behaviour that is not in conformity with society should be reported for close monitoring”.

He also recommended that anyone that noticed such abnormal behaviour should approach catholic priests and health care providers for help because of their spiritual expertise, adding that those who come down with mental illness should not always be thinking that enemies caused their ill health. The theme for the conference was mental well being and family stability. A former deputy vice chancellor of the university of Nigeria Enugu-campus, Prof. Bede Ibe, advised parents to stop buying smart phones for their children under the age 18, stressing that the use of such handsets could affect the psychological and emotional development of the children.


Ibe, who is a consultant paediatrician at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State, recalled that a recent state of the world Report by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), had also condemned use of smart phones by under-aged children, as many teenagers had not only lost their lives but also were abused through Facebook. According to him, “the devastating effect of smart phone on children is frightening, wealthy parents should invest on educational materials for their children instead of smart phones”. Ibe explained that the Catholic Medical Practitioners Association Enugu State Chapter was formed to give health care support to members of their immediate environment. He stated that their periodic health outreach and symposia were to enable members to impact on society by contributing positively to the nation’s health sector.

The consultant pediatrician who disclosed that the association meets quarterly to review its programmes and plan ahead, urged members to be more committed by attending the programmes of the body.In his contribution, the chairman of the local organizing committee, Dr. Shiweobi Jude, re-affirmed the commitment of the medical association to continue to embark on programmes that would touch on the lives of members of their immediate community, adding that the invitation of many secondary school students at their fora was designed to drive their message to the grassroots through the young ones.


Earlier, the chairman of the occasion, Rev. Sister Dr. Ifechukwu Udora, cautioned parents to always hold their anger, as family discord like verbal war between husband and wife has proved to have negative effect on children.She suggested that families with internal problems should approach their parish priests for settlement and restoration of peace. She praised their chaplain, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Obodoagu for his spiritual contribution to the association, since its inception and prayed God to reward him abundantly. Rev. Fr. Paul Okoli and Dr. Macdonald Inechi, a consultant psychiatrist, also presented papers.

Students from Nike grammar School, Daughters of Divine Love Juniorate and Secondary School, Godfrey Okoye University Secondary School, Medical students from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) and the cream of medical doctors, were among participants at the event.


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