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‘Insecurity, drugs, depression, others fueling mental illnesses in Nigeria’

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Medical Director, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital (FNPH) Benin City, Dr. Imafidon Agbonile, has listed insecurity, use of hard drugs and other substances as risk factors for the upsurge of mental illnesses in the country.

Speaking with The Guardian in Benin City, he said other social factors could also lead to mental illness, especially heightened stress.

“Anything that could increase stress in society may be a risk factor for mental illness. For example, rising insecurity in the country leading to a situation where people are always in constant state of apprehension and fear could cause mental disorders,” he said.

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He said several other risk factors could lead to mental health disorders, which he described as genetic or non-genetic factors, adding that infections could also trigger mental illness, because they could affect the nervous system and trigger certain manifestations.

While expressing concern over the rising cases of mental illness in the country, Agbonile said mental disorders linked to genetic factors have to do with those in the sensitive parts of the human system.

“We also have the non-genetic factors, social factors, psychological factors and physical illness, especially those that affect the brain.

“So, taking each category, you find that illness like Cerebral Malaria, which can affect the brain and any illness that leads to injury in the brain and even physical injury, caused by accident with brain injury or meningitis and any of those things that cause high fever, can lead to mental illness,” he stated.

He revealed that individuals could also become mentally challenged through the use of substances, hard drugs like cocaine, heroine, Indian hemp, Tramadol and others, which precipitate mental disorders.


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