Nigeria: As Goes Drug Use, So Goes Mental Health – Increase one and the other follows!

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‘Access to psychoactive substances fuelling increase in mental cases’

February 2, 2020

DR Jide Raji, a psychiatric consultant (with specialty in Forensic Psychiatry) works with the Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos. He is of the opinion that mental health disorder is on the rise in our society because of access to psychoactive substances.

He stated: “In the time past, there were no access to psychoactive substances, but these days, the rate and manner young people and adults alike access psychoactive substances is on the increase. Secondly, there are so many unrest due to violence, war…; people are coming down with mental disorder ranging from acute stress reaction etc due to displacement, having to leave their traditional home, loss of means of livelihood, loss of loved ones, having to start all over again, economic hardship whereby people don’t have access to good nutrition, good food, education, adequate healthcare system etc.

According to Raji, “The issue of children with mental health disorder is on the rise globally and Nigeria is not left out. Compared to about ten years ago when the Child/Adolescent section of this hospital was set up, patronage has risen so much that doctors there are presently overworked. But again, looking at the environment, out of every 3-4 families, one has been able to identify 1-2 children with mental health disorder ranging from autism, attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder etc. Hence, the rate of increase in mental health disorder among children is high. Easy accessibility to these drugs by young ones is also high; even the very rich are not exempted.

“According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, 1 out of 4 Nigerian has mental disorder and about 1 in 4 will still experience mental illness in their lifetime. In addition, mental illness accounts for 13% of the total disability experienced in the world; and it is expected to increase to 15%  this 2020.”

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