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Psychiatrist urges depressed Nigerians to seek professional help

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Dr Julia Ogwunga, Psychiatrist with a Private Hospital in Owerri, has urged Nigerians who are depressed to seek professional help before thinking of self medication or suicide.

Ogwunga who gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency said that depression, also known as major depressive disorder, was one of the most common mental disorders in the country.

She regretted that depression, drug abuse and suicide had become common in the country.

According to her, depression affects different people in different ways, but most of them experience some combination of the symptoms.

She identified some of the symptoms as anger, irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, prolonged sadness or feeling of emptiness among others.

She stressed: “depression is not a sign of weakness, neither is it something one cannot snap out, rather it is an illness that requires professional treatment and with the right care, people can feel better.”

According to her, most young people experiment with substances or drugs, but the longer the person continues to use the substance, the faster the substance takes over the functioning of the brain.

The psychiatrist said that there is a fine line between regular drug use and drug abuse and addiction, adding that very few drug abusers or addicts are able to recognize when they have crossed that line.

”If the drug fulfills a valuable need, you may find yourself increasingly relying on it. You may take illegal drugs to calm or energize yourself or make you more confident.

”You may start abusing prescription drugs to relieve pain, cope with panic attacks, or improve concentration at school or work.

”If you are using drugs to fill a void in your life, you’re more at risk of crossing the line from casual drug use to drug abuse and addiction.

”To maintain a healthy balance in your life, you need to have positive experiences and feel good about your life without any drug use,” she said.

Ogwunga stressed that while each drug produces different physical effects, all abused substances share one thing in common.

”Taking the drug causes a rush of the hormone dopamine in your brain, Which triggers feelings of pleasure. Your brain remembers these feelings and wants them repeated.

”When you become addicted, the substance takes on the same significance as other survival behaviors, such as eating and drinking.

”Changes in your brain interfere with your ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control your behaviour, and feel normal without drugs,” she added.

Ogwunga, however, noted some of the signs and symptoms of drug abuse and addiction as neglecting responsibilities at school, work or home.

”Your life revolve around drug use, you spend a lot of time using and thinking about drugs and figuring out how to get them,” she said.

JESY/AFA

Edited by Felix Ajide

Contact US: editor@nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247@gmail.com

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