A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Grace Ijarogbe, on Tuesday advised Nigerians to cultivate the habit of checking their blood pressure regularly, to prevent stress-related ailments.
The medical practitioner said the advice became necessary because blood pressure, most times, showed no signs or symptoms.
She said that stress-related ailments caused by high blood pressure causative factors such as stroke, diabetes and hypertension, showed minor signs which were usually ignored until they became severe.
According to her, it is important for Nigerians to know how to prevent and manage stress, to ensure their well-being.
“Some of these ailments can lead to sudden death, if not detected early and properly managed by medical experts.
“They can occur almost immediately and at any time; someone who is apparently fit may be at risk; that is why routine checkup is of utmost importance.’’
The consultant psychiatrist described hypertension as one of the most common stress-related ailments that affect many people silently.
According to her, hypertension is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries becomes elevated.
“Blood pressure measurement is consistently normal if it is 120/80, but when it repeatedly becomes 150/90, that is when there is hypertension.
“When somebody is hypertensive, there are certain food modifications that person has to maintain, to ensure that the pressure is not aggravated.
“Anybody diagnosed with hypertension should avoid fatty foods, sugary drinks and change some lifestyles.
“The person should take more of fish, chicken with the skin removed, more fruits and vegetables, avoid alcohol intake and sugary foods completely,’’ she advised.
Ijarogbe noted that the lifestyle of an individual could affect the way the body reacted to issues.
She harped on the need for Nigerians to avoid consuming excessive salt and some foods with artificial seasonings, saying that they could trigger ailments.
The consultant said that salt reduction was a preventive and treatment measure for hypertension.
According to her, taking medication and avoiding junk foods would go a long way in eradicating chronic stress conditions.
Ijarogbe also advised Nigerians to cultivate the habit of regular exercise and create time for relaxation, as a way of reducing stress-related ailments.
“Everyone experiences stress. However, when it is affecting your life, health and well-being, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible before it triggers other ailments; change the way you behave, and lead you to experience more intense emotions.
“Also, the need for regular check on blood pressure is becoming increasingly relevant, as reports of obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity in children and young people is becoming common,” she said.
Edited by: Folorunso Poroye/Ekemini Ladejobi
Consultant psychiatrist advises Nigeria on mental health to avert depression
Ijarogbe, who works at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, gave the advice on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
She said COVID-19 was likely to leave many families and individuals mentally devastated and unstable.
Ijarogbe advised people to make their mental health a priority by doing everything possible to remain mentally fit.
According to her, many Nigerians will have depression and mental problems after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is due to hunger, financial challenges, unwanted pregnancy, lost of loved ones, domestic violence, unmet needs, lost of jobs and businesses,” the consultant psychiatrist said.
Ijarogbe said that the situation might in turn increase the risk of suicidal attempts and drug abuse, among others.
The expert urged Nigerians to strive to make themselves happy, stay positive and always share their thoughts with positive people to enhance their mental health.
According to her, there cannot be health without a good state of mental health, one should be surrounded with positive people for wellbeing.
She said that being happy would impact on one’s level of productivity at workplace.
Ijarogbe said that happiness also impact on relationship with people, lengthen one’s lifespan and could help one enhance healthy blood pressure level.
“If one is in a happy state, it means less of troubles, less of stress and better wellbeing.
“But, if one is unhappy, there will be depression, suicide tendencies, anxiety, stress, mental disorder and evil thoughts.
“Depression is a significant problem that has affected many Nigerians, particularly youths which has made them to be drug addicts.
“Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in people who die by suicide.
“About 50 per cent of individuals in high income countries who died by suicide have major depressive disorder at their time of death.
“But, constantly surrounding yourself with positive people will help manage stress and depression, overcome challenges and be positive in life.
“We need to create time for relaxation and look beyond the effects of the COVID-19 and economic situation of the country; we need to focus on positive in every bad situation,” Ijarogbe said.
The consultant psychiatrist, therefore, called on stakeholders on mental issues to scale up the campaign and awareness on mental health matters.
She said that it would assist in inculcating positive thoughts in people.
Edited By: JaneFrances Oraka/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
COVID-19: Psychiatrist cautions against sensational news, gives tips to maintaining good mental health
Yusuf- Kadiri told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that this was necessary as happenings around COVID-19, coupled with unprepared restrictions on social, religious and economic activities could result to mental breakdown if not handled properly.
Yusuf-Kadiri, who is the MD of Pinnacle Medical Services said: “The new viral disease, COVID-19 , a pandemic that originated from China has encased the entire world, leading to panic, emergency responses and unusual and unprecedented measures.
“With all these, comes stress at different levels and because this was unplanned, it will be much more harder for some to adjust, compared to others.
“Some of the adverse effects of this will include anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, bingeing and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for people who have previously experienced situations like this,” she told NAN.
Yusuf-Kadiri speaking on ways to protect mental health said that there was the need for the public to minimse their addiction to sensational news to avoid anxiety and depression.
“ Minimise watching, reading or listening to news items about COVID-19 that can cause you to feel anxious or distressed.
“Seek information only from trusted sources mainly; so that you can take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones.
“Seek information updates at specific times during the day:once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried. (WHO,2020)
She also advised people to avoid using maladaptive coping strategies such as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating excessively and so on.
According to Yusuf-Kadiri, people should do light exercises as you feel comfortable with as the goal is not to wear one out but to make one feel as relaxed as possible.
The psychiatrist encouraged people to check on families, friends and neighbours as well as be supportive of one another.
She told NAN that other ways of keeping good mental health should include observing a good sleep pattern , staying connected and maintaining social networks.
“Try as much as possible to keep your personal daily routines or create new routines if circumstances change.
“ If you are working from home, have a routine and do maintain correct working positions. This means: sit up at a desk and chair as against lying on your bed or the floor.
“Also, take regular breaks,’’ the psychotherapist advised.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Peter Dada
Psychiatrist advises Nigerians on proper management of depression
A Psychiatric, Dr Samuel Aladejare, on Friday said improper management of challenges of life could lead to depression.
Aladejare, who works at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, made the assertion while speaking with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos.
He said that depression was a common and serious mental illness that negatively affects the way one feel, think and act.
According to him, in African region alone, close to 30 million people suffer from depression.
He said everyone was at risk of developing the disorder as it affected people of all ages, from all works of life and in all countries.
The expert said that it was currently a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
He, therefore, called on government at all levels to support mental health programmes by allocating adequate human and financial resources to respond to this growing burden.
“Depression is an illness characterised by persistent sadness, loss of interest and ability to perform daily activities for a period of over two weeks.
“It is associated with feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, tiredness and poor concentration.
“Major causes of depression include: loss of loved ones or relationships, poverty, economic challenges, unemployment, physical illnesses, alcohol abuse, drug use and traumatic situations such as violence and war.
“Lack of availability of psychotropic medicines, proper information with well-structured psychotherapy and other effective measures for primary healthcare services to treat depression is cause for concern,” Aladejare said.
He explained that economic hardship amid the current health emergency situation of the Coronavirus disease outbreak could contribute to depression increase in the country.
The psychiatrist said a depressed person sharing their challenges with a psychiatrist or family members could bring relief.
He, therefore, advised people who were faced with some challenges to learn to share their problems, saying “a problem shared is a problem half solved’’.
Aladejare also advised worshipers in various places to have welfare packages for people in their congregations, who were in need during periods of economic hardship.
He said that lots of people were currently undergoing economic trauma.
“People are passing through a lot of tough times, and they may not want to share their experiences, so religious leaders must learn to engage people.
“We must call our loved ones regularly to check on their welfare and see how we can be of assistance, you do not know if that call will just save a life,’’ the doctor said.
He said that early recognition of the symptoms of depression was key to preventing it from becoming a chronic illness.
The expert said depression could vary from mild or severe, adding that with proper diagnosis and treatment, the vast majority of people with depression would overcome it.
Aladejare stressed the need for one to consult a professional, a specialist or counsellor while depressed instead of abusing or misusing drugs.
He said if left untreated, depression could be recurrent, long-lasting and debilitating as it impairs an individual’s ability to cope with daily activities.
Aladejare added that it could have devastating consequences for relationships with families and friends.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Olagoke Olatoye
Intergenerational cycle of abuse fuelling spousal violence in Nigeria – Psychiatrist
Intergenerational cycle of abuse fuelling spousal violence in Nigeria – Psychiatrist: A Consultant Neuro-Psychiatrist, Dr Maymunnah Kadiri, on Monday described the intergenerational cycle of abuse as one of the major causes of the high rate of spousal violence in Nigeria.
Kadiri, also a Mental Health Advocate, told the Nigeria News Agency in Awka, that the high rate of spousal violence in the country had become worrisome and a call for concern.
She described spousal violence as any behaviour within a relationship by an intimate partner that causes physical, psychological, sexual, emotional or mental harm to partner in this case-marriage.
According to her, spousal violence is one of the most common type of violence and most reported cases are inflicted by men on women, although men are also becoming victims.
Kadiri said that many people, who engaged in spousal violence, might have witnessed such acts, especially during their formative years and might contextualised it as normal behaviour, making them more likely to repeat it.
“People, who struggle to deal effectively with their stress and have maladaptive coping strategies, anger management issues, certain personality traits such as aggression, are more likely to engage in violence, and this has a ripple effect.
“Studies have consistently found that children exposed to violence, either as witnesses or victims, are at high risk of having their own patterns of aggressive behaviour develop.
“When children are exposed to trauma or physical abuse such as slapping, punching, kicking, choking, biting, pushing down stairs, stabbing, shooting or hitting with an object, such children are more likely to repeat the trauma,’’ she told NAN.
According to her, children are good observers and poor interpreters.
“Such a child can grow up to justify or accept abuse in intimate relationships or marriages, workplace settings or with friends.
“Therefore, partners in intimate relationships or marriages need to create a healthy and equal relationship among themselves so that their children are not exposed to violence at the home,’’ the expert said.
Kadiri advised people to seek the services of a psychologist for therapy to deal with trauma so that generational trauma cycles could be broken.
She also called for awareness to highlight spousal violence and the deleterious physical, mental and emotional effects.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde/Olagoke Olatoye