By Chioma Obinna
A consultant addiction specialist, and Chief Medical Director, The Retreat Mental Hospital, Dr. Olawale Lagundoye, has identified alcohol consumption, sleep induced drugs, noise pollution among others as factors that can trigger mental disorders in individuals.
In a chat with Good Health Weekly at the Clinic in Ikorodu, Lagundoye said unlike other physical health conditions mental health is yet to be given the needed attention in Nigeria, hence, the opening of The Retreat.
He said lifestyles such as alcohol use, use of prescription drugs like codeine in cough mixtures, use of cannabis, and other substances can lead to mental illness.
“Taking of sleep medications, these are taken as a result of stresses of life such as a bad headache. When people have problems with their spouses they will take alcohol.
“The commonest mental conditions are anxiety, depression, stress related conditions. Interestingly, sleep disorders is quite common. You then have a range of more challenging ones in the not severe end of psychosis.”
On environmental factors that trigger mental health illnesses, he said: “What is the quality of an individual’s life? This also contributes to mental illness.
“Sound of generators, noise pollution in particular, tends to affect the pattern and quality of sleep and that have a lot of impact on individuals’ mental health.”
Noting that stigma remains a problem in accessing mental health services all over the world, the experienced mental health expert said the impact of mental health on an individual affects the family and the economic potential of the individual and the society at large.
He said studies have shown that Nigeria has a ratio of mental health bed of 0.4 per 100.000 persons, 4 psychiatric nurses per 100 000 persons and 0.09 psychiatrists and 0.02 psychologists and social workers per 100, 000 persons.
“Stigma remains a strong barrier to accessing mental health services; we will be bringing on the table educational programmes that would make individuals overcome ignorance and discrimination. “Our treatment programme focused on psychological treatments, recovery and therapeutic environments with the support of our skilled therapist assistants and top clinical psychologist.”
He said as the first ever privately owned – mental institution in Lagos, it was designed to increase access to more Nigerians with mental health problems.
Lagundoye said majority of mental disorders are treatable and people should seek help from competent individuals. “The Retreat is a retreat in the real sense because we are taking you out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and bringing you into a therapeutic environment where you are treated with dignity, compassion and engage you with competent experts in what I call therapeutic milieu.”