Overview of Depression in Nigeria
People often ask to know what the number 1 mental illness in the world is and not just Nigeria. However, in this article we shall explore mental illness globally.
Nigeria the continent’s seventh-biggest nation has the highest rate of depression cases in Africa and the 15th-highest suicide rate worldwide. In a nation of 200 million, there are less than 150 psychiatrists, and less than 10% of mentally ill Nigerians receive the necessary care. In comparison, there are 12,300 psychiatrists in the United Kingdom for a population of 68 million, and approximately 28,000 psychiatrists in the USA for a population of 330 million. These comparative data from the developed world show how urgently Nigeria needs more innovative solutions given the dearth of qualified psychiatrists.
This article discusses mental health globally with the aim to identify what the number 1 mental illness, causes and stigma in Nigeria and the world.
What Are the Barriers to Mental Health in Nigeria
It should be highlighted that a great deal of individuals in many Nigerian communities do not receive treatment for mental illness because of the stigma, culture, cost of mental health services and misconceptions surrounding it. Different beliefs on depression and schizophrenia exist in Nigeria. Some places don’t even allow you to talk about them. Schizophrenia patients are perceived by some as witches or demons possessed. Among other things, the illness is viewed as a spiritual assault and God’s retribution for wrongdoing related to the use of illegal psychoactive substances. Some families even go so far as to forbid their loved ones from getting married into households where there has been a history of mental illness. Some people think that if mentally ill people work hard enough, they can “snap out of it,” negating the need for treatment.
How Do Nigerians View Mental Health
Unacceptable cultural attitudes are a direct result of negative perceptions regarding mental illness. Research revealed that individuals from all walks of life, including clergymen and healthcare professionals, had the same prejudiced sentiments. A change in approach is required from inpatient psychiatric mental health care to community-based mental health services.
Depression Meaning in Nigeria
Depression is a prevalent mental health illness that alters your thoughts, sleep patterns, eating habits, and behavior in addition to causing a chronic sense of melancholy. There are numerous varieties. Depression can be treated, usually with medication, talk therapy, or both. It is critical to get medical attention as soon as you notice symptoms.
A prolonged sense of melancholy and a loss of interest in things and activities you used to enjoy are symptoms of the mood disorder depression. It may also make it difficult to eat, sleep, remember things, or think clearly.
It’s acceptable to experience sadness or mourning about trying circumstances in life, including losing your job or getting divorced. However, depression differs in that it contains more symptoms than just sorrow and lasts almost every day for at least two weeks.
Depressive disorders come in various forms. Major depressive illness, often known as clinical depression, is sometimes referred to as “depression.” This kind of despair is the worst.
In the absence of therapy, depression may worsen and persist longer. In extreme circumstances, it may result in suicide or self-harm. The good news is that symptoms can be significantly improved by therapies.
What is The Most Serious Mental Illness?
Schizophrenia is a severe and long-lasting mental illness that leads to distorted perceptions of reality. Individuals may suffer from severe mental disorders, delusions, hallucinations, and diminished capacity for day-to-day functioning.
Contrary to popular belief, having an SMI is not a decision, a shortcoming, or a personal failing. It cannot be “snapped out of” or something that simply “passes” through willpower. Although the exact causes of mental illness remain unknown, a person’s risk can be increased by several factors, including brain chemistry, family history, and important life experiences like trauma or the death of a loved one.
What Country Has the Highest Rate of Mental Illness
Global studies on the prevalence of mental disorders have yielded estimates of the prevalence of mental disorders. There have occasionally been variations in the criteria or severity thresholds applied.
Whereas Nigeria, Shanghai, and Italy continuously had low prevalence, and prevalence was lower among Asian countries overall, the United States, Colombia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine tended to have greater estimates across most classifications of disease. The prevalence of disorder cases was classified as mild (1.8–9.7%), moderate (0.5–9.4%), and serious (0.4–7.7%).
The World Health Organization has released estimates of the incidence and prevalence of several illnesses worldwide. In comparison to Asia and Oceania, Latin America, Africa, and Europe have two to three times as many cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It seems that Southeast Europe, Japan, and Oceania have higher rates of schizophrenia than Africa does. Globally, the prevalence of panic disorder and bipolar disorder are quite similar.
What is The Highest Mental Illness in the World?
Depressive disorders are categorized as follows in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association:
Major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression, is diagnosed when a person has experienced daily feelings of sadness, worthlessness, or disillusionment for at least two weeks. Additional symptoms that may accompany this illness include altered eating, difficulty sleeping, and loss of interest in activities. This is one of the most prevalent and severe types of depression.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Mild to moderate depression that lasts for two years or longer is referred to as persistent depressive disorder (PDD). Compared to major depressive illness, the symptoms are not as severe. PDD dysthymia was the term used by medical professionals.
Children with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) frequently experience frequent outbursts of anger as well as chronic, acute agitation. By age 10, symptoms typically start to appear.
PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, such as severe irritability, anxiety, or depression, coexist with mood problems when you have PMDD. After your period begins, these symptoms usually go away in a few days, but sometimes they might be so bad that they interfere with your daily activities.
depression brought on by an additional medical condition: Depression can be brought on by a variety of medical problems that alter your body. Cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and hypothyroidism are a few examples. When the underlying illness is successfully treated, depression typically gets better as well.
Additionally, there are particular variations of major depressive disorder, such as:
- Seasonal depression: Also known as seasonal affective disorder, is a type of major depressive disease that usually appears in the autumn and winter and disappears in the spring and summer.
- Prenatal Depression and Postpartum Depression: That occurs during pregnancy is referred to as prenatal depression, as opposed to postpartum depression. Depression known as postpartum depression appears four weeks after giving birth. “Major depressive disorder (MDD) with peripartum onset” is how the DSM describes these conditions.
- Atypical Depression: another name for this illness, is characterized by symptoms that are marginally different from those of “typical” depression. The primary distinction is a transient uptick in mood brought on by favorable occurrences (mood reactivity). Rejection sensitivity and increased hunger are two more important symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of Depression
Depending on the kind, depression symptoms might differ slightly and range from moderate to severe. Generally speaking, symptoms consist of:
feeling extremely depressed, lost, or anxious. Depression in children and teenagers might cause irritability instead of sadness.
- Not finding joy in things that once brought me joy.
- Prone to getting angry or annoyed easily.
- Overeating or undereating can lead to either weight gain or reduction.
- Sleeping too much (hypersomnia) or having trouble falling asleep (insomnia).
- Feeling worn out or lacking in energy.
- Having trouble focusing, choosing what to do, or recalling details.
- Suffering from bodily problems such as dyspepsia, headaches, or stomach aches.
Causes of Depression
Researchers are unsure of depression’s precise etiology. They believe several variables, such as the following, have influenced its development:
- Brain chemistry: Depression is partly caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin.
- Genetics: Your chances of developing depression are around three times higher than those of the general population if you have a first-degree relative (a biological parent or sibling) who has the illness. You don’t need a family history of depression to experience depression, though.
- Stressful life events: Sad occurrences, including bereavement, divorce, trauma, loneliness, and inadequate support, can set off depressive episodes.
- Medical conditions: Depression can be brought on by long-term pain and long-term illnesses like diabetes.
- Medication: Depression is a side effect of certain drugs. Alcohol and other drugs can exacerbate or even cause depression.
Management and Treatment
How is the treatment of depression administered?
One of the most easily treated mental health issues is depression. Eighty to ninety percent of depressed individuals who seek treatment eventually get well.
Treatment Options for Depression
Speaking with a mental health professional is the goal of psychotherapy, sometimes known as talk therapy. Your therapist assists you in recognizing and altering negative feelings, ideas, and actions. Psychotherapy comes in numerous forms, the most popular of which is cognitive behavioral treatment, or CBT. Sometimes you just need short-term counseling. Some people stay in therapy for a few months or even years.
Antidepressants, a class of prescription drugs, can help alter the brain chemistry that underlies depression. Finding the antidepressant that works best for you may take some time because there are various varieties. The side effects of several antidepressants frequently get better over time. Speak with your healthcare provider if they don’t. You might benefit more from taking a different drug.
Biofeedback, acupuncture, massage, hypnosis, and other therapies can help people who are suffering from persistent symptoms of mild depression or enhance their overall well-being.
Brain stimulation therapy:
Individuals with severe depression or psychotic depression may benefit from brain stimulation therapy. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) are a few forms of brain stimulation therapy.
Additionally, there are activities you may do at home to lessen the symptoms of depression, such as:
- Exercising regularly.
- Sleeping well—not too little, not too much.
- Consuming a balanced diet.
- Staying away from alcohol, which depresses.
- Interacting with those that are important to you.
What is the Highest Mental Illness in the World
Knowing what the number 1 mental illness in the world will help to create ways to combat the causes of such illness. About 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression, which the WHO has identified as the “single largest contributor to global disability.”
With an estimated 5% of the population, or approximately 15 million Americans, suffering from a depressive condition, the United States is 29th in the world for the prevalence of depressive disorders. On the list of the top 30 nations with the highest rates of depression, it is the largest. Less than 2.5% of people in several smaller, lower-income South Asian nations, including Brunei, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, and Mali, are estimated to suffer from depressive disorders, making them among the least depressed nations in the world.
There are drawbacks when comparing mental health rates between nations since cultural stigmas, access to, and cost of mental health care can all influence differences. For instance, compared to high-income countries, low-income countries usually have lower rates of reported mental diseases.
What is the Highest Mental Illness to Treat?
Borderline personality is one of the chronic illnesses in personality disorders. In the past, treating borderline personality disorder has been thought to be difficult. However, many individuals with this disease report reduced and milder symptoms, enhanced functioning, and an improved quality of life after receiving more recent, evidence-based treatment. Patients with borderline personality disorder should see a licensed mental health practitioner for treatment. Treatment from an untrained physician or other types of treatment could be harmful or useless.
The duration of time it takes for symptoms to become better after starting treatment depends on several factors. Those who suffer from borderline personality disorder and those close to them should practice patience and seek out support systems while undergoing treatment.
I believe we are satisfied in finding the research on what the number 1 mental illness in the world as well as Nigeria. Identifying the stigma and barrier in mental health should ignite the fire in our heart to promote mental health awareness and open discussion about mental health.