How Seriously Do You Take Your Mental Health?

October 26, 2018 - 0 Comments

In most Kenyan families, people who suffer from mental health conditions are hidden from the world. They are held with little regard and are mostly perceived as a burden. They are seen to bring shame to the family, hence hiding is regarded as the most preferred option.

There are more than 200 types of mental disorders in existence. However, the most common types are depression, PTSD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Depression is the leading mental health condition globally according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Close to 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide. Symptoms of depression range from persistently feeling sad, to loss of interest in things previously enjoyed. Additionally, depressed people face sleep changes. They can either sleep too much or lack sleep entirely. Depression also leads to a lack of appetite, and in extreme cases cause aggression.

If not checked by a specialist, depression can cause one to feel unworthy and start having suicidal thoughts. However, proper check up by a psychiatrist is needed before one is considered depressed.

Posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] mainly occurs after a person undergoes a very traumatic experience such as abortion, rape, divorce, among others. Most people if not properly guided on how to handle difficult situations in life end up having PTSD. Their lives are usually disrupted by such traumatic experiences.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] is mostly know to affect children and teenagers. It can however continue into adulthood. Children suffering from ADHD are always in hyperactive mood and may seem unable to control their impulses. On the other hand, they may have a problem paying attention.

In adults, ADHD interferes with relationships, may lead to low self-esteem or addiction. Adults with ADHD don’t seems to manage time well, set goals or even be organized.

Schizophrenia affects both men and women at different years. While in men it appears in the late teenage years or early twenties, in women it appears in the late twenties and early thirties. The causes of schizophrenia are however not known, as each individual may have a unique type of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia inhibits a people from functioning to their maximum potential. People suffering from this illness cease to make decisions, relate to others or even manage their emotions. There is no known treatment for schizophrenia.

Maniac-depressive disorder also called bipolar disorder affects the brain and causes abnormal mood shifts, activity levels, energy and the ability to carry out daily activities. Mood can be extremely high with lots of energy and sometimes sad with loss of hope.

However, in Kenya, people suffering from mental health challenges are not efficiently taken care of. Some are even branded ‘mad’. It is very common to see ‘mad people’ in dark corners, market places and rubbish heaps as they try to find something to eat. There are others who are also chained to rusty poles, sleep on dirty beds full of lice and bed bugs, eat from dirty utensils, and not treated properly when they fall sick.

The government doesn’t seem to have a proper mechanism to assist these people either. Medical institutions hosting these people are highly underfunded. The ratio of doctor to patient is extremely low. The few doctors available are under paid. To some extent, this makes them work halfheartedly.

Early detection and treatment of these mental conditions can help save victims from completely going ‘nuts’. It should be remembered that prevention is better than cure. We should not be ashamed of family members or friends suffering from mental health conditions. It’s very important to make an effort to check on family and friends as often as possible.

Also, if you are going through the same, don’t suffer in silence. Share and seek professional help.

Have you experienced such situations? Do you know someone who is going through similar incidences?



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