LIVING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS IN GHANA

Mental health, mental illness, is a commonly ignored topic world wide, particularly in Africa. Due to its uncomfortable nature and stigmatization regarding the subject, most people go through these circumstances alone until it is too late to begin treatment. There are lots of people with mental illnesses who do not even visit the hospital or therapists to be diagnosed and helped with medications and psychotherapy, all because of this same stigma. Such people have higher rates of getting worse and are also prone to passing on these ailments to their children and generations due to inadequate or improper care.

Mental Health is one of the greatest causes of suicide, self-harm, drug abuse, and other types of social vices (both legal and illegal).

There are numerous forms of mental conditions, such as severe depression, Hypo-mania, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, borderline personality disorders, postpartum depression, to mention a few.

At this point i will only emphasize on the above mentioned conditions, since most conditions are not completely curable but manageable.

1. Severe Depression

Severe Depression is also commonly referred to as major or clinical depression. One signs of depression is a constant hopelessness and despair. With major depression it becomes difficult to work, study, sleep, eat, enjoy friends, and or activities. There are several types of depression: major depression, bipolar depression 1, bipolar depression 2, Postpartum depression, and Hypo-mania. It can occur from one generation to the next in families, but often may affect people with no family history of the illness.

Symptoms of Severe Depression

  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Impaired consideration and indecisiveness
  • Insomnia/ hypo-mania (no sleep or excessive sleeping)
  • Diminished interest in formerly pleasurable activities
  • Recurring thoughts of death suicide

Treatment of Depression

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication to manage mood swings
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol
  • Tell a trusted family member or friends
  • Avoid triggers

2.Bipolar Depression

Formerly known as manic depression, bipolar causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypo mania), and lows (depressive).

Mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgement, behavior, and the ability to think clearly.

There are two types of mania and hypo mania.

Symptoms of Mania

  • Increased energy
  • Abnormally upbeat and jumpy
  • Increased activity, energy, or agitation
  • Exaggerated sense of well being and self confidence (euphoria)
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Unusually talkative
  • Racing thoughts
  • Easily destructed
  • Poor decision making

Treatment for Bipolar Depression

  • Psychotherapy
  • Meditation
  • Medication
  • Learning more about your condition
  • Regular Exercises

3.Schizophrenia

It is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. These victims seem to have lost touch with reality.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia

There are 3 categories under which the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are grouped: Positive, Negative, and Cognitive.

Positive Symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Thought disorders
  • Movement disorders

Negative Symptoms:

  • Reduces expression of emotions
  • Reduced feelings of pleasure
  • Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities
  • Reduced speaking

Cognitive Symptoms:

  • Poor executive functioning
  • Trouble functioning or paying attention
  • Problems with work memory (ability to use knowledge right)
  • Other conditions like Bulimia and Anorexia also exist. These will be discussed in details in my following blogs.

4.Psychosis

Psychosis is characterized by an impaired relationship with reality. People going through this condition usually experience psychosis in the form of hallucinations or delusions.

Psychosis is a very frightening experience because these victims see things beyond the reality, and therefore can risk harming themselves or others.

Now that we have learn quite a bit about some mental illnesses, their causes and treatments, it is time for us to help those of our colleagues who happen to be going through any mental illness at all.

If you are going through any yourself, do contact me and I’ll do my best to get you some help.

Take Care

By Jill Boafo

4 thoughts on “LIVING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS IN GHANA

Add yours

  1. I appreciate the education and the differences between the various mental health illnesses. I initially couldn’t distinguish which was which.

    I’d love to work with you to raise awareness on this topic. Our society has a lot to learn and understand.
    Thanks Jill 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m much into this topic and looking for a platform which I could talk more about it to the world, yes it is uncomfortable leaving with person with mental illness but the question is, is it their own doings? The cause may even come from we the family members, marriage partner, children and any other, let put the uncomfortable nature aside they maybe needed in some ways one way or another in some days since story tellers always says everybody is needed in some way

    Like

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