Mental Illness; Debunking the Myths

Hi everyone
Thanks for reading

There are many myths about mental illness. This is the reason that persons with mental illness and their families suffer from stigma. Hence such persons do not get the kind of medical care they require.

In view of that , will take time to debunk these myths today . You are Welcome

Myth 1 Mental illness is not in my family; so it will never affect me

This is the commonest myth. Most of us think that we are above mental illness. The truth is that ANYBODY and I mean anybody can suffer from Mental illness. Some cases arise from head injury, brain tumour, substance abuse, alcoholism and even Vitamin deficiencies. In addition some persons may go into depression or suffer from post traumatic stress disorder after a bad/traumatic experience like, wars, road traffic accidents, fire outbreaks, rape, sexual abuse, kidnapping ETC. Granted there are few cases where a family may have a medical condition that predisposes them to abnormal behaviours or mental illnesses. Anybody can suffer from a mental illness.

Myth 2 Children do not have Mental illness

Again, this is wrong. Some children do experience mental illness. These symptoms may be seen even in children very young (particularly those with developmental issues). In addition children who suffer from abuse: physical, sexual or otherwise may have mental illness from very young age. It is therefore important to find out whether your child is being abused if the child becomes withdrawn, sad, stubborn, difficult to relate with and lacks motivation. All parents should please be watchful!!

Myth 3 Persons with Mental illness cannot be educated or achievers

Persons with mental illness when diagnosed and properly cared for can be great achievers. The 1994 Nobel Prize winner in Economics; Prof John Nash from Princeton University had mental illness. He is referred as ‘A Mathematical Genius’ by his colleagues. The film known as ‘A Beautiful Mind’ is based on his story. There are others: Doctors, lawyers, Engineers, athletes ETC who have achieved great heights despite having a mental illness. It then means that persons with mental illness can be educated and excel in their chosen profession. They do not have to be condemned to the dust bins or tied and hidden; they can be treated.

Myth 4 People with mental illness are Violent

Most persons with mental illness are not violent in any way. In fact they are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than to be the perpetrators. In addition, they are also more likely to harm themselves. They should therefore relate with other people in the community or at work as far as they are on their medications. Granted, there are cases where those who have severe mental illness (especially those who are not on medications) have harmed their relatives and neighbours.

Myth 5. Those with mental illness have a character flaw and will never get better

Mental illness can be caused by a lot of factors as earlier noted. Hence it is not the fault of the person who is ill. Mental illness can be treated in the hospital such that the persons get much better and continue their normal everyday life. In some cases, there is TOTAL Recovery.

Myth 6. There is nothing that I can do for a person with Mental illness

There is so much you and I can do for persons with mental illness. Persons who are mentally ill need the same as all persons who are ill: LOVE, SUPPORT AND CARE. Relatives, friends and loved ones make ‘A World of Difference’. The first step is to take the person to the Doctor like every other person who is ill. Thereafter, buy their medications, send them to school and ensure that they have a wholesome life just like every other person. They should be supported to achieve great things; treat them with respect. Do not label them with the diagnosis. In addition, learn and share important facts about mental illness.

I have done my own part in writing this piece, what about YOU?
Please share if you like it and the ALMIGHTY GOD will surely bless you.

See you tomorrow.

Symptoms of Mental Illness

Hi everyone
Today we will take a step further in the Mental Health Awareness. Like I said yesterday, there are persons in our everyday lives whose ‘unusual’ behaviours are overlooked or condoned.Some of these unusual behaviours may actually be symptoms of mental illness.

Some of the common symptoms of mental ill health are as follows:

1. Excessive worry and fears: Mental illness may present as excessive worries and fear. In fact, a person who never seems to relax may actually be ill. Such persons exaggerate normal everyday issues; making mountains out of moles. Granted there are everyday causes of anxiety, the person with excess needs medical attention.

2. Irritability or Excessive anger: We all get angry as human beings over misdemeanours by others. However, a person with mental illness may be persistently irritable over non issues or has anger that is considered unreasonable considering the circumstances. Most of such persons are considered ‘DIFFICULT’ since it is not easy to relate with them.

3. Unusual or Illogical thoughts: The person may have beliefs that are just crazy. He may think that he is the President, Army general or even God. Some may become accusatory: accusing their relatives of trying to harm or kill them. Some may accuse their spouses of marital infidelity. In addition, the persons thoughts may be illogical, never making sense. They may lack concentration and be unable to follow a conversation; veering off the topic while speaking, adding irrelevant details ETC.

4. Low mood and lack of motivation: Another common feature of mental illness is a low mood( never happy, never smiling) and lack of motivation. The person may not derive please from the usual activities that give him or her pleasure like singing, dancing, watching movies ETC. Such persons may just prefer to eat and sleep while some may barely eat. They may withdraw and hide from people. These are features of depression. These symptoms can worsen to feelings of worthlessness and having suicidal thoughts. Regrettably, some may attempt or successfully commit suicide.

The theme for this year is FOCUS ON SUICIDE PREVENTION

5. Hearing voices: Some may hear voices which no one else can hear or see things that no other person can see. Regrettably, these voices may command them to commit crimes or some other abominable acts.

6. Poor performance at school or work ; Mental illness causes a lot of poor performance because of the lack of focus, lack of concentration , hearing of voices. This makes them unable to take up responsibilities at work or in the home. They are unable to hold down jobs: make unreasonable or unrealistic decisions. They also have poor personal hygiene and relationships. In fact persons who regularly loose their jobs or have issues with most colleagues may need to see a Mental Health specialist.

7. Obsession: Some persons with mental ill health may be obsessed with a particular topic or issue. These persons go on and on and on; which most of us will find very irritable. Some may do the same thing over and over again like washing hands repeatedly, cleaning the floor, fetching water ETC

These are some of the common symptoms of Mental illness that you may notice in your environment
Thanks for reading
Lets see tomorrow—

Mental Health Awareness

Hi everyone

This week is the American week for Mental Health Awareness. In fact the 10th of October is the World Mental Health Day. In view of this, I’ll be writing on Mental Health issues.

You are WELCOME

Mental Health is the state of functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustments. The wellbeing of an individual involves the ability to cope with normal life stress and be productive in the community. Cultural differences and beliefs actually affect how one defines Mental Health. Hence what seems normal in one culture may be regarded abnormal in another culture.

It is important to note that mental illnesses are more common than most of the non communicable Diseases. I’m sure that you find this surprising. Some of the poor behaviour we accommodate and condone may be the features of Mental ill health.

Effects and Impact of Menat illness

Mental illness has a lot of adverse effects on the individual, family and society at large.

The effects on the individual include difficulties with Education, low productivity, poverty, vulnerability to abuse and other health problems.

The burden of caring for the mentally ill is HUGE on the family. It makes the family unable to work at a full capacity, leads to decreased production, loss of income, caregiver burn out and social isolation and stigma. It also causes a drain to the family finances, causes poor childcare and a higher rate of divorce. In cases of physical violence, the family members are at a very high risk.

On the society, mental ill health reduces the work force, the productivity. It is also a drain to the society: socially and financially.

The burden of mental ill health is high.

Hence, this week is designated to create Mental Health awareness. Once again, the essence of this blog is to ensure that you take charge of the issues that you can control: if you are involved.

Let’s go……

International Teacher’s Day

Hi everyone
Thanks for reading. You notice that I usually don’t write on Saturdays. However today Saturday, October 5th is the International Teacher’s Day.I therefore want to take out time to honour these UNSUNG HEROES!! out there.I love to introduce myself as ‘A child of Two Teachers’.
This is because I consider my parentage a rare blessing. Teachers stand for everything I believe in: Love for Education, Intelligence, Communication arts, Honesty, Dedication, Accountability, Availability, Discipline, Prudence, Sound morals, being Candid and Straightforward ETC.
I love the compliment of ‘ No Wonder’ whenever, I introduce myself. It makes me feel that my parents got it Right somehow.

Painfully, the qualities exhibited by Teachers are gradually going into extinction.
Instead, some other negative qualities( indiscipline, laziness, truancy, arrogance, disrespect, dishonesty, moral bankruptcy ETC) are being accommodated, honoured: even flaunted and celebrated.
Every one of us can earnestly remember one teacher or another who made a positive impact in his or her life. Teachers spend their time , energy to not only educate but also make impact and change lives. This is the reason that in any country that loves and encourages Excellence, only the BEST teach. Teaching is not supposed to be for ‘those who can’t find jobs’. It is supposed to be the First option of job: only for the BEST.

Poor renumeration in developing countries like Nigeria has made Teaching an ‘Undesirable Profession’.

In addition, teachers have been mistreated and bullied by parents and guardians for carrying out disciplinary measures against their children and wards. All parents should please note that DISCIPLINE is part and parcel of Teaching. Allow the teachers to discipline( within the confines of the school regulations) your children: they are doing you a HUGE favour.

If I have the opportunity to improve the quality of Education in Nigeria, I will improve the renumeration and welfare package of teachers at all cadres!!
The theme for 2019 Teacher’s Day is Young Teachers: the future of the Profession

I encourage any young person out there who wants to impart into lives to go into Teaching! It is Rewarding in so many other ways.

I hereby celebrate ALL TEACHERS for all that you do.

For imparting knowledge

For giving your time
For giving your attention
For spending your energy
For the sleepless nights
For ensuring discipline
For being counsellors
For being Mentors
For all your SACRIFICES!
Happy Teacher’s Day to ALL TEACHERS!! : present, past and future.
Have a GREAT weekend.
Forward this if you like it.

Breast Cancer: Early detection

Hi everyone

Today, we are concluding on the series on breast cancer. You are welcome.

Once again, please note that the main essence of discussing Breast cancer is not to frighten or alarm you but to ensure that you take charge for a healthier you.

EARLY DETECTION AND TREATMENT REMAIN THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS FOR SURVIVAL IN BREAST CANCER!!!

The main principles in early detection are as follows:
1. Self Breast examination
2. Clinical breast examination
3. Breast ultrasound
4. Mammography

1. Self Breast examination should be carried out by every woman.
The steps in Self Breast Examination (https://www.missionrmc.org/Healthcare-Services/Breast-Care-Center/Steps-to-Breast-Self-Examination.asp)

Step 1: LYING DOWN
–Lie down on your back with a pillow under your right shoulder
–Use the pads of the three middle fingers on your left hand to check your right breast
–Press using light, medium and firm pressure in a circle without lifting your fingers off the skin
–Follow an up and down pattern
–Feel for changes in your breast, above and below your collarbone and in your armpit
–Repeat on your left breast using your right hand
These steps may be repeated while bathing using soapy hands.

Step 2: IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR
Look for any changes from normal. Inspect your breasts in four steps:

Hold arms at your side
Hold arms over your head
Press your hands on your hips and tighten your chest muscles
Bend forward with your hands on your hips

2. Clinical breast examination is carried out by a Doctor.

3. Breast ultrasound and mammography are tests that should be carried out by every woman. Breast ultrasound is known to be more sensitive. The new Guideline recommends a first examination after the age of 25 years. Thereafter those with average risk should have a yearly examination after the age of 40 years.

Those who have a high risk of cancer should start earlier; at the age of 35 years.

Thanks for reading

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Hi everyone
Thanks for being here again
Today , we will be looking at the symptoms of breast cancer. You are welcome.

In most cases, breast cancer is asymptomatic. This means that someone can have breast cancer without having NOTICEABLE symptoms. However, in many cases, there certain symptoms may be noticed as follows;

1. Breast lump: The commonest symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast. This is the reason all women should examine their breasts regularly. The lump may be on top /inside the breast or in the armpit. Some women mistakenly consider the lump to be a boil especially when it is in the armpit. The presence of a lump in the breast should make the woman see the Doctor immediately. Please note that there are other causes of lumps in the breast. However, you need to see a Doctor to examine and carry out some tests to ascertain the cause of the lump.

Other symptoms include:
2. Changes in the skin of the breast: The changes could be redness, change in the colour of the breast, swelling, wound or a difference in the feel and look of the breasts.

3. Changes in size, shape of the breast or nipples: In some cases, the shape and size of the breasts may show changes. This also includes noticeable changes in the nipples like turning inwards or having dimples.

4. Nipple discharge; The normal nipple should discharge only milk especially when a woman is breastfeeding. Any other discharge from the nipple should prompt a visit to the Doctor. This is especially important when the discharge is blood stained.

5. Breast pain; Pain in the breast may occur but it is not an early symptom of breast cancer.

There are some other features that your Doctor will detect after examination. Some of these are late features. The essence of this is that you should detect the early features and act fast.
Early detection and Treatment make a World of Difference!!!

Thanks for reading

Breast Cancer: Risk factors

Hi everyone
Thanks for reading
We are continuing the series on Breast cancer. Today, we will discuss the risk factors for developing breast cancer.

Breast cancer occurs in both men and women however, it is much more common in women.
In my country Nigeria, we are all very religious. Hence at the mention of a disease or anything negative, we will all proclaim ‘IT IS NOT MY PORTION!!

The essence of writing this blog is not to frighten anybody but to give you and yours enough medical information to take charge of your own health issues.
Please note that breast cancer can develop in anybody; especially women.

Who are those at a greater risk of developing breast cancer?

1.Women who are more than 50 years are more likely to develop breast cancer.
2. The most important risk factor is a positive personal or family history. A woman who has had breast cancer is more likely to have affectation of the other breast. In addition, women whose mothers and sisters have or had breast cancer are more likely to have breast cancer than others.
3.Another risk factor is a history of ovarian cancer in the woman’s family.
4. The risk is higher in women who have family history of both breast and ovarian cancer.
5. There is also an increased risk in a man with a personal or family history of male breast cancer.
6. In addition women who have access to genetic testing can test for the particular gene that has been associated with a high risk. You all remember that the Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie had both breasts removed after the genetic testing.

Other risk factors are some of those already discussed in Hypertension and Dementia.
as follows;
1.Obesity
2. The Western Diet
3. Regular Alcohol intake
4. Sedentary lifestyle
5. Cigarette Smoking
6. Environmental factors like exposure to pesticides

Thanks for reading,we’ll talk about the symptoms of breast cancer tomorrow.

Breast Cancer Awareness

Hi everyone. Happy New Month
October is the month for Breast cancer awareness(Pink October). In view of that, I will be writing on Breast cancer this month.

Thanks for reading.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease in which there is a development of abnormal cells in the body with uncontrollable multiplication. These abnormal cells also have the ability to spread to other organs in the body. Cancer can affect any organ in the body. The commonest organs affected by cancer are the breasts, prostate, skin, lung and the digestive system.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world; actually the leading cause of death in women in the developing world.

Breast cancer therefore is when there are abnormal cells in the breast that divide in an uncontrollable manner which also spread to other organs. It is the commonest cancer in women affecting as many as 2.1 million women every year.

The World Health Organisation( WHO) estimated that 627,000 women died in 2018 from Breast cancer. Regrettably, most of these deaths took place in developing countries.

The occurrence of cancer of the breast seems to be on the increase in our country. In fact, some specialists run a special breast clinic in the Teaching Hospitals.

The good news is that EARLY DIAGNOSIS and TREATMENT make a world of difference. Some persons have survived breast cancer after treatment with no trace of cancer many years later
. Some women have also lived for many years. Two weeks ago, the world mourned the death of veteran American Journalist Cokie Roberts from breast cancer. She was diagnosed in 2002 and had lived for 17 more years.

In essence, it is not entirely hopeless if you or anybody you know has breast cancer. There is still a lot that can be done with the Almighty God on your side.

Let’s take the walk into BREAST CANCER AWARENESS.

Your are Welcome

Dementia: Prevention Strategies

Hi everyone

Thanks for reading

I’m sure that you are surprised at the topic. You are asking yourself Is Dementia preventable?

Hmmmm let’s go…….

Some types of Dementia can be prevented like the ones caused by Vitamin deficiencies, Excessive Alcohol intake, use of Recreational drugs and head injury.

In addition, the Vascular Dementias( which occur after Stroke) can be prevented to some extent. This is because the diseases that predispose to Stroke like Hypertension and Diabetes can be controlled. The control is achieved by taking the medications regularly and Lifestyle Modifications.

Components of Lifestyle Modifications were discussed earlier in this blog from 29th August to September 6th.

Please, always go back and read them: Diet, Reduction of Salt intake, Excercise, Activity ETC.

Concerning Alzheimer’s: commonest cause of Dementia, there are factors that are beneficial in the prevention.

These are

  1. Keeping the brain active: People who keep their brains active are less likely to have Alzheimer’s. Brain activities include taking classes, learning languages, playing musical instruments, correcting scripts and solving Mathematics. Others include playing games like chess, scrabble, Ludo, Draught, card games and others. It is also wise to solve puzzles, riddles and other brain challenging games.
  2. Social/ Group Activities: It is wise to engage in social and group activities. These are activities that involve interactions with other people like church programmes, village/ community meetings/ gatherings, women programmes, hanging out with friends and contemporaries. These are very important in retaining old memories as well as acquiring new ones.
  3. Work: It is good to continue in one’s occupation or vocation. This keeps the person in a familiar environment and terrain. Allow your parents to continue their trade, farm work or even volunteer in the church or community. However, the physical stress on them should be reduced remarkably. The 75 year old farmer should have farm workers while he supervises. The 70 year old trader should not carry heavy merchandise. The volunteer teacher or Lecturer should give 11 Am lectures not 8Am.

The point is that the BRAIN should never be IDLE!!

Finally, please pray for yourself. There is power in prayer.

Have a great weekend

God bless you

Dementia: What Next

Hmmm

Hi everyone. Thanks for reading

Having noticed some of these symptoms written in the last two days. What is the next step?

In most cases, dementia is a progressive non treatable disease. However, there are some causes that are treatable. For example Vitamin deficiencies, drug toxicity, Alcoholism, Chronic infections.

It therefore means that anybody with these features should see or be taken to a Doctor. The Doctor will ask some questions, examine and run some tests to determine whether

the Dementia is treatable or not.

For most of the cases of Dementia which are not treatable, there’s still a lot that can be done. The Doctor may give some medications to improve the memory( to some extent), improve sleep, handle some of the abnormal behaviours. Some may be depressed, accusatory or restless: these can also be controlled with medications.

On your own as a caregiver, caring can be frustrating: It can also be very rewarding!!

The first thing you should note is that

The Dementia patient is not giving you a hard time: the Dementia patient is having a hard time!!

Please be patient with them. The following are helpful tips in their care

  1. Be patient: your mum or dad is not whom he or she was. Every activity will take longer.
  2. Have a routine: it’s easier for them. For example Wake up at 8, Pray for 20 minutes, bathing at 8:30, Dressing at 8:45, Breakfast at 9……. It’s difficult for them when you do things haphazardly.
  3. It’s better to involve the person with visual cues like laying out the clothes in order.
  4. Provide options: 2 or 3 different outfits, choice of beverages ETC
  5. Make your instructions simple and clear
  6. Reduce distractions: turn off the TV, try not to mmultitask.
  7. Create a safe environment: safe locks, prevent lock, ensure the floor is not slippery, no sharp objects. Remember that their judgment is impaired, they may not be able to avoid a slippery floor or sharp object.
  8. Play games like scrabble, ludo, cards ETC.
  9. Take them for social interactions: church, weddings, group programmes ETC
  10. Try to be cheerful, they notice your frustrations and anger

Remember ‘ The Dementia patient is not giving you a hard time!, the Dementia patient is having a hard time!!!!!

Thanks for reading