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Nigeria is the most populous country in the African Continent and still stands out as one of the 15 largest nations of the world.

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Introduction

INTRODUCTION Nigeria is the most populous country in the African Continent and still stands out as one of the 15 largest nations of the world. The country has an estimated population of over 120 million people belonging to various ethnic groups with distinct socio-cultural backgrounds. Like in most other parts of the world, mental and behavioural pathologies, especially the enduring mental disorders (schizophrenia's) have been known to constitute an enormous health burden of Nigeria. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights made it clear that medical treatment should be a basic right for those suffering from mental disorders. Furthermore, in providing treatment and in protecting sufferers and others from potential danger, their respective basic rights must also be guaranteed. Legal safeguards should also be an essential (Desjarrlais et al, 1995). Unfortunately, the misery and emotional turmoil caused by these problems are not often perceived as threatening enough, except by those who directly feel them. This is because they are not usually the primary cause of the demise of patients. Nevertheless, the fact still remains that mental and behavioural disabilities are significant antecedents of human suffering and loss of the resources of Nigeria. ...read more.

Middle

Despite the distribution of these facilities, over 70% of the rural dwellers are not favoured. THE EXTENT OF MENTAL AND BEHAVIOURAL DIDORDERS IN NIGERIA In Nigeria, it is estimated that about 1 million people are presumed to be afflicted by severe mental and neurological disorder, while about 10-18% could be victims of milder disorders. About 20-40% of the patients attending General Outpatients facilities are afflicted by mental health problems. Of all the psychiatric disorders in Nigeria, the enduring mental health disorders (schizophrenia) morbidity amongst the elderly was 45.3% with depression being the most prevalent disorder. Alcohol and substance abuse disabilities appear to be on the increase. In a study of the records in four psychiatric hospitals in Nigeria, alcohol was identified as significant precipitant of organic psychosis. As a result of the increase in alcohol consumption Nigeria has witnessed the highest automobile accident rate in the world (Obot et al, 1989; Cherpital, 1995; Cook, 1990; Rosovsky and Lopez 1986; Gureje and Olley, 1992) see Desijarlais et al, 1995). There is a marked increase in the use of psychostimulants like amphetamine, xxxxxxxx and Kola nuts by young persons. In spite of the heavy penalties imposed, substance abuse, especially cannabis which is cheap and easily affordable has also been on increase among the youth. ...read more.

Conclusion

the fifth largest number of bed allocation 53 (9.6%), that had a percentage occupancy of 81% and 68% in 1993, 1994 respectively. The Mental Health department, with the seventh largest number of bed allocation 24 (4.3%), within the same period, had percentage occupancy of 75% respectively. In 1995, the mental health unit had the highest percentage occupancy of 79%, while the department of orthopaedics, had 77%. Despite the limited psychiatric in-patients facility, there is still a high turn over rate in admissions with priority being given to out-patients demands. It is unlikely that the trend would be different in other mental health institutions. From this data, it is obvious that the demand for mental health services is very high. Presently 3000 beds available for mental health admission in Nigeria, with a ratio of 1 bed to 33,000 persons in the population. CONCLUSION In this paper, an attempt has been made to evaluate the growth and the impact of mental health practice in the context of a depressed economy. The distributions of the mental health facilities in the country were commented on, vis-�-vis the scope of the psychological problems. It is believed that a sound socio-economic base will undoubtedly improve and proliferate the existing mental health practices and care facilities in Nigeria. ...read more.

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