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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 319-324

The views of some selected Nigerians about mental disorders

Department of Mental Health, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
R Uwakwe
Department of Mental Health, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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AIM: To determine the views of sampled subjects about mental disorders and their treatment recommendations of such disorders. METHODS: This is a cross sectional descriptive study. The subjects were asked to list the causes of mental disorders they know, explain what they think the role of evil spirits in mental disorders is, if any, and to name the treatment options available for these disorders. Medical students who participated in the survey were also re-administered the study questionnaire following their completion of four week's rotation in Mental Health. RESULTS: Medical students (30), nurses (20), medical records officers (20) and 64 others including 10 religious ministers participated in the study. Thirty-eight- (28.4%) respondents thought that evil spirits cause mental disorders, and 88 (65.7%) would recommend prayer houses for the treatment of mental disorders. Medical students, even after their 4 weeks of rotation in mental health, did not differ in their beliefs from the rest of the groups. CONCLUSION: The knowledge of most interviewees about mental disorders is based on religious beliefs without scientific foundation. Adequate training in psychiatry for medical students, interaction of psychiatrists with their non-psychiatrist counterparts, public enlightenment about mental disorders may be necessary to raise the level of awareness/general knowledge of, and reduce superstitious beliefs about psychiatric disorders.

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