Women are more vulnerable to depression – Psychiatrist

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A Consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Lagos, Taiwo Oduguwa, has said that more women are affected by depression than men.


Mrs. Oduguwa made this known during the annual Ummahat Day organised by the Sisters’ Circle of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Area Unit.

The programme, which was themed ‘Depression in recession’, witnessed the presence of women from different locations in Lagos.

A statement obtained by PREMIUM TIMES Thursday said about 700 Muslim women were trained on how to avoid, cope and manage depression in the challenging Nigeria economy.

While noting that depression occurred at the rate of 25 per cent for women in their 40s and 50s, the psychiatrist estimated that no fewer than 350 million people of all ages globally experience symptoms of depression.

She said that depression could be successfully treated in more than 80 per cent of people that have it, adding that it has about 30 per cent prevalence in general population.

“Depression causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness, which may last several weeks to months,” she said.

“Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep hopelessness and helplessness, which goes along with depression, can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain.

“Women are more vulnerable to depression for reasons such as balancing multiple roles, between raising children, maintaining a marriage and work. The ‘good news’; it can be successfully treated. Before adolescence, depression is rare and occurs at about the same rate in girls and boys.

“However, with the onset of puberty, a girl’s risk of developing depression increases dramatically to twice that of boys (changes in hormone levels). Depression is an illness which affects the mood (mood disorder). It affects the whole being and not just the mind. Unfortunately, it’s diagnosis is still missed by doctors and non-mental health workers.”

She listed the warning signs of the challenge as “talking about killing or harming oneself; expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped; an unusual preoccupation with dying or death; acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish like speeding through the red lights; Calling or visiting people to say goodbye; putting affairs in order like giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends; saying things like everyone would be better off without me; a sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy.”

On his part, a business expert, Abdul-Ghaniy Jawando, counselled female Muslims to be financially disciplined to prevent the current economic challenges in the country from leading them to depression.

The Wife of Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Bilqis Abdullateef, encouraged the Muslim women to be supportive to the husbands and take the upbringing of their children as a priority.

On her part, the MSSN Lagos Ummahat Coordinator, Baseerah Gbadegesin, explained that the theme of the programme was chosen to address the current socio-economic challenges in the country.

She, however, admonished women to develop strong attitude capable of protecting them from being depressed.

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