Excessive giving, sex warning signs of mental illness – Expert

IN marking the World Mental Health day, a mental health expert, Dr Victor Makanjuola has said that mental illnesses are more common and that even in some individuals, excessive giving and sex sometimes are warning signs of bipolar disorder, a type of mental illness.

Dr Makanjuola, a consultant psychiatrist said this at a media sensitisation workshop on mental health with the theme “Mental Health and the Media in Nigeria: Changing the Negative perception.” It was to flag off the 2016 World Mental Health day celebration in Ibadan.

Makanjuola, who remarked that the society was fixated on who is mentally ill, stated that financial reckless or sexual recklessness in some individuals may possibly be suggestive of an abnormal state of mind.

According to her, “If you meet a girl and in less than 24 hours, you are having sex together, you may see yourself as being lucky. But you may also be sleeping with a girl with mania.

“Naturally, most of us need a period of courting before sex. But social inhibition is lost in maniacs; if they like what you suggest to them, they go for it immediately.”

The expert disclosed that maniacs are also unduly generous during an episode of the illness and as such giving excessive beyond their means, irrespective of any guise, could also be a sign of a mental illness.

He, however, stated that a diagnosis of maniac is only made when there are other symptoms such as excessive happiness, excitement, irritability, restlessness, increased energy, less need for sleep, racing thoughts, high sex drive, and a tendency to make grand and unattainable plans.

According to the expert, mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions or disorders that can affect one’s mood, perception or feelings, thinking and behaviour, adding that “one in eight of every Nigerian may experience mental disorder in their life time”.

Makanjuola, noting that persons with mental illnesses have higher mortality rates compared to others in the society, said many myths still surround mental disorders.

According to him, “That there’s no hope for people with mental illnesses is a myth. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and more are in the works. People with mental illnesses lead active, productive lives.

“It is not true that people with mental illnesses are violent and unpredictable. The vast majority of people with mental health conditions are no more violent than anyone else.

“Also, many people think that once people develop mental illnesses, they will never recover. Studies show that most people with mental illnesses get better, and many recover completely.”

Dr Jibril Abdulmalik, also a consultant psychiatrist said there are many treatment options for mentally ill patients, adding that people should not hesitate to seek medical help.

The expert, who said mental disorders are just like other chronic diseases such as diabetes and HIV, cautioned against unorthodox treatment of mentally disorders, saying many unwholesome practices go on in trado-spiritual homes.

According to him, “all that is required is regular long term compliance with medications and regular follow-up to clinics to ensure continued well being.”