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Group Urges Action Against Growing Insecurity-Induced Trauma In Nigeria

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A group of concerned friends of people Living with disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria have harped on the need for find a sustainable solution to the spate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) induced by the lingering insecurity in the country.

PTSD is a common mental disorder provoked by major psychological trauma. In some cases, it may lead to serious distress and disability. The trauma that can cause PTSD can originate from many events, potentially an accident, combat, a natural disaster, or an assault.

It is a kind of mental health condition that happens to a person due to some terrible incident in their life. PTSD is the effect of chemical and neurological changes in the brain of the person with a traumatic incident.

The problem happens when the person becomes unable to forget the traumatic experience, and it keeps on impacting them over and over again. They keep on thinking about the incident so much that it starts affecting their regular activities and their daily life.

The group led by Gen. Lonsdale Oladeji Adeoye Rtd, gave the charge at the press conference in Abuja on Monday.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Gen. Adeoye said finding a sustainable solution to the problem of PTSD which is inadvertently hindering peace and development in
Nigeria, particularly as it affects PWDs, veterans and general populace, requires getting psychologists and psychiatrists to handle those suffering from it.

He however., pointed out that there are a very limited number of such health experts in the country currently. He said those with mild effects can be taken care moderately, while the ones with critical cases would need further professional handling in terms of adequate care and treatment.

“We need to identify those suffering from PTSD, bring them together, show them love. We are organizing the media conference on PTSD today in support and solidarity with the people and Government of the United States.

“The U.S. Senate recognized June 27 as National PTSD Awareness Day at the urging of Senator Kent Conrad. Conrad wanted to honor a North Dakota National Guard member who had committed suicide after two tours of duty in Iraq. In 2014, the entire month of June was designated National PTSD Awareness Month by the Senate”, he said.

Gen. Adeoye who is also the president of Foundation for the Support of Nigerian Veterans, further noted that the effects of PTSD include, depression, withdrawal syndrome, remembering the traumatic incident over and over again, getting nightmares repeatedly, finding difficulty in remembering things, being unable to focus, getting sudden fear or panic attack, constant irritability and ignoring to discuss things related to the traumatic experience.

He said cases of PTSD are increasing rapidly in Nigeria due to the high of insecurity such as kidnapping, banditry, rape, ritual killings, religious, political, ethnic conflicts, civil riots as well as socio-economic challenges. He added that anybody that is affected by these problems will come down with trauma.

He therefore suggested that there should be a Federal Government Standing Order on the need urgently to train professional to treat cases of PTSD, adding that there should be deliberate intervention in terms of sensitisation and awareness creation by the three tiers of government.

“It is a national crisis, we should teach ourselves to know what are the symptoms of PTSD when somebody comes down with it, from the family background, anybody should report if you find such symptoms, if you find this in your family, please make a report.

At the grassroots, local government level, make a report. What the they cannot handle they can send to the state, if the state cannot handle, the Federal Government is there, as fast as possible all the Federal Medical Centre should have a centre for PTSD. We need to sensitize everybody. At the National Hospital in Abuja, there is a section for this, all hospitals, general hospitals must have it.

“They must make sure that all ministries have a desk for this very important issue, civil servants, sports men have trauma too. People don’t know, they are not aware. Things are getting worse by the day, some people want to commit suicide. Recently we had a military officer who committed suicide, some are not talking, some are in their houses”, he stressed.

Also in her remarks, Miss Omotude Ellen Thompson, an Abuja-based advocate for PWDs, said guidance and counseling is very important in managing cases of PTSD because according to her, it is psychological.

She noted that persons with disability also go through trauma maybe because they became disabled recently as a result of accident or any other factor and they are no longer the same person they used to be.

“So you find them being very aggressive as a result of this. Maybe they are amputated or become blind all of a sudden, so all these will give stress and then the shock, the thinking, so over thinking of this nightmare also cause stress in them, so it is also a form of disability. They are just disability.

So, I will use myself as an example, I am a women with disability who acquired it at the age of 5, so I was able to maneuver with the deformity, they started the correction early, I needed to go school, I was frequently falling down, I had dislocation of the hip and finally I had total hip replacement and it is huge operation and it had to be reviewed because I was young, my pelvic can still grow, and when I was told this, I wasn’t myself”, she further explained.

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