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7 Common Mental Issues That Affect Women In Nigeria

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Mental Health Awareness month is marked annually in May to create awareness for mental health.

The days when people shied away from discussing such matters are long gone.

Mental illness is a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behaviour, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines.

Although, mental disorders affect both men and women, some disorders are more common in women.

From biological and hormonal changes, environment and society pressure, personal behaviors, starting a new job or a family, women are prone to experiencing things that trigger disorders.

Here are 7 mental illnesses that are prevalent in women.

1. Postpartum Depression

This is a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth and affects most women. Symptoms may include extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying episodes, irritability, and changes in sleeping or eating patterns.

Onset is typically between one week and one month following childbirth PPD can also negatively affect the newborn child.

Postpartum depression may occur in women who have a history of depression, anxiety, or trauma. If you have a history of mental illness, it’s crucial to tell your doctor if you and your partner are trying to get pregnant.

2. Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses, and the distress they cause can keep you from carrying on with your life normally.
 
 These illnesses may include panic disorder, specific phobias,  social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

From puberty through age 50, women are more than twice as likely as men to develop an anxiety disorder with its symptoms of increased worrying, tension, exhaustion, and fear.

3. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. There are four basic types of bipolar disorder; all of them involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels.

While the disorder afflicts men and women in equal numbers, hormones can make the experience a bit different for young women. Females are likely to have more symptoms of depression than mania, and our hormones and reproductive factors can also influence the condition and its treatment.

4. Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event. It usually occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a natural disaster, serious accident, sudden death of a loved one, or violent personal assault such as rape, or other life-threatening events.

Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Most people who experience such events recover from them, but people with PTSD continue to be severely depressed and anxious for months or even years following the event. Women are twice as likely to develop PTSD following a traumatic event.

5. Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that isn’t discussed often. It may be scary to think about, but this disorder can manifest during a woman’s 20s and 30s.

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Symptoms include bizarre behaviour, delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and thoughts of persecution.  Paranoid delusions consist of thoughts like, “my spouse is cheating on me,” when he isn’t. Persecutory delusions consist of thoughts like, “I’m being mistreated,” when there is no actual mistreatment. Not every woman with schizophrenia will exhibit these features, but these trends have been noted in some large-scale studies.

6. Depression

Due to lifestyle changes and stress, depression is a common mental health issue among young women.

The severity and frequency of symptoms differ from person to person. Symptoms may include irritability, feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities and thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.

With early detection, diagnosis and a treatment plan that includes medication, psychotherapy and healthy lifestyle choices, people can and do get better.

7.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with poor impulse control, difficulty in paying attention, focus and hyperactivity. It usually starts from childhood and continues until adulthood.

Women with ADHD face the same feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted that men with ADHD may feel. Psychological distress, feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and chronic stress are common. Often women with ADHD feel that their lives are out of control or in chaos, and daily tasks may seem impossibly huge.

ADHD in women often goes undiagnosed

This condition which is not as common as the other conditions listed